If you want to transform your business, change your thinking.
While nothing beats personal experience, gleaning insights about the current business climate from industry experts can help you level up your business faster. And there are thousands of books published every year which can help. Finding the right book, however, can be a challenge.
We’ve compiled this list of our top twenty book recommendations published in 2019. We’ve scoured dozens of top business book lists including Forbes, Inc, Business Insider, Fortune, and BookAuthority.
This list blends books specifically for building a professional speaking business and books which give insights on the current business climate.
These well-researched, articulately-written works will offer concrete and insightful lessons that can help change your thinking and boost your business.
Top 20 business books for professional speakers
1. The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell
Author: Paul Smith
Topic: Explores the journey behind success, and breaks down not just the importance of your company's story but how to craft compelling ones of your own.
Review: "Paul does it again. A quick, easy read that gives you practical ideas to use immediately. As a leader, I definitely need every one of these 10 stories. Unfortunately, the ones I have aren't this good. . . but now they will be!" - Kirk Perry, President, Brand Solutions, Google
2. Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries
Author: Safi Bahcall
Topic: Physicist and entrepreneur Safi Bahcall reveals a surprising new way of thinking about the mysteries of group behavior that challenges everything we thought we knew about nurturing radical breakthroughs.
Review: "An ambitious and entertaining effort to lay out some fundamental laws of success and uncover the truth about successful group behavior… Bahcall makes the whole idea sing by bringing in references from across business, history, cinema and science.” ―Financial Times
3. The Best Public Speaking Book
Author: Matt Deaton
Topic: Former comedy club host, online philosophy professor and keynote speaker Dr. Matt Deaton covers everything from preparation to posture, microphones to mindset, hand gestures to hecklers in the second edition (2019) of his ambitiously-titled The Best Public Speaking Book.
Review: "This actually may BE the best public speaking book! This book is extremely well written, clear, and concise, while still giving enough detail and wisdom to prepare you for your next public speaking role - whether it's just giving a motivational talk to your tee-ball team, or delivering a large-scale presentation to heads of state!" - E. Gonzalez
4. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing
Author: Daniel H. Pink
Topic: In When, Pink distills cutting-edge research and data on timing and synthesizes them into a fascinating, readable narrative packed with irresistible stories and practical takeaways that give readers compelling insights into how we can live richer, more engaged lives.
Review: "Pink delivers the bad news about our time-based weaknesses with some good news about how to compensate for them. More delightful still, many of these tips involve simply slowing down, taking breaks and stealing naps. Alas, none of this advice will prevent time from flying by, but at least there are proven ways to fill our hours a bit better.” —The Wall Street Journal
5. Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up
Author: Jerry Colonna
Topic: In Reboot, Jerry inspires everyone to hold themselves responsible for their choices and for the possibility of truly achieving their dreams.
Review: "If you want to be a better leader, or a better person, or both, read this book. A beautifully written, achingly honest account of why you can’t grow a business without growing yourself.” - Angela Duckworth
6. Company of One: Why Staying Small Is the Next Big Thing for Business
Author: Paul Jarvis
Topic: A refreshingly new approach centered on staying small and avoiding growth, for any size business. Not as a freelancer who only gets paid on a per-piece basis, and not as an entrepreneurial start-up that wants to scale as soon as possible, but as a small business that is deliberately committed to staying that way.
Review: "Your business can thrive with less! Company of One is a riveting, lucidly written guide to run a successful minimalist business." —Joshua Fields Millburn, host of The Minimalists podcast
7. Ditch The Act
Author: Leonard Kim/Ryan Foland
Topic: Ditch the Act shows how to present your humanness―imperfect and flawed but honest, resilient, and willing to learn―in strategic ways to achieve clear, defined goals.
Review: Ditch the Act will change your perspective on why telling your story can open doors to unimaginable opportunities--that have always been right in front of you, you just weren't letting them in." --Tiffani Bova, Keynote Speaker, Growth and Innovation Evangelist at Salesforce, and bestselling author of Growth IQ
Link: Ditch The Act
8. Speak With No Fear: Go from a nervous, nauseated, and sweaty speaker to an excited, energized, and passionate presenter
Author: Mike Acker
Topic: Through this book, you will learn 7 strategies you can begin today. These strategies will give you a new perspective, they will prepare you, and they will give you actions to practice. As you implement these strategies, your fear will begin to fade.
Review: "I have read so many books on the subject of public speaking & find "Speak With No Fear" by Mike Acker, a refreshing one to read. Mike starts by reassuring us that we are not alone in our fear of public speaking. This kind of fear and doubt can be debilitating." -- Monica Rubombora, VINE VOICE
9. The Infinite Game
Author: Simon Sinek
Topic: In this revelatory new book, Simon Sinek offers a framework for leading with an infinite mindset. On one hand, none of us can resist the fleeting thrills of a promotion earned or a tournament won, yet these rewards fade quickly. In pursuit of a Just Cause, we will commit to a vision of a future world so appealing that we will build it week after week, month after month, year after year. Although we do not know the exact form this world will take, working toward it gives our work and our life meaning.
Review: "Simon nails it here. What's most powerful about this book, to me, is that he establishes a framework and lexicon to explain something that has been in the background for far too long. Read this immediately, and let us all be the leaders we wish we had." -- Brewer Greg
Link: The Infinite Game
10. Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World
Author: David Epstein
Topic: David Epstein examined the world’s most successful athletes, artists, musicians, inventors, forecasters, and scientists. He discovered that in most fields—especially those that are complex and unpredictable—generalists, not specialists, are primed to excel.
Review: A well-supported and smoothly written case on behalf of breadth and late starts. . . . as David Epstein shows us, cultivating range prepares us for the wickedly unanticipated.” —Wall Street Journal
11. The 100X Leader: How to Become Someone Worth Following
Author: Jeremie Kubicek
Topic: The 100x Leader will help you become—and build—leaders worth following.
Review: "As a leader who finds support very easy due to my personality type, this book has shone a light on how that is not enough. Through tools like the Support-Challenge Matrix, it has shown me that high challenge is also required. If you really want to inspire your teams to greatness, read this book, take an honest look at yourself and apply the tools within." —Debra Searle, MVO, MBE; Global Adventurer, Speaker, Entrepreneur
12. Be Fearless: 5 Principles for a Life of Breakthroughs and Purpose
Author: Jean Case
Topic: This book is a call to action for those seeking to live extraordinary lives and bring about transformational change.
Review: "If you feel stuck in your career, Case’s principles are the answer! The book is packed with inspiring examples of success stories.”, Focus Magazine
13. The Joy of Missing Out: Live More by Doing Less
Author: Tonya Dalton
Topic: In her highly anticipated first book, Dalton inspires women to reject the pressure to do more, be more, and achieve more. She shows them how to focus on what's important to them and then helps them develop their own unique productivity systems.
Review: "This book is a gift for women at all ages and stages of life. As a recent retiree who spent many years feeling frantically busy, the temptation to “stay busy” presents itself constantly. This book challenges all the assumptions and “stories” that glorify “busy-ness.” -- GBH
14. What It Takes: Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence
Author: Stephen A. Schwarzman
Topic: From Blackstone chairman, CEO, and co-founder Stephen A. Schwarzman, a long-awaited book that uses impactful episodes from Schwarzman's life to show readers how to build, transform, and lead thriving organizations.
Review: "What It Takes is a must-read, inspirational account of how Stephen A. Schwarzman built Blackstone into one of the world’s top global asset management companies and leveraged his resources, know-how, and vision to spearhead bold philanthropic programs and provide trusted advice to a generation of political leaders around the globe.” —Janet Yellen, Former Chair of the Federal Reserve
15. Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber
Author: Mike Isaac
Topic: Based on hundreds of interviews with current and former Uber employees, along with previously unpublished documents, Super Pumped is a page-turning story of ambition and deception, obscene wealth, and bad behavior that explores how blistering technological and financial innovation culminated in one of the most catastrophic twelve-month periods in American corporate history.
Review: “Isaac is great at the ticktock of events as they unfold, but his best work comes when he steps back to examine the bigger picture.” - Leslie Berlin, New York Times Book Review
Link: Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber
16. Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World
Author: Cal Newport
Topic: Technology is intrinsically neither good nor bad. The key is using it to support your goals and values, rather than letting it use you. This book shows the way.
Review: "Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism is the best book I’ve read in some time about our fraught relationship with technology... If you’re looking for a blueprint to guide you as you liberate yourself from the shackles of email, social networks, smartphones, and screens, let this book be your guide." —Adam Alter, author of Irresistible
17. The Optimist's Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age
Author: Bina Venkataraman
Topic: In The Optimist’s Telescope, Bina draws from stories she has reported around the world and new research in biology, psychology, and economics to explain how we can make decisions that benefit us over time.
Review: "How might we mitigate losses caused by shortsightedness? Bina Venkataraman, a former climate adviser to the Obama administration, brings a storyteller’s eye to this question. . . . She is also deeply informed about the relevant science.” —The New York Times Book Review
18. Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know
Author: Malcolm Gladwell
Topic: Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Outliers, offers a powerful examination of our interactions with strangers -- and why they often go wrong.
Review: "Talking to Strangers is a must-read...I love this book... Reading it will actually change not just how you see strangers, but how you look at yourself, the news--the world...Reading this book changed me."―Oprah Winfrey, O, The Oprah Magazine
19. Make, Think, Imagine: Engineering the Future of Civilization
Author: John Browne
Topic: Make, Think, Imagine provides an eloquent blueprint for how we can keep moving towards a brighter future.
Review: "A tribute to engineers like Rousseau, the tribe of pragmatic creators who, Mr. Browne says, are ‘at the heart of all human progress.’ Mr. Browne has created a sturdy and useful product, achieving the engineer’s blend of ‘hopefulness and pragmatism’ that he so deeply admires.” - Wall Street Journal
20. You Got This: Everything You Need to Master Authentic Public Speaking
Author: Lisa Kleiman
Topic: Not just for formal speeches, You Got This also includes advice for employment interviews, wedding toasts, and other impromptu speeches that everybody encounters at some point in their lives. Say goodbye to the often incapacitating stress of public speaking.
Review: "YOU GOT THIS is what I have been searching for. It is brilliant! Once I began to read, I was captivated. It is a clear, step-by-step guide that if followed will guarantee you can speak to any audience, anywhere for any occasion." - Jason Smitdt
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