10 of the best business books in 2023

Unlock the best insights of 2023 with our curated list of best business books. This year’s best titles provide ground-breaking insights into some of the most important global issues spanning business, technology and finance.

Whether you appreciate staying ahead of the game or merely widening your own horizons, business books are probably the most accessible technique of accomplishing both.

10 of the best business books in 2023

No stone has been left unturned when it comes to this subject matter, which has been handled by authors from the Financial Times and Schroders Business Book of the Year Award.

From the competition to build the highest buildings and tackle the climate problem to revealing the ugly facts of cobalt mining and authoritarian capitalism, this year’s coveted list presents a thought-provoking investigation into the subjects of AI, the future of finance and the war for talent.

For the first time this year, the award was run under a new three-year arrangement with Schroders in cooperation with Nikkei (Financial Times’ parent company). Six of the world’s top business books were shortlisted from the acclaimed longlist of 15 volumes.

The winner will be announced on 4 December 2023 in London, with a reward of US$37,500 awarded to the book chosen to provide the most captivating and valuable insights.

One of the greatest gifts you can give someone is opening their mind to a new perspective, and gifting them a book is a reliable method to do that. Here are our favorites:

Cobalt Red

Cobalt Red

By Siddharth Kara
Status: Shortlisted

Genre: Manufacturing and trade, energy and the environment, crime and scandal

Summary: Described as heart-wrenching and fascinating, researcher and campaigner on contemporary slavery Siddharth Kara discovers the human rights atrocities engaged in cobalt mining in the Congo. With the experiences of the Congolese people, this eye-opening documentary uncovers the untold stories behind the mining of cobalt that consumers and tech corporations have grown to rely on. Discover how the batteries that power our smartphones and electric vehicles — clean energy – are polluted by the blood of children in the Congo.

Elon Musk

Elon Musk

By Walter Isaacson

Status: Shortlisted

Genre: Biography, technology and invention, manufacturing and commerce

Summary: As a best-selling author of biographies including Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson provides a comprehensive and well-researched record of the wealthiest man on the globe, having shadowed him for two years. While Musk has taken humanity into unknown territory in space on several occasions, the resurfacing of his old scars has led many to regard him as a controversial inventor. Ultimately, the reader is forced to consider whether these darker traits are what’s needed to foster growth and innovation.

How Big Things Get Done

How Big Things Get Done

By Bent Flyvbjerg and Dan Gardner

Status: Shortlisted

Genre: Innovation, technology, leadership and management, and entrepreneurship

Summary: A well-known scholar on the management of megaprojects and cities, Bent Flyvbjerg joined with New York Times best-selling author Dan Gardner to study the reasons why some projects fail while others set a new benchmark for competition. Whether launching a new business, product or professional project, the book gives real-life examples (uncovering the tale behind the Sydney Opera House) as well as a set of research-backed guidelines for completing any project on schedule and within budget.
Flyvbjerg draws on his three decades of expertise as a trusted counselor to government and business to give vital tips for anybody looking to effectively manage their projects, whatever the size or scope.

Material World

Material World

By Ed Conway

Status: Shortlisted

Genre: Energy and environment, manufacturing and commerce

Summary: Tracing the journey of six basic elements – sand, salt, iron, copper, oil and lithium – to the things most of us take for granted, economics and data editor Ed Conway strives to take the reader into the hidden worlds that chronicle the tale of civilization. Conway demonstrates why these compounds are gaining relevance in the face of climate change and the search for clean energy sources. His globe adventures accompany the reader into the dark depths of the deepest mine in Europe to Taiwanese silicon chip manufacturing. This book promises to revolutionize the way we think about the material world and the intricate networks and processes involved.

Right Kind of Wrong

Right Kind of Wrong

By Amy Edmondson

Status: Shortlisted

Genre: Behavioral science, leadership and management

Summary: As a renowned specialist on psychological safety, Harvard Business School professor Amy Edmondson provides light on the distinction between good failure and unproductive failure. Described by organizational psychologist Adam Grant as a guidebook on how to take “intelligent risks” and bounce back from losses, it’s surely one to add to your reading list if you’re inquisitive about how to practice failure more intentionally. Edmondson focuses on examples from business, pop culture and history to explain how the shame and blame culture is ripe for an upgrade.

The Coming Wave

The Coming Wave

By Mustafa Suleyman with Michael Bhaskar

Status: Shortlisted

Genre: Technology and innovation

Summary: Offering a counterweight to AI optimists, DeepMind (a subsidiary of Google) Co-Founder Mustafa Suleyman says that the largest challenge over the next decade is planning for “the containment problem”. From legislators to corporate leaders and beyond, The Coming Wave gives a realistic road map to assist navigate a society that will soon be ruled by AI, and the ramifications of this fast-approaching new reality.

Beijing Rules

Beijing Rules

By Bethany Allen

Status: Longlisted

Genre: Economics, growth markets

Summary: Described as a page-turner, Bethany Allen’s in-depth investigative work has resulted in a meticulously written exposé of China’s desire for global dominance and influence. The author raises the curtain on China’s secret attempt to enter western institutions by utilizing its economic capabilities. Having been awarded the Robert D. G. Lewis Watchdog Award, Allen has been acknowledged for her work on the China Cables Project – secret government records regarding the detention camps in Xinjiang. She currently works as an Axios China reporter in Taipei. This book is a must-read for everyone intrigued about the growth of authoritarian capitalism and its potential ramifications, if left uncontrolled.

Billionaires’ Row

Billionaires’ Row

By Katherine Clarke

Status: Longlisted

Genre: Banking and finance, investment and markets

In summary, Katherine Clarke, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, is the most knowledgeable person in the US about upscale real estate. Billionaires’ Row refers to the new “Manhattan megatowers” — the apex of extreme wealth. In this story, Clarke transports the reader into a merciless industry that puts together the elements of ambition, greed and competitiveness in the development of expensive, high-rise dwellings that expand the wealth divide.

The Case for Good Jobs

The Case for Good Jobs

By Zeynep Ton
Status: Longlisted

Genre: Manufacturing and commerce, workplace

Summary: An ideal tool for navigating the fight to locate and keep people, in The Case for Good Jobs, MIT professor Zeynep Ton gives a paradigm for overcoming the constraints that are hampering your firm. Ton explains why excessive employee turnover and mediocrity need to be handled, and what happens when firms are overly focused with their consumers rather than addressing operational concerns.

Power and Progress

Power and Progress

By Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson
Status: Longlisted

Genre: Economics, history, technology and innovation

Summary: MIT Professors Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson rely on examples throughout economic history that highlight how technical improvements have the inclination to either favor an elite few or contribute to the public good. The writers bring us up to date by suggesting that humanity is once again at a fork in the road. For meaningful development to take place, they warn, the latest tsunami of invention must be matched with the proper vision.

FAQ

Are books still popular 2023?

Around the world, English-speaking book readers aim to read more in 2023 than in 2022. Despite the increasing popularity of eBooks and even audiobooks, readers worldwide still prefer physical books.

How to read more books in 2023?

Set a goal to read just a bit more each day than you normally do. If you don’t read at all, you can make a goal to read 3-5 pages a day. If you regularly read around 25 minutes each day, read for 30. If you use Todoist, create a task that recurs every day with the number of pages or length of time you wish to read.

How many books do top CEOS read?

In reality, the average amount of books read by a CEO is 60 books each year, or five novels per month. “What I know for sure is that reading opens you up,” says Oprah, “It exposes you and gives you access to anything your mind can hold. What I love most about reading—It offers you the chance to reach higher terrain.

Is it good to read business books?

Reading business books is a wonderful approach to gain knowledge, skills, and insights into running a successful firm. By reading the best business books, you can obtain new insights, learn from the best, enhance your abilities, stay up-to-date, and be inspired and motivated to achieve your goals.

Is 12 books a year good?

Of those who do read, around 64% indicate they have read at least one book in the preceding 12 months. The country’s national average currently sits at roughly 12 per person per year, while some groups exceed others. Women, for example, read an average of 15.7 novels in 2021, while males read an average of 9.5.

Conclusion

This year’s business book selection gives different views into global issues. The shortlisted publications, spanning technology, finance, and more, provide interesting insights. As we await the prize announcement on December 4, 2023, these works stand as potent tools to enlarge minds and enhance understanding.

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