Book recommendations for business leaders: 12/31/15

Dec 31, 2015 | Reading Lists

Stephen King says that if you want to be a writer, there are two things you must do: read a lot and write a lot. This is about the “read a lot” part. I include reading lists that will help you do business more effectively and write better for business.

In this post I’m doing something differently than usual. Business reading is important, but you’ll be a better leader and lead a richer life if you read other things, too. I like history and biography and I also read fiction.

There’s more and more evidence that reading fiction is good for you. In her excellent New York Times article, “Your Brain on Fiction,” Annie Murphy Paul surveys some of the research. She says this:

“The novel, of course, is an unequaled medium for the exploration of human social and emotional life. And there is evidence that just as the brain responds to depictions of smells and textures and movements as if they were the real thing, so it treats the interactions among fictional characters as something like real-life social encounters.”

So, what to read? Well, I can tell you that the novel I liked most from last year’s reading was Water for Elephants. You can try that, but why not pick something from one of the three lists below?

From Emmie Martin: The 20 best nonfiction books of 2015

“Nothing’s more compelling than the truth, and if you love uncovering the facts, get wrapped up in one of Goodreads’ picks for the best nonfiction books of 2015.”

From the clever folks at the NY Times Book Review: 100 Notable Books of 2015

“The year’s notable fiction, poetry and nonfiction, selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review.”

From Maria Popova: The 15 Best Books of 2015

“In the spirit of treating my annual best-of reading lists as a sort of Old Year’s resolutions in reverse, reflecting not aspirational priorities for the new year but what proved most worth prioritizing over the year past, here are the fifteen most rewarding books I read in 2015, following the subject-specific selections of the year’s best art books, best science books, and best children’s books. Please enjoy.”

If you’re looking for a good source of stimulating reading, subscribe to Maria Popova’s Brainpickings. There’s nothing else like it. Every week Ms Popova presents me with jewels of thought I would never have discovered for myself.