Arts and science books to enrich my business thinking?
May 25, 2017 10:35 AM   Subscribe

Lately, I’m getting fed up of reading “business books” which all seem to look at the business world through a very shallow lens.

I have discovered that some the richest insights on topics such as advertising, consumer behaviour, creativity, performance etc., come from arts and popular science literature (Generation X by Copeland, The Box by Levinson, the Soul of the New Machine by Kidder and The Machine That Changed the World by James Womack come to mind) as opposed to the “business books” genre. I would love to hear some “non-business book” recommendations which can lead to deeper and more inspired business thinking.
posted by jacobean to Work & Money (8 answers total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
The recent classic on decisionmaking and cognitive biases, Thinking, Fast and Slow.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 10:51 AM on May 25, 2017 [2 favorites]


Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson.
posted by Flexagon at 11:35 AM on May 25, 2017


It's been described as the best book ever written about the dot-com crash, which is impressive for something written in 1841. Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds.
posted by It's Never Lurgi at 2:47 PM on May 25, 2017


Art and Fear. It's about art but can also be applied to getting motivated and just getting business done rather than talking yourself out of it again and again.

Surely You're Joking, Mr.
Feynman
- all kinds of creative thinking and lessons of observation and experimentation.
posted by Candleman at 4:36 PM on May 25, 2017


Thinking In Systems by Donella Meadows.
posted by turbid dahlia at 8:00 PM on May 25, 2017 [2 favorites]


The Economist magazine has really good "best books of 201x" book lists. You could hit up their non-fiction selections from the past couple of years. Some would definitely fit this bill.
posted by salvia at 9:05 PM on May 25, 2017


I'll be honest, I'm not familiar with the books you mentioned so I'm not positive these fit the pattern but, in addition to Thinking Fast and Slow, The Power of Habit and The Drunkard's Walk: How Randomness Rules Our Lives are the two books that greatly influenced my thinking on cognition and behavior. I'm particularly surprised that the latter isn't more popular - it does a great job accessibly bridging the relationship between math and psychology, which isn't exactly easy to do.
posted by R a c h e l at 7:05 AM on May 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


Thanks everyone for those amazing suggestions.

I finally went with "Mistakes were Made (But Not by Me) by Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson. I chose this because almost every organisation suffers from flawed decision making and equally flawed justification but there is scant coverage of the topic in the "business book" genre. This book plugs that gap!

Thanks again everyone - I appreciate your contribution.

PS: Mr Know it Some - I have read Thinking Fast and Slow before!
posted by jacobean at 1:34 PM on June 5, 2017


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