It was a banner year for business books (unfortunately, 2009 will go down in history as a good year for little else). Still, we're a little tired of reading about what Hank Paulson barked at Dick Fuld and when John Thain sneaked over to see Ken Lewis.
We're excited about the past being just that, so we culled a list of onward-and-upward titles -- new and about-to-be-released books that are receiving some buzz and that may help you get a jump on a new job or promotion in the next decade.
1. "Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us," by Daniel Pink ($26.95) -- Pink makes the case that there's much more to motivation than money -- autonomy, improvement and a deeper sense of purpose push people more strongly.
Drawing on scientific research, Pink profiles companies and entrepreneurs who are taking a nontraditional approach to lighting fires under their workers.
2. "Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?," by Seth Godin ($25.95, released January 26) -- The title is pretty explanatory in the latest from Godin, a powerhouse marketer/author known for books like "Purple Cow" and "Tribes." Godin argues that the best and most coveted employees connect coworkers, catalyze deals and see opportunities that others don't. He also tries to lay out a roadmap for how to become such an uber-pro. If Godin's advice for building a personal brand is as popular as his material on corporate brands and customer demographics, "Linchpin" will be well-received.
3. "Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard," by Chip Heath and Dan Heath ($26.00, released February 16) -- Weaving psychology and sociology through a number of anecdotes, the Heaths show that some of the most transformative managers follow a pattern of change. They argue that the trick to making things happen quickly on a large scale is to sync emotional thinking with rationale thinking. That sounds wishy-washy, but neither of these guys are on the New-Age circuit. Chip Heath is a business professor at Stanford University and Dan is a consultant at The Aspen Institute.
4. "Louder Than Words: Take Your Career from Average to Exceptional with the Hidden Power of Nonverbal Intelligence," by Joe Navarro ($24.99, released February 16) -- In poker, reading an opponent's gestures, or "tells," can make all the difference. The same is true in an office, according to Navarro. He breaks down body language, bad habits and behavioral ticks as essential to understanding what is really going on in a company, a business meeting or even a phone call. Navarro also advises how to use these intangible forces to get ahead on the job.
5. "The Little Big Things: 163 Ways to Pursue EXCELLENCE," by Thomas J. Peters ($24.99, released March 9) -- Peters, most known for his 1982 "In Search of Excellence," cranks out some more counterintuitive management advice in his latest offering -- encouraging bosses to cherish "weirdness," focus on common sense and step away from their computers. We're wondering if writing "excellence" in capital letters is one of the 163 suggestions.
," by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson ($22.00, released March 9) -- Dubbed as "inspirational" and a "mini manifesto," "Rework" comprises hundreds of simple rules for success. The little tome also plays the counterintuitive card heavily with advice ranging from "fire the workaholics" to "planning is guessing." More detailed descriptions have been scarce, but "Rework" has career counselors gushing.
If you're still catching up on last year's business books, there are plenty of "best" lists, including the FT's
, Fast Company's
And if you haven't crammed enough on the crisis, be on the lookout for two more looks back of "who did what, when" in the financial maelstrom of late 2008: Former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson's "On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System" will hit shelves Feb. 1; and Michael Lewis, the author of "Liar's Poker," "Moneyball" and a number of other business bibles, will drop his synopsis – "The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine" -- March 15.