The Definitive Guide to Business

20 business books for your office that will make you look smart

Want instant credibility? Line your office bookshelves with the best, most erudite business books out there.

For some help, CNBC looked back at some of the most influential business books of the past decade, as well as recommendations by moguls like Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffett, to put together this list of books every executive should keep in their office to look smart.

And hey, if you have some time, they're worth a read too.

1. "Creativity, Inc."

Ed Catmull, president of Pixar Animation Studios and Walt Disney Animation Studios, shares how Pixar became the creative powerhouse it is today.

Full of great management and entrepreneurship lessons, "Creativity, Inc." is one of Zuckerberg's favorite reads.

2. "The Everything Store"

Written by journalist Brad Stone, this book offers a comprehensive look into how Jeff Bezos turned an online book retailer into a global retail empire.

"The Everything Store" won the 2013 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.

3. "The Innovator's Dilemma"

A favorite of technology titans, including Bezos and the late Steve Jobs, "The Innovator's Dilemma" by Clayton Christensen argues that companies improve by embracing disruptive innovation.

Michael Bloomberg, CEO and founder of Bloomberg, described the book as "absolutely brilliant."

4. "The Tipping Point"

Malcolm Gladwell's bestseller "The Tipping Point" explains why some ideas catch fire and a few people are able to impact many.

Entrepreneur and author of "The Four-Hour Work Week" Tim Ferriss said the book is one of his favorites.

5. "Business Adventures"

This collection of New Yorker stories by writer John Brooks offers a rare glimpse into the upper echelons of corporate America.

The book became one of Bill Gates' favorite business reads after Buffett recommended it to him in 1991.

6. "The Idea Factory"

"The Idea Factory" by journalist and author Jon Gertner shows how collaboration between business and science has led to many successful businesses.

It's another of Zuckerberg's favorites.

7. "When Markets Collide"

In this book, former PIMCO CEO Mohamed El-Erian offers expert insight into what caused the 2008 credit crisis.

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has called the book "extremely accessible and compelling," and it won the 2008 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.

8. "Poor Economics"

After studying the world's poorest people across five continents, MIT economists Abhijit Banerjee and Esther Duflo explain that developed nations and their citizens can provide aid that would actively improve poor societies.

The book snagged the 2011 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.

9. "Lean In"

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's book is an eye-opening account of the obstacles women still face in the workforce.

According to El-Erian, men would especially benefit from reading it. In an article for Fortune Magazine, he wrote:

"Managers, and especially male managers, are well-advised to think of Sandberg's book as one that speaks effectively to a general theme that we should all recognize and appreciate: There is a very strong business case for inclusion and diversity."

10. "Rise of the Robots"

Tech entrepreneur Martin Ford takes a hard look at the robot revolution and what that could mean for human jobs in the future.

The book won the 2015 Financial Times and McKinsey & Company Business Book of the Year Award.

11. "China Shakes the World"

James Kynge, former bureau chief for the Financial Times in Beijing, explores the history of China's economy.

It won the 2006 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs award for most influential business book.

12. "Capital in the Twenty-First Century"

French economist Thomas Piketty's English translation has become a national bestseller.

The 700-page read is an in-depth investigation of income inequality and its destructive impact across the globe.

13. "Zero to One"

"Zero to One," by entrepreneurs Peter Thiel and Blake Masters, explains how you have to do something new in order to be successful.

John Sculley, the former president of Pepsi and ex-CEO of Apple, told Business Insider that this book is his top recommendation for tech entrepreneurs.

14. "Private Empire"

Columbia Journalism School dean and former New America Foundation think tank CEO Steve Coll gives readers a comprehensive history of oil and gas giant ExxonMobil.

The book details how the company was able to navigate crisis such as the Exxon Valdez spill to the Deepwater Horizon disaster.

15. "Fault Lines"

Raghuram Rajan, governor of the Reserve Bank of India and former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, dives into the 2007 financial crisis in this book.

Rajan argues that there were several other factors besides the mortgage bubble that contributed to the crisis.

16. "Lords of Finance"

This Pulitzer Prize-winning book tells the story of how the heads of the Central Banks of the U.S., U.K., France and Germany made decisions that would lead to the Great Depression.

The book, written by Liaquat Ahamed, won the 2009 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award.

17. "Jack: Straight from the Gut"

In a 2001 letter to shareholders, Warren Buffett praised this book by long-time GE executive Jack Welch.

It follows Welch's ascent to the top and discusses the importance of mentors, experiencing failure and making tough decisions.

18. "The Last Tycoons"

William D. Cohan's book examines the secretive investment bank Lazard. The title won the 2007 Financial Times and McKinsey & Company Book of the Year Award.

Blankfein described the book as a lesson in "how to handle big egos."

19. "The World Is Flat"

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman examines how the internet and global supply chains are making the world "flatter" or more globalized than ever before.

20. "Influence"

Social psychologist Robert Cialdini explores the psychology of persuasion in the popular book "Influence." Cialdini discusses, in detail, six ways to influence others.

The book is a favorite of Charles T. Munger, vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.


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