If you are looking for inspiration, new ideas and some great business strategies, then you can’t go wrong with a well-written business book.

Each year I share the books that made the most impact on me during the year. These make great gifts for your favourite entrepreneur, or to read over the summer break (and yes, if you buy them from my link, I do get a fee to buy more books next year).

This is my pick for book of the year. Why? Many of us struggle finding the right words to say when life kicks our friends and loved ones in the teeth. We particularly struggle with death, suicide, cancer, miscarriage and a host of other nasties, so we fall back on platitudes or silently disappear from the scene in embarrassment.

Emily McDowell has been there and done that, and created the amazing Empathy Cards. She collaborated with a psychologist to put together an incredibly useful and practical book on what to do and say when life sucks for people you care about, and you don’t want to make things worse.

It is designed to help you respond with kindness, compassion and resilience, while building authentic connections.

The book is helpful, funny, visually engaging and understanding of what it means to be human. It is the book I wished I was given as a teenager, and wished I could embody throughout my life.

If you want to be a better friend, parent, colleague or simply a better person, then read this book! It is the ultimate gift for people you care about.

The Undoing Project was written by the author of the Big Short and is a brilliantly told biography of two psychologists, Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky.

Daniel and Amos were the founders of contemporary behavioural economics and worked together over much of their lives.

The book is engaging, intriguing and gives a fascinating insight into how concepts of anchoring, framing, halo effect and overconfidence bias came into being.

Unlike many dry biographies, this one is full of rich stories and anecdotes that help explain concepts as well as provide a window into the rich collaboration of two very different personalities.

If you like biographies, then add this one to your reading list.

I love the writing style and insights by Jeff Goins. All his works are worth exploring for the motivation and inspiration they deliver.

In this book, he dispels the myth that art and creativity is the province of starving, solitary artists locked away in a garret somewhere.

He proposes that “the new definition of an artist isn’t the lone genius, but a visionary who brings people and resources together. It’s about finding more ways to collaborate with like-minded creatives.”

In this book, he explores strategies to build your creativity and find ways to hone your skills through collaboration. His approach is practical and uplifting, delivering much to think about.

If your work requires creativity, this book helps you discover that you can get paid for what you love doing.

This year I spent some time trying to understand groupthink, and how leaders gain power and status. I read this book through the lens of politics, trying to understand the rise of some of the leaders we now see in power.

This book shines a bright light on influence, power, status, respect and status. It explains why people speak up and others remain silent.

It explores how to bring your unique gifts to the world, and what it takes to make a difference.

The book is filled with intriguing research and stories that will challenge your view of the world.

If you are in a leadership role, or simply want to make a difference, this book is mandatory reading.

Sometimes the best books are not overstuffed with words. This book by James Altucher is a random series of short insights and lessons on success and life.

This is the perfect book that you dip into when you need a shot of motivation or inspiration. It packed with tangible, practical tips and advice on influence, negotiation, dealing with failure, success and everything in between.

One word of caution, this is not the book to read if you want a logical series of thoughts that build on each other to a sensible conclusion. This book is more like a bag of liquorice allsorts with a surprise twist of meaning running through the centre.

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General Best Business Books of 2017