This reading list is all business.
editorial team released its list of Best Books of the Year 2021 on Tuesday. The editors explained in a note on the “Best Books” page that they selected the works based on customer reviews and online chatter for books that were published this year, as well as which books were best sellers on Amazon’s online store.
But they also included the books that individual editors read and hand-picked as “the keepers, the ones we couldn’t forget.”
Modern philosopher Ryan Holiday’s “Courage Is Calling: Fortune Favors the Brave” was named Amazon’s best business and leadership book of the year. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and USA Today best seller breaks down the elements of fear and courage through the stories of leaders such as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It also scored blurbs from former U.S. Defense Secretary Gen. Jim Mattis and actor Matthew McConaughey — perhaps better known today as the face of Ford’s
Many books on this list lean more heavily into leadership skills than business acumen, including “Change Your World: How Anyone, Anywhere Can Make A Difference” from global leadership and development figures John C. Maxwell and Rob Hoskins. And there’s “Run to Win: Lessons in Leadership for Women Changing the World” by Emily’s List president Stephanie Schriock, which includes a forward from Vice President Kamala Harris. These books round out the top three.
On the business and workplace front, there’s labor journalist Sarah Jaffe’s “Work Won’t Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone,” which examines the “labor of love” myth at a time when many Americans are suffering burnout. Or Ron Friedman’s “Decoding Greatness: How the Best in the World Reverse Engineer Success” teaches how to take apart the role models you admire (offering Serena Williams or former President Barack Obama as examples), and to identify what makes them work before “reverse engineering” that knowledge to make yourself successful, too.
Here’s the 10 best business and leadership books for 2021, according to Amazon.
- “Courage is Calling: Fortune Favors the Brave” by Ryan Holiday
- “Change Your World: How Anyone, Anywhere Can Make A Difference” by John C. Maxwell, Rob Hoskins
- “Run to Win: Lessons in Leadership for Women Changing the World” by Stephanie Schriock, Christina Reynolds
- “Work Won’t Love You Back: How Devotion to Our Jobs Keeps Us Exploited, Exhausted, and Alone” by Sarah Jaffe
- “Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters, and How to Harness It” Ethan Kross
- “The Code Breaker: Jennifer Doudna, Gene Editing, and the Future of the Human Race” by Walter Isaacson
- “Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience” by Brené Brown
- “Huddle: How Women Unlock Their Collective Power” by Brooke Baldwin
- “Decoding Greatness: How the Best in the World Reverse Engineer Success” by Ron Friedman
- “Becoming Heroines: Unleashing Our Power for Revolution and Rebirth” by Elizabeth Cronise McLaughlin
As for Amazon’s overall “Best Books of the Year” 2021 list, “The Lincoln Highway: A Novel” takes the No. 1 spot. Author Amor Towles’ book follows four young men on a cross-country road trip during the summer of 1954. Novels dominated this list.
“This year, fiction reigned, with emerging and established authors telling stories of struggle, daring, and redemption,” said Sarah Gelman, editorial director of Amazon Books, in a press release. “We all had our personal favorites this year, but the one book the team unanimously agreed on was Amor Towles’ “The Lincoln Highway” — we just couldn’t stop talking about it. The four main characters’ sense of innocence felt like the hope we needed as we end this year.”
- “The Lincoln Highway” by Amor Towles
- “Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner
- “The Plot” by Jean Hanff Korelitz
- “How the Word Is Passed: A Reckoning with the History of Slavery Across America” by Clint Smith
- “The Four Winds” by Kristin Hannah
- “Empire of Pain: The Secret History of the Sackler Dynasty” by Patrick Radden Keefe
- “Harlem Shuffle” by Colson Whitehead
- “Great Circle” by Maggie Shipstead
- “Project Hail Mary” by Andy Weir
- “Klara and the Sun” by Kazuo Ishiguro