The 5 must-read business books of the year

Nov 13, 2012
<h1>1. Turn the Ship Around!</h1>
<strong>By David Marquet</strong>

When Marquet took command of the most dysfunctional nuclear sub in the Navy, the <em>USS Santa Fe</em>, he ditched the command-and-control management style used in the military. Rather than bark orders, he created a submarine of leaders who took the <em>Santa Fe</em> from worst to first. This is the best how-to manual anywhere for managers on delegating, training, and driving flawless execution.

1. Turn the Ship Around!

By David Marquet When Marquet took command of the most dysfunctional nuclear sub in the Navy, the USS Santa Fe, he ditched the command-and-control management style used in the military. Rather than bark orders, he created a submarine of leaders who took the Santa Fe from worst to first. This is the best how-to manual anywhere for managers on delegating, training, and driving flawless execution.

1. Turn the Ship Around!

By David Marquet

When Marquet took command of the most dysfunctional nuclear sub in the Navy, the USS Santa Fe, he ditched the command-and-control management style used in the military. Rather than bark orders, he created a submarine of leaders who took the Santa Fe from worst to first. This is the best how-to manual anywhere for managers on delegating, training, and driving flawless execution.

<h1>2. Uncommon Service</h1>
<strong>By Frances Frei and Anne Morriss</strong>

Do you have the guts to disappoint customers? Many businesses don't -- and lose money kowtowing to demands. Great companies dare to make profitable tradeoffs rivals won't risk, argue the authors. For example, despite its rock-bottom interest rates on savings accounts, <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=CBSH&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Commerce Bank </a> saw deposits rise in 2012. Why? It keeps many branches open seven days a week -- a perk patrons love.

2. Uncommon Service

By Frances Frei and Anne Morriss Do you have the guts to disappoint customers? Many businesses don't -- and lose money kowtowing to demands. Great companies dare to make profitable tradeoffs rivals won't risk, argue the authors. For example, despite its rock-bottom interest rates on savings accounts, Commerce Bank saw deposits rise in 2012. Why? It keeps many branches open seven days a week -- a perk patrons love.

2. Uncommon Service

By Frances Frei and Anne Morriss

Do you have the guts to disappoint customers? Many businesses don't -- and lose money kowtowing to demands. Great companies dare to make profitable tradeoffs rivals won't risk, argue the authors. For example, despite its rock-bottom interest rates on savings accounts, Commerce Bank (cbsh) saw deposits rise in 2012. Why? It keeps many branches open seven days a week -- a perk patrons love.

<h1>3. Abundance</h1>
<strong>By Peter Diamandis</strong>

A jolt of Diamandis's java is the perfect antidote to the latest depressing headlines you're reading on the economy. In this well-researched book, the polymath futurist -- he's an MD, a trained astronaut, and an entrepreneur -- will introduce you to the technological changes transforming every industry. The trick is to react to these unstoppable trends before the competition -- and prepare to make the most of them now.

3. Abundance

By Peter Diamandis A jolt of Diamandis's java is the perfect antidote to the latest depressing headlines you're reading on the economy. In this well-researched book, the polymath futurist -- he's an MD, a trained astronaut, and an entrepreneur -- will introduce you to the technological changes transforming every industry. The trick is to react to these unstoppable trends before the competition -- and prepare to make the most of them now.

3. Abundance

By Peter Diamandis

A jolt of Diamandis's java is the perfect antidote to the latest depressing headlines you're reading on the economy. In this well-researched book, the polymath futurist -- he's an MD, a trained astronaut, and an entrepreneur -- will introduce you to the technological changes transforming every industry. The trick is to react to these unstoppable trends before the competition -- and prepare to make the most of them now.

<h1>4. The Only Way to Win</h1>
<strong>By Jim Loehr</strong>

Attaining big goals won't make you happier if all you're ultimately pursuing is personal glory. Yet our individualist culture lures many of us into that trap. In the best indictment of the self-esteem movement I've read in years, Loehr, a psychologist who has coached top performers, from tennis legend Andre Agassi to elite execs, shows how to build the self-control, discipline, and character that drive meaningful achievement.

4. The Only Way to Win

By Jim Loehr Attaining big goals won't make you happier if all you're ultimately pursuing is personal glory. Yet our individualist culture lures many of us into that trap. In the best indictment of the self-esteem movement I've read in years, Loehr, a psychologist who has coached top performers, from tennis legend Andre Agassi to elite execs, shows how to build the self-control, discipline, and character that drive meaningful achievement.

4. The Only Way to Win

By Jim Loehr

Attaining big goals won't make you happier if all you're ultimately pursuing is personal glory. Yet our individualist culture lures many of us into that trap. In the best indictment of the self-esteem movement I've read in years, Loehr, a psychologist who has coached top performers, from tennis legend Andre Agassi to elite execs, shows how to build the self-control, discipline, and character that drive meaningful achievement.

<h1>5. Inside Apple</h1>
<strong>By Adam Lashinsky</strong>

I realize I'm plugging a book by a writer at <em>Fortune</em>, but I can't ignore this excellent deep dive into the daily practices that Steve Jobs used to turn <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=AAPL&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Apple</a> into the world's most valuable business. (Did you know he ate lunch every day with his lead designer, Jonathan Ive?) Even if you're nothing like Jobs, you'll come away with great ideas for multiplying the value of your own company.

<em>--Verne Harnish is the CEO of Gazelles Inc., an executive education firm.</em>

5. Inside Apple

By Adam Lashinsky I realize I'm plugging a book by a writer at Fortune, but I can't ignore this excellent deep dive into the daily practices that Steve Jobs used to turn Apple into the world's most valuable business. (Did you know he ate lunch every day with his lead designer, Jonathan Ive?) Even if you're nothing like Jobs, you'll come away with great ideas for multiplying the value of your own company. --Verne Harnish is the CEO of Gazelles Inc., an executive education firm.

5. Inside Apple

By Adam Lashinsky

I realize I'm plugging a book by a writer at Fortune, but I can't ignore this excellent deep dive into the daily practices that Steve Jobs used to turn Apple (aapl) into the world's most valuable business. (Did you know he ate lunch every day with his lead designer, Jonathan Ive?) Even if you're nothing like Jobs, you'll come away with great ideas for multiplying the value of your own company.

--Verne Harnish is the CEO of Gazelles Inc., an executive education firm.

All products and services featured are based solely on editorial selection. FORTUNE may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website.

Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/html/tandc/indexestandcs.html. S&P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions