My top five business books read in 2020

  • When I became an independent consultant three years ago, a business goal of mine was to read one business book a month and this blog covers my top five business books read in 2020. Much of this goal tied into ensuring I stayed up to date with current thinking and retained a focus on my professional and personal development. After a few months, I started to include a short section in my newsletter about what I was reading. From feedback, I received at the time, and pretty much consistently since, this is one of the most liked sections of my newsletter. (Please sign up here if you haven’t already done so, you will get my free e-book 9 DIY PR Top Tips for Business Owners).

    This year, for the first time, I have selected my favourites…

    Emotional Intelligence: Why it Can Matter More Than IQ. By Daniel Goldman

    Daniel Goldman argues that our view of human intelligence is far too narrow and that our emotions play a major role in thought, decision-making and individual success. Self-awareness, impulse control, persistence, motivation, empathy and social deftness are all qualities that mark people who excel; whose relationships flourish, who are stars in the workplace. This is the second time I have read this book and I learn more and more each time about how emotional intelligence can be nurtured and strengthened in all of us. I believe that through 2020 there was an increase in content writing which was much more considered and considerate. I hope this is a trend which continues.

    The Charisma Myth: How to Engage, Influence and Motivate People. By Olivia Fix Cabane.

    For a long time, I have been considering why some people can ‘command a room’, have the audience ‘hanging on every word’ and just seem to effortlessly attract people. Cabane shows us that charisma is a tool, something which we can all hone and develop. If you are interested in building your charisma, I would recommend this book. It is full of strategies, stories, research, techniques and practices to help you to harness your natural energy, humour, conviction and authenticity.

    The Future Reinvented – Reimagining Life, Society and Business. By Rohit Talwar, Steve Wells, Alexandra Whittington, April Koury, Maria Romero.

    This book challenges us to reimagine how life, society, key industries, and the conduct of business could be transformed by a combination of the technological, scientific, social, and economic developments shaping the decade ahead. The authors encourage us to consider different possible futures and the implications for individuals, society, business and government. I am delighted to consider Steve as one of my friends and in November 2020, he launched his new podcast I was delighted to have been a guest. We discussed the Future of PR. You can listen here I have been invited back in February 2021, when we will be discussing the Future of Ethics in PR.

    PR for Humans: How Business Leaders Tell Powerful Stories, written by former BBC journalist Mike Sergeant.

    A wonderfully insightful book, based on the premise that we are all human beings and must therefore communicate with one another as such. In other words, we must lose the jargon and corporate-speak and communicate in a way which connects us – human to human. He covers many of my favourite topics, including the importance of storytelling in business communications. “Tell a powerful story. By Humans. For Humans.”

    Atomic Habits, by James Clear

    This book has had a profound effect on me. The premise is based around the fact that real lasting and transformational change occurs as a result of the compound effect of making many small changes.  The book is full of practical suggestions and helpful strategies. His easy-going style is a joy to read.

    I also love James’ email newsletters. Described as “The most wisdom per word of any newsletter on the web.” Each week he shares three ideas, two quotes, and one question. His newsletters are short, concise and never fail to stop me in my tracks and make me think and reflect.  If you would like to sign up, and I recommend you do, please use this link

    Other favourites from the year included:

    Building a Storybrand: Clarify your message so customers will listen. By Donald Miller. Miller outlines how we can ensure that we clearly explain the unique value we bring to our customers.

    Gravitas: Communicate with Confidence, Influence and Authority. By Caroline Goyder.  A must-read for anyone who wishes to express themselves with confidence and carry themselves with the authority to influence others.

    There were more, but I hope you enjoy these recommendations and please don’t forget to sign up here to receive my newsletter.


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