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Fortune’s Favorite Business Books of the Year

December 13, 2017, 12:00 PM UTC

We polled Fortune’s readers, surveyed the staff, and—above all—read a lot of new titles to bring you this year’s list of our favorite books of 2017. From Sheryl Sandberg’s tale of grief and resilience to a backgrounder on the wine industry, we found these to be the most enlightening (and enjoyable) reads of the year. The roundup is, of course, subjective, but we hope you’ll like them as much as we did.

The must-read

EXE12.15_Option B
Option B.

Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

Sandberg’s raw and heart-wrenching new book is useful for business readers and anyone else trying to recover from adversity. In it, she redefines what it means to “lean in,” describing the moment when the rabbi at her husband’s funeral told her to “lean in to the suck.”

The biography

EXE12.15_Elon Musk
Elon Musk.

Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

This book delves into the psyche of one of the most innovative (albeit unusual) entrepreneurs of our time. Vance, a journalist, treats readers to an exclusive look into SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity, while also giving us a better understanding of Elon Musk’s mind.

The basics

The Principles.

Principles by Ray Dalio

Most people hate conflict, but Dalio thrives on it. He built Bridgewater Associates into the world’s biggest hedge fund by encouraging radical transparency and organizational dissent. His new book lays out how the rest of us can adopt the same tactics. Not for the faint of heart.

The manual

The Startup Way.

The Startup Way by Eric Ries

Ries rose to prominence by teaching startups how to adopt the best management practices of big global companies. In this sequel to The Lean Startup, he turns the tables, showing bureaucratic Fortune 500 companies how they can rekindle their own growth with startup-like tactics.

The primer

Cork Dork.

Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker

Don’t know anything about wine? Don’t worry. Bosker delivers a delightful and thoroughly reported back­grounder in this droll memoir chronicling her winding path to becoming a sommelier. Good for oenophiles, novices, and wine skeptics alike.

The warning

The Four.

The Four, by Scott Galloway

B-school professor Galloway spins an engaging story about how Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Apple (the “Four Horsemen”), came to take over the business world. His tale, while not unadmiring, also urges caution about the Four’s penchant for tax avoidance and privacy breaches.

From Fortune

Like case studies, but more fun

Want to know how Airbnb upended the hotel business? How about how Uber gutted the taxicab industry? Fortune’s editors have you covered. The Airbnb Story, by senior editor at large Leigh Gallagher, and Wild Ride, by executive editor Adam Lashinsky, take readers inside the Valley’s hottest unicorns (or should we call them multi-decacorns?), parlaying unusual access into definitive accounts of the personalities, events, and tactics that built two of world’s most important companies.

Wild Ride.
The Airbnb story.


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