Cover pages of the best books to read during quarantine. Outliers, the story of success, Loserthink, how untrained brains are ruining America, Predictably irrational, the hidden forces that shape our decisions.Books

Best Books To Read During Quarantine: Great Personal Growth Reads


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Looking for some great book recommendations for reading in your downtime during this time of coronavirus social distancing? This reading list of the best books to read during the quarantine will set you free. These are some of the most useful books to develop your leadership abilities at work. But they still make for fast-paced and energetic reading to keep you entertained.

Many of us struggle to get to where we feel we deserve to be in life and at work. These books will set you free from the cheap, but popular self-help advice out there.

Great Books To Read During A Quarantine That Actually Help You

Many books that claim to transform and improve our lives don’t work. We earnestly read the book recommendations on the lives and methods of successful business or political leaders. Apply what we learn to the best of our ability, but still find ourselves stuck in the same place.

It has nothing to do with you. We are victims of the limited thinking abilities of the motivational, self-improvement writers.

These authors describe a version of success that was mostly achieved through luck. But they ascribe it to talent and ability of the famous founders and CEOs of successful companies they talk about. Then they write a book on what they have imagined drove their success. And the rest of us fall for it.

Top Books On Business Leadership, Influence And Entrepreneurship For The Lockdown

Set yourself free with this reading list that captures the most effective and straight-forward leadership lessons you will find. We will cut through the fog of the quasi-leadership nonsense typically shoved our way. And home in on the few books that provide real insights and are actually worth reading.

Make this your quarantine reading list and watch how your outlook of our world changes. Your eyes will be opened to how the human mind actually thinks and makes decisions. You will learn the real path to getting ahead. It is not easy, but it provides you the perfect tools for a better chance at success in your life.

Below you will find our top recommended books to read during your self-quarantine which will provide you with real personal growth.

Books That Explain Why The Most Widely-Read Management Books Are Garbage

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets (Incerto)

By Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Random House, New York, NY 2004.

“Fooled by Randomness” could be the most significant and thought-provoking books you might ever read. It shows how even intelligent people have fallen for false ideas on what drives success. Taleb demonstrates brilliantly the probability-blindness of humans. We see patterns and causality where none exist. But we miss the black swans that could cause us much harm.

The reason why leadership books, based on the abilities of a famous founder or CEO, fail for the rest of us is that it neglects to account for survivorship bias and luck. They don’t talk about the people who had the same skill set but failed to achieve the same enormous success. Luck or chance play a much bigger role in outcomes than differences in leadership skills between people.

Loserthink: How Untrained Brains Are Ruining America

By Scott Adams, Portfolio/Penguin, New York, NY 2019.

“Loserthink,” written by Dilbert creator, Scott Adams, is an excellent read during this quiet period. It will help you spot unproductive thinking and reasoning in yourself and others. In this age of fake news and partisan divides, much of the conventional arguments are actually dumb. They just sound good to one side of the debate. Adams gives you ways to get people who are blind to this see the mistakes in their reasoning.

Adams’ writing style, much like Dilbert, is pointed, brisk and funny. A perfect book for the quarantine. You can read more from a book review on “Loserthink” here.

Outliers: The Story of Success

By Malcolm Gladwell, Little, Brown and Company, New York, NY 2008.

“Outliers” shows, through the examples of Bill Gates, Canadian professional ice hockey players and the Beatles, what factors helped them find success. These are conveniently left out by other writers. But they play the biggest role in their eventual success. And again, much of that is luck.

Thinking, Fast and Slow

By Daniel Kahneman, published by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, New York, NY 2011.

Daniel Kahneman won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2002 and this book shows you why. Here, he summarizes his research that he did with his colleague, Amos Tversky. “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” will help you understand how people really think and make decisions.

It is a heavy read. Make sure you have enough time during your social distancing period if you want to attempt this book. But if you have the time, this book is highly recommended and will reveal much about human behavior that you were not aware of.

Kahneman’s book will teach you most of the important cognitive biases humans have. This book is essentially the science behind how most of us think and make choices. As a leader, you have to know this if you want to better understand and develop your direct reports.

Best Leadership Books To Increase Your Odds Of Becoming a Successful Leader

Once you realize that extreme success comes mostly through luck, you can do things to position yourself to take advantage of any fortune when it comes your way. The books in this section will show you what to do and how those things will help you become a better leader.

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life

By Scott Adams, Penguin, New York, NY 2013.

Our world has become too focused on developing highly specialized individuals. Being an expert at one thing will leave you vulnerable in our current time of disruptive innovations and technology. Instead, become moderately good at as many things as possible. Become a generalist is what this books is telling us.

Adams’ book, “How To Fail At Almost Everything,” will teach you how to develop a powerful talent stack. A group of talents that when combined together will make you stand out as a leader. And if you are an entrepreneur, this book is a must-read.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

By Malcolm Gladwell, Little, Brown and Co., New York, NY 2000.

“The Tipping Point” will show you how to identify key people who you can collaborate with to spread your views and ideas. According to Gladwell, ideas spread like viruses.

They also benefit if they are more memorable and sticky. Certain psychological cues added to your proposals will draw people to them. These cues make people remember your ideas better and assign more importance to them.

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

By Chip Heath and Dan Heath, Random, New York, NY 2006.

“Made to Stick” also has great advice on what you can do to get better traction for your ideas. It is a supplement to Gladwell’s “Tipping Point,” and builds on similar concepts.

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

By Charles Duhigg, Random House, New York, NY 2012.

“The Power Of Habit” is a best-selling book on the psychology of habits. How they can be identified, analyzed and then broken, in yourself and people you lead. Plus, the book details how some corporations have leveraged this information to sell and market consumer products.

The book will keep you entertained during the quarantine when you read about how corporations like Procter & Gamble, Target, and Starbucks use this research to their advantage. And get us to buy more of their stuff.

Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions

By Dan Ariely, HarperCollins, Revised and Expanded Edition, New York, NY 2009.

“Predictably Irrational” is a book that will teach you two key concepts. One, people make decisions not on a rational basis but through quirks and other social cues. Then two, and given that, you need to tweak your approach to getting people to do things. You cater to their unconscious and irrational decision-making process rather than arguing or reasoning with them.

Best Quarantine Book Recommendations On Influence And Persuasion

The most important skill you will ever have or need is the ability to influence and persuade people. These leadership books on influence will show you easy ways to master this skill based on modern social psychology research.

Being influential, will increase the chances of you finding success. And it has never been easier to learn influence and persuasion. The books on influence below will show you how to get others to follow you.

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

By Robert B. Cialdini, Collins Business Essentials, Revised Ed., New York, NY 2007.

You should start with this bestselling book on influence by Robert Cialdini. It is the basis for understanding how influence and persuasion works. His premise is that our world is too information-rich. So people rely on shortcuts for decision-making instead of making rational choices. Cialdini explains these six principles of influence in his book and shows how you could use them in your own life.

“Influence” will open your eyes for understanding the fundamental basis of persuasion. It will maximize your leadership, influencing and persuasion skills at work 10-fold. And it is an engaging and fast-paced read for the coronavirus lockdown.

The One Sentence Persuasion Course – 27 Words to Make the World Do Your Bidding

By Blair Warren, eBook 2012.

As far as simplified and feel-good methods of influence go, this is the best book for positive ways to influence and persuade people.

If you are short on time (and money), you should read the original 2005 version of this wonder from Blair Warren. It will change your life. He made the original free to download and you can find it by clicking here.

Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade

By Robert B. Cialdini, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY 2016.

Pre-Suasion is another of Cialdini’s must-read books on influence. Here, he shows how to get people in a state where they will be more receptive to your future requests. It is filled with great examples and makes for an interesting read. A review on the book and some quick tips on how to pre-suade is available here.

How to Win Friends & Influence People

By Dale Carnegie, 80th Anniversary Ed., Simon & Schuster, New York, NY 2009.

Dale Carnegie’s book is the quintessential favorite and a must-read if you want to learn ways to influence people and put it in practice. It is regularly cited as one of the best books on influence and persuasion. It shows you how to influence people in a positive and uplifting manner.

Impossible to Ignore: Creating Memorable Content to Influence Decisions

By Carmen Simon, McGraw Hill, New York, NY 2016.

Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions

By Guy Kawasaki, HarperCollins, New York, NY 2009.

Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don’t Matter

By Scott Adams, Penguin, New York, NY 2017.

“Win Bigly” is an amusing but highly informative book on how Donald Trump used his skills in persuasion to help him win the 2016 presidential race. If you are a Trump supporter, you will love this book. If you are part of the remaining 50% that hate Trump, then you might at least understand why Trump does and says what you see him do. Either way, you will learn about the art of persuasion and how irrationally humans think and make decisions.

Top Business Management Books To Develop Your Negotiation Skills

Trump: The Art of the Deal

By Donald J. Trump and Tony Schwart, Random House, New York, NY 1987.

Before he became president, Trump’s book was the definitive guide to negotiating and making deals. And it still is. Just because you may not like him as a president, is no reason to think his advice here should be ignored.

His book will teach you how an entrepreneur needs to think and behave when getting what you want. Professors in business schools who have never spent a day in real world of entrepreneurship, don’t get this. And cannot, therefore, teach it.

Win Your Case: How to Present, Persuade, and Prevail–Every Place, Every Time

By Gerry Spence, St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY 2005.

Bonus Books To Read During Quarantine

What Every Body Is Saying: An Ex-FBI Agent’s Guide to Speed-Reading People

By Joe Navarro and Marvin Karlins, HarperCollins, New York, NY 2008.

The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home

By Dan Ariely, HarperCollins, New York, NY 2015.

Thanks for reading. But more importantly, stay safe and enjoy reading these best-selling books during the quarantine.

Shaun Mendonsa, PhD is an influencing expert and pharmaceutical development leader. He writes on the topics of influence and persuasion, and develops next generation drugs in human pharma by advising international pharmaceutical CROs and CMOs. He can be reached at


Best books to read during quarantine; Top leadership and management books; Books on influence and persuasion; Entrepreneurship books; Personal development; Leadership development; Talent management

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