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5 Unconventional Business Books That Will Change Your Perspective

Sometimes it seems like dozens of new business advice books are published every month. And to what end? Aren’t most of them just about the same?
by Conor O'Rourke | Jan 24 2016

So many repetitions of the same tired advice. It can feel like there isn’t much left to learn.


But that’s actually an illusion created by conventional wisdom. It’s human nature to like things that you agree with and that confirm what you already believed about the world (enter confirmation bias). But that’s not really the way to grow, and it’s not what you came to Blinkist Magazine for.

2016 is still young, meaning it’s a great time to shake up stale thinking. We’ve combed the Blinkist library business books that don’t just repeat the same rote advice you’ve heard a million times before. Ready for some fresh perspectives? Read on.

Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner, Think Like a Freak

Being able to come up with with freaky ideas is an absolute necessity for anyone looking to drastically change a business. But how to get started? Think Like a Freak provides a blueprint for thinking unconventionally and creatively. It is a book for anyone who likes to challenge common beliefs in the workplace.

Chris Brogan, The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth

Once you’ve learned how to think a little more creatively, here’s a book to show you how you can build a successful business by channeling your inner freak. The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth: Entrepreneurship For Weirdos, Misfits and World Dominators shows how lateral thinkers, or “freaks,” are transforming the modern world of business. It is a book for people who feel they don’t fit the mainstream business mold and those who aren’t afraid to focus on crazy ideas.

Mark R. Tercek and Jonathan S. Adams, Nature’s Fortune

Modern business is, above all, shaped by the constant striving for profits. Environmental issues and sustainability are, in practical terms, usually a secondary concern for larger corporations. Nature’s Fortune: How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature makes a strong case for investing in green infrastructure, and thereby challenges  conventional wisdom that often suggests that seeking for profits and caring for nature simply is incompatible. It is a book for any environmentalist, and also for any skeptic of good environmental practice.

Mark Spitznagel, The Dao of Capital

Now it’s time to fix your fundamental investment strategy, and here’s one that is by all means against the mainstream: “roundabout investing” or “Austrian investing”. The Dao of Capital: Austrian Investing in a Distorted World is about applying old Chinese Daoist wisdom to the modern world of finance. It will tell you how to gain great long-term profits by risking small initial losses.

Steve Hagen, Buddhism – Plain and Simple

Moving from Daoism to Buddhism, here’s another take on spirituality for the workplace miscreant: Being different, ultimately, means staying true to yourself instead of jumping through hoops to meet the expectations of others. It means detaching yourself from the bondage and rush of the modern business world and to build awareness to living in the present moment. Buddhism – Plain and Simple: The Practice of Being Aware, Right Now, Every Day gives advice on how to practice just that. And it is a book for anyone who seeks a deeper understanding of human existence.

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