7 Business Books for the Holidays

The topics include innovation, burnout, and leadership lessons from the basketball court.

As the holidays gear up, you could zone out in front of Netflix, spin off calories on a Peloton, or take in a football game. Then there are those of you who would prefer to use the time to advance your career, binge-reading leadership books. And not just any book will do—so we asked our own Korn Ferry experts who moonlight as bibliophiles for recommendations from their reading lists.

Here are seven titles that our partners will be flipping through as 2021 winds down:

The Soul of a New Machine

By Tracy Kidder (1981; 1982 Pulitzer Prize winner)

“This is one of the best books about innovation, product development, and navigating a bureaucracy. The technology is hugely dated, but all the principles still apply.” —David Vied, Global Sector Leader, Medical Devices and Diagnostics Practice, Korn Ferry

Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle

By Emily Nagoski and Amelia Nagoski (2019)

“It’s a game changer for leaders on taking care of their own well-being, especially with the stress of the pandemic.” —Elise Freedman, Senior Client Partner, Organization Strategy and Workforce Transformation Practice Leader, Korn Ferry

Right from the Start: Taking Charge in a New Leadership Role

By Dan Ciampa and Michael Watkins (1999)

“This book provides a great framework for succeeding in a new role, which is relevant for people at all levels. With so many people changing jobs over the past year, the approach described in this 20-plus-year-old book is still pertinent.” —Juan Pablo González, Senior Client Partner, Sector Leader, Professional Services, Korn Ferry

Business Acumen for Strategic Communicators: A Primer

By Matthew W. Ragas and Ron Culp (2021)

“It should be on everyone’s list this year. It positions anyone in the professional world with quintessential language and messaging skills for working with the C-suite.” —Peter McDermott, Senior Client Partner, Global Corporate Affairs and Investor Relations, Korn Ferry

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln

By Doris Kearns Goodwin (2006)

“It reveals portraits of leadership in a crisis and is timeless in the sense that many things we are challenged by today were historical challenges as well.” —Evelyn Orr, Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Korn Ferry Institute

Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success

By Phil Jackson (2014)

“Jackson translates his passion for sport into great leadership principles. It’s relatable and tactical, and you can translate the lessons into your daily life as a leader.” —Radhika Papandreou, Sector Leader, Travel, Hospitality, and Leisure Practice, Korn Ferry

The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming

By David Wallace-Wells (2019)

“Every leader needs to grasp the full ramifications of climate change on life. Leaders need to be doing everything possible to slow down—and even change—the cataclysmic trajectory we are on.” -Andrés Tapia, Senior Client Partner and Global Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Strategist, Korn Ferry