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The Best Business Culture Books - 2021

Last updated on August 25, 2021

We looked at the top 5 Business Culture Books and dug through the reviews from 12 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best Business Culture Books.

Best Business Culture Books

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Our Picks For The Top Business Culture Books

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  Our Top Pick

Ben Horowitz What You Do Is Who You Are

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Ben Horowitz

What You Do Is Who You Are

Overall Take

Historically Based WisdomGreat for history buffs, managers, and those who are a bit of both, this book will transform how you approach business culture.

Experts Included
DWYM Office Experts plus Good Reads, Publishers Weekly, Medium, Bobby Powers. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Unexpected and delightful. Possibly the least dry and simultaneously most practical book on organizational culture currently on the market. Using a blend of case studies from history and present-day interviews, Horowitz offers insight and suggestions on purposeful actions leaders can..."
Cons
"A study in tone-deafness; a white author using Louverture’s rebellion against murderous slave owners to contextualize Amazon’s frugality principle does not land in the place the author seems to believe it will. Readers looking for a testosterone jolt will find..."
  Runner Up

Daniel Coyle The Culture Code

Daniel Coyle

The Culture Code

Overall Take

What Works BestTake control of your business' culture with a book that offers an effective mix of science, insights from leaders and practical advice.

Experts Included
DWYM Office Experts plus Good Reads, Justin G. Gravitt, Gemba Academy. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" This is a really engaging, inspiring, and helpful book about the often subtle or misunderstood behaviors that make a team successful."
Cons
"My only critique is that it does drag on in a spot or two, but overall it doesn’t."
  We Also Like

Erin Meyer The Culture Map

Erin Meyer

The Culture Map

Overall Take

Guide to Global DifferencesThis book unlocks the secrets to communicating with those from different backgrounds and is perfect for global companies.

Experts Included
DWYM Office Experts plus Good Reads, Ulfire. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" A practical guide for navigating cultural complexity while conducting global business. Interesting examples of everyday failures to communicate and work around solutions. Implements personal changes sounds like a challenge, but that is the way things are."
Cons
"From an academic perspective I was a little disappointed that the development of the data used to establish each of the rankings is only discussed briefly. Having more information on the background source for the data would, for me, have..."
  Strong Contender

Edgar H. Schein Organizational Culture and Leadership

Edgar H. Schein

Organizational Culture and Leadership

Overall Take

Shape Your TeamThis book offers a great starting point for understanding business culture and considers unique approaches for your own business.

Experts Included
DWYM Office Experts plus Good Reads, Stravaro, LLC. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Dr. Schein is an expert on Organization Culture and Development, having spent decades in the field. This book is a must have for any manager or leader. It provides insights and deeper understanding in to the way people work and..."
Cons
"The length made this a long, but worthwhile, slog."
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12

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the business culture books available to purchase.
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12

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Good Reads, Stravaro, LLC, Ulfire, Justin G. Gravitt, Gemba Academy.

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User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including

Our experts reviewed the top 5 Business Culture Books and also dug through the reviews from 12 of the most popular review sites including and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best Business Culture Books.

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The Best Overall

Ben Horowitz What You Do Is Who You Are


Our Expert Score

8.0
4 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

9.2
2,626 user reviews

Our Take

Using four examples of successful leadership from history (including Genghis Khan's cultural inclusiveness and the only successful slave revolt) this book analyzes how these lessons can be applied to build an intentional and purposeful corporate culture in the modern world.

What other experts liked

Unexpected and delightful. Possibly the least dry and simultaneously most practical book on organizational culture currently on the market. Using a blend of case studies from history and present-day interviews, Horowitz offers insight and suggestions on purposeful actions leaders can...
- Good Reads
This book aims to take company culture from nice-sounding mission statements, vague corporate value lists to something very fundamental: The individual actions of the founder or CEO. This is what it boils down to, and I don’t know of any...
- Medium
What You Do Is Who You Are is arguably the most unique business book I've ever read. Rather than approaching culture with overworn case studies, he supplies fresh stories from slave revolts, prison gangs, and historic battles that emphasize how...
- Bobby Powers

What other experts didn't like

This book could have been a blog post and did not need all the long-winded examples that Ben was trying to use to get the message across.
- Good Reads
A study in tone-deafness; a white author using Louverture’s rebellion against murderous slave owners to contextualize Amazon’s frugality principle does not land in the place the author seems to believe it will. Readers looking for a testosterone jolt will find...
- Publishers Weekly
It would be fitting that a book about culture is a bit more — cultured — for lack of a better word. It is much less about himself, and much more about the lessons from history and companies from the...
- Medium

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Daniel Coyle The Culture Code

Our Expert Score

8.8
3 expert reviews

User Summarized Score

9.4
12,106 user reviews

Our Take

This book examines a diverse array of the world's most successful organizations, ranging from shoe companies and sports teams to military units, to identify specific strategies that produce cooperation, innovation and cohesion. The book also includes real-life examples of what not to do.

What other experts liked

This is a really engaging, inspiring, and helpful book about the often subtle or misunderstood behaviors that make a team successful.
- Good Reads
A great read that’s super helpful to anyone looking to intentionally build a culture. Coyle has uncovered three keys to culture: 1. Build Safety 2. Share Vulnerability 3. Establish Purpose. He supports these ideas with research that’s laid out in an engaging and interesting manner. For organizational leaders and pastors...
- Justin G. Gravitt
Coyle is a very good storyteller who keeps the pages turning. Each section is summarized with an “Ideas for Action” chapter which one can return to again and again.
- Gemba Academy

What other experts didn't like

There's a type of books that start with an idea and then go through many stories applying confirmation and attribution bias to explain how this simple idea was crucial to the success or failure present in these stories. Well this is one of these books.
- Good Reads
My only critique is that it does drag on in a spot or two, but overall it doesn’t.
- Justin G. Gravitt
He doesn’t overburden the book with findings from other studies. The book could have used a few more data visualizations such as the Allen Curve, showing how communication skyrockets when people are seated 8 meters or less apart, and nearly halts at 50 meters apart.
- Gemba Academy

Overall Product Rankings

Ben Horowitz What You Do Is Who You Are

1. Ben Horowitz What You Do Is Who You Are

Overall Score: 9.4
Reviews Included: 6

Daniel Coyle The Culture Code

2. Daniel Coyle The Culture Code

Overall Score: 9.2
Reviews Included: 7

Erin Meyer The Culture Map

3. Erin Meyer The Culture Map

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 6

Edgar H. Schein Organizational Culture and Leadership

4. Edgar H. Schein Organizational Culture and Leadership

Overall Score: 9.0
Reviews Included: 4

Karin Hurt & David Dye Courageous Cultures

5. Karin Hurt & David Dye Courageous Cultures

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 3

Our Business Culture Book Findings


Ben Horowitz What You Do Is Who You Are

What We Liked: Using four examples of successful leadership from history (including Genghis Khan’s cultural inclusiveness and the only successful slave revolt) this book analyzes how these lessons can be applied to build an intentional and purposeful corporate culture in the modern world.


Daniel Coyle The Culture Code

What We Liked: This book examines a diverse array of the world’s most successful organizations, ranging from shoe companies and sports teams to military units, to identify specific strategies that produce cooperation, innovation and cohesion. The book also includes real-life examples of what not to do.


Erin Meyer The Culture Map

What We Liked: Corporate cultures worldwide are as different as the social cultures they’re embedded in. This book breaks down these cultures and provides concrete, actionable advice to bridge gaps and create a functional framework for your business. It does so in a readable and engaging way.


Edgar H. Schein Organizational Culture and Leadership

What We Liked: The fifth edition of this book, a defining one in the field, explains the abstract concept of organizational culture and how it relates to leadership. The role of leadership is examined especially in terms of organizational age: from its founding, though its mid-life, and into maturity.


Karin Hurt & David Dye Courageous Cultures

What We Liked: Many businesses think they have an open culture that invites contribution, only to be surprised when they learn their employees feel unheard. This book examines why and provides research-proven techniques for fostering innovation, problem-solving and a customer focus.

Our Business Culture Book Buying Guide

Business today truly is international, with technology allowing employees, customers and owners/partners to come together from anywhere in the world. With this comes a plethora of communication styles and cultural backgrounds.

Moreover, the economy, technology and global culture are changing so quickly that what worked for the manager that came before you may not work for you. In such an environment, the right book on business culture can be a lifesaver.

Organizational culture is now its own field of study, and you can easily begin reading up with a textbook on the subject. When choosing a book, check an author’s bona fides to see if they’ve successfully led or fostered specific companies or cultures. If they come from an academic or scientific background, find out if their research is rigorous and peer-reviewed.

More than anything, look for specific and actionable advice. It can be easy to get lost in generalities with an abstract concept like organizational culture.

DWYM Fun Fact

The study of business culture and organizational structure borrows from the long histories of psychology, sociology and economics. Four people were especially important in the development of organizational structure as a field of study, starting with philosopher and economist Adam Smith in 1776 as the father of modern capitalism.

After him, sociologists Max Weber and Frederick Winslow Taylor stressed rationality and how individual strengths benefit an organization in the early 20th century.

In the 1950s and ’60s, psychologist Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs influenced how businesses prioritized meeting their employees’ physical and emotional requirements. The purpose was to make it possible for individuals to survive, thrive, and make more creative contributions to their workplaces.

Today, the #MeToo movement and growing awareness of employment and equity gaps mean that modern managers need to incorporate a commitment to diversity into their business culture. Fortunately, many books are available to help with that.

The Business Culture Book Tips and Advice

  • Seek out additional reading that’s specific to your industry. This can depend on the age, size, sector and location of your business.
  • Find books focused on your specific situation. For example, are you a small business or in the public sector?
  • Always make sure the author does not dismiss the experiences of diverse employees, clients and partners.
  • Buy the latest edition of the book to ensure you’re getting the most up-to-date information about statistics, people and processes.