This year, I read fewer business books than I usually do. You probably did, too. The category’s sales are down 20% since March, according to NPD’s Bookscan.
It’s not hard to understand why. A lot happened this year to distract us from our usual routines: a pandemic, a recession, an election.
Faced with these upheavals, it might not have seemed like books, particularly business books, would have much advice on how to navigate a world that, on many fronts, was hard to recognize. Many of the books published this year were written before Covid-19.
And yet, this was also a year in which business played a tremendous role in how we responded to the pandemic, from the creation of vaccines to our shift to remote work and e-commerce to the growing dominance of big tech in our economy. We saw the acceleration of business trends and the upending of old business models. How could the business books of 2020 inform our understanding of these shifts?
As I did last year, I looked at what prominent tastemakers in the world of business chose as their favorite business books of 2020. The Financial Times, Inc., Strategy + Business, and The Economist provide a view into narratives that resonate with journalists across business media. The selections from Porchlight Book Company, BookPal, and Amazon provide a commercial perspective from booksellers who specialize in the category.
The 3 Best Business Books of 2019 (According to Every Other Best-of-2019 List)
11,000 business books are published every year. Here are the three you need to crush 2020.
Across a collective list of 100 business books published this year, just five titles appeared more often than the rest on this year’s best-of lists. Each of them says something interesting about the past and the present. These books might also help us make sense of what feels like an uncertain future.