Most well-known CEOs in this world are avid readers and many have shared their reading lists and recommended books we should be reading. From Bill Gates to Elon Musk, these stalwarts are always happy to share what has inspired, informed or just entertained them. If you would like to know what the people who wrote the book on success read, this list is for you.
1. Bill Gates (Microsoft)
Gates reads every evening. He writes in his blog, “I hope you’ll find that (these books) make you think deeper about what it means to truly connect with other people and to have purpose in your life.” One of the many books he recommended includes The Heart by Maylis de Kerangal, which narrates the story of a young man, who is declared brain dead after a car accident, and how his parents struggle with the decision of donating his heart, which still beats.
2. Tim Cook (Apple)
Cook says, “I’d rather read about real people.” Competing Against Time by George Stalk and Thomas M. Hout is Cook’s favourite book of all time. He loves it so much that he hands copies of the book to his colleagues. It is also a suggested reading for every new hire. The book is a heavily-researched one where the authors argue that the many ways leading companies manage time ultimately decide their competitive advantage.
3. Jeff Bezos (Amazon)
The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro is Jeff Bezos’s favourite book. He once told Newsweek in an interview, “If you read ‘The Remains of the Day,’ which is one of my favorite books, you can’t help but come away and think, I just spent 10 hours living an alternate life and about regret.” The book follows the story of a loyal butler who grows disquieted after his master reveals himself as a Nazi sympathizer just prior to World War II.
4. Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook)
Zuckerberg’s 2015 News Year resolution of reading a book every other week introduced to the world his first choice, The End of Power by Moises Naim. The book narrates the meaning of leadership in politics, business, education, religion, and family and how all these aspects have changed over the past century.
5. Elon Musk (SpaceX and Tesla Motors)
Elon Musk recommends The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov. He says, “In terms of sci-fi books, I think Isaac Asimov is really great.” The trilogy spans a thousand years and follows an epic galactical struggle.
6. Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo)
Indra Nooyi’s recommendation is The Road to Character by David Brooks. Nooyi once told Fortune, “It sparked a wonderful discussion with my two daughters about why building inner character is just as important as building a career.” In the book, the author challenges the readers to rebalance their “resume virtues” such as success, fame, and wealth, with “eulogy virtues” such as kindness, bravery, honesty, or faithfulness.
7. Bobbi Brown (Bobbi Brown Cosmetics)
Brown, CEO of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, recommends Strong Is the New Beautiful by Lindsey Vonn. In the book, the Olympic gold medalist Vonn wants women to focus on their bodies for what they are and provides a fitness programme and advice on what to eat and how to work out. She even writes on boosting self-confidence and focusing on a better body image.
8. Richard Branson (Virgin Group)
For Richard Branson, it’s Travels With Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck. What appeals to the Virgin CEO is the narrative where a famous novelist drives through the American interstates and ponders over the American character, racial hatred, American loneliness, and the unanticipated kindness of people.
9. Warren Buffett (Berkshire-Hathaway)
One of Warren Buffet’s favourite books is The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind. The book discusses everything that is wrong with American business today. It is a story of arrogance, greed, and deceit.
10. Larry Page (Google)
One of the books that Larry Page recommends is Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!: Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard Feynman. This book by Feynman, who was a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, is a light-hearted account of his reminiscences.
11. Dan Schulman (PayPal)
Dan Schulman says Montana 1948: A Novel by Larry Watson is one of his favourite books. The book courses through the life and struggles of a fictional family in mid-century Montana. Schulman, while reading the book, once wrote on Facebook, “It is a powerful novel that reinforced that keeping an open mind, questioning facts as truth, and seeing people for the multifaceted individuals they are is essential to effective leadership.”
Our bucket list just got bigger! Which book do you think you will choose as your next read?
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