Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
December 13, 2012 9:46 PM

The Best Business Books Of 2012

Read a good business book this year? Looking for the perfect holiday gift?

I'm usually one to shy away from "best of" and list-like posts, but 'tis the season (as they say). Beyond that, it was a great year for reading and there are some marvelous gems that came out this year. So, whether you're looking for some end-of-the-year insights and motivation, or if you still haven't grabbed a gift for a loved one, here are some page-turners...

The Best Business Books of 2102.

  1. Makers - The New Industrial Revolution by Chris Anderson. Whenever I get asked, "so what's next?" I now have something to point those people to. Reading this book reminds me of the feelings of excitement I used to get when reading newspaper and magazine articles about the Internet in the early nineties.
  2. Quiet - The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. This one of those books that makes you stop, put it down and scream, "this is me! I'm more normal than I thought!" I wish I had this book in High School. I wish I would have had the emotional intelligence to truly understand it as well back then. It's a beautiful book about people who like to think, read and yes, be alone.
  3. The Art of the Pitch - Persuasion and Presentation Skills that Win Business by Peter Coughter. There are so many illuminating moments and stories about how to win business in the agency game. I loved this book and re-read it multiple times. Coughter's writing style is pointed and very funny.
  4. Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!) - How To Unleash Your Creative Potential by America's Master Communicator by George Lois. Mad Men? That's tame compared to the life and times of George Lois. A true advertising renaissance man, this is a short book but filled with tons of great design that is diminished by the depth of content and life lessons. Thanks to George, I'm now unapologetic about wearing sneakers every day of my life. Thanks, George!
  5. Daring Greatly - How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brene Brown. Courage, vulnerability, shame and more. Business is becoming personal and, thanks to beautiful minds like Brene Brown, it's not only acceptable, but smart to bring those emotions into leadership. This is one magical book.
  6. Steal Like an Artist - 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon. You could read this book in 30 minutes. Sadly, most people probably did. The only way you'll truly benefit from this book is to leave it within arm's reach at all time and reference it whenever you're feeling stuck, frustrated or uninspired. There is gold within these pages.
  7. The Impact Equation - Are You Making Things Happen or Just Making Noise? by Chris Brogan and Julien Smith. With their follow-up to Trust Agents, my good friends, Chris Brogan and Julien Smith, are back. No, this isn't another social media book. It's a book about doing a lot more than tweeting and Facebooking... it's a book about creating impact. Here's the thing: it's not easy, it's hard work and most people will, sadly, read this, nod in agreement but not take action. Don't be one of those people.
  8. 11 Rules for Creating Value in the Social Era by Nilofer Merchant. I really thought I was done with books about social media and social business. It's not that I was down on them, but that I had read them all and felt like there was too much repetition. Then, I read Nilofer's book and realized that few have been able to synthesize this changing business environment in such a powerful way.
  9. The (Honest) Truth about Dishonesty - How We Lie to Everyone-Especially Ourselves by Dan Ariely. Looking for a great book from one of the greatest thinkers out there? Grab this one. Dan Ariely is not only a world-famous Behavioral Economist, but an amazing storyteller.
  10. Likeonomics - The Unexpected Truth Behind Earning Trust, Influencing Behavior, and Inspiring Action by Rohit Bhargava. What makes people like a brand (or an individual) and not another? Tough question, but this book breaks it down... and it's fascinating.

There are also a handful of books that I am thoroughly enjoying, but have not completely finished. These are worth checking out too:

Now, it's your turn: which business book in 2012 turned your head upside down?

By Mitch Joel