Fast Company

Fast Company's Best Books of 2005

Forgive us for blowing past the new year before getting up what may be the last best of 2005 list you'll read, but we hope it's worth the wait. We were hibernating with a collection of 1950's advertising satires and lost track of time. So with no further ado, here's our list of the 15 (!) best business books published in 2005. A great business book can resonate through our corporate culture for years, so it's not too late to add these to your wish lists or burn up some of those gift cards you received.

Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
Reading Gladwell is like watching a movie and reading an academic journal all at once. Your brain is exercised and entertained, your perspective changed. In Blink, Gladwell explores how first impressions affect decisionmaking.

Hardball by George Stalk and Rob Lachenauer
Some of the world's preeminent business strategists lay out a bold, some may say harsh, vision for success in this age: Hardball players do what it takes to win.

Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne
You have a choice: Continue in a bloody battle of diminishing returns against your competitors or innovate and find a "blue ocean" where the market is yours to dominate. Our story on Cirque du Soleil illustrates this strategy beautifully.

Freakonomics by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner
The brilliantly contrarian book that made economics cool.

The Flight of the Creative Class by Richard Florida
Luring scientists, engineers, artists, cultural creatives, managers, and professionals is the key to vital communities that produce tremendoous wealth. And the United States' recent policies and actions, says Florida, may be driving them away. We recently put the spotlight on some up-and-coming Fast Cities around the world--and in the U.S.

A Whole New Mind by Daniel H. Pink
The best hedge against having your job offshored is exercising your right brain. Creativity isn't easily replaced, and Pink shows us how to develop those muscles.

Return on Customer by Don Peppers and Martha Rogers
The deans of customer relationship building argue that we need a new metric to make sure that customers aren't shortchanged when short-term pressures lead to compromising our customer-centric focus.

The Sociopath Next Door by Martha Stout
Is your boss a psychopath? Here's how to find out.

The 10 Faces of Innovation by Tom Kelley and Jonathan Littman
The general manager of leading design firm Ideo tells you how to develop the right people-centric tools, talents, or personas for innovation.

Brand Sense by Martin Lindstrom
What's your brand smell like? Thinking of branding as five-sense proposition is a provocative way to rethink how you present your product or company in the world.

Smartbomb by Heather Chaplin and Aaron Ruby
The videogame industry is full of colorful characters--and always has been. If you can't get your hands on an XBox 360--or even if you can--some perspective on how and why videogames became big business is worth the time spent away from the console.

Get Them On Your Side by Samuel B. Bacharach
Many of the books on this list help you come up with the great idea. This book helps you get that idea to see the light of day. A powerful primer on succeeding politically in the workplace.

The World Is Flat by Thomas Friedman
In the next iteration of globalization--or "Globalization 3.0," as Friedman calls it, what matters most is the empowerment of individuals to both collaborate and compete across geographies, anytime and all the time. Software and telecommunications has made us all both next-door neighbors and intimate rivals. This is as true for IT programmers in Silicon Valley and Bangalore as it is for terrorists in
Pakistan. That's a prospect both electrifying and terrifying.

Brand Hijack by Alex Wipperfurth
What if your marketing plan doesn't actually involve any marketing? A surprising consideration of what truly makes your brand successful: Getting others to do your marketing for you.

In the Bubble by John Thackara
As much as we're living in the age of a design renaissance, we're also awash in a lot of bad design. A compelling manifesto against the "schlock of the new" and a passionate argument for more simple, but powerful design.

For a look at the Best Business Books of 2004, click here.

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