The Extraordinary Business Book Club Summer Reading List 2019

It’s July, and that means it’s time to get away from the everyday: pack your sliders, suncream and a stack of extraordinary business books and prepare for some mind-expanding new experiences.

As you may know, I’m currently working my way through 100 business books in 2019, and I’m inviting you to join me in reading just one a week over the summer. This is a mix of titles that have been on my to-read pile for a while, new titles that look intriguing, and those that have been recommended to me by guests on the Extraordinary Business Book Club podcast.

Following the principles of that podcast, there’s a balance of male and female voices, and a wide range of perspectives and topics. But I guarantee that you’ll find at least one insight in each of these that will illuminate something in your world, because that’s how business books work.

Here’s this year’s list, and this time I’ve included the order in which I’m going to read them – feel free to read along with me and share your thoughts in The Extraordinary Business Book Club on Facebook, or on Twitter with hashtag #bizbooksummer,

w/b 8 July: The Art of Gathering: How we meet and why it matters by Priya Parker. OK, I admit, I’m cheating a bit on this one. I’ve been reading it on and off for a few weeks now, it’s not a short book. But it is really, REALLY good. If you read only one book this summer, this would be a good choice.

The Art of Gathering

w/b 15 July: Company of One: Why Staying Small is the Next Big Thing for Business by Paul Jarvis. Again, this is one I’ve already started, and am enjoying, though it’s not quite as captivating as Parker. I love the premise: decide what success looks like for you and don’t fall into the trap of using other people’s metrics.

Company of One

w/b 22 July: An Economist Walks Into A Brothel: And other unexpected places to understand risk by Allison Schrager. This one’s a wildcard, but really: how can you NOT want to read a book with a title like that? I love these books that show how economics is at the heart of not just business but life, and am looking forward to this one.

An Economist Walks into a Brothel

w/b 29 July: Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create New Categories and Dominate Markets by Al Ramadan, Dave Peterson, Christopher Lochhead and Kevin Maney. I honestly can’t remember who recommended this one to me, but it’s another that’s been a while on the pile. It’s time.

Play Bigger

w/b 5 August: Wilful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious by Margaret Heffernan. I love Heffernan’s writing – Beyond Measure is simply brilliant – and Christine Armstrong recommended this one to me as ‘a revelation to me about how people actually behave in businesses’. (Don’t panic: I know it says 400+ pages on the Amazon page but it’s really 294. I checked.)

Wilful Blindness

w/b 12 August: Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall. This book came out a couple of months ago and has been recommended to me by about five different people, which is always a good sign.

Nine Lies About Work

w/b 19 August: Be The Change: A toolkit for the activist in you by Gina Martin. Another wildcard, and another very new book (published just last month), this isn’t strictly about business, but Martin’s experience of effecting change and rallying support (she’s the woman who almost single-handedly made ‘upskirting’ illegal) will be relevant to anyone whose job it is to make things happen.

Be The Change

w/b 26 August: Consumed: How We Buy Class in Modern Britain by Harry Wallop. I’ll be honest, this isn’t one I’d have chosen myself, but it comes strongly recommended by Harriet Kelsall in this week’s podcast and I rashly accepted her challenge to read it. And I have to say, it does look interesting…


w/b 2 September: Super Thinking: Upgrade Your Reasoning and Make Better Decisions with Mental Models by Gabriel Weinberg and Lauren McCann. I’m a sucker for books like this that bring cognitive research into the real world, and I like the sound of any book described in a review as ‘an intellectual playground’. Another one published, in the UK at least, just last month.


w/b 9 September: Shoot for the Moon: How the Moon Landings Taught us the 8 Secrets of Success by Richard Wiseman. I love anything by Richard ‘Quirkology’ Wiseman, and this latest book cleverly uses a familiar story – Apollo 11 – as a framework for lessons about mindset and success. Great concept, and he writes brilliantly. [And yes, I realise 9 September isn’t really summer any longer. Not sorry.]

Shoot for the Moon

So there you are: 10 brilliant business books to take you through the summer and indeed a bit beyond. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on these in my weekly newsletter*, in The Extraordinary Business Book Club podcast and Facebook group, and you can find my full reviews and the full list of the 100 business books I’m aiming to read in 2019 on GoodReads. Look forward to hearing what you think!

And if by the end of the summer you’ve been inspired to write your own extraordinary business book, join me for the 10-day Business Book Proposal Challenge, which kicks off again on 9 September. Who knows? Maybe you’ll make the 2020 summer reading list…

*Not subscribed to The Extraordinary Business Book Club newsletter? Why not give it a try: no junk, a weekly reading suggestion and writing tip, and interesting stuff about business books. Fancy it?