You’re probably asking yourself, “How in the world is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy a business book?” You’re also probably asking, “Is Adam really that big of a geek?” To the second question I will respond with a resounding, “Yes, I am.” To the first, well, here goes…

I read a ton, both for business and for pleasure. I have a wide range of interest, and I’ll read just about anything – serious stuff, funny stuff, geek stuff, and of course a lot of business books. Most of the business books I encounter really should be magazine articles – you get the point after the first chapter, and the remaining dozen chapters are there to support a speaking tour. But there are some business books which are worth your while. The books below all have three things in common:

  • The content is memorable and has stuck with me over time.
  • I have either re-read them or passed them on to my staff, or both.
  • The content is unique and not repetitive – they are worth reading all the way through.

With those criteria in mind, I present a list of my favorite business books:

The Cathedral and The Bazaar – Eric S. Raymond
Flow – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
The Goal – Eliyahu Goldratt
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
The Social Life of Information – John Seely Brown
The Visual Display of Quantitative Information – Edward Tufte
Where Good Ideas Come From – Steven Johnson

And, of course…

The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams

So why is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy one of the best business books ever written? Simple. It contains the single most useful piece of business advice I’ve ever received:


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