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The Best Business Books of 2020

The Best Business Books of 2020

A new year brings a new opportunity to become a better version of yourself. We’re always growing, and in my case, I’m always looking for ways to add new skills that can help me personally and professionally. These books can help you make the gains you’re looking for at home and in the office, and they should be a part of your reading list as the calendar turns.

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Ditch the Act: Reveal the Surprising Power of the Real You for Greater Success

2019 | Leonard Kim,Ryan Foland

Be human. It’s the only way to get ahead in business today. Competition today is fiercer than ever. It seems that every job candidate is flashing a world-class resume and every business competitor is the absolute best at what they do. Don’t be fooled. People exaggerate. And don’t be discouraged. By revealing stories of failures, setbacks, and personal flaws without shame or fear, you exhibit greater self-confidence than your competition. You cultivate connections with serious, smart people, and you build loyalty that lasts. Ditch the Act shows how to present your humanness—imperfect and flawed but honest, resilient, and willing to learn—in strategic ways to achieve clear, defined goals. It provides an actionable program for building an authentic, long-lasting personal brand, explaining why exposure is important and how it cultivates more durable connections than any polished persona can. By creating a personal brand that’s honest and authentic and that reveals personal struggles, you’ll build stronger, longer-lasting relationships—and achieve greater success. Careers and businesses based on authenticity and truth aren’t just more rewarding than those founded on hyperbole and the “hard sell.” Because they’re founded on durable, robust relationships, they’re rock-solid—and better withstand business uncertainty and tough times. Ditch the act, be real—and jump ahead of the competition before they even know you are there.

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What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence

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2019 | Stephen A. Schwarzman

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER From Blackstone chairman, CEO, and co-founder Stephen A. Schwarzman, a long-awaited book that uses impactful episodes from Schwarzman's life to show readers how to build, transform, and lead thriving organizations. Whether you are a student, entrepreneur, philanthropist, executive, or simply someone looking for ways to maximize your potential, the same lessons apply. People know who Stephen Schwarzman is—at least they think they do. He’s the man who took $400,000 and co-founded Blackstone, the investment firm that manages over $500 billion (as of January 2019). He’s the CEO whose views are sought by heads of state. He’s the billionaire philanthropist who founded Schwarzman Scholars, this century’s version of the Rhodes Scholarship, in China. But behind these achievements is a man who has spent his life learning and reflecting on what it takes to achieve excellence, make an impact, and live a life of consequence. Folding handkerchiefs in his father’s linen shop, Schwarzman dreamed of a larger life, filled with purpose and adventure. His grades and athleticism got him into Yale. After starting his career in finance with a short stint at a financial firm called DLJ, Schwarzman began working at Lehman Brothers where he ascended to run the mergers and acquisitions practice. He eventually partnered with his mentor and friend Pete Peterson to found Blackstone, vowing to create a new and different kind of financial institution. Building Blackstone into the leading global financial institution it is today didn’t come easy. Schwarzman focused intensely on culture, hiring great talent, and establishing processes that allow the firm to systematically analyze and evaluate risk. Schwarzman’s simple mantra “don’t lose money” has helped Blackstone become a leading private equity and real estate investor, and manager of alternative assets for institutional investors globally. Both he and the firm are known for the rigor of their investment process, their innovative approach to deal making, the diversification of their business lines, and a conviction to be the best at everything they do. Schwarzman is also an active philanthropist, having given away more than a billion dollars. In philanthropy, as in business, he is drawn to situations where his capital and energy can be applied to drive transformative solutions and change paradigms, notably in education. He uses the skills learned over a lifetime in finance to design, establish, and support impactful and innovative organizations and initiatives. His gifts have ranged from creating a new College of Computing at MIT for the study of artificial intelligence, to establishing a first-of-its-kind student and performing arts center at Yale, to enabling the renovation of the iconic New York Public Library, to founding the Schwarzman Scholars fellowship program at Tsinghua University in Beijing—the single largest philanthropic effort in China’s history from international donors. Schwarzman’s story is an empowering, entertaining, and informative guide for anyone striving for greater personal impact. From deal making to investing, leadership to entrepreneurship, philanthropy to diplomacy, Schwarzman has lessons for how to think about ambition and scale, risk and opportunities, and how to achieve success through the relentless pursuit of excellence. Schwarzman not only offers readers a thoughtful reflection on all his own experiences, but in doing so provides a practical blueprint for success.

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Stillness Is the Key

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2019 | Ryan Holiday

Instant #1 New York Times Bestseller & Wall Street Journal Bestseller In The Obstacle Is the Way and Ego Is the Enemy, bestselling author Ryan Holiday made ancient wisdom wildly popular with a new generation of leaders in sports, politics, and technology. In his new book, Stillness Is the Key, Holiday draws on timeless Stoic and Buddhist philosophy to show why slowing down is the secret weapon for those charging ahead. All great leaders, thinkers, artists, athletes, and visionaries share one indelible quality. It enables them to conquer their tempers. To avoid distraction and discover great insights. To achieve happiness and do the right thing. Ryan Holiday calls it stillness--to be steady while the world spins around you. In this book, he outlines a path for achieving this ancient, but urgently necessary way of living. Drawing on a wide range of history's greatest thinkers, from Confucius to Seneca, Marcus Aurelius to Thich Nhat Hanh, John Stuart Mill to Nietzsche, he argues that stillness is not mere inactivity, but the doorway to self-mastery, discipline, and focus. Holiday also examines figures who exemplified the power of stillness: baseball player Sadaharu Oh, whose study of Zen made him the greatest home run hitter of all time; Winston Churchill, who in balancing his busy public life with time spent laying bricks and painting at his Chartwell estate managed to save the world from annihilation in the process; Fred Rogers, who taught generations of children to see what was invisible to the eye; Anne Frank, whose journaling and love of nature guided her through unimaginable adversity. More than ever, people are overwhelmed. They face obstacles and egos and competition. Stillness Is the Key offers a simple but inspiring antidote to the stress of 24/7 news and social media. The stillness that we all seek is the path to meaning, contentment, and excellence in a world that needs more of it than ever.

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The Coffee Bean

2019 | Jon Gordon,Damon West

From bestselling author Jon Gordon and rising star Damon West comes The Coffee Bean: an illustrated fable that teaches readers how to transform their environment, overcome challenges, and create positive change. Life is often difficult. It can be harsh, stressful, and feel like a pot of boiling hot water. The environments we find ourselves in can change, weaken, or harden us, and test who we truly are. We can be like the carrot that weakens in the pot or like the egg that hardens. Or, we can be like the coffee bean and discover the power inside us to transform our environment. The Coffee Bean is an inspiring tale that follows Abe, a young man filled with stress and fear as he faces challenges and pressure at school and home. One day after class, his teacher shares with him the life-changing lesson of the coffee bean, and this powerful message changes the way he thinks, acts, and sees the world. Abe discovers that instead of letting his environment change him for the worse, he can transform any environment he is in for the better. Equipped with this transformational truth, Abe embarks on an inspirational journey to live his life like the coffee bean. Wherever his life takes him, from school, to the military, to the business world, Abe demonstrates how this simple lesson can unleash the unstoppable power within you. A delightful, quick read, The Coffee Bean is purposely written and designed for readers of all ages so that everyone can benefit from this transformational lesson. This is a book and message that, when read and shared, has the power to change your life and the world around you. You just have to decide: are you a carrot, egg, or coffee bean?

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