How many books did you read last year? On average, CEO’s read 4-5 books a month. That comes to around 55 books a year or just over a book a week! Bill Gates reads about 50 books per year, Mark Cuban reads more than 3 hours every day, Elon Musk is an avid reader and when asked how he learned to build rockets, he said: “I read books.”
The distinguishing difference found amongst wealthy readers is that they read self-help books, autobiographies, and business nonfiction. Below are our top 10 books to get you started reading in the right direction this year.
“The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand
This 1943 novel written by the Russian-American author, Ayn Rand was her first literary success and has truly stood the test of time. Entrepreneur Mark Cuban told Business Insider that Fountainhead should be a required read for every entrepreneur. And Charlie O’Donnell, partner at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, says this about The Fountain “I don't know any book that sums up the entrepreneurial passion and spirit better than "The Fountainhead".”
For more information about this novel, watch this.
“The Innovator's Dilemma” by Clayton M. Christensen
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has all of his executives read “The Innovator’s Dilemma”. This book is widely regarded as one of the most influential business books of all time and is often among the top picks of business entrepreneurs. Steve Blank, serial entrepreneur and professor at UC Berkeley, says of the book: “Why do large companies seem and act like dinosaurs? Christensen finally was able to diagnose why and propose solutions. Entrepreneurs should read [this book] as "how to books" to beat large companies in their own markets.”
Watch Christensen discuss his book at IMD Business School here.
“Business Adventures” by John Brooks
Subtitled “twelve classic tales from the world of Wall Street”, this business nonfiction is one of Bill Gates favorites. "More than two decades after Warren lent it to me — and more than four decades after it was first published — 'Business Adventures' remains the best business book I've ever read," Gates wrote on his blog in 2014. "John Brooks is still my favorite business writer."
Learn more about the book through the eyes of the author's son here.
“Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman!” by Richard P. Feynman
Looking for advice from a Nobel Prize winner? “Surely you’re joking, Mr. Feynman!” is an autobiography that inspires passion and curiosity. Richard P. Feynman is known for many things, two of the most notable being that he worked on the atomic bomb and he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965. While this book is not specifically about business, it is what inspired Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google, to dedicate his career to blending technology and creativity.
For a brief book review, watch this.
“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen R. Covey
This book studies and reviews some of the key differences in their day-to-day activities that make some entrepreneurs more successful than others. 1) Be proactive 2) Begin with an End in Mind 3) Put First Things First 4) Think Win/Win 5) Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood 6) Synergize 7) Sharpen the Saw
Steven Covey explains himself in this video.
“Purple Cow” by Seth Godin
Want to stand out from the crowd? Maybe like a purple cow? You will after reading this piece of business brilliance by author and former dot-com business executive, Seth Godin. This book shows you how you can put a Purple Cow into everything you do in order to create a product, service or experience that is truly unique and worth marketing in the first place.
In this TED Talk, Seth Godin explains the concept himself.
“Zero to One” by Peter Thiel
Similar to “Purple Cow”, this is a book about authenticity and how it pertains to startups. John Sculley, the former president of Pepsi and ex-CEO of Apple, says that his top book recommendation for tech entrepreneurs is "Zero to One." Zero to One is authored by PayPal co-founder, entrepreneur, and venture capitalist Peter Thiel.
Peter Thiel discusses some of the ideas discussed in his book here.
“The Power of Broke” by Daymond John
Daymond John is a true rags-to-riches story. In this autobiography, he explains that contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to have money to make money--you need determination and drive.
For a little more insight into his growing up in Queens and what inspired him to write this book, watch this.
“Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink
This recommendation comes from our very own iClassPro CFO, Lance Hutcheson. “Extreme Ownership” is an autobiography by former Navy Seal Jocko Willink. “War is hell, but war is also a brutal teacher. War teaches you about brotherhood, honor, humility, and leadership”.
See a TED Talk about his book and his experiences here.
“The Power of Moments” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Lastly is a recommendation from our very own iClassPro CEO, Chris McNabb. “The Power of Moments” is about the reasons behind why certain experiences can have a huge impact. Recommended to Chris by JAG Gymnastics’ CEO, Anne Josephson (thanks, Anne), this book is bound to have a lasting impact on any business owner.
Chip Heath talks about his book in this video.