December 23, 2021

Vistage’s top business books of 2021

One of the most important things a business leader can do is to keep on learning. Of course, there are many ways in which this learning can happen. 

Conferences are an important source of information - both from the speakers themselves, and the networking on the day. White papers and reports are great for detailed information on specific topics. And, of course, the group sessions, one-on-one mentoring meetings, conferences, webinars and more that are included in your Vistage membership are invaluable! 

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There’s also nothing like curling up with a good book when you’ve got some time to yourself. Reading has been proven to have a huge number of benefits to both mental and physical health. These include, among others, strengthening your brain, building your vocabulary, reducing stress, and helping to prevent age-related cognitive decline. 

So, why not use your downtime to improve both your health and your business by reading some of 2021’s top business books? Of course, with so many new titles out there it can be hard to know which are actually worth reading. You’ll be pleased to know that we’ve made your job easier - read on for our best business books of 2021. 

From our Global CEO, Sam Reese

Title: Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

Author: Liz Wiseman and Greg McKeown

What it’s about

Leadership expert Wiseman and management consultant McKeown reveal that there are two types of business leader. Diminishers kill ideas, sap energy, drain commitment and energy from others around them. Multipliers use their intelligence and energy to amplify the skills and qualities of those around them. 

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The world needs more of the latter, and fewer of the former. Wiseman and McKeown share what effect both types have on their organisation, and work through five disciplines that can help you to become a Multiplier.  

Why it’s worth reading

In the midst of The Great Resignation - where employers’ treatment of workers during the pandemic has led to them quitting en masse - great leadership is more important than ever. Any leader, says the book, can be a Multiplier, and it provides helpful tips to make it happen. By treating your employees right and encouraging them to reach their full potential, you could see your retention improving. 

For an ESG focus…

Title: The Power of Ethics: How to Make Good Choices in a Complicated World

Author: Susan Liautaud

What it’s about

This book - designed for everyone, not just business leaders - shows us all how we can make more ethical choices. Liautaud explains how “ethics can be complicated and its boundaries blurred”, making it difficult to know how best to deal with the ethical challenges we face. 

In this book she shares a straightforward, four-step process to help business leaders and others to make ethical decisions, whatever situation they find themselves in. 

Why it’s worth reading

The publication of the government’s Net Zero Strategy, among other things, has meant that businesses are now focused on ESG and sustainability more than ever. For some, however, the thought of trying to become more ethical may seem an impossible task. Liautaud’s book provides business leaders with a framework that makes ethical decisions far easier. 

With so much choice and information available, making the right decision - in all senses of the word - can be a challenge. This book will lead you to think more about the decisions you make, how you approach them, and how they impact on other people and the world around you. 

For future planning…

Title: The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World

Author: Dorie Clark

What it’s about

With so many plates spinning at once, it’s easy to understand why so many business leaders place most of their focus on the here and now. However, this endless cycle is unsustainable and fails to prepare us for the longer term. 

Dorie Clark shares frameworks and principles that you can apply to your own situation to start planning further ahead. 

Why it’s worth reading

The feeling of being stuck in a rut is never enjoyable. However, some may feel that the changes needed to get out of that rut are too significant, and therefore impossible to make. 

Clark shows that this is not the case. In this book, she reveals how doing little things over time can help you to achieve longer term goals, as well as a better work-life balance. If you’re looking for a way to better structure your time to achieve more and prepare for the future, this one’s for you. 

For a peaceful and productive workplace…

Title: Toxic: A Guide to Rebuilding Respect and Tolerance in a Hostile Workplace

Author: Clive Lewis OBE DL

What it’s about

“Workplaces have become hotbeds of conflict - toxic environments littered with eggshells”, begins the introduction of Clive Lewis’ 2021 title. Such toxicity can not only damage individuals, it can increase churn, reduce productivity and destroy a business’ reputation. 

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Toxic sets out the issues associated with toxic workplaces, enables you to identify any toxicity in your own workplace, and helps business leaders and HR teams to handle these issues

Why it’s worth reading

Your people are your business’ most important asset. Toxicity in the workplace - whether entrenched deep within its culture or restricted to a minority - can destroy a business, and the individuals within it. If you have recognised elements of toxicity in your business, this book shows that all is not lost. The organisation, its managers and employees must work together to dispel this toxicity - and Toxic reveals how.

For developing soft skills…

Title: Twelve and a Half: Leveraging the Emotional Ingredients Necessary for Business Success

Author: Gary Vaynerchuk

What it’s about

Historically, business leaders have relied on “hard skills” to make their business a success. However, as we’ve written before, “soft skills” are just as important. Vaynerchuk details how “soft skills can actually accelerate business success”. He shares twelve traits that have led to his own success, as well as exercises to help you develop them in yourself, improving both your leadership and your business as a whole. 

Why it’s worth reading

At Vistage, we’re big fans of Vaynerchuk - some of you may recognise him as a Vistage keynote speaker from years gone by. This book is packed with the same practicality, insight and down-to-earth style you’d expect. 

KPIs and other facts and figures are important, but focusing on these soft skills can set you apart. Whether you’re looking to become a better leader or to outperform your competition, this is a practical book that will make a real difference. 

Have you read any of these five titles? Let us know your thoughts - or share your other top business books of 2021 - via Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook.

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