10 Novels That Will Make You Smarter About Business

Could "Moby-Dick" be the best leadership manual ever?

'Then We Came to the End' by Joshua Ferris


Ferris's satirical novel takes place in a Chicago advertising agency in financial turmoil. As one after another employee gets laid off, the remaining staff turns to gossiping and office politics.
The book offers keen insights into the way that even the most irritating coworkers can become your best friends — and how even the most soul-sucking work can be fulfilling on some level.
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'How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia' by Mohsin Hamid


According to billionaire tech investor Chris Sacca, everyone in Silicon Valley should read this novel. A twist on the traditional self-help book, it tells the story of a man who grows up in a Southeast Asian slum and becomes a business tycoon.
Possibly more realistic than any nonfiction rags-to-riches account, the book paints a picture of the ambition necessary to become a successful entrepreneur, especially in less than favorable economic conditions.

'Moby Dick' by Herman Melville


This literary classic is less a conventional tale of a business endeavor than it is a series of lessons in leadership. A sailor named Ishmael joins a crew of seamen on a whaling expedition, led by Captain Ahab. (Fun fact: Starbucks coffee company was named after Starbuck, the ship's first mate.)
Ahab is charismatic and determined when it comes to capturing the whale he calls Moby Dick. Yet ultimately he undermines himself by failing to listen to his crew and dismissing the dangers involved in the journey.

'Things Fall Apart' by Chinua Achebe


On the surface, this novel is about the spread of British colonialism in a fictional Nigerian village and the village leader's fight to save his community from the influence of Christian missionaries.
Yet the story also raises questions about what makes a successful leader, and what happens when the leader's ambitions conflict with the group's interests.

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