13 of the best business books of 2017

Books

From a history of the iPhone to the impact on a Wisconsin town when General Motors closed its plant there, these reads are worth your time.

You know you want to sharpen your business acumen, but there are so many business books published each year it can be a bit overwhelming to try to sort through them all. Fret not. There have been a collection of books published in 2017 in the category that stand out from the pack.

Whether you're looking to get a jump on holiday shopping for the entrepreneurial-minded on your list or interested in educating yourself, here are 13 business books which have received glowing commendations.

And the titles on this list aren't only for business owners — some are deeply reported feats of investigative journalism that are just compelling stories, no matter what your day job.

"The One Device," by Brian Merchant

This examination of the iPhone includes analysis of both the enormous cultural impact of the device and a history of its manufacturing process. It was on the shortlist of finalists for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year.

"'The One Device' is a road map for design and engineering genius, an anthropology of the modern age and an unprecedented view into one of the most secretive companies in history. This is the untold account, ten years in the making, of the device that changed everything," the Financial Times says.

"The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World's Greatest Teams," by Sam Walker

The deputy editor for enterprise at the Wall Street Journal and a former sports columnist, Walker identified the preeminent sports teams throughout history and determined they all had an influential captain at the time they reigned supreme. He then analyzes the seven commonalities of those captains.

Walker's book was selected as the best book in the "leadership" category on the 17th annual best business books of the year list by the book reviewers at the management publisher Strategy + Business.

"This wonderfully written and wildly entertaining study of the most winning sports teams in history has more to say about leadership, engagement, and the chemistry that sparks and sustains extraordinary achievement than a decade's worth of leadership books," says Strategy + Business reviewer Sally Helgesen.

"Reset," by Ellen Pao

This is Pao's story of suing the esteemed venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers for discrimination. She lost the suit, but the litigation brought attention to the overwhelmingly white, male culture of Silicon Valley.

It was a finalist for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year. "Ellen K. Pao's Reset is a rallying cry—the story of a whistleblower who aims to empower everyone struggling to be heard, in Silicon Valley and beyond," the Financial Times says of its selection.

"Principles: Life and Work," by Ray Dalio

Business and life coach Tony Robbins preaches the importance of constantly educating yourself. Robbins tells CNBC Make It Dalio's book is of the most inspirational he's read recently. The book is Dalio's explanation of the highly unique leadership strategy he employs at his wildly successful hedge fund, Bridgewater Associates.

Dalio "has returned more money as a hedge fund manager to investors than anybody in history," Robbins tells CNBC Make It. "If you're not familiar with hedge funds, you know wealthy people give their money to hedge funds and a big hedge fund might be $20 billion — he's $160 billion. ...He's made money 23 of last 26 years. He's a total genius and he gives you his story of how he figured it out and he gives you his principles for life, his principles for business."

"Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future," by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson

The authors from MIT's Sloan School of Management explain how businesses can best use artificial intelligence and crowd wisdom and how leaders should manage amid these massive technological changes.

It was selected as the best book in the "innovation" category on the 17th annual best business books of the year list by the book reviewers at the management publisher Strategy + Business.

"Beneath all the concrete problems it raises, an intriguing question lies at the heart of the book: Given the rise of algorithmic decision making, the ability to outsource tasks to the crowd, and such technologies as blockchain, will the corporation as we know it become obsolete?" writes Strategy + Business reviewer James Surowiecki.

"The Spider Network," by David Enrich

This is the story behind the Libor scandal, the deliberate manipulation of the key banking interest rates. It was one the of finalists for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year.

"'The Spider Network' is the almost-unbelievable and darkly entertaining inside account of the Libor scandal – one of history's biggest, farthest-reaching scams to hit Wall Street since the global financial crisis, written by the only journalist with access to Tom Hayes before he was imprisoned for 14 years," the Financial Times says of its top pick.

"If You're in a Dogfight, Become a Cat: Strategies for Long-Term Growth," by Leonard Sherman

The Columbia Business School professor and consultant analyzes the formidable growth of companies including JetBlue, Southwest Airlines, IKEA and Apple. It was selected as the best book in the "strategy" category on the 17th annual best business books of the year list by the book reviewers at the management publisher Strategy + Business.

"Like a skilled arborist, Sherman prunes back the ungainly, overgrown tree that strategy has become since it entered the corporate mainstream in the middle of the last century. He saws off a number of dead branches, including the many prescriptions that emerged from the countless searches for excellence, greatness, and the secrets of success," writes the Strategy + Business reviewer Ken Favaro.

"What's left behind is an expertly trimmed tree of knowledge that brilliantly summarizes and integrates what's been learned about strategy over the last 60 years."

"The Great Leveler: Violence and the History of Inequality from the Stone Age to the Twenty-First Century," by Walter Scheidel

The professor of history at Stanford University examines inequality across history. The book was on the list of finalists for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year, as well as being the best book in the "economics" category on the 17th annual best business books of the year list from Strategy + Business.

"Inequality declines when carnage and disaster strike and increases when peace and stability return. The Great Leveler is the first book to chart the crucial role of violent shocks in reducing inequality over the full sweep of human history around the world," the Financial Times says.

"Janesville," by Amy Goldstein

The Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter studied Janesville, Wis., after General Motors shuttered its assembly plant there during the Great Recession. It won the award for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year and the accompanying £30,000 ($39,339) prize.

"This is the story of what happens to an industrial town in the American heartland when its factory stills — but it's not the familiar tale. Most observers record the immediate shock of vanished jobs, but few stay around long enough to notice what happens next when a community with a can-do spirit tries to pick itself up," the Financial Times says of its 2017 winner, announced Monday. "This is not just a Janesville story or a midwestern story. It's an American story."

"Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, the Navy SEALs, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work," by Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal

This is a study of how to achieve peak performance by getting to a flow state of being exceptionally present. It was selected as the best book in the "management" category on the 17th annual best business books of the year list by the book reviewers at the management publisher Strategy + Business.

"Most books that focus on using neuroscience in order to work better concentrate on improving our understanding and control of our own brains. But 'Stealing Fire' shows us how to find peak performance through release rather than effort: We get in the peak performance zone not by finding ourselves but by allowing our sense of self to vanish. The goal is to enter 'an elongated present,' which researchers also describe as 'the deep now,'" writes the Strategy + Business reviewer Duff McDonald.

"Adaptive Markets," by Andrew Lo

This is an analysis on the effectiveness of economic markets. It was on the shortlist of finalists for the Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year.

"Drawing on psychology, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and other fields, Adaptive Markets shows that the theory of market efficiency isn't wrong but merely incomplete. When markets are unstable, investors react instinctively, creating inefficiencies for others to exploit," the Financial Times writes.

"Once Upon a Time in Shaolin: The Untold Story of Wu-Tang Clan's Million-Dollar Secret Album, the Devaluation of Music, and America's New Public Enemy No.1," by Cyrus Bozorgmehr

This is the story of Wu-Tang Clan's effort to create an album and sell it to only one buyer. The rap group sold their album to Martin Shkreli, the "pharma bro" business man turned convicted felon. At the time Wu-Tang sold the album to Shkreli, the rap group had no idea about his nefarious doings.

It was selected as the best book in the "narratives" category on the 17th annual best business books of the year list by the book reviewers at the management publisher Strategy + Business.

"Bozorgmehr ultimately decides that because what Wu-Tang wanted to do was foster a debate, it's actually good that the album ended up in Shkreli's hands," writes the Strategy + Business reviewer Bethany McLean.

"Superconsumers: A Simple, Speedy, and Sustainable Path to Superior Growth," by Eddie Yoon

This is a delve into what makes a consumer obsessed with a product. It was selected as the best book in the "marketing" category on the 17th annual best business books of the year list by the book reviewers at the management publisher Strategy + Business.

"For many marketers, Superconsumers will prove illuminating because it emphasizes that you don't have to be a maker of cutting-edge basketball shoes or fast cars to inspire passion. The key, says Yoon, is to uncover the larger reason that superconsumers are hiring your product, and use those insights to expand your market," writes the Strategy + Business reviewer Catharine P. Taylor.

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