If you’re like me and looking to stay at the top of your game you know that reading is a way to level the playing field. Reading is a great way to develop your skills at a low cost. Many successful people including Bill Gates and Warren Buffet are big advocates of reading. If time is your biggest roadblock, there are ways to minimize the time it takes to get through a book.

Okay, enough with the ramble. Here are four of my favourite books that I’ve read this year.

Rules of Thumb: 52 Truths for Winning at Business Without Losing Your Self
By: Alan M. Webber

What it’s about:
This book has 52 short stories about business and life learned from developing one of the world’s best-known business publications – Fast Company. As you can imagine, starting a business from the ground up can be a challenge. The book offers a ton of quick hits to get you inspired to build your own path.

Biggest takeaway:
When looking for investors choose your partners wisely. Not all money is created equal.

Give and Take
By: Adam Grant

What it’s about:
Give and Take is one of those rare books that gets you thinking about how you think about the world. In the book Adam Grant shares countless examples of how having a giving mindset will take your career and life to new levels.

Biggest takeaway:
Having a giving mindset doesn’t mean you have to be a pushover.

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth
By: Chris Hadfield

What it’s about:
The road to becoming an astronaut. There are so many tidbits of life lessons in this book. It offers advice on leadership, careers and keeping your sanity as you reach for greatness.

Biggest takeaway:
When starting a new role it’s best to be a zero. Don’t try to prove your worth but look for things to stay out of the way. Build on that.

Predatory Thinking: A Masterclass in Out-Thinking the Competition
By: Dave Trott

What it’s about:
The life of a top-flight creative director. Similar to Rules of Thumb, this book offers short lessons on creating outstanding marketing campaigns. But, surprisingly, many of the lessons also give you ideas on creating a more fulfilling life too.

Biggest takeaway:
Creative ideas come from many different places. Surround yourself with things that inspire you.

What book or books have inspired you this year? Share them with me on Twitter @trebrandjordan