The titles that follow run the gamut of what Fast Company covers: Innovation, creativity, design, sustainability, technology, advertising and marketing, global business, and entertainment. The theme running through them is that new ideas are the lifeblood of business, and the process of finding and sharing new ideas is essential to success.

We’re fond of books that open our minds to new ideas. But how then, how do you then communicate those ideas to others? Enter Dan Roam. He shows you how to create simple drawings—that you can do even if you don’t have any talent for sketching—that are simple but effective tools in breaking down complex notions and letting you share an idea across cultures and levels of expertise with aplomb.

Price: $24.95
More Info: Back of the Napkin

You’ve heard about cloud computing, but Nick Carr helps you understand it in a way you haven’t before. Using the shift to the electric grid at the turn of the last century as an analogy, Carr lays out a surprising future of utility computing and its ramifications for business and society.

Price: $25.95
More Info: The Big Switch: Rewiring the World from Edison to Google

Our consumerist society is awash in marketing, and no one has thought more critically and intelligently about it than Rob Walker. Buying In chronicles the shift to what he calls “murketing,” or marketing that’s parading as not-marketing, and tells compelling stories of the 21st Century’s most deft purveyors of it. This is one of the few “business” books where the ideas that hold the stories together are as captivating as the stories themselves.

Price: $25.00
More Info: Buying In by Rob Walker

Krupp, president of Environmental Defense Fund, leverages his tremendous clout at the intersection of business and sustainability to take us on a survey of the innovators trying to solve our energy crisis and make a boatload of money in the process. In one book, you’ll get significant insight into the opportunities and challenges behind solar, biofuels, clean coal, and more.

Price: $24.95
More Info: The Book: Earth The Sequel

Advances in neuroscience, driven by functional magnetic resonance imaging that lets researchers watch brain activity as never before, have given us remarkable insights into how our brains work. This fascinating work lays out where great ideas come from, how our brain often works against us, and what we can do about it to seize the day.

Price: $29.95
More Info: Iconoclast: A Neuroscientist Reveals How to Think Differently

Although these books are technically travel guides (the first two are for New York and London), they’re really exercises in opening your mind to new experiences and ideas. Flip through their beautiful, distinctive color photographs and you’ll not only see these cities in a new way, but you’ll realize that there’s a different way of viewing the world around you.

Price: $22.95
More Info: IDEO Eyes Open

I suppose it shouldn’t be surprising that the story behind the most successful storytelling factory in recent times—Pixar—is as good a tale as any of its animated features. The story begins in the late 1960s at the University of Utah’s cutting-edge computer science department and wends its way through 25 years before becoming an overnight success with Toy Story. As Price writes, the Pixar story reminds us of the economist Joseph Schumpeter’s statement that successful innovation “is a feat not of intellect, but of will.”

Price: $27.95
More Info: The Pixar Touch

The pioneering work of Nobel Prize-winning economists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky has led to a number of books that consider rational and irrational behavior in a new light. The Brafman brothers tell the story of irrational behavior in business and life and how we can combat it with sharp anecdotes and a light touch. Don’t be swayed from the irresistible pull of the bookstore to check it out.

Price: $21.95
More Info: SWAY: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior

You could read 200 non-fiction books on India, its hypergrowth, and its impact on society and the world, and none will sear images and voices into your brain the way Adiga’s Booker Prize-winning debut novel does. Its narrator, Balram Halwai, tells the story of his own bootstrapping rise from a poverty-stricken youth to entrepreneurial success in the country’s high-tech sector. Ruthlessness drives this Indian Sammy Glick, but one can’t help be transfixed by his charm and the power of do-it-yourself pluck over corrupt cronyism.

Price: $24.00
More Info: The White Tiger

This arch, funny meditation on the “forgotten” generation wedged between baby boomers and millennials tells the story of being liberated by being underestimated. You could do worse than Stephen Colbert, YouTube, and some guy named Barack Obama as proof that GenX may, in fact, be changing the world.

Price: $21.95
More Info: X Saves the World

The Best Business Books of 2008

These books run the gamut of what Fast Company is about—innovation, creativity, design, sustainability, technology, marketing, and global business. Their central theme: finding and sharing new ideas is essential to success.

The titles that follow run the gamut of what Fast Company covers: Innovation, creativity, design, sustainability, technology, advertising and marketing, global business, and entertainment. The theme running through them is that new ideas are the lifeblood of business, and the process of finding and sharing new ideas is essential to success.

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