Welcome to the Non-Obvious Book Awards!

Every year our team, led by WSJ Best Selling Author Rohit Bhargava spends the entire year gathering stories and insights, interviewing thought leaders and attending events to learn about new ideas and curate them into our annually published trend book called Non-Obvious. After several years of collecting and reading, we finally decided to share some of our favorite books by producing an annual “best of the year” list. Unlike other industry awards programs, there is no application fee to enter and our selections are completely impartial and curated by our team without outside influence. Books must be published in the 2018 calendar year in order to be considered and every winning book will receive a short review written by Rohit Bhargava and published in the weeks to come.

The new 2018 Edition of these awards was announced on December 17th and a total of 50 books were carefully selected from a pool of over 400 books that our team specifically selected for review.

*Note – In 2014, these awards had a different brand and approach. In 2015, we did not produce an awards list, however our intent is to do so every year moving forward.


The 2018 Non-Obvious Book Awards Winners:

  1. Non-Obvious Book Award: Most Entertaining Book of 2018 – The Formula by Albert-László Barabási
  2. Non-Obvious Book Award: Most Important Book of 2018 – Bullshit Jobs by David Greaeber
  3. Non-Obvious Book Award: Most Useful Book of 2018 – Factfulness by Hans Rosling
  4. Non-Obvious Book Award: Most Original Book of 2018 – Winners Take All by Anand Giridharadas
  5. Non-Obvious Book Award: Most Shareable Book of 2018 – Rebel Talent by Francesca Gino

Read the full reviews of all of these books on Rohit’s blog >

The 2018 Non-Obvious Book Award Shortlist:

  1. Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear
  2. Bullshit Jobs: A Theory by David Greaeber
  3. Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling
  4. Dear Client: This Book Will Teach You How to Get What You Want from Creative People by Bonnie Siegler
  5. Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most by Steven Johnson
  6. Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr
  7. Never Lose A Customer Again: Turn Any Sale into Lifelong Loyalty In 100 Days by Joey Coleman
  8. Parisian Charm School: French Secrets for Cultivating Love, Joy, and That Certain je ne sais quoi by Jamie Cat Callan
  9. Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life by Francesca Gino
  10. Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers with Word of Mouth by Jay Baer
  11. Technically Wrong: Sexist Apps, Biased Algorithms, and Other Threats of Toxic Tech by Sara Wachter-Boettcher
  12. The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker
  13. The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success by Albert-László Barabási
  14. When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel Pink
  15. Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World by Anand Giridharadas

Read the full reviews of all of these books on Rohit’s blog >

The 2018 Non-Obvious Book Award Longlist:

  1. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari
  2. AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order by Kai-Fu Lee
  3. Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation by Dan Schawbel
  4. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
  5. Belong: Find Your People, Create Community, and Live a More Connected Life by Radha Agrawal
  6. Big Game: The NFL in Dangerous Times by Mark Leibovich
  7. Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being by Shawn Achor
  8. Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys’ Club of Silicon Valley by Emily Chang
  9. Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue by Ryan Holiday
  10. Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart by Shane Snow
  11. Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress by Steven Pinker
  12. Herding Tigers: Be the Leader That Creative People Need by Todd Henry
  13. How to Wash a Chicken: Mastering the Business Presentation by Tim Calkins
  14. Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change by Beth Comstock
  15. In Praise of Wasting Time (TED Books) by Alan Lightman
  16. Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness by Ingrid Fetell Lee
  17. Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us by Dan Lyons
  18. Leapfrog: The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs by Nathalie Molina Nino and Sara Grace
  19. Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World by Rand Fishkin
  20. Mismatch: How Inclusion Shapes Design (Simplicity: Design, Technology, Business, Life) by Kat Holmes and John Maeda
  21. New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World–and How to Make It Work for You by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms
  22. Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility by Patty McCord
  23. Story Driven: You Don’t Need To Compete When You Know Who You Are by Bernadette Jiwa
  24. The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age by James Crabtree
  25. The Book of Beautiful Questions: The Powerful Questions That Will Help You Decide, Create, Connect, and Lead by Warren Berger
  26. The CEO Next Door: The 4 Behaviors that Transform Ordinary People into World-Class Leaders by Elena Botelho and Kim Powell
  27. The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea, at the Right Time by Allen Gannett
  28. The Curse of Bigness: Antitrust in the New Gilded Age by Tim Wu
  29. The Fixer: My Adventures Saving Startups from Death by Politics by Bradley Tusk
  30. The Messy Middle: Finding Your Way Through the Hardest and Most Crucial Part of Any Bold Venture by Scott Belsky
  31. The Myth of the Nice Girl: Achieving a Career You Love Without Becoming a Person You Hate by Fran Hauser
  32. The Personality Brokers: The Strange History of Myers-Briggs and the Birth of Personality Testing by Merve Emre
  33. This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See by Seth Godin
  34. Unsafe Thinking: How to be Nimble and Bold When You Need It Most by Jonah Sachs
  35. Wisdom at Work: The Making of a Modern Elder by Chip Conley

Is this award a big deal?

It’s always nice to be honored, so on an emotional level,  we’d have to say of course!

Beyond that, we do also conduct an extensive media campaign through traditional and social media throughout the month of December to share the results. All books that make the Shortlist will not only receive recognition in our materials, but their books will be personally reviewed by our Founder Rohit Bhargava and those reviews will be posted on Amazon along with a badge noting the award.

In terms of your chances to win, the awards are highly selective and we don’t accept payments for entry. What this means is that we are routinely scouring the web, events, media and actual bookstores to find the best new business books of the year. Every year, our list includes some titles that have garnered widespread praise along with some that have been underappreciated by the media or other awards programs.


Winners: Badges For Download

Congratulations for being selected this year! If you are one of the winners or a media/PR team working with them, below are several badges available for your promotional use (click on the image to get a higher resolution JPG file). Please only use the badge that corresponds to the list your book was selected for.  We trust you to use these responsibly.

Authors: Interested In Being Considered For 2019?

In order to be considered for the next edition of this report, your book must have a publication date between December 2018 and December 2019. We accept submissions for review of galley copies, final editions and digital manuscripts, however a book must be published and publicly available for sale in order to be considered.

Your book must have applications for business, but does not necessarily need to be officially categorized as a “Business Book.” We are happy to consider any book that can help make a business leader or entrepreneur more successful or smarter. 

Physical manuscripts, galleys or books will not be returned. We do not accept any sorts of payments or bribes in order to consider a book (even particularly delicious chocolate). If any chocolate does accompany your submission, you can expect that it also will not be returned.

There is no application fee to submit your book for consideration. If you would like to be considered, please send an email to info@nonobviouscompany.com with more information about your book and we will be in touch if our team would like to request a copy for review.