I've covered dozens of business books this year, either in my regular Friday column or, more recently, in the Tuesday "Guru Review." If you're looking for last-minute gift ideas for the business person in your life this week, this list is a great guide. In no particular order, here are my favorite books of 2010.
1. Drive, by Daniel Pink. The surprising truth about what motivates us. Big idea: autonomy, mastery, purpose.
2. The Checklist Manifesto, by Atul Gawande. How to get things right. Big idea: a simple standard like a checklist can save lives.
3. Fascinate, by Sally Hogshead. The seven triggers to persuasion and captivation. Big idea: lust, mystique, alarm, prestige, power, vice, trust.
4. Seizing the White Space, by Mark Johnson. Business model innovation for growth and renewal. Big idea: business model innovation is as powerful as product/service innovation.
5. Innovation X, by Adam Richardson. Why a company's toughest problems are its greatest asset. Big idea: a big obstacle to innovating effectively comes as much from outside your company as inside it.
6. Click, by Ori and Rom Brafman. The magic of instant connections. Big idea: we perform better when we connect quickly with those we work with.
7. Getting Change Right, by Seth Kahan. How leaders transform an organization from the inside out. Big idea: organizational storytelling can be a powerful change mechanism.
8. The Leader Who Had No Title, by Robin Sharma. A modern fable on success in business and in life. Big idea: The old model of leadership is dead, and success requires leadership at every level.
9. Different, by Youngme Moon. Escaping the competitive herd. Big idea: there’s an erosion of meaningful consumer value due to an overwhelming profusion of product options.
10. Good Boss, Bad Boss, by Robert Sutton. How to be the best, and learn from the worst. Big idea: you can't be a good boss unless you know what your employees really think of you.
11. Hacking Work, by Bill Jensen and Josh Klein. Breaking stupid rules for smart results. Big idea: working around prescribed ways of doing things in order to achieve goals that are for the good of all is okay.
12. Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire, by Braden Kelley. A roadmap to a sustainable culture of ingenuity and purpose. Big idea: there's a practical way to reboot your company's innovation capability.
13. I Live in the Future & Here's How It Works, by Nick Bilton. Why your world, work and brain are being creatively disrupted. Big idea: content is king and technology its handmaid, but people pay for an experience.
14. Where Good Ideas Come From, by Stephen B. Johnson. The natural history of innovation. Big idea: Creative breakthroughs are related to their birth place and space.
15. Resonate, by Nancy Duarte. How to present visual stories that transform audiences. Big idea: You can transform any presentation into an engaging journey for your audience by exploiting the storytelling structure and techniques normally reserved for cinema, performing arts and literature.
16. Clutch, by Paul Sullivan. Why some people excel under pressure and others don't. Big idea: the ability to overcome pressure and perform as you normally would absent the pressure is a learned skill, and everyone can develop it.
17. Never Get a Real Job, by Scott Gerber. How to dump your boss, build a business, and not go broke a great new book. Big idea: that whole work-hard-go-to-school-get-good-grades-and-get-a-real-job mantra that we've been told since kindergarten is dead.
18. The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management, by Stephen Denning. Reinventing the workplace for the 21st century. Big idea: Once a company sees itself as being in the business of delighting customers and users, radical change can occur.
19. Personality Poker, by Stephen Shapiro. A playing card tool for driving high-performance teamwork and innovation. Big idea: the person you like the least may be the person you need the most.
20. Peak, by Chip Conley. How great companies get their mojo from Maslow. Big idea: Peak performance demands peak experiences.
And if you're looking for a stocking stuffer, please consider my own newly-published book, a short fable called The Shibumi Strategy: A Powerful Way to Create Meaningful Change. It's the story of a hard-working family man who loses his job, and through his struggle not only transforms his life but realizes the height of personal excellence known only as the Zen concept of shibumi.