The most recommended planning books

Who picked these books? Meet our 64 experts.

64 authors created a book list connected to planning, and here are their favorite planning books.
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What type of planning book?


Book cover of The Friend Zone

Greta Rose West Author Of Rivers Between Us: A Small-town Western Romance

From Greta's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Romance author Hot cowboy creator Cat and hockey obsessed Former momager

Greta's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Greta Rose West Why did Greta love this book?

Another unputdownable book! This was my first Abby Jimenez story, and I was hooked from pretty much the first page. There’s so much sass!

The main characters Josh and Kristen get stuck together planning their best friends’ wedding. The Friend Zone is filled with hilarity, witty band references, and sexy banter, but there are also deep emotional issues. My editor recommended this book to me. He must know me well because I fell in love and will read anything Ms. Jimenez writes forevermore!

The second book in the Friend Zone series, The Happy Ever After Playlist was just as good, and I’m about to crack open book 3.

By Abby Jimenez,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Fall in love with this hilarious and heartwarming USA Today bestselling romantic comedy that LJ Shen calls "an absolute treat."

Kristen Peterson doesn't do drama, will fight to the death for her friends, and has no room in her life for guys who just don't get her. She's also keeping a big secret: facing a medically necessary procedure that will make it impossible for her to have children.

Planning her best friend's wedding is bittersweet for Kristen -- especially when she meets the best man, Josh Copeland. He's funny, sexy, never offended by her mile-wide streak of sarcasm, and always…

Book cover of Rhythm: How to Achieve Breakthrough Execution and Accelerate Growth

David Worrell Author Of The Entrepreneur's Guide to Financial Statements

From my list on building culture, teamwork, and leadership.

Why am I passionate about this?

Entrepreneurs have a tough lot in life. We dream of creating value for others, yet we are often cursed to pay a huge price in our own lives. My experience as an entrepreneur is no different – I struggled through three mediocre business startups, learning a little bit more with each one. Along the way, I have put my lessons learned into writing: textbooks, how-to guides and even cover stories for Entrepreneur magazine. Combining my own experience and the best advice from other entrepreneurs, I have systematically improved my current company… and have finally broken free of the curse! Now I love to share my experience with other business owners like you!

David's book list on building culture, teamwork, and leadership

David Worrell Why did David love this book?

If you really want to transform your business into a lean, mean profit machine, then Rhythm is the capstone to your journey. This is the book that pulls it all together and turns everything into a powerful growth system.

Rhythm is an easy read—full of colorful illustrations, short personal stories, and easy discussions of the impact that team building can have on the operations of a business—small or large.

I took it, hook line, and sinker, implementing the full range of metrics, reporting, planning, and goal setting. I also use the associated software. Rhythm and its ancillary tools help me to be comfortable and confident that my leadership team is hard at work, doing the right things at the right times.

As I step away from the day-to-day operations of my business, I rely on the structures taught by Rhythm (and the lessons from all the books above!).

By Patrick Thean,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From USA Today & Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author!
Want to achieve breakthroughs and get exceptional results? Discover the system that successful growth companies have used to achieve their results.

All growing companies encounter ceilings of complexity, usually when they hit certain employee or revenue milestones. In order to burst through ceiling after ceiling and innovate with growth, a company must develop a reliable system that prompts leaders to be proactive and pivot when the need arises.

You also need to learn simple systems to empower everyone in your company to become and stay focused, aligned, and accountable.

In Rhythm,…

Book cover of Work Optional: Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way

Jonathan Chevreau Author Of Findependence Day

From my list on financial independence and retirement.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a veteran semi-retired Canadian financial journalist who has long made a distinction between the terms “Retirement” and “Financial Independence.” I  recently turned 70 and have been financially independent since my early 60s BUT I am not yet retired. I coined the term Findependence in my financial novel Findependence Day, and since 2014 have been running the Financial Independence Hub blog, with new blogs every business day.

Jonathan's book list on financial independence and retirement

Jonathan Chevreau Why did Jonathan love this book?

I’ve always like the phrase “Work Optional” to describe the state of being financially independent enough that you don’t have to work for money anymore, but nevertheless choose to for reasons like having a purpose, or structure.

Work Optional is also the title of another fine American book on Financial Independence, bearing the subtitle Retire Early the Non-Penny-Pinching Way. The author is an American woman, Tanja Hester, who “retired” early at age 38, along with her husband Mark, who was then 41. I put the word “retired” in quotes because, as is usually the case with advocates of the so-called FIRE movement (Financial Independence, Retire Early), Hester didn’t actually retire to do nothing.

Generally, I find that when FIRE proponents say they “retired” at 30 or 40, what they really mean is they quit working as salaried employees for a corporation, to launch what amounts to an encore career built…

By Tanja Hester,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A practical action guide for financial independence and early retirement from the popular Our Next Life blogger.

In today's work culture, we're expected to hustle around the clock. But what if you could escape the traditional path and get on one that doesn't require working full-time until age 65? What if you could wake up every day without an alarm clock and do the things you love most?

Tanja Hester and her husband Mark left their crazed careerist lifestyle to live their dream life in Lake Tahoe, retiring early from high-stress careers. Now Tanja will help you map out a…

Book cover of ZAG: The #1 Strategy of High-Performance Brands

Koyaki Author Of You Are Ketchup: And Other Fly Music Industry Tales

From my list on helping parents feel better about you being a musician.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a Grammy-nominated musician and creative who actually loves music, not as a vocation but as a cathartic practice and art form. Because I love music and the process of creating I also understood that no matter how much I love music that the love of it had nothing to do with the business of selling music. If I wanted to maintain the love I had to learn the business and find a way to continue to cherish the art while familiarizing myself with the business of art. I found peace and a deeper understanding of where I stood in the business and understanding that helps to keep the artist sane.

Koyaki's book list on helping parents feel better about you being a musician

Koyaki Why did Koyaki love this book?

This is the quintessential bible for anyone that is into branding and marketing from the man that created iconic advertising and marketing campaigns. The title implies it all, in this business of music or rather entertainment overall, at times, the ideas get stale and redundant, it’s in those moments that you have to move against the fray of society and trends and simply ZAG, while everyone else is Zigging. I found this to be a necessity in understanding how to navigate in a sea of people that do exactly what I did, the concepts and information given are evergreen. Whether an independent creative or one attached to a machine, your personal brand messaging (and at times you are a brand) is important and Marty has the answers.

By Marty Neumeier,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

"When everybody zigs, zag," says Marty Neumeier in this fresh view of brand strategy. ZAG follows the ultra-clear "whiteboard overview" style of the author's first book, THE BRAND GAP, but drills deeper into the question of how brands can harness the power of differentiation. The author argues that in an extremely cluttered marketplace, traditional differentiation is no longer enough-today companies need "radical differentiation" to create lasting value for their shareholders and customers. In an entertaining 3-hour read you'll learn:

- why me-too brands are doomed to fail
- how to "read" customer feedback on new products and messages
- the…

Book cover of Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters

Simon Court Author Of Founder's Legacy: 50 Game-Changing Leadership Lessons for Building a Great Business

From my list on books for founders trying to be in the 10% of businesses that succeed.

Why am I passionate about this?

For the last 25 years, I have been a coach to business founders, leaders, and leadership teams. My work has taken me to every continent from my base in London. A lot of my work is done behind closed doors, but I have been instrumental in building two unicorns in the last decade. I’m a founder myself and have always been fascinated by what it takes to succeed as a founder. I have a powerful conviction that learning to lead is the heart of it. The books I love are either based on real-world research or deeply practical and based on hands-on experience. Practice trumps theory every time in my world!

Simon's book list on books for founders trying to be in the 10% of businesses that succeed

Simon Court Why did Simon love this book?

This book makes strategy practical for founders, and strategy is so often done badly and contributes to business failure.

The essence of it is to recognize and solve the “decisive challenge.” For example, Elon Musk identified and solved the decisive challenge facing SpaceX when he made Falcon 9 the world’s first orbital class reusable rocket.

Back down to earth, strategy has to face the business challenges honestly and provide a coherent approach to tackling them. This book genuinely helps us to do just that.

By Richard Rumelt,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Good Strategy Bad Strategy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Richard Rumelt's Good Strategy/Bad Strategy was published in 2011, it immediately struck a chord, calling out as bad strategy the mish-mash of pop culture, motivational slogans and business buzz speak so often and misleadingly masquerading as the real thing.

Since then, his original and pragmatic ideas have won fans around the world and continue to help readers to recognise and avoid the elements of bad strategy and adopt good, action-oriented strategies that honestly acknowledge the challenges being faced and offer straightforward approaches to overcoming them. Strategy should not be equated with ambition, leadership, vision or planning; rather, it is…

Book cover of The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World

Jenny Foss Author Of Do This, Not That: Career

From my list on taking charge of your career.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a kid, I dreamed of becoming a California beach lifeguard. Considering I grew up in Michigan, this was a rather aspirational choice. To my parents’ relief, my career goals shifted over time, as I realized my gift for writing. I became a journalist then went into marketing. But after years of cranking out corporate content, I (sadly) burned out on it, dropped everything, and became a recruiter. Within months, I missed writing – so much so that I started a career-related blog, which became a thriving business dedicated to helping people move their careers forward. Gratefully, this work led to an amazing assignment, writing Do This, Not That: Career

Jenny's book list on taking charge of your career

Jenny Foss Why did Jenny love this book?

It’s hard to not want instant gratification, especially in our “get what you want, and now” culture. We see the shiny objects and opportunities for a quick win, and we chase them. Unfortunately, as Dorie Clark maps out in The Long Game, this frenetic behavior isn’t helpful if you want to achieve big goals. 

I discovered this book when life was starting to feel like a giant game of Whac-a-mole. Sure, I was achieving success, but I could never seem to find the time to get to a couple of long-range projects that really matter to me. 

The Long Game gave me several tangible tips for staying focused on my long-term goals in a world that pushes me, and all of us, to grab for those immediate, more shallow victories.

By Dorie Clark,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Wall Street Journal Bestseller

Your personal goals need a long-term strategy.

It's no secret that we're pushed to the limit. Today's professionals feel rushed, overwhelmed, and perennially behind. So we keep our heads down, focused on the next thing, and the next, without a moment to breathe.

How can we break out of this endless cycle and create the kind of interesting, meaningful lives we all seek?

Just as CEOs who optimize for quarterly profits often fail to make the strategic investments necessary for long-term growth, the same is true in our own personal and professional lives. We need…

Book cover of Inside the Olympic Industry: Power, Politics, and Activism

Jacqueline Kennelly Author Of Olympic Exclusions: Youth, Poverty and Social Legacies

From my list on the Olympics that the IOC doesn’t want you to know.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wasn’t really interested in the Olympics until they came knocking at my door. I lived in Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics Bid. When a plebiscite was called, the Yes side plastered the city with billboards explaining why everyone should want the Olympics. Simultaneously, a much less resourced but vocal opposition argued that hosting would be an environmental, social, and economic disaster. The two sides were so far apart that my curiosity was piqued. When I began a postdoctoral fellowship in the UK, I realized that they, too, were in the midst of similar debates, as hosts of the 2012 Summer Olympics. From here a research project was born.

Jacqueline's book list on the Olympics that the IOC doesn’t want you to know

Jacqueline Kennelly Why did Jacqueline love this book?

This is the grand-mere of contemporary critical Olympic literature.

Helen Lenskyj was one of the first scholars to draw attention to the problematics of the Games, including human rights abuses, displacement of homeless populations, and elite scandals that ought to send law-abiding citizens running. It continues to be a powerful and relevant read for anyone interested in peeking behind the curtains of the Olympic behemoth.

By Helen Jefferson Lenskyj,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Inside the Olympic Industry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Analysis from the perspective of those adversely affected by the social, economic, political, and environmental impacts of hosting an Olympic Games.

Book cover of Exiting Your Business, Protecting Your Wealth: A Strategic Guide for Owners and Their Advisors

John F. Dini Author Of Your Exit Map: Navigating the Boomer Bust

From my list on business owners planning a transition.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been a coach to business owners for the last 25 years, with a concentration on exit planning for the last twelve. During that time I have personally worked with over 500 owners. I’ve written 4 books on the subject, two of which were award winners. I’ve seen so many owners who built excellent businesses, but are stymied by how to leave them without deserting their employees and customers. Almost two-thirds of business owners over 60 years old have no plan for the transition of their businesses. I am on a mission to fix that.

John's book list on business owners planning a transition

John F. Dini Why did John love this book?

John is the founder of the International Exit Planning Association, the organization that grants the Certified Business Exit Planning Consultant (CBEC) designation I’d place this book much higher than fourth, except that it was written in 2008, and could use some updating on legal and tax issues. Nonetheless, the first half is definitely the best in discussing the psychological and emotional issues of an owner separating from the business.

By John M. Leonetti,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Exiting Your Business, Protecting Your Wealth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Written by John Leonetti-attorney, wealth manager, merger and acquisition associate, and fellow exiting business owner in his own right-Exiting Your Business, Protecting Your Wealth will guide you in thoughtfully planning out your exit options as well as helping you analyze your financial and mental readiness for your business exit. Easy to follow and essential for every business owner, this guide reveals how to establish an exit strategy plan that is in harmony with your goals.

Book cover of Evidence-Based Policy: A Practical Guide to Doing It Better

Bastiaan C. van Fraassen Author Of Philosophy and Science of Risk: An Introduction

From my list on exploring the meaning of probability and risk.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve wanted to be a philosopher since I read Plato’s Phaedo when I was 17, a new immigrant in Canada. Since then, I’ve been fascinated with time, space, and quantum mechanics and involved in the great debates about their mysteries. I saw probability coming into play more and more in curious roles both in the sciences and in practical life. These five books led me on an exciting journey into the history of probability, the meaning of risk, and the use of probability to assess the possibility of harm. I was gripped, entertained, illuminated, and often amazed at what I was discovering. 

Bastiaan's book list on exploring the meaning of probability and risk

Bastiaan C. van Fraassen Why did Bastiaan love this book?

I love this book because it builds practical advice on a philosophical critique.

Can philosophy generate truly practical advice for planning and public policy? Randomized Controlled Trials are the gold standard for evidence in industrial planning and public policy. But if the results are taken naively, they mislead.

I’m a long-time fan of author Nancy Cartwright, a McArthur Genius Award winner. I love her provocative approach when abstract thought has to confront real practice.  

By Nancy Cartwright, Jeremy Hardie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Evidence-Based Policy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Over the last twenty or so years, it has become standard to require policy makers to base their recommendations on evidence. That is now uncontroversial to the point of triviality--of course, policy should be based on the facts. But are the methods that policy makers rely on to gather and analyze evidence the right ones? In Evidence-Based Policy, Nancy Cartwright, an eminent scholar, and Jeremy Hardie, who has had a long and successful career in both business and the economy, explain that the dominant methods which are in use now--broadly speaking, methods that imitate standard practices in medicine like randomized…

Book cover of The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products That Win

Kartik Hosanagar Author Of A Human's Guide to Machine Intelligence: How Algorithms Are Shaping Our Lives and How We Can Stay in Control

From my list on managing technological innovation for mere mortals.

Why am I passionate about this?

I build and use emerging technological innovations in business, and I also teach others how they might too! I’m a serial entrepreneur and a Professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. As an entrepreneur, I co-founded and developed the core IP for Yodle Inc, a venture-backed firm that was acquired by I’m now the founder of Jumpcut Media – a startup using data and Web3 technologies to democratize opportunities in Film and TV. In all this work, I'm often trying to assess how emerging technologies may affect business and society in the long run and how I can apply them to create new products and services.

Kartik's book list on managing technological innovation for mere mortals

Kartik Hosanagar Why did Kartik love this book?

This book by Steven Blank is a bible for anyone trying to understand how to build lean startups. The classic mistake that most entrepreneurs make is to go build a product soon after they develop a hypothesis about what customers want. By building products before customer discovery (i.e. verify customer needs and a scalable sales model), many products miss the mark and fail. The book explains how a lean start-up can figure out what customers want before proceeding to build products. This emphasis on a customer-centered approach rather than a product-centered approach can be the difference when it comes to finding product-market fit. A must-read for any founder!

By Steve Blank,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Four Steps to the Epiphany as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The bestselling classic that launched 10,000 startups and new corporate ventures - The Four Steps to the Epiphany is one of the most influential and practical business books of all time.
The Four Steps to the Epiphany launched the Lean Startup approach to new ventures. It was the first book to offer that startups are not smaller versions of large companies and that new ventures are different than existing ones. Startups search for business models while existing companies execute them.

The book offers the practical and proven four-step Customer Development process for search and offers insight into what makes some…