In an article published Dec. 19 to the blog Pulse on LinkedIn, Chris Fralic, Partner at First Round and Linkedin influencer, provides a list of his top choices of business books in 2016:

The Undoing Project – Michael Lewis

“Michael Lewis remains my favorite author, and I was already very familiar with one of his subjects, Daniel Kahneman, via his book Thinking Fast and Slow. But I didn’t know about his collaborator Amos Tversky and their amazingly fruitful and complicated relationship that resonated far beyond the Israeli army and the halls of Stanford. Lewis had extraordinary access and unique insight into his subjects and their work, and also gives you a good overview of many of their theories.”

Shoe Dog – Phil Knight

“This is both a love letter to a brand, and a history of an incredible entrepreneur, Phil Knight. Today, we think of Nike as iconic, forgetting that it was once a scrappy startup that almost went off the rails many times. The book offers an entertaining and educational glimpse of how the founding team and the brand grew to became the powerhouse we know today. It was also picked as one of the year’s best according to Bill Gates.”

Last Days of Night – Graham Moore

“From the screenwriter of the The Imitation Game, this book was the first in a new genre for me — historical fiction. The narrative flows through the epic battle between electric light titans like Edison and Westinghouse and those who played integral parts like Tesla and Cravath, but Graham also spends time at the end explaining and breaking out the facts from the fiction. It’s a fascinating look at the personalities behind our electric grid, the standards and skirmishes surrounding them, as well as the influence of fake news (how timely) and espionage in the late 1800s….”

Whiplash – Joi Ito and Jeff Howe

“The authors couldn’t have chosen a more apt title to describe the rapid, relentless technological and cultural changes we’re witnessing today — jumping from Bitcoin to the Arab Spring to the the origins of MIT’s Media Lab and more across ten themes. If you don’t believe me, trust JJ Abrams who blurbed, ‘In short, it’s a badass read.'”

Grit – Angela Duckworth

“I admit I expected this to be overhyped, but was delighted to discover an extremely insightful and well written treatise on how and why certain people excel. If you don’t have the Grit to read it, here’s a 6 minute TEDTalk version….”

Winning With Data – Tomasz Tunguz and Frank Bien

“Tomasz Tunguz is one of the best writers and investors in the SaaS industry, and Frank Bien, CEO of First Round company Looker, is one of the best practitioners and operators in the field. Together, they’ve produced a rare guide on using data to understand and grow your business, including tons of practical examples.”

Originals – Adam Grant

“There’s a reason this was a #1 New York Times bestseller, and if you ever liked a Malcolm Gladwell book you’ll love Originals and Adam Grant….”

A Torch Kept Lit – William F. Buckley

“I hadn’t read much William F. before, but I’m a big fan of his son Christopher, who got my attention by saying this was the best of his dad’s 60+ books. It’s a deeply personal and analytical look at the eulogies of many important people through the eyes of a great writer who knew most of them personally.”

“That is a good book which is opened with expectation and closed with profit.” –Amos Bronson Alcott

A Truck Full Of Money – Tracy Kidder

“From the author of The Soul of a New Machine, this is a deep dive into the motivations of serial entrepreneur Paul English of Kayak, and the people who work with him and invest in him.”

Chaos Monkeys – Antonio Garcia Martinez

“Don’t read it for the ‘obscene’ headlines of rich Internet execs racing expensive cars around Silicon Valley and the like – read it for the insight of how decisions get made inside of big tech companies, from products to politics to M&A. The author tells the story from his point of view in an honest and often unflattering way.”

Powerhouse – James Andrew Miller

“I’ve been familiar with CAA and some of the people highlighted in this book for years, but I had no idea how they got started or exactly how powerful, innovative and feared they were. Perhaps more than any other entity, CAA changed the dynamics and economics of the entertainment industry. It’s not all flattering, of course, and its interview-based style really helps you feel like you’re getting the whole picture.”

ESPN Those Guys Have All The Fun – James Andrew Miller

“I don’t watch much SportsCenter, but we once took a number of First Round companies to visit ESPN in Bristol, CT to see how we could work together. It was incredibly impressive on multiple levels, and now I appreciate it even more after having read the book. It’s very much along the lines of Shoe Dog showing the scrappy startup origins of an iconic brand that we take for granted today, but with a ton of great stories and personalities in the interviews.”

The View From The Cheap Seats – Neil Gaiman

“When I briefly met Neil at a past TED Conference, I knew him mostly as Amanda Palmer’s husband and vaguely as an author of graphic novels that I’d never read. I had no idea what I was missing — I’m just now going back to catch up on his earlier work. This collection of essays is a flowing and well-deserved devotional to readers and writers and books and bookstores.

Payoff – Dan Ariely

“The latest title from Dan Ariely of Predictably Irrational fame, this is a great place to start if you haven’t read any of his past work. The part that resonated most for me was the deep importance of meaning in how we value our work….”

TED Talks – Chris Anderson

“I’m a big fan of both TED and Chris Anderson, and am proud to have played a small part in the launch of the TED Talks series 10+ years ago. I was thrilled to see this book come out to provide a straightforward and digestible guide to telling compelling stories and giving the best presentations of your life (or of that day or week).”

#ASKGARYVEE – Gary Vaynerchuk

“Gary is the definition of hustle. He’s a showman and he’s not shy, but he’s also surprisingly self aware, and I think too often underestimated by the tech and business press….It’s a good introduction to his philosophy and a great gift to someone just getting started in their career.”

“Always read something that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.” –P.J. O’Rourke

“So there you have it, my favorite 16 from ’16. Please let me know if there are others you’d recommend in the comments. I wish you all great reading and learning in 2017 and beyond!”

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