I do my best to read widely — my year-end lists include children’s books, graphic novels, poetry, cooking, comics, parenting, and many more. Finding variety can be fun, like a treasure hunt. It can also be a challenge, especially in certain categories like business, which just so happens to be the category that is most connected to my work.

My favorite business books have always been the ones that were off the beaten path: Alchemy, Anything You Want, Growing Up Fast, etc.

So I wanted to force myself to get off the beaten path again this year …

… with a reading challenge. 💯


My 2020 Business Book Reading Challenge

You’ve perhaps heard of other book challenges like Book Riot’s Read Harder challenge or Pop Sugar’s reading challenge. Mine is just like those, except with business books. My challenge covers 12 categories of business books or business-adjacent books. There’s a category for every month, though no pressure to parcel the books at a monthly cadence. Some months, I might read two, other months zero. Maybe I’ll read all 12 in January (I am an Enneagram Achiever, after all).

Here’s the list of business book categories:

  1. Business book best-seller
  2. Biography of a business leader
  3. On strategy
  4. On branding
  5. On business models
  6. On pricing
  7. On marketing or advertising
  8. On management or leadership
  9. Writing and communications
  10. Investigative journalism
  11. Economics
  12. A founding story

Additionally, I want to make sure that I read from a wide variety of sources and perspectives. So while I’m choosing books in the categories above, I’ll also see if any of those books match the six qualities below.

  1. Female author
  2. Author from an underrepresented group
  3. Published by an independent book publisher, or self-published
  4. No colon in the title (no subtitle)
  5. First published in the 1990s or earlier
  6. Found at my local library

So that’s the plan.

12 books.

Across 12 categories.

With six bonus qualities to look for among the books I choose.

We’ll see how it goes!

If you’d like to join me on this challenge, I’d love the company. Feel free to follow along with my newsletter or on Twitter / Instagram where I’ll be sharing updates. Give me an @mention if you’re reading along; I’d love to hear how it’s going.

Here’s to a great year of business-book reading in 2020!


Featured image via Layerbag on Pinterest

Posted by:Kevan Lee

VP of marketing currently living in Boise, Idaho. I work with the lovely folks at Buffer. You can join my email list to get an inside look at marketing and branding and team-building in tech.