What the CEO Wants You to Know : How Your Company Really Works should go into your carry-on next time you fly. It’s the “Don’t Make Me Think” for business, one of those wonderful thin books that you can read on a cross-country flight (twice, I suspect) and leaves you looking at everything you do a bit differently.
The author starts slow and easy, explaining why cash is critical, and how even the mailroom guy can affect the stock price. He uses the street vendors from his native India to explain the critical factors in a business’s health, and guides you steadily to the point where you can actually do some financial modeling. If you are a designer, or another professional who missed out on business 101 (shut up and draw!) this is required reading. If you are lucky enough to have gotten good business fundamentals, this is the book to give to others.