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50 Business Books Accountants and Bookkeepers are reading in 2021

  Microkeeper Note

For me, one of the upsides of the absolute mess that was 2020, was the opportunity to connect with people in the accounting and bookkeeping industry through the Microkeeper Partner Program , BGL's Watercooler Wednesdays and the Accounting and Bookkeeping Community Chats.

I discovered a vibrant community of professionals who are constantly pushing to bring their best. This list of 50 books that people in the industry are reading (or listening to) in 2021, is brought to you by Heather Smith, and in my view is proof of that spirit of personal development.

 50 Business Books Accountants and Bookkeepers are reading in 2021

Here’s the top 50 (ish) Business Books the Accounting and Bookkeeping Community are planning to read in 2021. Wait. Stop! I’ll backtrack, most of the accountants and bookkeepers I spoke with are not planning on reading them – they’re planning on listening to the audio version. 

A few diehards love the feel, smell and experience of reading a real book ー bless their cotton socks! But many, including myself, embrace the flexibility and freedom of the audio version, and multi–task, be it driving, exercising, or household chores. To listen to audiobooks, some use the Audible subscription service. I personally use the free apps at Overdrive and link them to available libraries – I link mine to the local city council library and the Chartered Accountants ANZ library. I also prefer digital books as I don’t like clutter. 

“What is this obsession people have with books? They put them in their houses like they're trophies. What do you need it for after you read it?” - Jerry Seinfeld


Who doesn’t love a good book list? Everyone suggested a book as part of our weekly community chat discussions. I’d read a few, heard of a few, and learnt about a lot of new books. One that piqued my interest was Milk of Paradise: A History of Opium by Lucy Inglis. I like hearing about business operations from a different perspective. I seem to recall many suggestions from Andrew Erkins of d1g1t business who’s already completed three books six days into the New Year, and Amar Latif of MAD crew wealth. You can watch our book chat below if you’re interested.

After the discussion, I collated the list and invited the extended community to vote on the ones they’d like to read. Here are the books they voted on, ranked in order of preference:

Dare to Lead – Brene Brown

Atomic Habits – James Clear

The Resilience Project: Finding Happiness through Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness – Hugh van Cuylenburg

Measure what Matters – John Doerr

The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life – Robin Sharma

Principles – Ray Dalio

Traction – Gino Wickman

High Performance Habits – Brendan Buchard

Thinking, Fast and Slow – Daniel Kahneman

The ONE Thing – Gary Keller, Jay Papasan

The Practice – Seth Godin

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don't Know – Malcolm Gladwell  

How to Get Things Done – David Allen

How To Win Friends And Influence People – Dale Carnegie

The 80/20 Manager Ten Ways to Become a Great Leader – Richard Koch

Scaling Up – Verne Harnish

Building a StoryBrand Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen – Donald Miller

4 Hour Work Week – Tim Ferriss

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended on It – Chris Voss

The Coaching Habit Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever – Michael Bungay Stanier

Emotional Agility – Susan David

Profit First: Transform Your Business from a Cash–Eating Monster to a Money–Making Machine – Mike Michalowicz

Rocket Fuel The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business – Gino Wickman, Mark C. Winters 

Critique of Pure Reason – Immanuel Kant

Positively Geared: How to Build a Multi–million Dollar Property Portfolio from a $40K Deposit – Lloyd Edge

The Innovator's Dilemma – Clayton Christensen

Extreme Ownership – Jocko Willink

Getting to Yes – William Ury, Roger Fisher

The Barefoot Investor: The Only Money Guide You'll Ever Need – Scott Pape

Principles – Ray Dalio

The Sticking Point Solution – Jay Abraham 

Milk of Paradise: A History of Opium – Lucy Inglis

Lingo – Jeffrey Shaw

Radical Candor: How to Get What You Want by Saying What You Mean – Kim Scott

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less – Greg McKeown

The Perfect Firm – Rob Nixon

Ultimate You – Sharon Pearson

The Secrets Of Business For Young Entrepreneurs – Alex Falcon Huerta

Planning Plan B – Kylie Parker

Implementing Value Pricing: A Radical Business Model for Professional Firms – Ronald J. Baker

Predictably Irrational – Dan Ariely

Positioning for Professionals: How Professional Knowledge Firms Can Differentiate Their Way to Success – Tim Williams

The Future of the Professions: How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts – Richard E. Susskind, Daniel Susskind

Accounting Practices Don't Add Up! Why They Don’t and What to Do About It – Rob Nixon

Good to Great Why Some Companies Make the Leap – and Others Don't – James Charles Collins, Jim Collins

Turn Any Sale Into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days – Joey Coleman

Getting Past No – William Ury

Simple Numbers, Straight Talk, Big Profits! 4 Keys to Unlock Your Business Potential – Gregory Burgess Crabtree

H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle – Brad Lomenick

HBR Guide to Making Every Meeting Matter (HBR Guide Series) by Harvard Business Review

The Invincible Company: How to Constantly Reinvent Your Organization with Inspiration From the World's Best Business Models

The Personal MBA: A World–Class Business Education in a Single Volume – Josh Kaufman

Social Media Tip
If you’re absorbing a book share your learnings and insights on social media. This helps people understand what interests you, enriches your relationship with the community, and can generate a thoughtful discussion. On Twitter I shared I was listening to Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, and if you click through, you can see multiple people jumped to comment on it. Almost like my own nimble book club.

Speaking of book clubs, the logical progression from here is to have a book club discussion within the community chat. These are the books we'll be reading each month:

Februrary: Dare to Lead – Brene Brown

April: Atomic Habits – James Clear

June: The Resilience Project: Finding Happiness through Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness – Hugh van Cuylenburg

August: Measure what Matters – John Doerr

October: The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life – Robin Sharma

December: Principles – Ray Dalio

 If you’ve been looking around for a good business book to absorb in 2021, you’re sure to find something on this varied roundup for the accounting and bookkeeping community. Please share in the comments below what books you are planning to read this year. 

About the Author

Heather Smith FCA, FICB, FCCA Hype Girl for Accounting Apps. The host of the Accounting Technology podcast Cloud Stories, publishes the Accounting Apps newsletter, author of Xero for Dummies, and runs a practice from her handbag. Obsessed with how effective automation and integration can produce timely clean data, to surface information for informed decision making.

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