Long flights, layovers, delays and downtime between meetings can leave you looking for something to do – so whenever you’re on a business trip, occupy your time and stay sharp by crossing some business books off your reading list. We think that the following 20 business books are a perfect way to stave off boredom and help you learn something new in the process.
And, remember – If you’re tired of dealing with the hassles of flying commercially on business trips, get in touch with the team at Inflight Pilot Training today. We can help you obtain your pilot certification so you can fly wherever you wish, whenever you want, and never have to deal with the airlines again.
1) Business Adventures
By John Brooks
Summary: This business classic, written by longtime New Yorker contributor John Brooks, is an insightful and engaging look into corporate and financial life in America. Business Adventures explores notable and fascinating accounts of business successes and failures, helping readers understand the intricacies of corporate life as they were when the events happened. The insightful reportage is full of personality and critical detail – whether Brooks is looking at the astounding market crash of 1962, the collapse of a well-known brokerage firm or the bold attempt by American bankers to save the British pound, readers gets the sense that history repeats itself.
2) The Power of Broke
By Daymond John
Summary: The Power of Broke is a New York Times bestseller from Shark Tank star and Fubu Founder, Daymond John. The book focuses on why starting a business on a limited budget can be an entrepreneur’s greatest competitive advantage, and shows how brands, companies and start-ups can leverage the “power of broke” to achieve success, fame and profit. Using personal stories from his days on the streets in Queens, John explores how he developed his clothing company, FUBU, into a $6 billion dollar brand.
3) The Hard Thing About Hard Things
By Ben Horowitz
Summary: In this business book, Ben Horowitz, one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, draws on his own story of founding, running, selling, buying, managing, and investing in technology companies. His blog has garnered a devoted following of over a million readers who have come to rely on him to help them run their businesses. A lifelong rap fan, Horowitz amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs and tells it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, from cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.
4) Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
By Sheryl Sandberg
Summary: As the chief operating officer of Facebook, Sheryl Sandberg is able to provide a unique perspective on women in leadership roles. As a continuation of a 2010 TED Talk, in which she described how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers, Lean In combines personal anecdotes, hard data and compelling research to change the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can. Written with humor and wisdom, Lean In is a revelatory, inspiring call to action and a blueprint for individual growth that will empower women around the world to achieve their full potential.
5) Purple Cow
By Seth Godin
Summary: Renowned marketer and branding expert Seth Godin provides his point of view on building a remarkable company. In Purple Cow, Godin urges readers to put something remarkable into everything they build or do, to create a product that’s truly noticeable. It’s a manifesto for marketers who want to help create things that are worth marketing in the first place.
6) Blue Ocean Strategy
By W. Chan Kim, Renee Mauborgne
Summary: Blue Ocean Strategy, an international bestseller, challenges the traditional requirements for strategic success. Based on a study of 150 strategic moves (spanning more than 100 years across 30 industries), the authors argue that lasting success comes not from battling competitors, but from creating “blue oceans”—untapped new market spaces ripe for growth. This influential and immensely popular book shows that the hallmarks of competitive strategy are not the way to create profitable growth in the future, and instead presents a systematic approach to making the competition irrelevant, outlining principles that any company can use to create their own blue oceans.
7) Crushing It!
By Gary Vaynerchuk
Summary: In Crushing It!, four-time New York Times bestselling author Gary Vaynerchuk offers new lessons and inspiration drawn from the experiences of dozens of influencers and entrepreneurs who rejected the predictable corporate path in favor of pursuing their dreams by building thriving businesses and extraordinary personal brands. A follow-up to his 2009 international bestseller Crush It, Vaynerchuk offers his unique perspective on how branding and entrepreneurship have changed and what has stayed the same.
8) The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business
By Elaine Pofeldt
Summary: In The Million-Dollar, One-Person Business, Elaine Pofeldt outlines the pathways to joining a new, exciting entrepreneurial movement, gathering advice from hundreds of business owners who’ve found success working for themselves. She explains how to identify, launch, grow and reinvent the business, showing how a single individual can generate $1 million in revenue—something only larger companies have done in the past. Both inspirational and practical, this book will appeal to all who seek a better work-life balance.
9) The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business
By Josh Kaufman
Summary: Josh Kaufman has made a business out of distilling the core principles of business and delivering them quickly and concisely to people at all stages of their careers. In The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business, Kaufman teaches readers how to hone their business instincts, master the fundamentals and save a fortune in school tuition costs. After all, true leaders aren’t made by business schools—they make themselves, seeking out the knowledge, skills and experiences they need to succeed.
10) Smarter, Faster, Better
By Kor Marton
Summary: Kor Marton is a street fighter turned revolutionary entrepreneur, and in Smarter, Better, Faster, he shares his wealth of knowledge about the secret behind the superhuman productivity of successful people. This book gives readers actionable steps for erasing possible pre-existing limitations; practical insights to create habits that promote success; behavioral techniques used by the most successful people on the face of this planet; and proven productivity concepts that can be applied instantly.
11) The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
By Patrick Lencioni
Summary: In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni turns his keen intellect and storytelling power to the fascinating, complex world of teams. Lencioni reveals the five dysfunctions which get at the very heart of why even the best teams face challenges. He outlines a powerful model and actionable steps that can be used to overcome these common hurdles and build a cohesive, effective team. This gripping tale serves as a timeless reminder that leadership requires as much courage as it does insight.
By Jack Welch
Summary: At the core of Winning is the “real stuff” of business. The main part of the book is split into three sections. The first looks inside the company, from leadership to picking winners to making change happen. The second section looks outside, at the competition, with chapters on strategy, mergers, Six Sigma and more. The final section of the book is about managing your career—from finding the right job to achieving work-life balance. In Winning, Welch’s personal anecdotes and distinctive voice provide readers with solutions to nuanced work problems that will change the way people perform in their career.
13) The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement
By Eliyahu M. Goldratt, Jeff Cox
Summary: The Goal is written in a fast-paced thriller style, centered around a plant manager trying to improve performance. His factory is rapidly heading for disaster and so is his marriage. He has ninety days to save his plant, or it will be closed by corporate HQ, with hundreds of job losses. It takes a chance meeting with a colleague from student days—Jonah—to help him break out of conventional ways of thinking to see what needs to be done. This business book will keep readers on the edge of their seat and is transforming management thinking throughout the western world.
14) Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity
By David Allen
Summary: Getting Things Done offers a transformative look at worker productivity, as author David Allen shows readers how to pick up the pace without burning out. Allen, a veteran coach and management consultant, presents arguments about why yesterday’s methods just don’t work in today’s world, while sharing breakthrough methods for stress-free performance that he has introduced to tens of thousands of people across the country. This book shows readers how to achieve maximum productivity and creative potential by clearing the mind and organizing thoughts.
15) The Lean Startup
By Eric Ries
Summary: The Lean Startup takes a new approach to reaching success that’s being adopted across the globe and changing the way companies are built. Author Eric Ries provides entrepreneurs of all types a way to test their vision continuously, to adapt and adjust before it’s too late. With his scientific approach to creating and managing successful startups in an innovative age, Ries analyzes companies that are both more capital efficient and that leverage human creativity more effectively so they can shift directions with agility, altering plans inch by inch, minute by minute.
By Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
Summary: While the majority of business books give readers the same old advice—write a business plan, study the competition, seek investors—Rework takes a fresh look at how to succeed in business. This book explains why plans are actually harmful, why to avoid outside investors and why to ignore the competition. Not exactly traditional, right? Authors Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson teach readers how to be more productive, how to get exposure without breaking the bank and tons more counterintuitive ideas that will inspire and provoke.
17) The Richest Man in Babylon
By George Samuel Clason, Charles Conrad
Summary: This classic from 1926 may be a little old, but nevertheless, provides timeless advice and makes the list of essential business books. The ancient Babylonians were the first people to discover the universal laws of prosperity. The Richest Man in Babylon takes readers on a journey that reveals these ancient secrets for creating, growing and retaining wealth, through entertaining tales of the Babylonian merchants, tradesmen and herdsmen.
18) Who Moved My Cheese?
By Spencer Johnson
Summary: More than just a creative title, Who Moved My Cheese? is an enlightening and amusing story that illustrates the vital importance of being able to deal with unexpected change. Written by Spencer Johnson, coauthor of The One Minute Manager, this business book is often distributed by managers to employees as a motivational tool, but the lessons it teaches can benefit literally anyone, young or old, rich or poor, looking for less stress and more success in every aspect of work and life.
19) The Greatest Salesman in the World
By OG Mandino
Summary: The Greatest Salesman in the World is a book that serves as a guide to a philosophy of salesmanship and success, telling the story of Hafid, a poor camel boy who achieves a life of abundance. Author OG Mandino shows readers that “what you are today is not important; for in this runaway bestseller, you will learn how to change your life by applying the secrets you are about to discover in the ancient scrolls.”
20) The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership
By John C. Maxwell, Zig Ziglar
Summary: In The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, John C. Maxwell supplies readers with his business knowledge, distilled into high-level principles, based on his 30 years of leadership experience. Readers will get insight on his successes and mistakes through observations of business, politics, sports, religion, military conflict and more. The result is a revealing study of leadership delivered as only a communicator like Maxwell can.
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