People stopping by my office often comment on the number of business books I read.  There’s always a stack on my desk and a few more titles in my bag.  Why do I read in the business field?  Really for three reasons.  First, when I stumbled across In Search of Excellence by Tom Peters while in seminary in the late 80s I was really struck by how relevant what he was writing about was.  Many, many of his ideas were so applicable to the world I was entering.  It began a passionate pursuit of becoming a better leader.

Second, as has often been said, "Leaders are learners."  Years ago I heard someone say that you could date a leaders "mental death" by the copyright dates on their shelves.  And it’s true that sometimes you’ll come across people who haven’t read anything new in years and when you talk with them…well, let’s just say their out of touch.

Third, the people I connect with are reading the same books.  Why wouldn’t I want to be able to speak a common language?  Way easier to connect when you not only are down with the lingo but you are trying to figure out viral marketing for yourself!

A great list posted over at Strategy + Business highlighting their picks for their picks for the best business books of 2005.  Thanks to 800-CEO-READ for the link and Scott Hodge for the reminder to post it!  (By the way, Scott’s blog is a good mix.  You should add it to your bloglines!)

Their are several lists by category.  Here’s their top shelf.

The Future
The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century 

by Thomas L. Friedman

Strategy
Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant
by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne

Globalization
The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time

by Jeffrey D. Sachs

Management
Conspiracy of Fools: A True Story
by Kurt Eichenwald

Work and Life
Creating the Good Life: Applying Aristotle’s Wisdom to Find Meaning and Happiness
by James O’Toole

Marketing
ProfitBrand: How to Increase the Profitability, Accountability, and Sustainability of Brands
by Nick Wreden

Media
Hard News: The Scandals at The New York Times and Their Meaning for American Media
by Seth Mnookin

Leadership
A Life In Leadership: From D-Day to Ground Zero
by John C. Whitehead

Best Business Books of 2005