My 2009 book list looks like the New York Times bestseller list. I guess that all those readers can’t be wrong.  How agreeable is that? I read a lot!  If you have the least inclination to read books in the business genre (with generous boundaries…) these are my  top six recommendations:

Barbara Ehrenreich – Bright-Sided (How Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking has Undermined America)
I am so sick of The Law of Attraction that I can scream. That’s why, I not only bought the book,  but soaked up every irreverent word.  From The Secret, to Mega churches to the National Speakers Association, no one is sacred. This is a brilliant deconstruct of our financial industry’s failure as well. Bless you Barbara.

Levitt and Dubner- Freakonomics

These guys are the rock stars of Behavioral Economics. Entertaining as heck and a great intro to this seemingly new science. They are describing experiments they’ve done that lead to conclusions about work, cheating and the people behind crimes. I still have “Super Freakonomics” their second book on deck to read. I hear it is just as entertaining.

Dan Ariely – Predictably Irrational
More Behavioral Economics. Ariely touched me more deeply than the authors of Freakonmics because he discusses the behavior of accountability. He proves that do better when we have an authority figure telling us what and when to accomplish. But suggests, as do my clients, that while having an authority figure may be more effective, a blend of authority and free will is best. He also does an informative bit about the irrationality of marketing that gave me more marketing ideas than any one else all year.  Except….

Chris Anderson- Free
Like Thomas Friedman before him, this new tome is a technical analysis, appropriately told in terms even I can understand, of how the internet, digital technology and marketing have truly changed in the last few years. I learned a dozen things to immediately implement in order to not only stay cutting edge but to be politically correct in advancing business initiatives.

Patrick Lencioni – Three Signs of a Miserable Job ( A Fable for Managers)

Lencioni always has a way to take complicated subjects and distill their simple parts as a story. This is a quick ditti that packs a lot of punch. What do people want from their work? We want to be recognized. We want to know that what we do matters. And we want it measured. I agree! If we can practice this everyday we can all be successful.

Thomas Friedman – The World is Flat; A Brief History of the 21st Century (updated and expanded)
Friedman updated this tome in 2006 and still it is a must read for anyone who wants to understand why the world has changed. If you haven’t read this yet, get a new understanding of technology,  “the Triple Convergence”, free trade and globalization. You may not agree with Friedman’s conclusions, but the history lesson is important. You must be dedicated to reading this but the payoff is immense. I had no less than 10 aha moments.

My top picks for 2008

Ruth Schwartz

Ruth Schwartz is the author of "The Key to the Golden Handcuffs". She is a high performance business consultant and leadership coach. Connect with Ruth to participate in the conversation. Google+, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube .