12 Most Important (Not So Business) Business Books
I started reading when I was four and I never looked back. I read. I read a lot. Some people dream about being trapped in Harrods or Trader Joe’s; I fantasize about being stranded in the Library of Congress with over 32 million volumes at my disposal.
For this 12Most post, I turned my chair around and looked at my bookcases. What pages mean the most to me? Which books have guided and assisted me? I went to the shelves and collected twelve.
Books will always be my world. I’ve recently fallen in love with Kobo, Kindle, and iBooks. Thanks to them, my world became much easier to carry!
Here, I name just a few in no significant order. Some will be very familiar and some perhaps newly introduced. I hope you’ll find one that intrigues you.
1. The Tao of Pooh
Benjamin Hoff: This delightful book, and the subsequent volume, The Te of Piglet, introduce the concepts of Taoism through the eyes of A.A. Milne’s soulful residents of the 100 Acre Wood. Hoff skillfully introduces the wisdom inherent in Taoism and its abiding applications to empathy and success in business and in life.
2. What Do You Care What Other People Think
Richard Feynman: Feynman, a Nobel Prize winning physicist, gives so much of himself in this book. This is a man who exemplifies leadership; he would not give in to ‘GroupThink’ and, by refusing, saved lives.
3. A Sand County Almanac
Aldo Leopold: I was introduced to Leopold in my recent Environmental Stewardship course. He helped me to better appreciate our economy’s intimate connection with our environment. We cannot consider the ‘earth’ as commodity – rather, we have much to learn in order to understand its intrinsic value.
4. The Road Less Traveled
M. Scott Peck: One of the most difficult issues leaders face is solving problems. The best leaders assess and confront problems, realizing that all difficulties involve personalities. Peck’s book enlightens by teaching resolution through understanding. Every leader who truly wants to appreciate those whom they lead must read this.
5. The Art of War
Sun Tzu: It may seem cliché to include this ancient text. I read it for the first time when I was in High School. The strategies are timeless. The message: victory with honour and profit with ethics are within every leader.
6. The Tao of Wu
The RZA: Whasup? Represent! The Wu-Tang Clan is the most famous martial art rap group. Robert Fitzgerald Diggs made a deal with the Wu-Tang Clan: “Give me five years”. They did and he delivered. In this book, the RZA shares the journey, the struggle, and the enlightenment that brought about the fruition of his promise. If you intend to succeed, the RZA has a torch to light your way.
Stephen D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner: These are two rogues I’ve never been happier to meet. If you’ve never heard of this book, I hope your cave is – at the very least – dry and comfy. Some say they turned economics on its head but I would say they ‘Everyman’d’ it. These guys define education through storytelling.
8. Horse: How the Horse Has Shaped Civilization
J. Edward Chamberlin: Disparate elements work to shape society and often, in our ‘tech’ world, we forget what came before. Chamberlin beautifully illustrates how horses helped to shape the economy we know, and attempt to thrive in, today.
David Bodanis: This is the biography of the world’s most famous equation. I was once asked, “Which person would you most want to meet and what would you ask them?” My answer: Albert Einstein and “Could you run that by me again?” This book is a love story; a mesmerizing account of one man’s passion to learn, to discover, and to deliver his truth.
10. The World in Six Songs
Daniel J. Levitin: Open yourself up to dance, sing out loud, or curl up on a bus with your iPod. Levitin explores the meaning of Six Songs; how they have influenced and communicated. His insights guide understanding of human nature and introduce leaders to elements they may have overlooked or misunderstood.
11. A Short History of Progress
Ronald Wright: History repeats. And the adage maintains – we never learn. Or can we? In spite of our 21st century Tech Revolution, civilization has driven this road many times. Wright introduces the possibility that outcomes may be malleable with understanding, insight, and courage.
12. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success
Deepak Chopra: This book will fit in your back pocket but explodes with wisdom. The inimitable Chopra distills the natural laws, which govern us, to help us understand our true nature and guide us to success and abundance.