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The 7 Best Business Books of 2018 (That Don’t Appear on Most Lists, But Should)

See reading these best business books of 2018 as not just an investment in your business, but in yourself.

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BY Jeff Haden - 18 Dec 2018

best business books

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Check out lists of the best business books of 2018 and you'll find many of the usual suspects. And for good reason.

Take John Carreyrou's Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup. Countless book blurbs claim a particular book is a "page-turner" you "won't be able to put down," or is "non-fiction that reads like thriller."

Usually those words are all sizzle and no steak. But not where Bad Blood is concerned, the story of how Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes was the darling of Silicon Valley and the entrepreneurial press... until she wasn't.

Yep: Bad Blood absolutely deserves to be on all those best business books of 2018 lists.

But there were also some great books that didn't receive as much attention.

So let's fix that.

1. Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong About the World -- And Why Things Are Better Than You Think

Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rnnlund

The authors define factfulness as "The stress-reducing habit of only carrying opinions for which you have strong supporting facts."

(Which also sounds like a pretty great way to live.)

If you like books like Freakonomics, or Predictably Irrational, or Thinking, Fast and Slow, you'll really like Factfulness.

And you'll find out how a stat like guitars per capita can serve as a proxy for progress.

2. Into the Raging Sea: Thirty-Three Mariners, One Megastorm, and the Sinking of El Faro

Rachel Slade

Rachel's account of the El Faro tragedy (the container ship cruised straight into the path of Hurricane Joaquin, resulting in the worst American shipping disaster in thirty-five years) is a cautionary tale for leaders who think they have all the answers, for employees who choose not to speak up... and for organizations that rely on systems and processes that don't provide the information its people need to make the best decisions.

Plus, you'll learn a lot about the life and work of modern mariners -- the unseen people who deliver many of the goods you consume every day.

3. Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs

John Doerr

Like nuts and bolts? Like making objective, quantitative decisions? Measure What Matters is for you. John lays out a simple yet extremely effective methodology for innovation and, just as importantly, execution.

If you want to turn an idea into reality -- or turn a reach goal into an achievable goal -- John can show you how.

After all, he has been there and done that. A bunch of times.

4. Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley

Emily Chang

If you aren't familiar with Ellen Pao's gender discrimination lawsuit, you should be. Or with firms where partners claim they won't "lower their standards" so they can hire women.

If you're a man, Brotopia will make you think about how you act and what you say.

Which is a really good thing.

5. EQ Applied: The Real-World Guide to Emotional Intelligence

Justin Bariso

Emotional intelligence -- the ability to understand and manage emotions, both your own and those of others -- has for years been a hot topic.

If you're hoping to become a better leader -- or parent, or friend, or shoot, just a better person -- you could read the thousands of articles on the subject. Or take one of the many courses offered.

Or you could just read Justin's book, EQ Applied. No fluff, no long theoretical discussions... just real-world advice on how to control your emotional reactions, break bad habits and escape "emotional hijacks," and learn how you can protect yourself from people who use their powers of emotional intelligence for evil, not good.

6. The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias

Dolly Chugh

Growth mindset. Inclusion. Identifying biases to change behaviors and actions. It's a great book.

But don't just take my word for it. Here's what Adam Grant says:

"Finally: a lively, evidence-based book about how to battle biases, champion diversity and inclusion, and advocate for those who lack power and privilege. An unusually thoughtful psychologist makes a convincing case that being an ally isn't about being a good person--it's about constantly striving to be a better person."

Sounds good to me.

7. The Motivation Myth: How High Achievers Really Set Themselves Up to Win

(Yes, I wrote it. But I'm proud of it.)

Starting a business is easy. Building a successful business is hard: It can take years of hard work, effort, and perseverance. That means you'll need to stay motivated.

But motivation isn't something you get. Motivation is something you create, on your own, by following a process that allows you to improve, bit by bit.

That means you already have everything inside you that you need to achieve your goals. You just need a process guaranteed to allow you to enjoy those small successes so that you get small, steady doses of motivation every day along your journey to success -- as well as to becoming whatever it is you hope to become.

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