The business world is tough and competitive, and everyone knows that to succeed in it, you have to have a wide array of skills. You have to be personable with clients and coworkers, knowledgeable enough to do the work required of you, tech-adept to grow and evolve over the course of your career, and have the ability to persevere enough to put in long hours in less than ideal conditions.
A little-remembered fact, though, that will get you through thick and thin is this: the smartest business minds are great at math and management, but they are also serious readers. The top CEOs are known to read hundreds of volumes a year from fiction and non-fiction alike.
The best business minds also know that staying on top of the news is critical, and they know that weekly and monthly magazines often provide the best outlet for doing so. While the Internet is here to stay, so are the glossy magazines we know and love. Read on to see the best business magazines to pick up today.
Best for Professionals: Harvard Business Review
If you want to read Harvard Business Review articles, you are going to have to subscribe. Their paywall is notoriously tough, and their materials are used in classrooms around the world. But if you do pony up for a subscription, this bi-monthly publication includes info on top research, news, and developments in many different fields of business. After the 2009 hire of Adi Ignatius, the now editor-in-chief, HBR started to become a cutting-edge publication that covered business news as it was happening rather than just the academic research that had been its mainstay since 1922. As one of the top business schools in the world, Harvard produces in-depth material that is essential reading for business students, professors, and professionals at all levels of their careers. It is geared toward managers more than towards early career professionals, but there is something inside for everyone with an interest in serious business reading. Frequently covered topics include management and leadership, marketing and organization, long-term strategy, and personal negotiation skills.
Best for Personal Finance: Money
If you are looking for a general guide to investing, saving, and budgeting, this is the magazine for you. Whether your five years away for retirement or 50, this magazine regularly features advice on how to choose an investment strategy that will help meet your goals and features real families who have done so, like a family who paid off $100,000 in debt while also raising young children. You might know them best for their annual list of “America's Best Places to Live,” which highlights different cities in America with an eye towards affordability, as well as several other “Best Of” lists, like the best places to travel in America or go to college.
Best for Business News: Bloomberg Businessweek
This weekly magazine is produced by the same company professional finance guys, and gals love for their indispensable Bloomberg Terminal. Though the company has struggled through the last recession, its first edition was printed weeks before the stock market crash in 1929, and they’ve been providing essential business news to industry professionals ever since. While the topics inside are geared towards a reader with highly specialized knowledge, there is something inside for casual readers as well as career professionals. If you’re looking to join the ranks of the latter, Businessweek produces a respectable list of the best MBA programs annually, so you can take your pick and read it, too. In addition to news on markets and technology, the magazine also features beloved opinion columnists who offer fresh takes on a variety of topics, as well as a wide array of online podcasts for subscribers to enjoy.
Best for Lists: Forbes
Forbes has never met a list it does not love. Their annual Forbes Billionaires List is always a topic of hot conversations and the product of years and years of hardcore investigative journalism, their World’s 100 Most Powerful Women List celebrates the strength of feminism, their investment guides help countless individuals manage their money, and the smattering of other lists both inform and delight. But apart from these lovely lists, the magazine is also a serious bi-weekly offering of articles on everything from lifestyle to leadership, markets to menus, innovation to industry shakeups. Recent articles include Bezos Unbound: Exclusive Interview With The Amazon Founder On What He Plans To Conquer Next and a variety of other offerings that only an industry leader could provide.
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Best for Business Technology: Wired
This monthly magazine focuses on how technology is changing the world around us – our personal lives, the society at large, the business world and even our politics. If you love staying up to date on the latest tech developments, you will love this colorful and always informative publication. While it is sure to delight tech nerds who thrive without sunlight and are bathed continuously in code, it also has popular appeal for the everyday reader who likes to stay connected. Recent hit articles include reviews of the best headphones for long runs and gym workouts as well as a look back at 25 years of a Wired geek culture column which was aptly called, “The Angry Nerds Won, And Now We’re All Sunk.”
Best for Startups: Inc.
This magazine is the place for small business owners and startup folks to revel in the awesome world of entrepreneurial business. It was founded by an MIT trained engineer and has since become an industry leader in all things small business and startup tech, including producing an annual list of the fastest growing private companies in the United States. The magazine provides in-depth special reports on topics like the best places to work and the country’s most productive entrepreneurs, as well as daily news on money, tech, and management. If you are looking to learn from the best startups, this is the best place to start.
Best for Investors: Fortune
If you read one annual investment list, it should be the Fortune Investor’s Guide. While sometimes folks get caught up on the flashiest new stocks or bogged down by the trusty playing it safe investment methods, Fortune strikes the balance of providing the most in-depth and useful investment information while delivering it in a format that is accessible to folks who aren't financing professionals. Fortune also offers thoughtful articles on business news as well as profiles of industry leaders who are shaping the business world around us. They investigate tough questions, like whether older workers are really as tech-averse as they’re made out to be, and the real reasons people quit their jobs.
Related: The Best Entrepreneur Books
Best Economics Reporting: The Economist
Call it stodgy if you must, but The Economist is undoubtedly no-nonsense. The weekly magazine is dense and packed with short and long takes on the business news of the week, as well as business, takes on the news of the week. Unlike many other publications on this list, The Economist offers a truly global look at the world – they are headquartered outside of the United States and have offices around the global landscape. In addition to finance topics and business news, The Economist also analyzes science and technology through a global lens. If you want a lengthy magazine to read on the weekend or on your daily commute, this could be the one. Many will also enjoy the sometimes sassy tone that the British editors take in their view of the world.