The 5 Most Influential Business Books of the Current Decade

In the business book community, there is a lot of noise. Every day there are books published that promise to change a certain behavior or increase effectiveness in another area, but most of these books are regurgitations of other books. This list includes ideas that are truly unique in a genre of noise, which is why I consider these five to be the most influential business books of the last 3 years.

As I’ve noted before, I really enjoy audiobooks and have built a system to better retain the material. I wanted to share the list of some of the most influential books that I’ve read in the last 12 months. If you want to see more, check out my complete list. If you haven’t experienced the awesomeness that is Audible, you can download a book now for free.

Most Influential Business Books

#1 Thinking, Fast and Slow (2011) – Every so often you come across a book that is of such significance that it changes the “group think” of the time. Good to Great, 7 habits and The World is Flat are among those books that create such a ripple that they are referenced through other works for years. Kahneman’s Thinking Fast and Slow explores how we as humans think and process the world. He explains the two systems of thought: system 1: the slow, deliberate system and system 2: the active responsive system. This is a MUST read. See the summary here.

#2 Start with Why (2011) – I have written multiple times about Simon Sinek’s book great explanation of “the golden circle.” Since reading this book, Start with Why has become a staple of my consulting with corporate retreats establishing core ideology. After using Jim Collins and Verne Harnish’s approach to core ideology for years to help companies establish their Core Values, Core Purpose and Brand Promise, Sinek’s explanation simplifies the communication rubrik for clients at every seat at the table quickly understand. In addition, I have found great application of the golden circle to my personal life.

#3 Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder (2012) – Nassim Nicholas Taleb explores durability in a world of uncertainty. Ideas and businesses that are fragile and fail under pressure, as opposed to just the opposite of robustness, “antifragile” ideas and businesses actually thrive and improve when despite the circumstances. I have to admit that at first I was lost in Book 1. Taleb is brilliant and explores the subject from a non-traditional business book approach. He is equal parts: quantitative analyst, philosopher and psychologist, so getting lost through the text points more to my ignorance than his genius. But once I was able to get the rhythm of his style, I was utterly blown away by the basis of his argument. He is certainly brilliant and shares a number of interesting ideas. See the summary here.

#4 The Power of Habit (2012) – Charles Duhigg’s study of human habit is deep and fascinating. Outside of logic and processing, humans are subject to what Duhigg describes as The Habit Loop…”This process within our brains is a three-step loop. First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which behavior to use. The there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is the reward . . .” There is obviously a very natural connection to marketing in this book, but it is also great for any executive to understand the response of human behavior.

#5 Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? (2012) a you can’t make a list about business books and not include Seth Godin. I have always called Godin a business profit because of his ability to see the future, but I really like Nassim Taleb’s definition of a profit as someone that relentlessly stands their ground on a message. Linchpin is a critical book that I would like for all of my employees to read. Godin leads every employee in the organization to truly take ownership of their job and their time. Not every employee can be a linchpin, but most organizations can’t live without one.

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Jeremy Floyd

Jeremy Floyd is the President at FUNYL Commerce. Formerly, he was the CEO and President of Lirio, Bluegill Creative, a marketing and communications firm in Knoxville, Tennessee. In addition to managing the digital strategies, Floyd was an adjunct professor for the University of Tennessee Chattanooga MBA program teaching digital strategies and social media. Floyd blogs at and tweets under the name @jfloyd. Jeremy is licensed to practice law in the State of Tennessee and holds a law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from MTSU in English and Philosophy.