Top 10 Business Books of 2016

I love to read business books that help me learn and grow, but sometimes it is hard to know where to start — especially because there are 11,000 new business books published every year.

To help narrow down my reading list, I went in search of the best-of-the-best business books from the past year. I researched just about every top media outlet that has been publishing “best-of-2016” lists, including Fast Company, Inc., Forbes, Fortune, Financial Times, Success, and Amazon.

I then cross-referenced the lists to see which books showed up multiple times. It turns out that, among the seven lists I studied, only 10 books made the cut more than once.

That made an easy cutoff point for an overall Top 10 Business Books of 2016 list. A “list of lists,” if you will.

I figure that if more than one top business media outlet believes a book is among the very best from the past year, that book is certainly worth my time (and yours).

The order of the Top 10 below is based on the number of times that book showed up on the various media lists I examined. For example, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth, is ranked No. 1 because it landed on five of the seven top lists I read, two more than the next closest competitor (the number of top lists for each book is listed in parentheses after the author’s name below).

For tie-breakers, I referenced the book’s ranking from the lists I researched, as well as customer reviews and ratings on Amazon.com.

If you keep reading past the overall Top 10 below, you will see the full list from each of the media outlets I studied (as well as links to Amazon to purchase any of the books).

Happy (and successful) reading in 2017!

TOP 10 BUSINESS BOOKS OF 2016

  1. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth (5)

2. Hustle: The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, and Jonas Koffler (3)

3. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport (3)

4. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant (3)

5. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (2)

6. Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Dr. Robert Cialdini (2)

7. Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Thomas H. Davenport and Julia Kirby (2)

8. Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Startup Bubble by Dan Lyons (2)

9. Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg (2)

10. Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez (2)

And now here are the Best Business Books of 2016 as selected by the top media outlets I researched:

Fast Company Top 10

1. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

2. Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice by Clayton M. Christensen, Karen Dillon, David S. Duncan and Taddy Hall

3. Here’s the Plan: Your Practical, Tactical Guide to Advancing Your Career During Pregnancy and Parenthood by Allyson Downey

4. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

5. Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Startup Bubble by Dan Lyons

6. The Signals Are Talking: Why Today’s Fringe Is Tomorrow’s Mainstream by Amy Webb

7. Whiplash: How to Survive Our Faster Future by Joi Ito and Jeff Howe

8. The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee

9. The New Alpha: Join the Rising Movement of Influencers and Changemakers Who Are Redefining Leadership by Danielle Harlan

10. The Content Trap: A Strategist’s Guide to Digital Change by Bharat Anand

Inc. Top 10

1. Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent by Sydney Finkelstein

2. Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Thomas H. Davenport and Julia Kirby

3. Hustle: The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, and Jonas Koffler

4. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

5. Mastering the Challenges of Leading Change: Inspire the People and Succeed Where Others Fail by H. James Dallas

6. Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days by Jake Knapp

7. If You’re So Smart, Why Aren’t You Happy? by Raj Raghunathan

8. Hell Week: Seven Days to Be Your Best Self by Erik Bertrand Larssen

9. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

10. The Art of People: 11 Simple People Skills That Will Get You Everything You Want by Dave Kerpen

Forbes Top 10

1. Keep It Simple: Unclutter Your Mind to Uncomplicate Your Life by Joe Calloway

2. Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger

3. Scrappy: A Little Book about Choosing to Play Big by Terri Sjodin

4. Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Dr. Robert Cialdini

5. Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It by Dorie Clark

6. Gift-ology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals and Strengthen Retention by John Ruhlin

7. Look: A Practical Guide for Improving Your Observation Skills by Jim Gilmore

8. How to Wow: 68 Effortless Ways to Make Every Customer Experience Amazing by Adrian Swinscoe

9. Dealstorming: The Secret Weapon that Can Solve Your Toughest Sales Challenges by Tim Sanders

10. All About Them: Grow Your Business by Focusing on Others by Bruce Turkel

Fortune Top 10

1. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

2. Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss

3. The Power of Broke by Daymond John

4. The Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani

5. Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Startup Bubble by Dan Lyons

6. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

7. Hustle: The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, and Jonas Koffler

8. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

9. Building the Internet of Things by Maciej Kranz

10. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Financial Times Top 10

1. What Works: Gender Equality by Design by Iris Bohnet

2. Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Dr. Robert Cialdini

3. Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark

4. Brazillionaires: Wealth, Power, Decadence, and Hope in an American Country by Alex Cuadros

5. Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Thomas H. Davenport and Julia Kirby

6. The Innovation Illusion: How So Little Is Created by So Many Working So Hard by Fredrik Erixon and Bjorn Weigel

7. Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez

8. Dear Chairman: Boardroom Battles and the Rise of Shareholder Activism by Jeff Gramm

9. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

10. The 100-Year Life: Living and working in an age of longevity by Lynda Gratton and Andrew Scott

Success Top 5

1. A Paperboy’s Fable: The 11 Principles of Success by Deep Patel

2. Hustle: The Power to Charge Your Life with Money, Meaning, and Momentum by Neil Patel, Patrick Vlaskovits, and Jonas Koffler

3. Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

4. Chief Marketing Officers at Work by Josh Steimle

5. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

Amazon Top 10

1. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

2. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

3. Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

4. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant

5. The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future by Kevin Kelly

6. Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport

7. Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg

8. Chaos Monkeys: Obscene Fortune and Random Failure in Silicon Valley by Antonio Garcia Martinez

9. #AskGaryVee: One Entrepreneur’s Take on Leadership, Social Media, and Self-Awareness by Gary Vaynerchuk

10. Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford

Overall, there are almost 50 unique titles from the lists above — plenty of excellent business books to keep us occupied in the weeks and months ahead.

Hope you find some books that you love!

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Andrew Merle writes about living well, including good habits for happiness, health, productivity, and success. Subscribe to his e-mail list at andrewmerle.com and follow him on Twitter.