100 books like Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense

By Jeffrey Pfeffer, Robert I. Sutton,

Here are 100 books that Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense fans have personally recommended if you like Hard Facts, Dangerous Half-Truths, and Total Nonsense. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

David P. Barash Author Of OOPS! The Worst Blunders of All Time

From my list on people making mistakes: mythic, silly, tragic.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an emeritus professor of psychology (University of Washington) who has long been intrigued by the mistakes that people have made throughout history. I’ve long been struck by Oppenheimer’s observation, immediately after the Trinity explosion, that “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” This led me to look into the wide array of mistakes, from the mythic, literary, athletic, business, political, medical, and military. In writing OOPS!, I let myself go in a way that I’ve never before, writing with a critical and wise-ass style that isn’t strictly academic, but is factually accurate and, frankly, was a lot of fun!

David's book list on people making mistakes: mythic, silly, tragic

David P. Barash Why did David love this book?

Two renowned social psychologists show how people—some famous and some not—avoid taking responsibility for their blunders.

By the book''s end, we see how we avoid admitting our missteps, and aware of how much our own (and everyone's) lives would improve if we could simply say, ''I made a mistake. I'm sorry.”

By Carol Tavris, Elliot Aronson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Renowned social psychologists Carol Tavris and Elliot Aronson take a compelling look into how the brain is wired for self-justification. This updated edition concludes with an extended discussion of how we can live with dissonance, learn from it, and perhaps, eventually, forgive ourselves.

Why is it so hard to say “I made a mistake”—and really believe it?

When we make mistakes, cling to outdated attitudes, or mistreat other people, we must calm the cognitive dissonance that jars our feelings of self-worth. And so, unconsciously, we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility, restoring our belief that we are smart, moral,…

Book cover of The Halo Effect... and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers

Nathan Kracklauer Author Of The 12-Week MBA: Learn the Skills You Need to Lead in Business Today

From my list on unconventional takes on leadership and management.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a wannabe rockstar studying philosophy and mathematics, never in my wildest nightmare did I imagine I would one day earn a living traveling the world, helping corporate managers become better bosses. But in unexpected ways, all the different strands of my interests and passions have woven together into a work-life well lived, with over two decades of experience and contemplation distilled down into this book I have co-written with my friend and business partner, Bjorn Billhardt, CEO of Abilitie.

Nathan's book list on unconventional takes on leadership and management

Nathan Kracklauer Why did Nathan love this book?

There are so many golden calves in the world of management and leadership theory, and this book knocks nine of them down politely but mercilessly.

My favorite chapter: “The Delusion of Rigorous Research,” coming from a business school professor who knows first-hand what he’s talking about. I’m encumbered by philosophical training, and in the business world, I constantly find myself asking, “Yes, but what does that word actually mean?” or “What kind of evidence could support that claim, and is that evidence you could actually collect?”

More and more content about how to succeed in business and management gets produced by humans, and increasingly by AI. In that context, I’m grateful for books like this one that focus more on “how” than on “what” to think.

By Phil Rosenzweig,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked The Halo Effect... and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Why do some companies prosper while others fail? Despite great amounts of research, many of the studies that claim to pin down the secret of success are based in pseudoscience. The Halo Effect is the outcome of that pseudoscience, a myth that Philip Rosenzweig masterfully debunks in THE HALO EFFECT. The Halo Effect describes the tendency of experts to point to the high financial performance of a successful company and then spread its golden glow to all of the company's attributes - clear strategy, strong values, and brilliant leadership. But in fact, as Rosenzweig clearly illustrates, the experts are not…

Book cover of High Output Management

Ronny Kohavi Author Of Trustworthy Online Controlled Experiments: A Practical Guide to A/B Testing

From my list on data-driven enthusiasts, and believers in Twyman’s Law.

Why am I passionate about this?

I had an epiphany at Amazon, when we ran A/B tests at scale and observed the low success rate: we learned to adjust our intuitions. I recall the denial at Microsoft when I proposed to evaluate features with A/B tests “because over 50% of them failed to improve key metrics at Amazon.”  The typical response? We have better program managers. When we started to evaluate ideas at Microsoft, over 2/3 of them failed to improve key metrics, and at Bing, the rate was about 80%. By 2019, most large products at Microsoft were making data-driven decisions with over 100 A/B test treatments launched every workday. I currently teach an A/B Testing class.

Ronny's book list on data-driven enthusiasts, and believers in Twyman’s Law

Ronny Kohavi Why did Ronny love this book?

This great management book was written by an engineer who clearly explains the rationale for his recommendations.

Andy Grove, former chairman and CEO of Intel, is credited with driving the growth phase of Silicon Valley, was named Time’s Man of the Year, and is credited as the “Father of OKRs.” One example that I love: a new hire does poor work. His manager says: “He has to make his own mistakes…that’s how he learns!”

Grove writes: “absolutely wrong…the tuition is paid by his customers…[instead of by the manager].” Another gem: “Review rough drafts [you delegated]; don't wait until your subordinates have spent time polishing them into final form before you find out that you have a basic problem with the contents.”

By Andrew S Grove,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked High Output Management as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The president of Silicon Valley's Intel Corporation sets forth the three basic ideas of his management philosophy and details numerous specific techniques to increase productivity in the manager's work and that of his colleagues and subordinates

Book cover of Calling Bullshit: The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World

Gary Smith Author Of Distrust: Big Data, Data-Torturing, and the Assault on Science

From my list on science’s eroding reputation.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the Fletcher Jones Professor of Economics at Pomona College. I started out as a macroeconomist but, early on, discovered stats and stocks—which have long been fertile fields for data torturing and data mining. My book, Standard Deviations: Flawed Assumptions, Tortured Data, and Other Ways to Lie with Statistics is a compilation of a variety of dubious and misleading statistical practices. More recently, I have written several books on AI, which has a long history of overpromising and underdelivering because it is essentially data mining on steroids. No matter how loudly statisticians shout correlation is not causation, some will not hear.

Gary's book list on science’s eroding reputation

Gary Smith Why did Gary love this book?

The title is provocative but justified because so much of the “evidence” that we are bombarded with daily is bullshit. This is a wonderful compilation of statistical mistakes and misuses that are intended to persuade readers to be skeptical and to show them how to recognize bullshit when they see it.

By Carl T. Bergstrom, Jevin D. West,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Calling Bullshit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bullshit isn’t what it used to be. Now, two science professors give us the tools to dismantle misinformation and think clearly in a world of fake news and bad data.
“A modern classic . . . a straight-talking survival guide to the mean streets of a dying democracy and a global pandemic.”—Wired

Misinformation, disinformation, and fake news abound and it’s increasingly difficult to know what’s true. Our media environment has become hyperpartisan. Science is conducted by press release. Startup culture elevates bullshit to high art. We are fairly well equipped to spot the sort of old-school bullshit that is based…

Book cover of The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth

Stephen Wunker Author Of The Innovative Leader: Step-By-Step Lessons from Top Innovators For You and Your Organization

From my list on passionate innovators.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an innovator. I’ve been one since I was a kid. Since then, I’ve started a couple of non-profits and four companies, and I’ve advised hundreds of clients on innovation opportunities. I’ve also led the team that created one of the world’s first smartphones. Over the past dozen years, I’ve written four books on the strategy and capabilities of innovation. Innovation is one of the essential characteristics that make us human. It can get the world into trouble, but it does more good than harm on balance. My mission is to make us better at innovation and make the world a better place.

Stephen's book list on passionate innovators

Stephen Wunker Why did Stephen love this book?

I read this book before a job interview with the author, and I kicked myself for not reading his works years earlier. Clay Christensen was a master of making the counter-intuitive simple and compelling and of showing why his theses really matter.

In this book, Clay laid out several of his most important theories—going well beyond the concept of Disruptive Innovation he’s most famous for. He illustrates the concepts with research and anecdotes, and his prose is always a joy to read. For anyone passionate about innovation, this book is simply a must. It’s a guidebook to success.

By Clayton M. Christensen, Michael E. Raynor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Innovator's Solution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An innovation classic. From Steve Jobs to Jeff Bezos, Clay Christensen's work continues to underpin today's most innovative leaders and organizations. A seminal work on disruption--for everyone confronting the growth paradox. For readers of the bestselling The Innovator's Dilemma--and beyond--this definitive work will help anyone trying to transform their business right now. In The Innovator's Solution, Clayton Christensen and Michael Raynor expand on the idea of disruption, explaining how companies can and should become disruptors themselves. This classic work shows just how timely and relevant these ideas continue to be in today's hyper-accelerated business environment. Christensen and Raynor give advice…

Book cover of Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders

Bernie J. Mullin Author Of Reimagining America's Dream: Making It Attainable for All

From my list on cutting edge talent development leadership.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an immigrant who has successfully pursued the American dream, living it now for 50 years. After 10 years as a Professor at the University of Massachusetts, I spent 40 years in the Sports and Entertainment business, capped by building my own marketing agency, The Aspire Group, which has generated $1.75B in revenues for 300 iconic sports properties globally. While I’ve been able to make the dream a reality for myself and my family, I believe it has become out of reach for too many. I want to show my appreciation for Americans adopting me by revitalizing the aspirational elements of that dream and making it attainable for all.  

Bernie's book list on cutting edge talent development leadership

Bernie J. Mullin Why did Bernie love this book?

Captain Marquette’s YouTube video inspired me to create a highly productive team using independent thinking. Then, reading his book really spoke to me because it resonated with my first working experience outside the University of Massachusetts—namely, with the Pittsburgh Pirates as SVP of Business. The Pirates were the worst team in Major League Baseball then, losing over 100 games per season, drawing only 7,000 fans per game, and losing $10M annually. The staff were deflated and defeated.

After getting direct input from the senior staff, I planned the Pirates turnaround in three stages: 1. Stop the ship sailing in the wrong direction; 2. Turn the ship around; 3. Gain speed and momentum in the right direction. I think the key statement in Marquette’s book is, “It doesn’t matter how smart the plan is if the staff can’t execute it.”

I read this landmark book well after being at the Pirates…

By L. David Marquet,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Turn the Ship Around! A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Leadership should mean giving control rather than taking control and creating leaders rather than forging followers."

David Marquet, an experienced Navy officer, was used to giving orders. As newly appointed captain of the USS Santa Fe, a nuclear-powered submarine, he was responsible for more than a hundred sailors, deep in the sea. In this high-stress environment, where there is no margin for error, it was crucial his men did their job and did it well. But the ship was dogged by poor morale, poor performance, and the worst retention in the fleet.

Marquet acted like any other captain until, one…

Book cover of Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness

Markus Eberl Author Of War Owl Falling: Innovation, Creativity, and Culture Change in Ancient Maya Society

From my list on innovation in the past when this wasn't yet a thing.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an archaeologist, I love prehistoric things and what can I learn from them about the people that made them and left them behind. I study ancient Maya commoners in what is now modern Guatemala. Their material remains are humble but include depictions and symbols normally found in the palaces of Maya kings and queens. First I wondered and then I studied how the title-giving war owl fell into the hands of Maya commoners. By approaching this process as innovation, I discuss creativity in the past and cultural changes that result from it.

Markus' book list on innovation in the past when this wasn't yet a thing

Markus Eberl Why did Markus love this book?

This book introduced the concept of nudging into the public discourse, and I guess all of us have encountered it one way or the other. How many reminders have I gotten to sign up for this or that program?… Alas, I love Thaler and Sunstein's concept of choice architects. It made me think about power as a capacity to affect not only people but also the very framework in which people make decisions.

By Richard H. Thaler, Cass R. Sunstein,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Nudge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now available: Nudge: The Final Edition

The original edition of the multimillion-copy New York Times bestseller by the winner of the Nobel Prize in Economics, Richard H. Thaler, and Cass R. Sunstein: a revelatory look at how we make decisions—for fans of Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink, Charles Duhigg’s The Power of Habit, James Clear’s Atomic Habits, and Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow

Named a Best Book of the Year by TheEconomist and the Financial Times

Every day we make choices—about what to buy or eat, about financial investments or our children’s health and education, even about the causes we champion…

Book cover of The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done

Patrick Forsyth Author Of Successful Time Management: How to be Organized, Productive and Get Things Done

From my list on common sense to help you succeed in business.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having begun my career in publishing, I worked for many years as a management consultant and trainer; alongside that, I have written and published many books offering advice on management, marketing, and job skills, like the time management book shown above, a bestseller now in its sixth edition. I have always thought management often fails by overlooking the importance of issues rather than finding things difficult; I hope my business writing helps identify priorities and shows that the deployment of various techniques and skills can be manageable–and useful.

Patrick's book list on common sense to help you succeed in business

Patrick Forsyth Why did Patrick love this book?

This was perhaps the first bestselling business book and became a classic. Drucker coined many maxims, for example, saying that if you don’t know where you are going, any road will do. This is obvious, but how many flounder for lack of clear objectives?

Good, sound common sense is here that stands a new look in the present day, even if it comes from a time when legislation and political correctness made things more straightforward while leaving some current issues unaddressed.

By Peter F. Drucker,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Effective Executive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What makes an effective executive?

The measure of the executive, Peter F. Drucker reminds us, is the ability to "get the right things done." This usually involves doing what other people have overlooked as well as avoiding what is unproductive. Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that mold them into results.

Drucker identifies five practices essential to business effectiveness that can, and must, be learned: Managing time Choosing what to contribute to the organization Knowing where and how to mobilize strength for best effect Setting the right priorities…

Book cover of Unlocking Creativity: How to Solve Any Problem and Make the Best Decisions by Shifting Creative Mindsets

Amit S. Mukherjee Author Of Leading in the Digital World: How to Foster Creativity, Collaboration, and Inclusivity

From my list on global leadership capabilities needed now.

Why am I passionate about this?

Currently a Professor of Leadership and Strategy at Hult, I’ve been on the faculties of other top business schools, and an executive officer of a NASDAQ company. I’ve led “new to the world” technology projects and advised CXOs of global companies. These experiences convinced me that poor leadership is the biggest reason organizational initiatives fail. Two decades ago, I switched from being a technology scholar; I began researching leadership and writing for practitioners, not academics. My first book was on a 2009 “best business books” list. This one is in Sloan Management Review’s Management on the Cutting Edge series—books that its editors believe will influence executive behavior.

Amit's book list on global leadership capabilities needed now

Amit S. Mukherjee Why did Amit love this book?

I often pose a simple thought experiment: “How many renowned 20th century CEOs created something new to the world? Now, how may renowned 21st century CEOs haven’t done so?”

The answer, in both cases, is near zero. Our organizations are moving from being productivity-focused (doing more with less) to creativity-focused (giving form to something that doesn’t exist). Most managers and aspiring leaders are clueless about this profound change even though they will probably fail if they don’t make this shift.

Roberto argues that six flawed beliefs—such as in benchmarking and in focused execution—preclude creativity and provides tools to help reinvent moribund organizations.

By Michael A. Roberto,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Unlocking Creativity as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Tear down the obstacles to creative innovation in your organization

Unlocking Creativity is an exploration of the creative process and how organizations can clear the way for innovation. In many organizations, creative individuals face stubborn resistance to new ideas. Managers and executives oftentimes reject innovation and unconventional approaches due to misplaced allegiance to the status quo. Questioning established practices or challenging prevailing sentiments is frequently met with stiff resistance. In this climate of stifled creativity and inflexible adherence to conventional wisdom, potentially game-changing ideas are dismissed outright. Senior leaders claim to value creativity, yet often lack the knowledge to provide…

Book cover of The Art of Strategy: A Game Theorist's Guide to Success in Business and Life

Felix Munoz-Garcia Author Of Game Theory: An Introduction with Step-by-Step Examples

From my list on learning Game Theory.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Professor of Economics at Washington State University. My research focuses on applying Game Theory and Industrial Organization models to polluting industries and other regulated markets. I analyze how firms strategically respond to environmental regulation, including their output and pricing decisions, their investments in clean technologies, and merger decisions, both under complete and incomplete information contexts.

Felix's book list on learning Game Theory

Felix Munoz-Garcia Why did Felix love this book?

This book is a beautiful, non-mathematical introduction to Game Theory for everyone, even high school students interested in strategy, its basic modeling, and how to solve games.

It has applications to everyday life, including examples from real business and political science, making it accessible to all sorts of readers. Its verbal description of some solution concepts and mathematical results is, however, too lengthy at times, especially for non-English speakers and students with a good math background, potentially leading to unnecessary confusion.

By Avinash Dixit, Barry J. Nalebuff,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Art of Strategy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Game theory means rigorous strategic thinking. It's the art of anticipating your opponent's next moves, knowing full well that your rival is trying to do the same thing to you. Though parts of game theory involve simple common sense, much is counterintuitive, and it can only be mastered by developing a new way of seeing the world. Using a diverse array of rich case studies-from pop culture, TV, movies, sports, politics, and history-the authors show how nearly every business and personal interaction has a game-theory component to it. Mastering game theory will make you more successful in business and life,…

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