We’ve all had a lot of downtime lately. If nothing else, it’s offered us a great chance to reconnect with our families and loved ones (from a safe distance) and catch up on reading. If you haven’t read these ten book recommendations from highly successful people, now might be the perfect time to add them to your shelf.
1. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t
By Jim Collins
Recommended by: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, PayPal founder Max Levchin, and venture capitalist John Doerr, among others.
Some companies are “born” with good DNA. They arrive at the perfect time, have the right investors, or find the magic formula from the very beginning. But that’s certainly not all companies.
How can good companies – or even mediocre or not-so-great companies – turn everything around and become top-earners for the long haul?
Author Jim Collins shares his research and his methods for helping good businesses become great.
2. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
By Ben Horowitz
Recommended by: Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, Google Co-Founder Larry Page, and Michael Dell of Dell Technologies.
Ben Horowitz doesn’t sugar coat it: starting and running a successful business takes hard work. As a successful and respected Silicon Valley entrepreneur, Horowitz has been through his share of hardship before his company took off.
In this book, he shares practical advice for running businesses, even when it’s not easy. He shares anecdotes about everything from firing friends to dealing with competitors, and he does it in a very unique writing style.
Mark Zuckerberg is quoted as saying about the book “For anyone interested in building, growing or leading a great company, this book is an incredibly valuable resource and a funny and insightful read.”
3. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
By Stephen Covey
Recommended by: Bill Clinton and Speaker, Entrepreneur and Pastor John C. Maxwell
For more than 25 years, Covey’s book has challenged entrepreneurs, professionals, and students to change their habits and create their own success.
This book is one of the most popular motivational books and often shows up on the list of must-reads from the world’s leading businesspeople. So far, it’s sold more than 25 million copies and continues to give readers sound advice.
The seven habits are:
- Habit 1: Be Proactive
- Habit 2: Begin with The End in Mind
- Habit 3: Put First Things First
- Habit 4: Think Win-Win
- Habit 5: Seek First to Understand Then Be Understood
- Habit 6: Synergize
- Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
But trust us, you still need to read the book.
It’s so life-changing that many heads of state contacted Covey to help them put the seven habits into practice. Former President Bill Clinton was among the leaders who asked Covey to guide him.
4. The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel
By Benjamin Graham
Recommended by: Warren Buffett and Investor/Former Hedge Fund Manager Whitney Tilson
This book is a classic, but it’s been updated to meet the changing financial times. Written in 1949, Graham’s advice stands the test of time. He carefully outlines investing strategies that prevent investors from substantial mistakes.
Warren Buffet reportedly said this is the best book on investing he has ever read. If it worked for Warren Buffet, there’s a good chance it’s a safe bet for other investors, too.
5. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City
By Matthew Desmond
Recommended by: Bill Gates
Bill Gates wrote an entire commentary surrounding Desmond’s book. The Microsoft founder and famous philanthropist spends a great deal of his money and his time trying to figure out how to help underprivileged Americans climb the socioeconomic ladder.
According to Gates, Evicted helps shed light on the difficulty surrounding the clear income and housing gaps in the U.S. The book’s author followed eight struggling Milwaukee families as they tried to keep a roof over their heads, and revealed the broken system that kept them struggling.
6. Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street
By John Brooks
Recommended By: Warren Buffet
In Business Adventures, long-time New Yorker contributor John Brooks examines some of the world’s biggest and most successful brands and the extraordinary circumstances that cast them into the spotlight.
When The Business Insider asked billionaire Warren Buffet for book recommendations, he mentioned Brooks’ book without missing a beat.
7. Remains of the Day
By Kazuo Ishiguro
Recommended by: Amazon’s Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos says he learns more from fiction than nonfiction. He once told Newsweek that Remains of the Day tops his list of book recommendations because life-changing novels cause humans to come away moved.
Ishiguro’s novel focuses on a post-war England in the late 1940s. A butler, Stevens, serves the so-called “great gentleman” Lord Darlington. But through a series of events, Stevens begins to wonder who is the gentlemen. An exposition of self-worth, righteousness, and the importance of character.
8. The Art of Happiness
By the Dalai Lama
Recommended by: LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner
Though the Dalai Lama has been through extraordinary hardship in his life, he still pronounces himself happy and at peace. In The Art of Happiness, he shares his strategies for finding happiness, even despite life’s most difficult circumstances.
In a 2013 interview with the Business Journal, LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner talked about his book recommendations. He said the Dalai Lama’s book taught him how to see the world through a compassionate lens. He still uses the lesson he learned through the book to manage his business compassionately, too.
9. Zero to One: Notes on Startups or How to Build the Future
By Peter Thiel
Recommended by: Elon Musk
Written by entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel, Zero to One sets out to reveal one important secret: there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. The goal, he says, is to be the innovator, and not to continue working away at what already exists.
Thiel’s book struck a chord with Tesla and Space-X CEO Elon Musk. When asked what books most inspire him, Musk mentioned Zero to One, saying, “Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and Zero to One shows how.”
10. The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need
By Andrew Tobias
Recommended by: Mark Cuban, Billionaire Entrepreneur, Investor, and TV Personality
This book has been on shelves for more than 30 years, but investors like Mark Cuban continue to use it as a roadmap to financial success.
Tobias offers practical, easy-to-follow advice, including when to invest, how to invest, and how anyone – with any amount of money – can make money investing.
In an interview with Vanity Fair, Cuban said books like Tobias’s were instrumental in helping him make his first million and propelling him to success.
Have you read these books recommended by highly successful people? Did you find them insightful? We would love to hear about it, or hear your book recommendations for “must-read” books! Leave a comment below!
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