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25 Books You Should Read, According to a Few of the World's Most Successful People

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Successful CEOs never stop learning. Personal growth is almost as important as hard work in building a winning business. Many entrepreneurs accomplish this through workshops, conferences, and even a few continuing education courses. However, for a busy entrepreneur, being away from the office for a few days can lead to other problems.

For that reason, it’s likely no surprise some of the top CEOs choose to boost their personal growth through reading a good book. Not only is it a great way to learn and grow, but it provides a way to relax after a long day.

Here are 25 books recommended by some of the top CEOs in the world to kick off your reading list.

1. The Remains of the Day

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos lists Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day among his favorite books, citing its ability to teach readers about life and regret.

2. The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympics

As Morgan Stanley’s chairman and CEO, James Gorman finds inspiration in this story of determined amateurs who accomplished great things.

3. The End of Power: From Boardrooms to Battlefields and Churches to States, Why Being in Charge Isn’t What It Used to Be

When Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg kicked off his goal to read a new book every two weeks, he started with this book, a study in how leadership has evolved over the past 100 years.

4. The Innovator’s Dilemma: the Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business

Although he’s no longer with us, Steve Jobs remains an inspiration. Among his favorite books was Clayton M. Christensen’s book on changing technology, which he said deeply influenced him.

5. Competing Against Time: How Time-Based Competition Is Reshaping Global Markets

Apple’s Tim Cook reportedly recommends this book to new hires and hands out copies to colleagues.

6. Napoleon: a Life

Former Oracle CEO Larry Ellison felt particularly inspired by Vincent Cronin’s biography on Napoleon, feeling inspired by the way a man of modest means accomplished great things.

7. The Charisma Myth: How Anyone Can Master the Art and Science of Personal Magnetism

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer threw her support behind this book, which instructs readers on mastering charisma to win people over.

8. Search Inside Yourself: the Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace)

Among the books that Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh recommends is Search Inside Yourself, a guide to finding inner joy.

9. The Intelligent Investor: the Definitive Book on Value Investing. A Book of Practical Counsel

He may be the world’s top investor, but Warren Buffett spends most of his time reading. Among the many books on the billionaire’s to-read list is this one, which he says shaped his investment philosophy.

10. Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales From the World of Wall Street

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates read Business Adventures at Buffett’s recommendation and says the 1969 collection of Wall Street tales remains his favorite business book to date.

11. The Art of Happiness: a Handbook to Living

LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner learned the true meaning of compassion through this book from the Dalai Lama.

12. The Prince

Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman lists this Nicolo Machiavelli classic among his all-time favorites.

13. The Art of War

In his book Behind the Cloud, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff describes how he applied the concepts in The Art of War to beat competitors through the element of surprise.

14. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

When Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg released her book Lean In, Cisco’s John Chambers saw it as the perfect opportunity to encourage the promotion of women. He handed a copy to each of his senior managers.

15. A Short Guide to a Happy Life

In addition to her own book, Sandberg recommends this book, which centers around women’s roles and self-perception.

16. How Will You Measure Your Life?

Former New York City mayor and business magnate Michael Bloomberg recommends How Will You Measure Your Life?—which explores the importance of mingling business and philosophy.

17. The Effective Executive

Another book on Jeff Bezos’s list is The Effective Executive, which helps with time management and decision making.

18. The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World

When Coca-Cola executive Muhtar Kent wants inspiration, he turns to this book, which bills itself as “a financial history of the world.”

19. Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

HP CEO Meg Whitman makes this book required reading for HP’s hundreds of thousands of employees, believing its advice on setting and following strategy is crucial to success.

20. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

When she wants to inspire her staff, Lockheed Martin Corp’s Marillyn Hewson brings in The Tipping Point author Malcolm Gladwell.

21. My Inventions: the Autobiography of Nikola Tesla

Google’s Larry Page finds inspiration in stories about other successful leaders, including this one about AC current inventor Tesla.

22. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

Twitter and Square founder Jack Dorsey hands this book to new hires at Square and quotes from it often.

23. The Catcher in the Rye

In addition to his business book recommendations, Bill Gates lists this classic as his all-time favorite, admiring its depiction of the intelligence of youth.

24. The World Is Flat: a Brief History of the Twenty-first Century

JP Morgan’s Jamie Dimon has a long recommended reading list, but this book is at the top of the list.

25. Atlas Shrugged

Add ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson to the long list of people who believe Atlas Shrugged is among the most influential books of our time.

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