Must-Read Business Books for Your Next Flight


Long flight ahead of you? You’d probably like to use the time to be productive, but WiFi connections at 35,000 feet are spotty at best, battery life is limited and power cords are clunky. Thankfully there’s an alternative that never loses a signal, runs out of battery or requires an outlet: a book. Make it a best-selling business book, and you’ve got an activity that will pass the time and teach you valuable lessons. We’ve laid out 10 of them for you to choose from, so sit back, unplug and dig into one of these must-read business books on your next long flight.

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

A classic in its own right, but also a great book to read on a plane, Dale Carnegie’s self-help masterpiece was first published in 1936 but remains uncannily accurate to this day. Lessons found in the book range from getting people to like you to developing leadership skills, and they can be applied to both your business and personal life.

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2. Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio

Billionaire investor and philanthropist Ray Dalio has built the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates, on principles such as radical truth and transparency. In his best-selling business book, Dalio digs deep into his unconventional principles. Any person or organization can adopt them to achieve their goals – in work or in life – making it a perfect book to read on a plane. CNBC named it one of the best business books of 2017.

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3. Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street by John Brooks

This one has the clout of being Bill Gates’ favorite business book – and he has Warren Buffet’s copy. Author John Brooks, an award-winning financial journalist, compiled his long-form New Yorker articles to create Business Adventures, which includes profiles of Xerox, Ford and General Electric. Other stories touched on in the book include the market crash of 1962, the collapse of a well-known brokerage firm and an attempt by American bankers to save the British pound.

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4. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

Delve into the mind of one of the most innovative and eccentric entrepreneurs of our time in this biography by Ashlee Vance. You’ll get an exclusive look into SpaceX, Tesla and SolarCity, as well as Musk’s extraordinary life, work and impact on American invention.

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5. Tools of Titans: The Tactics, Routines, and Habits of Billionaires, Icons, and World-Class Performers by Timothy Ferriss

Entrepreneur and angel investor Timothy Ferriss, author of The 4-Hour Work Week, has interviewed over 200 highly successful guests for his podcast, The Tim Ferriss Show. The guests have ranged from celebrities to athletes to Special Operations commanders. Tools of Titans contains the tools, tactics and insider tips learned from these interviews, with a relentless focus on actionable details.

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6. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

What makes success? You may think it’s mostly talent and luck, but Angela Duckworth argues in Grit that it’s the result of passion and persistence. In the book, she details visits to cadets in their first days at West Point, teachers working in tough schools and young finalists in the National Spelling Bee. She also presents insights from history and modern experiments in peak performance, as well as what she’s learned from interviewing dozens of high achievers—from JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon to Seattle Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.

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7. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

What separates the greatest managers from all the rest? Gallup set out to answer this question with its revolutionary, in-depth study of more than 80,000 managers, the findings of which are presented in this must-read business book. What’s more, it was the first book to prove the link between employee opinions and productivity, profit, customer satisfaction and rate of turnover. Give it a read on your flight home before getting back to the office.

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8. Earning It: Hard-Won Lessons from Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World by Joann Lublin

If anyone knows how to break the glass ceiling, it’s Joann Lublin, one of the first female reporters at the Wall Street Journal and a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. In Earning It, she interviews more than 50 trailblazing female executives, revealing the obstacles they faced, choices they made and battles they won—and lost. She also chronicles the major milestones and dilemmas of the work world unique to women, providing advice and inspiration for women of all ages and at every stage of their careers.

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9. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

We hear plenty about how successful companies triumph over time, but how can good, mediocre or even bad companies achieve enduring greatness? What are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to leap from good to great? In the Good to Great study, Jim Collins and his research team studied 28 companies that made that leap and sustained it for at least fifteen years. The results, detailed in this captivating business book perfect for a long flight, shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice.

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10. In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies by Thomas Peters and Robert H. Waterman

Once named the “Greatest Business Book of All Time” by Bloomsbury Publishing, In Search of Excellence has long been a must-have for the business school classroom, the office and the bedside table. Based on a study of 43 of America’s best-run companies from an array of sectors, the book describes eight basic principles of management that have made these organizations successful.

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