Thursday 1 September 2016 6:00 am

Back to school: From Postcapitalism to The Silk Roads, these are the business books you need to read this year

Schools are returning and the City is beginning to wake up after the summer – but have you finished your holiday reading list?

Whether you're returning from a summer break or just quickly boning up before school starts, here are the five business books you should have read this summer: 

1. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, Phil Knight

Entrepreneur Phil Knight's story of how he created the sprawling international sports brand Nike is peppered with lessons as well as reflections. From the first $50 from his dad he used to start importing low-cost, high quality shoes from Japan to the company's billion dollar turnover, read one the year's key business memoirs while it's still fresh. 

(Source: Simon & Schuster)

2. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, Adam Grant

BusinessWeek's favourite professor is back on the scene with a book about how to originate new ideas and policies that improve the status quo as well as challenging it. As a thought leader, Wharton professor Grant has few parallels and illustrates his theory of how to champion new takes on the world with wide-ranging stories. Interesting but not taxing. 

Read more: 11 business podcasts you need to listen to on your summer holiday

3. Postcapitalism, Paul Mason

Not strictly about business, but Postcapitalism by Channel 4 presenter Paul Mason is an engaging think piece about whether capitalism has reached its limits. Mason explores whether the rise of information technology has the potential to destroy economies based on markets and private ownership (spoiler: he contends it does). An economics book shorter than Piketty's Capital that will equip you for just as many debates. 

(Source: Allen Lane)

4. #Girlboss, Sophia Amoruso

This New York Times bestseller details the story of a retailer few will have heard of in the UK, Nasty Gal, which means there's still time to get in ahead of the curve. The company, which specialises in young women's fashion, has been built from the ground up by high-school dropout to executive chairwoman Sophia Amoruso. Admittedly, this book is about building a #Girlboss movement as much as it is about how Nasty Gal was founded, but if a woman like Amoruso doesn't have the authority to kick-start a new women-in-business movement, who does?

Read more: Four classic business books you should read now

5. The Silk Roads: A New History of the World, Peter Frankopan

Also not strictly business, but this historical account that shifts the centre of gravity (and perspective) to the countries of the Silk Roads will address your Eurocentric view of the last couple of millennia. When you consider the world's current centre of economic gravity shifts further to the east each year, being able to off your Western hat and learn some history while you're at it for the length of a book is an opportunity not to pass up. 

(Source: Bloomsbury Publishing)