Business books have long been a staple in the reading lives of the affluent.
But a growing body of research suggests that, while they’re useful for keeping track of financial and business trends, they also offer an excellent way to discover what you’re looking for in the rest of the book, according to a recent study from University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Washington.
The study found that the average reader searches for business books at least five times per day, and that they’re “about as likely to find a business book than a personal story, and about as likely as a travel book to find one”.
“The business books that we’re reading, that’s the ones that are really the most interesting to us,” says lead author Robert Z. Moxley, a professor of business administration at the University at Buffalo.
“So, for us, that really comes down to the business books.
If you want to understand the business world, the business book is the best thing.”
The study analysed the popularity of business books in the US from 2001 to 2010 and compared it with their popularity in other countries, including the UK, France, Italy and Australia.
It also looked at the popularity in the UK and found that British readers were reading more business books than their counterparts.
While it’s important to understand that the study was limited to the US, Moxly believes the results are valid for any country.
“The reason that people don’t necessarily read more business book, is that they don’t really care about the business,” he says.
“It’s just about the books.”
Moxingley and his team also looked specifically at the US business community and found an increased number of businesses that had a large number of online courses, as well as more online book clubs and e-commerce websites.
The number of books and books per head has been increasing in the past decade, which Moxleys team attributes to the internet.
The research also showed that bookstores are often the most common place to shop for business book content, with the average bookshop serving about 3,000 books per week.
For Moxes team, the popularity is especially important when looking at the “lifestyle books”, which are the most popular genre in the book industry.
“We know that the lifestyle books are more about being more stylish and having a bit more social interaction,” he adds.
“They’re also about more personalised learning.”
It’s not just the lifestyle genre that is popular.
Other types of business titles have also become more popular in the last few years.
Book titles are becoming more popular among business students as they become a more frequent part of the curriculum, as is more content on personal finance, travel and other topics, according the study.
“Business books are really more relevant in the business community, and we want to get them out there,” says Mox.
“I think that’s really important.
We want to put business books on our list of books to read and we’re also trying to put them in our library.”
Business books may not be for everyone The study also found that while book readers tend to be more business savvy, many people also have interests outside of the field of business.
This includes people who are avid readers of other genres, like children’s books, science fiction, history and fiction, and non-fiction.
“There are a lot of people who like reading the arts, who like the stories that they read in a book,” Mox says.
In a recent survey, Moxy found that 57 per cent of book lovers said they were interested in reading non-business books, while only 37 per cent said they read books about business.
The results are not surprising to Mox, who says that “every book should have a place in a reader’s library”.
“There’s no doubt that business books can be useful,” he explains.
“But I think you can also find other things to read that are more interesting to you.”
“The good news is that you can get a lot out of it.
The bad news is, if you don’t, you’ll probably find yourself frustrated,” he concludes.
The best business books for the average person to read 1.
The Business of Things: An Entrepreneur’s Guide to the New Economy by John D. MacDougall, published in 2009.
The Big Picture by Susan Cain, published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2010.
The Power of Listening by John C. Bennett, published on March 31, 2013.
How to Make a Fortune with Your Life by Mark Cuban, published November 25, 2013 5.
The Lean Startup by David DeAngelo, published December 6, 2013 6.
The Startup Code by Ryan Holiday, published February 23, 2017 7.
How Not to Fail by Ryan Holzman, published October 10, 2017 8.
What to Do When You’re Not a Boss by Jason Fried, published August 28, 2016 9