Best Books for Business: What We Hope for When We Read

I’ll admit: I don’t read a lot of “business” books. Maybe it’s because business books, like some hard-hitting business people I know, seem a little too direct, a little too goal-driven, a little too bottom line for me. Not that I mind if other people know where their cheese is and are moving toward the tipping point to become even more highly effective people. But I’m a creative, and I’d rather read about matters of the heart—although I’m sure I could use a little help in the whole winning-friends-and-influencing-people department.

That’s why when I recently picked up Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, I was surprised to find it reading a lot like a “business” book, and I liked it. What I thought was going to be a liberal-arts-socio-historic review of personality types actually ended up being a very practical guide to finding my way in the world of work as an introvert. And not a minute too soon since I was in the process of transitioning from full-time employee to full-time self-employed freelancer. Suddenly, I needed the advice of business books.

But if a non-business-book reader like me can find value in a business book, couldn’t a business person find value in a non-business book?

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