Best Business Books of 2015

The following are the editors’ picks for the best books of 2014 in the category of Business and Investing (in best-selling order):

1. Rising Strong

by Brené Brown (Aug 25, 2015)
When we deny our stories, they define us.
When we own our stories, we get to write the ending.
Social scientist Brené Brown has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulnerability, shame, and worthiness. Her pioneering work uncovered a profound truth: Vulnerability—the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome—is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. But living a brave life is not always easy: We are, inevitably, going to stumble and fall.

2. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

by Elizabeth Gilbert (Sep 22, 2015)
Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work,  embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

3. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

by Ashlee Vance (May 18, 2015)
Veteran technology journalist Ashlee Vance provides the first inside look into the extraordinary life and times of Silicon Valley’s most audacious entrepreneur. Written with exclusive access to Musk, his family and friends, the book traces the entrepreneur’s journey from a rough upbringing in South Africa to the pinnacle of the global business world. 

4. Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction

by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner (Sep 29, 2015)
The authors offer a masterwork on prediction, drawing on decades of research and the results of a massive, government-funded forecasting tournament. Superforecasting offers the first demonstrably effective way to improve our ability to predict the future–whether in business, finance, politics, international affairs, or daily life–and is destined to become a modern classic.

5. Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

by General Stanley McChrystal, Tantum Collins, David Silverman, Chris Fussell (May 12, 2015)
When General Stanley McChrystal took command of the Joint Special Operations Task Force in 2004, he quickly realized that conventional military tactics were failing. Al Qaeda in Iraq was a decentralized network that could move quickly, strike ruthlessly, then seemingly vanish into the local population. The allied forces had a huge advantage in numbers, equipment, and training—but none of that seemed to matter.

6. Misbehaving: The Making of Behavioral Economics

by Richard H. Thaler (May 11, 2015)
Richard H. Thaler has spent his career studying the radical notion that the central agents in the economy are humans—predictable, error-prone individuals. Misbehaving is his arresting, frequently hilarious account of the struggle to bring an academic discipline back down to earth—and change the way we think about economics, ourselves, and our world.
Read more on

7. Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few

by Robert B. Reich (Sep 29, 2015)
Perhaps no one is better acquainted with the intersection of economics and politics than Robert B. Reich, and now he reveals how power and influence have created a new American oligarchy, a shrinking middle class, and the greatest income inequality and wealth disparity in eighty years. He makes clear how centrally problematic our veneration of the “free market” is, and how it has masked the power of moneyed interests to tilt the market to their benefit.

8. Work Rules!

by Laszlo Bock (Apr 7, 2015)
Insights form Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead. From the visionary head of Google’s innovative People Operations comes a groundbreaking inquiry into the philosophy of work-and a blueprint for attracting the most spectacular talent to your business and ensuring that they succeed.

9. Rise of the Robots

by Martin Ford (May 5, 2015)
What are the jobs of the future? How many will there be? And who will have them? We might imagine—and hope—that today’s industrial revolution will unfold like the last: even as some jobs are eliminated, more will be created to deal with the new innovations of a new era. In Rise of the Robots, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Martin Ford argues that this is absolutely not the case.

10. The Prize: Who’s in Charge of America’s Schools

by Dale Russakoff (Sep 8, 2015)
Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup—practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog. While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one.

11. Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want to Be

by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter (May 19, 2015)
In his powerful new book, bestselling author and world-renowned executive coach Marshall Goldsmith examines the environmental and psychological triggers that can derail us at work and in life. Filled with revealing and illuminating stories from his work with some of the most successful chief executives and power brokers in the business world, Goldsmith offers a personal playbook on how to achieve change in our lives, make it stick, and become the person we want to be.

12. Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family

by Anne Marie Slaughter (Sep 29, 2015)
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY THE WASHINGTON POST AND NPR • “An eye-opening call to action from someone who rethought the whole notion of ‘having it all,’ Unfinished Business could change how many of us approach our most important business: living.”—People

13. Data and Goliath: The Hidden Battles to Collect Your Data and Control Your World

by Bruce Schneier (Mar 2, 2015)
You are under surveillance right now. Your cell phone provider tracks your location and knows who’s with you. Your online and in-store purchasing patterns are recorded, and reveal if you’re unemployed, sick, or pregnant. Your e-mails and texts expose your intimate and casual friends. Google knows what you’re thinking because it saves your private searches. Facebook can determine your sexual orientation without you ever mentioning it.

14. Do Over: Rescue Monday, Reinvent Your Work, and Never Get Stuck

by Jon Acuff (Apr 7, 2015)
It took me sixteen years to write this book. That breaks down to a brisk twelve words per day. But it wasn’t the writing that took so long. . . . It was the working. I had to work at big companies and small companies. I had to get hired and fired several times. I had to find my dream job, then walk away from it.

15. Future Crimes

by Marc Goodman (Feb 24, 2015)
One of the world’s leading authorities on global security, Marc Goodman takes readers deep into the digital underground to expose the alarming ways criminals, corporations, and even countries are using new and emerging technologies against you—and how this makes everyone more vulnerable than ever imagined.

16. Becoming Steve Jobs

by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli (Mar 24, 2015)
Becoming Steve Jobs answers the central question about the life and career of the Apple cofounder and CEO: How did a young man so reckless and arrogant that he was exiled from the company he founded become the most effective visionary business leader of our time, ultimately transforming the daily life of billions of people?

17. Do The KIND Thing

by Daniel Lubetzky (Mar 31, 2015)
For the socially conscious reader of Blake Mycoskie’s Start Something That Matters, Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness, and Howard Schultz’s Onward comes an inspiring handbook for success in business, life, and the all-important task of building a more compassionate world—by the visionary CEO of KIND Healthy Snacks.

18. Mindful Work: How Meditation Is Changing Business from the Inside Out

by David Gelles (Mar 10, 2015)
What are the personality characteristics and behaviors that lead to venture creation and success? Can one learn to be an entrepreneur, or is it a quality a person is born with? The book attempts to answer these questions with the hope that if you are planning to start a business or are managing one, you can discover your entrepreneurial talents and in the process, increase your potential to start or grow your venture.

19. Empire of Deception

by Dean Jobb (May 19, 2015)
It was a time of unregulated madness. And nowhere was it madder than in Chicago at the dawn of the Roaring Twenties. As Model Ts rumbled down Michigan Avenue, gang war shootings announced Al Capone’s rise to underworld domination. Bedecked partygoers thronged to the Drake Hotel’s opulent banquet rooms, corrupt politicians held court in thriving speakeasies, and the frenzy of stock market gambling was rampant.

20. Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!

by Nicholas Carlson (Jan 6, 2015)
In author Nicholas Carlson’s capable hands, this riveting book captures Mayer’s rise and Yahoo’s missteps as a dramatic illustration of what it takes to grab the brass ring in Silicon Valley. And it reveals whether it is possible for a big lumbering tech company to stay relevant in today’s rapidly changing business landscape.


Affiliate Links: please note that if you purchase any of the above through the links to we will earn a small commission on the sale, but you will not pay any more. Thank you for your support in keeping The CEO Refresher a free resource.