The Douglas Top 5: Business Reads

The Douglas team shares their top business reads.

person reading book

Nothing beats a book for its ability to explore large ideas with complexity and nuance and the following titles are some of our team’s favorites for doing just that. From leveraging teamwork to create company success to the future of green business, these pages are full of inspiring topics to keep you thinking over the winter break.  

The Day The World Stops Shopping, by J.B. MacKinnon

Someday, whether we make the choice or not, climate change will force a significant 

reevaluation and reduction of our current rate of consumption. What then will happen to businesses? In The Day The World Stops Shopping, Vancouver journalist J.B. MacKinnon explores what would happen to our planet, our lives, and our economy if consumption decreased by 25 per cent overnight. This well-researched thought-experiment examines society’s relationship with materialism but also provides insight into how businesses might operate in a sustainable future. 

MacKinnon wonders what businesses could look like if our goals shifted away from profit-driven expansion. His research covers lots of ground, looking back at the longstanding generational family businesses in Japan and reaching forward to examine companies disrupting the fashion industry. 

“We’ve come to assume that, because we live in a global economy that produces a lot of both growth and innovation, we can’t have one without the other,” writes MacKinnon. 

His book is a treatise on how wrong that assumption is. The loss of consumption could very well lead us to innovate more and innovate better. 

No One Succeeds Alone: Learn Everything You Can From Everyone You Can, by Robert Reffkin

In No One Succeeds Alone: Learn Everything You Can From Everyone You Can, Robert Reffkin, founder and CEO of Compass, shares his learnings from the relationships and mentorships that have helped him succeed — from building his own nonprofit to launching a start-up building the future of real estate. 

The book is Reffkin’s answer to the popular question: how did you do it? Reffkin wants people to acknowledge how much we owe others. “In our society, it’s easy to forget how interconnected we all are. It’s easy to think it’s all about you — how hard you work and how smart you are.”

Reffkin knows how to get the most out of a relationship and offers advice about what to put in, what questions to ask and what to look for in people. 

The Disruption Mindset, by Charlene Li

Many companies aim for disruption with the idea that if they develop the right innovation, they’ll disrupt their market and drive huge growth. But Charlene Li, author of disruption Mindset: Why Some Organizations Transform While Others Fail, says that’s not how disruption works. “Disruption doesn’t create growth,” says Li. “Growth creates disruption.”



Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know, by Adam Grant

In Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know organizational psychologist and Wharton professor Adam Grant explores the mindset that leads to productive workplace cultures and thriving professional careers. 

Grant thinks that flexible and open thinking is based on a willingness to rethink, and that working to your values, rather than (fixed) ideas, will yield long term success. His insights come from many illuminating examples of people who are willing to update their hypothesis often, or shift strategies based on new data, and from sobering examples of leaders who failed to change their thinking. His advice: surround yourself with people who will challenge your opinion instead of supporting it.

Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork, by Dan Sullivan with Dr. Benjamin Hardy

In Who Not How: The Formula to Achieve Bigger Goals Through Accelerating Teamwork, entrepreneurial coach Dan Sullivan and organizational psychologist Dr. Benjamin Hardy encourage entrepreneurs to take on a new business strategy. Instead of asking, “How can I do this?” one should approach new ideas and opportunities by asking, “Who can do this for me?”

The authors argue that by making this paradigm shift, there are numerous potential benefits, including: building a successful business while not killing yourself; freeing up 1,000-plus hours of work you shouldn’t be doing anyway; building a team to support you in your vision; and giving yourself the choice of how you spend your time and the type of work you do.