best business books holiday reading list

Charge your Kindle and pack your USB cable – here is my list of the 5 best business books to take on holiday for a spot of relaxation by the pool.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

‘Fake it till you make it in Silicon Valley’ unless you’re a health-tech start-up with patients’ lives depending on your innovative technology which doesn’t actually exist. This celebrated exposé by Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, John Carreyrou, is a real page turner and entertaining read.  A winner of the Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award 2018.  It has spawned an HBO documentary and there is talk of an upcoming film with Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role as the ambitious founder Elizabeth Holmes.

Mr China

Want to do business in China?  Then this is a must read.  The author, Tim Clissold, was there when China first opened up to Western capitalism in the early 1990s.  Full of confidence in the expectation of huge financial rewards the author recounts the highs and lows of doing business in a very alien culture.  A cautionary tale for anyone hoping to impose Anglo-Saxon business practices in international markets. Prepare yourself for a bumpy ride and an enjoyable read.

Let It Go: The Memoirs of Dame Stephanie Shirley

This time a pioneering female CEO that got it right.  This auto-biography by Dame Stephanie ‘Steve’ Shirley charts her childhood as a Jewish child refugee escaping Nazi Germany; to a young woman hitting the glass ceiling and founding a software company that floated on the London Stock Exchange.  An inspirational business book about an entrepreneur who started with £6 bootstrapping and created a company that at its peak, employed 6,000 people, with a £1.2bn valuation.

Everybody Lies: What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are

Social media portrays an unrealistic fantasy, whilst Google is ‘truth serum’. A fascinating and funny read by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. A New York Times bestseller and Economist Book of the Year, this book burrows into big data to reveal the American psyche.  The author uncovers our insecurities about sex, attitudes to race and social biases.  Along the way he analyses how big data can help choose a champion race horse, predict Trump’s rise to power and the truth about your Facebook friends.

Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioural Economics

You have been given a free ticket to a sporting event – do you go or do you sell it?  Nobel Prize-winning economist Richard H. Thaler expands on his earlier influential book Nudge.  A subversive and entertaining look at how people make decisions, often in an irrational way.  Full of interesting examples, including the one posed above which challenge the view of traditional economists i.e. consumers are rational beings who seek to optimize their limited resources.

“5 Best business books” blog post by Christine Babington Smith, an expert in marketing strategy and marketing communications.  She is the founder of Torehill, a marketing strategy consultancy which works with ambitious enterprises. Torehill’s team includes CIM trained marketers with between 10–20 years’ experience.  Our backgrounds cover London’s premier advertising agencies, PLCs and high-profile start-ups. Our consultancy services include marketing strategy advice, marketing communications, campaign planning, website development and digital. Contact us