The best books we’ve read in 2019, as chosen by IMD professors

In need of a good book, but unsure what to pick up next?

As 2019 draws to a close, we asked a group of IMD professors to each recommend one of the best books they read this year.

From advice on improving your decision-making skills and how to give honest feedback, to the rise of Asian economies and a translation of the works of perhaps the most important thinker of the ancient world, the selected texts are as varied as they are inspiring, enriching and educational.

Howard Yu recommends...

"There are three types of innovation, and “not all innovations are created equal,” as Harvard Business School professor Clayton Christensen says. The author of 'The Innovator’s Dilemma' paints a compelling argument of why so many investments in economic development fail to generate sustainable prosperity, and then offers a groundbreaking solution for true and lasting change."



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Bettina Büchel recommends...

"This book is really about how you can be a good boss and colleague by striking a fine balance of being neither aggressive when giving feedback nor showing only empathy and not providing your honest view of a situation. Focusing on performance and growth requires you to be clear but to care about people at the same time."


Read more about Bettina Büchel.


Shlomo Ben-Hur recommends...

"This book was given to me by my wife who has seen me study leadership and agonize over the lack of good leadership in the Middle East, the region where I grew up, and the war and violence flaring all over the world. Written by an American Buddhist nun, the book offers insights into the origins of global conflict and argues that anger originates in our hearts and not on the battlefield. It calls each of us to check our aggression on a personal level and thereby sow the seeds of compassion and peace."


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Anand Narasimhan recommends...

"This book was strongly recommended to me by an academic colleague, and it has held up to its promise. The matsutake mushroom has great culinary and ritual significance in Japan, and is among the most expensive fungi in the world. Tsing weaves a tale of pricey mushrooms in Tokyo restaurants, the precarious existence of immigrant Lao pickers in Oregon at the start of a global supply chain, and the unique role that mushrooms have in reviving forests ravaged by human activity. An interesting insight into the realities of living in a capitalist era."

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Mark Greeven recommends...

"Khanna’s book provides a well-documented and fresh perspective on today’s world - a world where not just China is rising but also the rest of Asia. Based on a solid historical understanding, this book provides the compelling argument that we have to see China in the context of Asia, and that it is Asia’s dynamism and diversity that is going to shape the 21st Century’s economy and society. It is a must-read book and must-consider argument for global executives."

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Alyson Meister recommends...

"This book stands out as one of my 2019 favorites because – backed by decades of research and evidence – it provides a useful framework and practical tips for creating and sustaining a culture of psychological safety in teams and organizations."



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Arnaud Chevallier recommends...

"The quality of our decision-making depends on the quality of two factors: our logic and the evidence we use. However, working with evidence can be difficult. This book demystifies how to work with evidence by providing concrete tools that will help improve the quality and outcomes of your decision-making."

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Didier Cossin recommends...

"Sarah Ruden’s new translation of Augustine's 'Confessions' shines a spotlight on the life of one remarkable individual while also showing us that all lives have a meaning that is universal and eternal. The book takes place during times of tremendous disruption, including the fall of Rome, and at one point in his life the author home city was besieged by barbarians. This book redefines values and the very meaning of society."


Read more about Didier Cossin.