Contrary to popular belief, fiction is not a waste of time for business-focused individuals. Relaxing and leisure time are important for your productivity and general well-being. The right fiction books can also teach you as many invaluable business lessons as the latest nonfiction bestseller.
From solving problems more effectively to improving your critical thinking, these eight fiction books can help you get better at running your business. Here’s what you can expect to learn from each of them.
1. Startup by Doree Shafrir
This book is a fun, fast read that takes place in the heart of New York City’s startup culture. It will make you reevaluate your relationship with technology and even your reliance on it. The book offers insights into the lives of women in tech and the “bro culture” that pervades the workplace. You’ll likely reflect on your work-life balance–or lack thereof.
2. Dunbar by Edward St. Aubyn
This book is a reimagining of King Lear, offering the story of a media mogul losing everything. Henry Dunbar is a Rupert Murdoch-esque character who falls victim to a coup and ends up in a home for the elderly. It’s a tale about excess and how things can change when the tables are turned on us. Consider this a good reminder on how to avoid corruption and egos as you become more successful.
3. The Circle by Dave Eggers
If you work with any kind of tech that deals primarily with privacy or personal data mining, this is a must-read. This book asks hard questions about the right to privacy. You’ll also start to wonder how much we could jeopardize if we justify chipping away at privacy in the name of technological advancement and so-called transparency.
4. King Rat by James Clavell
This book is a bit of a thriller in some parts. It tells the story of American, British, and Australian soldiers in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Team managers will especially benefit from the perspective this piece of historical fiction offers. Teamwork becomes of utmost importance for the characters if they want to survive the war and live to tell the tale.
5. Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
This is one of the best books ever written, especially for children. You probably got this one as a graduation present from your parents or an aunt or uncle. But, this tale is as relevant now as it was then. If you’re going through growing pains at your startup or complicated times at your business, it’s probably a good time to give this one a reread. This book is a good reminder of how patience, resilience, and perseverance are some of the most important parts of success.
6. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
This short book is another quick and nice read that’s especially relevant in today’s world. The story is all about business responsibility toward the environment and how not thinking and acting responsibly in this regard affects us all. Look into other short stories by Dr. Seuss while you’re at it. Who knows what fun you’ll find.
7. Devotion by Patti Smith
This unique book is all about the creative process, inspiration, and why we do what we do. It shows us how creation is one of the things that makes us uniquely human and allows us to connect, somehow, with complete strangers. This could be an inspiring read if you struggle sometimes to keep doing what you’re doing, especially as an entrepreneur creating your own path.
8. The Lemonade War by Jaqueline Davies
Don’t let the fact that this is a children’s novel make you skip it. This book is all about marketing and the million other little things necessary to make a business successful. You’ll enjoy learning it all through the lens of two siblings with competing lemonade stands.
Whether you consume most of your fiction through audiobook, as a member of a book club, or just via recommendations from your best friend, don’t be afraid to pick up a novel. It doesn’t have to be a New York Times bestseller. The best fiction will not only provide an escape from the world, but inform your business decisions as well.