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Richard Branson (Founder / Virgin Group)

I wanted to include an older book that has been on my bookshelves for decades, and is a less obvious example of reading to lead. John Steinbeck took a road trip with his dog Charley for company across the length and breadth of the US, and recorded what he saw, who he met and what he learned.

With his inimitable charm, it opens your eyes to the small pleasures of life, and the great wonders of humanity in the little moments that matter. Less a direction on how to lead, you could see it as a subtle guide on how to live.

Amazon description

An intimate journey across America, as told by one of its most beloved writers

To hear the speech of the real America, to smell the grass and the trees, to see the colors and the light—these were John Steinbeck's goals as he set out, at the age of fifty-eight, to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years. With Charley, his French poodle, Steinbeck drives the interstates and the country roads, dines with truckers, encounters bears at Yellowstone and old friends in San Francisco.

Along the way he reflects on the American character, racial hostility, the particular form of American loneliness he finds almost everywhere, and the unexpected kindness of strangers.

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