The Best Business Books to Read in 2021

Hilary Roberts

If 2020 taught us one thing, it was that we’d have to learn how to do things (our job; visiting our family; grocery shopping) in a new way. We essentially spent most of the year unpicking years of “ways of doing things” in business and attempting to learn new skills – whether that was how to run and host a webinar, or simply how to log on and attend one.

Where could we look for help? No business leader has been in this position since the Spanish Flu back in 1918 and they didn’t really have to think about things like Zoom meetings or Hubspot mailers in order to keep their businesses functioning.

So, our exec team took to reading. They devoured books from business leaders, world leaders, game changers and revolutionary thinkers. So impressed and motivated by what they read and learned, they decided to share their recommendations for fellow leaders and those who aspire to me.

Take a look at our exec team “book club” …

 

Steven Ross, Operations Director

The 100 Year Life – Lynda Gratton & Andrew Scott

By far the most impactful book I read or listened to in 2020. With life expectancy increasing significantly in the last 30 years, most of us are going to live longer than we thought we might.  This will have a fundamental impact on how long we will have to work (much later into our life) before we can retire without seeing a drop in our standard of living.  This is in turn has massive implications for how we spend our career and how we invest not just in our pensions, but in ourselves to make sure we can still be relevant and keep learning skills that will be needed.

“If you want to retire on a pension that’s 50% of your final salary, are going to live to 100 and are saving 10% a month, you’re going to have to work until you’re 82”

This thinking has had a big impact on me.  What new skills do I need to learn? How am I going to learn them?  How will I afford to learn them while still having a full-time job and a family to support?  If I’m going to have to work into my 80’s, what do I want to be doing?

Easy to see these as depressing questions / things we’d rather not think about, but it’s reality and we need to be prepared.

The Rough Patch – Daphne de Marneffe

A self-help / reflection book that has been very useful this year.  The Rough Patch is about the Mid-Life stage and (crisis or no crisis) common issues we face, can prepare for and overcome.  Took a lot of comfort from this book realising that a lot of things I was feeling (maybe more intensely as a result of Covid) are experienced by a lot of people my “age”.  Not for everyone, but those of us that are over the 40 hill and feeling a bit thoughtful about life, might get something from it.

Limitless – Tim Peake. Soldier. Pilot. Parent. Astronaut.

A really great autobiography.  What I loved the most about Tim’s story is that he describes himself as the very epitome of ordinary and indeed, his early life seems as such.  Average grades at school, brought up in a semi-detached house with not a lot, and “quiet & small”.

Tim went on to become the first British astronaut to walk in space.  How?  By working hard and applying himself.  A great lesson for all of us on what can be achieved with hard work and focus as we go into 2021.

 

Shona Preston, Director

Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

Essentially claims to be 6 essential habits that will transform your life before 8am Brilliant book when you are living a busy life juggling work / kids / homeschooling it focuses you on building in some me time which is crucial for everyone now more than ever, gets your day off to a very pleasant and productive start and has definitely had a positive impact of the rest of my day if it starts well it generally stays in that zone!

No Rules Rules – Reed Hastings and Erin Meyer

About the Netflix culture which is deemed to do things very differently and this is what they credit with having transformed their business from a DVD mail order service back in the days of Blockbuster to what they are today – a streaming superpower in a relatively short period of time. Reed Hastings CEO shares his secrets of how Netflix operates and it is definitely not the status quo – being radically honest but with positive intent, trust your team they have an environment of employee “freedom and responsibility”, employees don’t need pre approvals for expenses or holidays but if trust is broken they are gone, hire and keep the best people – defined by Reed as the most creative and collaborative people. A really interesting read; it will not work for every company but there is no doubt some real gems to take from the book.

 

Matt Brown, Director

Fish – Stephen Lundin

A great look at how changing your approach to work and environment can have a really positive effect.

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

This is a great tool to help understand what influences the people around us. Although written in 1936, the principles still apply today.

 

Hilary Roberts, CEO

The 100 Year Life – Lynda Gratton & Andrew Scott

I second Steven’s recommendations as I thought this book was brilliant. It centres round the fact that life expectancy has increased dramatically over the last century and, with this, comes the fact that the original three stages of life as we know it (education, work and retirement) will no longer exist.

What is the impact of longevity on the world – how will it impact people, business, government and the world?

How will we pay for our old age? When will we stop working? What will the world of work look like? What is the role of government in this? How can we plan for this and really help ourselves prepare for this?

And most importantly, how can we ensure that if we are going to live longer what will we do to ensure that we really make the best out the extra years we have?

This is a must read book!

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni

A great analysis of what makes teams work effectively.  I had read this pre-pandemic and found it very interesting.

Surrounded by Idiots – Thomas Erikson

For those of you who are familiar with Insights, this book will make real sense. For those of you who are not, this book will go some way to explaining how we are all unique. In broader terms, there are four types of personality which all of us fit into and this book may go some way to helping you understand how others function and how to communicate and work effectively with your “opposite type” – the person you most often think of as an idiot.

Happy reading!

HRC Recruitment does not receive any commission for affiliate links – these are purely for readers’ reference.

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