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7 Must-Read Business Books for 2023

December 21, 2022

Contributor: Jordan Turner

Gartner experts share the best reads for your personal and professional development in the year ahead.

Whether you’re a CIO or a CHRO, a VP of marketing or general counsel, you’re the beneficiary of our actionable, objective expert insights, which empower you to make faster, smarter decisions. In this article, however, we’re sharing more personal insights — in the form of our experts’ top recommended reads for 2023. Each book on the list comes with a note from a Gartner expert, highlighting its value to you as a leader and an individual. Happy reading.

No. 1: “Thinking the Future” by Clem Sunter and Mitch Ilbury

“Why do some leaders make good decisions and others don’t? Successful leaders are able to balance competing views and arrive at innovative solutions. They recognize that the future before them is not just one truth but many potential truths — and this allows for optionality in decision making. However, leaders who make good decisions also relentlessly focus on indicators (flags), which show that they have moved from one scenario into another, enabling them to respond with agility. This book is not about adaptability, but rather, about thriving in a dynamic world and business landscape. It leverages giants from Aristotle to Pierre Wack, the first scenario planner for Royal Dutch Shell. It shows how our mental models of the future (or lack thereof) impact our decision making today. I loved this book, as it leverages scenario planning to talk about how we make decisions and the impact of those decisions on those around us. Every chapter taught me something new or challenged a view or belief I held.” 

Sarah Watt, VP Analyst, Supply Chain

No. 2: “Life 3.0” by Max Tegmark

“Given this year’s unprecedented rapid advancements in artificial intelligence (AI), especially in the form of large language models, it is worth revisiting Tegmark’s 2017 book on AI and the lessons it holds for how the future of business and society will look when we share the planet with machines [who are] sometimes as smart as humans — or smarter.”

Malcolm Murray, Managing Vice President and Chief of Research, Risk and Audit

No. 3: “The Power of Geography: Ten Maps That Reveal the Future of Our World” by Tim Marshall

“This book is worth a read. It is a set of 10 essays on different countries and their geopolitical importance in the coming years, including a final essay on space. Given the geopolitical complexity and the higher and higher likelihood of conflict breaking out in a multipolar world, it’s worth upping your geopolitical knowledge.”

Mary Mesaglio, Managing Vice President

No. 4: “Reality+” by David Chalmers

“This book discusses the philosophy of virtual reality and the metaverse, but I learned more about what it means to deal with reality as a human being.”

Frank Buytendijk, Distinguished VP Analyst and Gartner Fellow

No. 5: “Stories That Stick” by Kindra Hall

“Whatever your role in business, the ability to engage and influence your audience is a critical skill for success. This is particularly true for technology leaders who must influence and lead a range of stakeholders from customers to employees to investors and partners. What I love about this book is that it provides a very clear and actionable framework to help anyone be a great storyteller — and it does so through engaging stories. I couldn’t put the book down.”

Rita Sallam, Distinguished Vice President Analyst and Gartner Fellow, Data and Analytics

No. 6: “What We Owe The Future” by William MacAskill

“The double whammy of lingering COVID-19-driven economic shocks and the rebirth of geopolitical risk from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have left business leaders and politicians scratching their heads at the ever-rising unpredictability of our world. MacAskill’s newest book offers a welcome respite from short-term concerns, and gives our organizations and institutions a blueprint for more long-term thinking.”

Malcolm Murray, Managing Vice President and Chief of Research, Risk and Audit

No. 7: “Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away” by Annie Duke

“Most executives are terrible at knowing when to quit. They keep pressing forward with failed approaches, projects and investments hoping that something will change and the outcome will improve. The author, Annie Duke, is a world-famous poker player who brings key concepts from the world of betting to teach you how to get good at quitting. Drawing on stories from elite athletes like Mount Everest climbers, founders of leading companies like Stewart Butterfield, the CEO of Slack, and top entertainers, Duke explains why quitting is integral to success, as well as strategies for determining when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em, that will save you time, energy and money.”

Alexander Bant, Vice President and Chief of Research, Finance

Bonus Pick: “When Machines Become Customers” by Don Scheibenreif and Mark Raskino

For thousands of years, customers have been individual humans, families or organizations. But soon, intelligent software and hardware machines will start to act as customers. CEOs believe that by 2030, up to 20% of their companies’ revenue will come from machine customers, who will be involved in a wide range of consumer and business purchases.

Ready or not, nonhuman customers are coming. In their new book about machine customers, Gartner Distinguished VP Analysts Don Scheibenreif and Mark Raskino anticipate and unpack key changes — and how your organization can tackle them.

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