Menu Close

Best business books for 2021, according to experts

Top titles to add to your never-ending reading pile.

Best business books 2021

Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Sara Blakely all have one particular habit in common – they avidly read business books.

Whether you like to bury your nose deep into a page turner or simply listen to your favourite authors’ audiobooks, the benefits are much the same.

Through developing and expanding your thinking, business books are goldmines of information – there’s a reason why the world’s top executives and thought leaders invest time in reading.
If you’re wanting to take the next step in your corporate career, but you’re not quite sure where to start, luckily for you, a group of experts at the Financial Times and McKinsey have combed through some 600 business books for 2021.

Revealing its 17th annual Business Book of the Year Award finalists, six of the world’s best business books were shortlisted from the acclaimed ‘longlist’ of 15 titles.

Climate change, opioid addiction, racial discrimination and cybercrime were among the themes of the thought-provoking novels, all providing a snapshot of 2021’s biggest discussions.

The winner, who will receive a £30,000 award, will be announced on 1 December 2021 – giving you just enough time for any last-minute Christmas gifts.

Best business books for 2021

By Javier Blas and Jack Farchy

Status: Shortlisted
Genre: Economics, finance and accounting, and industry

Summary: Described as gripping, riveting and jaw-dropping, two journalists lift the lid on one of the least scrutinised parts of the financial industry – the commodity traders. Giving an eye-opening tour through the global economy, learn the untold stories behind the traders who supply the world with oil, metal and food no matter how corrupt the source is.

By Nicole Perlroth

Status: Shortlisted

Genre: Science, technology, and politics

Summary: The New York Times reporter gives a terrifying look at a new kind of global warfare surrounding the cyber-weapons market. Lauded as an astonishing feat of journalism, Perlroth reveals the urgent threat facing the world as zero day (a software bug used by coveted spies) falls into the hands of hostile nations.

By Robert Livingston

Status: Shortlisted

Genre: Business and psychology

Summary: A compass for business leaders and citizens seeking to begin the work of anti-racism, the Havard social psychologist addresses everything you need to know about racism. Turn statements into actions with this essential tool for organisations and communities.

By Patrick Radden Keefe

Status: Shortlisted

Genre: Economics, finance, business and pharmaceutical industries

Summary: Deep diving into three generations of the Sackler family, the award-winning author uncovers how one of the world’s richest families landed themselves in the centre of the opioid crisis. Described by Esquire as a page-turner with a villainous family, it’s certainly one to add to your reading list.

By Michael E. Mann

Status: Shortlisted

Genre: Environment

Summary: Providing a “battle plan” for saving the planet, the renowned climatologist and geophysicist demonstrates how fossil-fuel companies have waged a three-decade long campaign to deflect blame, instead delaying action on climate change. Enabling everyone to join the fight against global warming, Mann shares his plan for real change.

By Adrian Wooldridge

Status: Shortlisted

Genre: Economics, sociology and anthropology

Summary: Tracing the history of meritocracy, Wooldridge explores how the concept became the world’s ruling ideology by the end of the 20th century. The author also lifts the curtain on why meritocracy is under attack as it becomes corrupted, as well as disclosing what could ensure its success.

By Maxine Bédat

Status: Longlisted

Genre: Business and technology

Summary: Exposing the faults in the global supply chains, Bédat shares a groundbreaking chronicle of the birth and death of a pair of jeans. From a Texan cotton farm to the dyeing and weaving factories in China that are filled with chemicals banned in the West, to the sewing floors in Bangladesh packed with women working for illegally low wages, all the way back to the US warehouses – the journey uncovers the true cost of fast fashion.

By Dan Breznitz

Status: Longlisted

Genre: Economics and business

Summary: Offering a counterpoint to the SIlicon Valley model of fostering inventive solutions, the economist offers fresh insights and new hope for future ideas. By shattering the myth that tech-centric innovation is the only way forward, Breznitz deep dives into what innovation is, what it isn’t and how to create strategic concepts that benefit everyone.

By Eliot Brown and Maureen Farrell

Status: Longlisted

Genre: Business and biography

Summary: Investigating the phenomenal rise and fall of WeWork’s Co-Founder Adam Neumann, the authors unravel why so many venture capitalists and Wall Street elite fell for the hype of the co-working office space. Described as a “one of the wildest business stories of our time”, it’s bound to give entrepreneurs some food for thought.

By Tsedal Neeley

Status: Longlisted

Genre: Business, leadership and management

Summary: An ideal tool for navigating the pandemic-accelerated flexible work culture, the Harvard Business School professor aims to help employers and employees navigate the modern workplace. Whether you’re a manager seeking tips on leading virtually or you’re wanting to know the tricks to keeping employees productive, Neeley provides compelling, evidence-based solutions to pressing questions.

Leave a Reply