Think Again by Adam Grant is my selection for the Business Book of the Year, 2021 — with some very good, very close runners-up

Think Again• Yet in a turbulent world, there’s another set of cognitive skills that might matter more: the ability to rethink and unlearn. 
• Questioning ourselves makes the world more unpredictable. It requires us to admit that the facts may have changed, that what was once right may now be wrong.

• Reconsidering something we believe deeply can threaten our identities, making it feel as if we’re losing a part of ourselves.  
• This book is about the value of rethinking. If you can master the art of rethinking, I believe you’ll be better positioned for success at work and happiness in life. Thinking again can help you generate new solutions to old problems and revisit old solutions to new problems.
• We laugh at people who still use Windows 95, yet we still cling to opinions that we formed in 1995.   
Adam Grant, Think Again


For 2021, my selection for the best business book of the year is Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant.

But it really was a close contest.

For the last few years, I have made my own selection for the best business book of the year.  I do not make this selection from a comprehensive list of all business books published during the year.  This is my own selection, selected from among the books I presented at the First Friday Book Synopsis, in Dallas.  Now in our 24th year, each month we presented synopses of two books in 2021.  These books are carefully selected from book reviews, and best-sellers lists (especially the New York Times monthly list, and the constantly updated Amazon list).

Among books I selected in years past as the best business books were:Range

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Willful Blindness:  Why We Ignore the Obvious at our Peril by Margaret Heffernan
Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein.

All of these are still relevant, and absolutely worth reading.

My selection this year, Think Again by Adam Grant, is a powerful book for this simple reason:  you are very likely wrong about something, and you really should be ready to re-think your ideas, your strategies, your tactics, your positions.

You should learn the disciplined skill of “thinking again.”

I always include lessons and takeaways in my synopses.  Here was lesson and takeaway #3 from this presentation:

#3 – Seek to discover your own blindness – your own blind spots.

I think that if you read Think Again – slowly, carefully – you might be better able to do your own re-thinking.  And this could be quite useful.

{You can read my blog post about Think Again here: Think Again by Adam Grant – Here are my six lessons and takeaways).

Power of PressureBut, there were also some excellent “runners up” for this year:

The Heart of Business: Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism by Hubert Joly described how demonstrating love for all the members of the team really matters in a company’s success.  Mr. Joly was the CEO of Best Buy, leading the company through a remarkable turnaround, by really caring about his employees.

Humble Inquiry, Second Edition: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling (The Humble Leadership Series)  by Edgar H. Schein and Peter A. Schein is a remarkable book about listening well.  It champions empathy.

Change: How Organizations Achieve Hard-to-Imagine Results in Uncertain and Volatile Times by John P. Kotter, Vanessa Akhtar, Gaurav Gupta is a must-read about how to build an organization that finds ways to keep innovating.  A terrific book.

The Power of Pressure: Why Pressure Isn’t the Problem, It’s the Solution by Dane Jensen is the only book I bought as a gift for some of my friends.  It is about how to prepare for, and handle, and grow through, high-pressure moments and circumstances.  This is a needed book.Impact Players

Impact Players: How to Take the Lead, Play Bigger, and Multiply Your Impact by Liz Wiseman is an incredibly practicable book on how to make a greater impact in your work.  It is a career-building must-read book.

And, the more I have thought about the book, the more convinced I am that it contains insights that could be adapted, helping your overall organization have a greater impact.

(Note:  I recommend giving this book to every new employee in every organization.  Maybe, also, have them listen to my synopsis of this book).

Other really good books I presented were: 

Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire by Rebecca Henderson.

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need by Bill Gates

Just Work: Get Sh*t Done, Fast & Fair by Kim Scott.

The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World by Dorie Clark.

Each of these offers needed and useful insights and lessons.

I presented synopses of 23 books this year at our monthly event.  (Karl Krayer, my former colleague, presented one book also).  There was not a bad book throughout these selections.  But, if you made me choose the best book of the year, I would go with Think Again…by a narrow margin.


Go to the search box on this blog page, and type in the book title plus “lessons,” and you will find my blog post about the book.

You can purchase my synopses of each of these books.  Each comes with the pdf of my comprehensive, multi-page handout, and the audio recording of my presentation.

I have many synopses available Click on the buy synopses tab at the top of this web page to search by title. And click here for our newest additions.  (My synopsis for Impact Players will be added soon).

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