Best Books for Managers: You Need to Manage People If You Start Your Company

While some of us are naturally good at being leaders and managers, some of us are put into a situation where we need to be leaders and, hopefully, good managers. Thus, it’s best to brush up on your management skills to help manage employees and businesses without causing too many issues. While experience is one method to learn how to manage people, books can also be beneficial.

Similar to attending a class, books give you the basic knowledge you need to know how to keep everything in check. A good leader will know how to manage a large number of employees while also learning to delegate the work towards other people. If you’re going off of just experience, you can see how quickly this method could cause problems.

By picking up a good read on management skills, you can easily avoid issues that may occur off of learning by experience. Plus, you can develop long term strategies that can help you keep investors and business partners.

So, why should we read the best manager books? I find that leadership skills change every two to three years, so being ready for the upcoming years is essential.

I’ve tried to get away with pushing back books or avoiding extra classes. However, once I started to read the best books for managers, I noticed a massive difference in the way I was able to strategize.

What I’ve found in the books is that they teach you valuable skills. Some of these include ones that aren’t so obvious. Skills that they teach you are Networking, teamwork exercises, verbal skills, and how to recover from failure.

So, if you’re sick of attending classes, seminars or don’t have the time or patience for other forms of education, a book can definitely help. I find it more productive to learn at your own pace, especially for business. You can easily pick up a book on management and really focus on what it’s telling you.

 

 

Best Books for Managers

 

 

The

The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You

I've seen so many people thrust into management in high-growth companies with so little guidance. From now on, I will hand them this book. Its practical wisdom is immediately useful for the newly minted manager — and us old ones.
Ev Williams
Co-Founder/Twitter, CEO/Medium
The

The 80/20 Manager: The Secret to Working Less and Achieving More

Another worthy mention would be The 80/20 Manager: The Secret To Working Less And Achieving More, by Richard Koch.
Cristian-Dragos Baciu
Direct Response Copywriter
Managing

Managing Humans: Biting and Humorous Tales of a Software Engineering Manager

Perhaps Managing Humans by Michael Lopp would be the most practical - it's a great read, and for people making the leap from developer to manager, it's full of useful advice.
Dave Child
Founder/Readable & ApolloPad
The

The New One Minute Manager

The human world occurs in language so best get good at it!
Bill Liao
General Partner/RebelBio, SOSV.com
Management

Management Tips: From Harvard Business Review

Another favourite of mine, although is not like a real book, is Management Tips from Harvard Business Review. This is the handbook for every manager. It is full of actionable insights and the beauty of it is that you can apply them immediately. I always have it on me because each page contains a tip and I write the date on the page every time I use it. I promise you that using this system will supercharge your management powers in no time.
Radu Marcusu
CEO/Upswing

Monday Morning Leadership: 8 Mentoring Sessions You Can’t Afford to Miss

As insightful as it is concise. Its 'to the point' style provides a clear roadmap for becoming a better manager.
Dan Amos
CEO/AFLAC, Incorporated

Three Nights in August: Strategy, Heartbreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager

As a CEO, I have often thought about the balance of trusting data vs. gut in decision-making. I claim to be data-oriented, but in the moment, I often rely on my understanding of human nature. As I read about Tony La Russa’s maniacal focus on baseball’s mass of statistics, coupled with this nuanced understanding of his players and opponents, it was obvious that neither is enough on its own: The leader who truly understands the numbers will make the best gut decisions.
Sam Yagan
CEO/IAC’s Match Group

The Restaurant Manager’s Handbook

This is the bible for starting and running a restaurant. I recommend you get the printed version and the Kindle version. Use the Kindle version for quick reference and the printed version for study.

Chuck Rogers
Owner/Chuck Rogers Consulting
Managing

Managing Oneself

In Managing Oneself Peter Drucker talks about how different people have different ways of receiving information. I realised that hearing is much more effective for me than reading and so since then I only really listen to audio books. Incidentally, that book is 100% free on audible and is shorter than most podcasts. Well worth your time.
Lewis Smith
Entrepreneur & Developer/BodyTracker
The

The Halo Effect: … and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers

It questioned the delusions of business books and the pseudoscience that some use. It reminded me that the advice given in business books may not necessarily be right for you, your team, your business or the current situation.

Steven Stokes
CSO/DUKE
Uncreative

Uncreative Writing: Managing Language in the Digital Age

I read it after I finished an MA in Writing and it was exactly what I needed to burst my bubble. I loved it because it questioned everything and it perfectly matched my skepticism towards creative writing courses. Regardless of my amazing experience within the creative writing masters, nobody can teach you how to write, but somebody can definitely teach you how to rewrite and how to read. In a world where everybody urges you to be original, creative, Goldsmith states that you can totally be creative with somebody else’s work with a little help from the Internet: word processing, databasing, recycling, sampling, appropriation, coding (‘Pure Poems’ written by Shigeru Matsui in alphanumeric binaries), plundering, programming, and even plagiarizing. Yes, plagiarizing. The most eloquent example (I love it) is this essay entitled ‘The Ecstasy of Influence: A plagiarism’. Jonathan Lethem brilliantly shows us that nothing is original in literature – all ideas has been shared, recycled, stolen, quoted, translated, re-translated, imitated, pirated, patch written, re-written and so on. The essay is the perfect example for this – not a single word or idea belongs Jonathan Lethem. Everything is borrowed from others’ books, ideas, writings. Goldsmith even taught the ‘Uncreative Writing’ course at the University of Pennsylvania where students were not allowed to bring to the class any trace of originality and creativity.
Alina Varlanuta
Creator/The Hole in Your Head
The

The Diamond Cutter: The Buddha on Managing Your Business and Your Life

Somewhere at the border between business and non-business I’ll place The Diamond Cutter by Michael Roach, a collection of empowering strategies for personal and professional life gathered from the contemporary wisdom of Tibetan Buddhism.
Irina Botnari
Managing Partner & Co-Founder/Bucur's Shelter Hostel

Managing The Mental Game: How To Think More Effectively, Navigate Uncertainty, And Build Mental Fortitude

Jeff Boss is a former Navy SEAL and knows everything about mental fortitude, and controlling your emotions and impulses in the face of critical situations. He uses his expertise in this book to teach others how to develop resilience and fortitude and cope with difficult situations.

Resilience and fortitude are two key qualities of a successful leader, especially when faced with crisis situations or making tough decisions. This book is a great aid in such moments, when you feel unsure of yourself.

Holger Arians
CEO/Dominet Digital Corporation

The Power of Full Engagement: Managing Energy, Not Time, Is the Key to High Performance and Personal Renewal

The Power of Full Engagement was one of the first books that helped me to start to understand myself, and to work to embrace how I feel and be intuitive. The key concept in the book is that you should be either fully engaged in a task, or fully disegaged and finding renewal. For example, finding the natural dips within your day and thinking about rituals and changes you could make. Maybe you go for a 20 minute walk at 3pm when you naturally find yourself less productive.
Joel Gascoigne
Co-founder/Buffer
Forgive

Forgive and Remember: Managing Medical Failure

One of the books that Peter Attia feels has had the single biggest impact on his life.
Peter Attia
Founder/Attia Medical

Managing to Learn: Using the A3 Management Process to Solve Problems, Gain Agreement, Mentor and Lead

One of the books, Managing to Learn: Using the A3 Management Process to Solve Problems, Gain Agreement and Lead, contained a story of a Japanese supervisor / mentor and how he was guiding his junior colleague in his thought process to solve a complex problem without ever dictating his actions. The story was told from the student and the mentor’s perspective simultaneously - so you could perceive the story from both angles. During that period, I learned a lot about the importance of determining a root cause to a problem before jumping to a conclusion.
Daniel Buttner
CEO & Co-Founder/Lofelt

Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business

This book shall become the bible on how to build your dream business, without working yourself into an early grave!
John Lee Dumas
Host & Founder/Entrepreneur On Fire

Social Media ROI: Managing and Measuring Social Media Efforts in Your Organization (Que Biz-Tech)

One of the five books Jeff recommends to young people interested in his career path.
Jeff Gibbard
Chief Brand Officer/From The Future

Remarkable Service: A Guide to Winning and Keeping Customers for Servers, Managers, and Restaurant Owners

I try to get each of our employees to read this book. Absolutely nothing is more critical to your success than providing remarkable service to your customers. If you do that, customers will come back. That's what makes all the work you are going to do to create a great atmosphere and control your costs worthwhile. If you aren't going to be committed to Remarkable Service from day 1, then you might as well not start.
Chuck Rogers
Owner/Chuck Rogers Consulting
Thinking,

Thinking, Fast and Slow

This book is amazing—it didn't change my mind, so much as it has changed the way I think. It helps to understand the difference between the way you make quick decisions, versus considered decisions—it takes different mechanisms in the brain. Understanding which you're doing at any given time can have a profound impact on what you ultimately decide.

John Lilly
Partner/Greylock Partners
Raving

Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service

Short, simple, highly effective.
Vivek Garipalli
Founder/Clover Health
High

High Output Management

I picked up the book after Grove passed away this year and I found it so succinct, so clear, and so packed with easy-to-understand analogies. It really gets to the heart of what good management is.
Julie Zhuo
VP Product Design/Facebook
Mindset:

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

My children’s school recommended that we read Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. The book has a lot of great information that is as applicable to managers at high growth companies as it is to parents. The key takeaway for me is that highly capable people tend to be risk-avoiders because they are afraid of failure. They get so used to being praised for their achievements that they end up not pushing themselves to their full potential for fear of looking dumb. As a parent (or a manager), the book recommends praising effort, not accomplishment, and creating an environment that encourages risk-taking and celebrates failure. This is a concept that really resonates with me, not only as a part of my parenting style, but in the way I lead at Zillow Group. Our core values as a company encourage employees to take big swings, with the understanding that they won’t all work out. It’s how we’ve achieved our current success, and it’s what motivates our employees.
Spencer Rascoff
CEO/Zillow Group

Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World With OKRs

John explains how OKRs [Objectives and Key Results] work and shows how you can apply them in all sorts of situations. I’d recommend John’s book for anyone interested in becoming a better manager (and I’d say that even if I hadn’t been interviewed for a super-nice chapter about the Gates Foundation).
Bill Gates
Founder/Microsoft
Blue

Blue Ocean Strategy

There are the normal ones that everybody loves. There would be Rich Dad Poor Dad, Who Moved My Cheese?; I love all the Dale Carnegie books; The One Minute Manager. I love newer ones like Blue Ocean Strategy and all the Freaknomics books.
Daymond John
Founder/FUBU

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World

If you want to do social media start with “Jab Jab Jab Right Hook” and move forward to “Ask Gary Vee” by Gary Vaynerchuk. Even if Gary has admitted that he has a ghostwriter writing his book, you can see Gary’s personality and also his experience in the social media field in this book. These are some great books to start with in social media.
Robert Katai
Founder/Instagramology

The Strategy Paradox: Why Committing to Success Leads to Failure (And What to do About It)

I don’t have a lot of modern books on this list, but this is an excellent one. We tend to wrongly think that strategy is about coming up with a genius plan and then committing to it. In fact, this is often a recipe for disaster, particularly in business. Though success often requires a total investment in a particular strategy, this is also the recipe for extreme failure. It’s a paradox. Michael Raynor’s book has important thoughts on this inherent paradox as well as approaches for mitigating and avoiding it.
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
The

The Accounting Game: Basic Accounting Fresh from the Lemonade Stand

If you have no understanding of accounting, read a good accounting book. A good example would be The Accounting Game by Darrell Mullis.
Andrew Elliott
Founder/GoDesignerGo
The

The Outsiders: Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success

In his 2012 shareholder letter, Buffett praises The Outsiders as an outstanding book about CEOs who excelled at capital allocation.

Berkshire Hathaway plays a major role in the book. One chapter is on director Tom Murphy, who Buffett says is overall the best business manager I've ever met.

Warren Buffett
CEO/Berkshire Hathaway
Steal

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

Part of ambition is modeling yourself after those you’d like to be like. Austin’s philosophy of ruthlessly stealing and remixing the greats might sound appalling at first but it is actually the essence of art. You learn by stealing, you become creative by stealing, you push yourself to be better by working with these materials. Austin is a fantastic artist, but most importantly he communicates the essence of writing and creating art better than anyone else I can think of. It is a manifesto for any young, creative person looking to make his mark. Pair up with Show Your Work which is also excellent.
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
The

The Alchemist

There was a moment where I was on a quest for self-discovery. I felt lost and wasn't sure if I was who I was because I made the decision to be me, or if my identity was programmed by culture, society and setting. Because of that, I started reading self-help books to reconstruct identity and mold who I wanted to be. This book helped me.
Ola Olusoga
Co-founder/Populum

Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, and Sharpen Your Creative Mind (The 99U Book Series)

A time management book. Personally, I like Manage your day-to-day by 99U. It is an extremely quick read, but provides some good insights for those who need some basic guidance regarding time management, especially in creative fields.
Andrew Elliott
Founder/GoDesignerGo
Subscription

Subscription Marketing: Strategies for Nurturing Customers in a World of Churn

I am also reading Subscription Marketing: Strategies for Nurturing Customers in a World of Churn by Anne Janzer. With the success of many SaaS based companies I think it’s very important for marketers of all industries to understand the strategies behind not only acquiring new subscription customers but keeping your currently subscribed customers happy. In reading this book, I hope to gain insight on how the subscription based model can segue into markets which may not currently consider it an option.
James Murphy
Marketing Manager/Live Nation

The Copywriter’s Handbook: A Step-By-Step Guide To Writing Copy That Sells

I don't know a single copywriter whose work would not be improved by reading this book.
David Ogilvy
Founder/Ogilvy & Mather
From

From Impossible To Inevitable: How Hyper-Growth Companies Create Predictable Revenue

Question: What books would you recommend to young people interested in your career path?

Answer:

  • Rework, Getting real and Remote - The combo from Fried and DHH.
  • Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
  • From Impossible To Inevitable by Aaron Ross & Jason Lemkin
  • How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross
  • Content Machine by Dan Norris
  • Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
  • Contagious by Jonah Berger

 

Vincenzo Ruggiero
CEO/Prospect.io

Lifescale: How to Live a More Creative, Productive, and Happy Life

I'm currently reading LifeScale by Brian Solis. Oddly enough, it's a book about overcoming digital distraction and boosting your happiness, creativity, and sense of purpose in life. It's a powerful cautionary tale against spending too much time as a digital consumer. As someone who spends - at minimum - 40 hours a week staring at a computer screen where digital distraction is just one click away, I'm always looking for useful strategies for overcoming distraction and maintaining focus. It's already delivering on that front.
Jeremy Boudinet
Marketing Manager/Nextiva
Startup

Startup Boards: Getting the Most Out of Your Board of Directors

In addition to walking you through, in great detail, how a board functions, Brad has adopted many of the Lean Startup approaches to building, operating, and managing your board in a way that resembles continuous deployments. Any practitioner of Lean Startup would do well to use this approach to building their board.
Eric Ries
Founder/Long-Term Stock Exchange
No

No One Here Gets Out Alive

No One Here Gets Out Alive (biography of Jim Morrison) because I have been fascinated by Jim Morrison and The Doors since I was a young kid. Jim’s level of and commitment to artistry is so rare and I wanted to understand what made him tick. This book gives a lot of insight into not only his creative genius but the events in his life that shaped him.
James Murphy
Marketing Manager/Live Nation
Bill

Bill Graham Presents: My Life Inside Rock And Out

Bill Graham Presents My Life Inside Rock and Out because I think it’s very important for young people to understand the history of the concert business before trying to jump into it. You need to have a clear understanding of where it’s been to know where it’s going and how you can help take it there.
James Murphy
Marketing Manager/Live Nation
The

The Mythical Man-Month: Essays on Software Engineering

[From The Everything Store, written by Brad Stone] “An influential computer scientist makes the counterintuitive argument that small groups of engineers are more effective than larger ones at handling complex software projects. The book lays out the theory behind Amazon’s two pizza teams,” Stone writes.
Jeff Bezos
CEO/Amazon
Psycho

Psycho Cybernetics

Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz will open your eyes on the topic of self image.
Nick Janetakis
Founder/NickJanetakis.com
Badass:

Badass: Making Users Awesome

How to make amazing products. Super fun to read too.

Lewis Smith
Entrepreneur & Developer/BodyTracker

The Innovator’s Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth

When it comes to work books I definitely like to ask my leaders what their favorite books are. There are lots of repeats (Crossing the Chasm, Innovator's Dilemma & Solution, Lean Startup, etc), but every now and then someone will have a really unique one that I’ll read. I always read those right away. I’ve also taken book recommendations & then not read the book for like a year. I’ll go back and say, “Hey I finally read that book you recommended forever ago.” It’s fun.
Ashley Hathaway
Enterprise Product Manager

Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This: The Classic Guide to Creating Great Ads

I thought I might put my money where my mouth is. I keep whining that young people are not in touch with some essential books on advertising that have helped me shape the way I practise my trade today, but I never did anything about it. So I am starting here the ultimate books to read list. I will add to it as I get suggestions and as more good books get written.
Bogdana Butnar
Head of Strategy/Poke
The

The Book of Five Rings

Widely held as a classic, this book is much more than a manifesto and manual on swordsmanship and martial arts. It’s about the mindset, the discipline, and the perception necessary to win in life or death situations. As a swordsman, Musashi fought mostly by himself, for himself. His wisdom, therefore, is mostly internal. He tells you how to out-think and out-move your enemies. He tells you how to fend for yourself and live by a code. And isn’t that precisely what so many of us need help with every day?
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
The

The Four Steps to the Epiphany

If you are reading to learn skills that can be implemented in your startup, I’d recommend The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful by Eric Reis and actually avoid its predecessor The Four Steps to the Epiphany: Successful Strategies for Products That Win by Steve Blank until later in your career.
Craig Pearce
Co-Founder/Kid Genius
Security

Security Analysis

Buffett said that Security Analysis, another groundbreaking work of Graham's, had given him a road map for investing that he has been following for 57 years.
Warren Buffett
CEO/Berkshire Hathaway
Braving

Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone

One thing I have learned is that some books don’t stick or I’m not ready for them at that time and that’s ok. Now if I get 50 or 100 pages in and lose interest I don’t struggle through the rest of it. I put it down and find another book. I try to just stick with books that I think about when I’m not reading. When I’m standing in line somewhere or walking and think “I wonder what’s next.” That’s a good book. I’m in the middle of Brene Brown’s new book right now.
Ashley Hathaway
Enterprise Product Manager
The

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

I read this book at a time when Udemy was rapidly growing—over the 18 months where we went from 30 to 200 people. It was helpful to read about Horowitz's challenges, worries, and triumphs when addressing the same types of issues at a similar stage of growth. There are so many big decisions you need to make where there's just no clear-cut, right or wrong answer. There are a lot of gray areas. You gather information from your team, but the hard decisions rest with you. This book helped me realize that while I needed to carefully and objectively consider feedback, I was responsible for making a decision in the end—even when it was an unpopular one.

Dennis Yang
CEO/Udemy
There's

There’s No Plan B for Your A-Game: Be the Best in the World at What You Do

Bo Eason offers a revealing testimony on what it takes to succeed in any field. Whether you’re an artist, an athlete, or an entrepreneur, this book will put you to work.
Steven Pressfield
Author, Writer
Stress

Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises

Buffett says that the former secretary of the U.S. Treasury's book about the financial crisis is a must-read for any manager.
Warren Buffett
CEO/Berkshire Hathaway
Options

Options Volatility Trading: Strategies for Profiting from Market Swings

Options Volatility Trading by Adam Warner also had a major impact on me because I have always been into investing and until this book I never quite understood the specific strategies behind making money when the market goes up OR down. I was familiar with short selling but wanted to explore option contracts so right after college a good friend gave me this book. I read it immediately and began putting what I learned into practice.
James Murphy
Marketing Manager/Live Nation
The

The Year Without Pants: WordPress.com and the Future of Work

The future of work is distributed. Automattic wrote the script. Time for rest of us to read it.
Om Malik
Founder/GigaOM
A

A Dream With a Deadline: Turning Strategy Into Action

One of the best 3 books I've read in 2019

The CEO Library Community (through anonymous form)
Reader
The

The Power of Myth

Joseph Campbell was the first person to really open my eyes to [the] compassionate side of life, or of thought... Campbell was the guy who really kind of put it all together for me, and not in a way I could put my finger on... It made you just glad to be alive, [realizing] how vast this world is, and how similar and how different we are.
Bryan Callen
Co-Host/The Fighter and the Kid
The

The Windup Girl

Novels: The Windup Girl and Pattern Recognition are chock full of images and ideas that will stick with you for months.

Seth Godin
Author & Entrepreneur
Grant

Grant

This is a good time for Ron Chernow’s fine biography of Ulysses S. Grant to appear… As history, it is remarkable, full of fascinating details sure to make it interesting both to those with the most cursory knowledge of Grant’s life and to those who have read his memoirs or any of several previous biographies… For all its scholarly and literary strengths, this book’s greatest service is to remind us of Grant’s significant achievements at the end of the war and after, which have too long been overlooked and are too important today to be left in the dark… As Americans continue the struggle to defend justice and equality in our tumultuous and divisive era, we need to know what Grant did when our country’s very existence hung in the balance. If we still believe in forming a more perfect union, his steady and courageous example is more valuable than ever.
Bill Clinton
President/United States
Succeeding

Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum

I’m a technical guy. I studied the IT field and did software development for a long time until I discovered the business world. So the path for me is to slowly adapt from the clear, technical world, to the fuzzy, way more complex, business world. All the books that I recommend help this transition.


“Succeeding with Agile” - Mike Cohn: for approaching the process involved into building a product in an organized manner.

Nicolae Andronic
Founder/Echoz
Value

Value Proposition Design: How to Create Products and Services Customers Want

I could probably name a dozen books here, but I’ll point out The Business Model Generation and Value Prop Design from Strategyzer. I steal from these constantly and are engrained in my work process. These books put into practice really taught me how to think. As soon as I saw that everything should have a foundation of empathy, what good user-testing looks like, how to test and iterate it changed everything. After that any problem could be solved. It wasn’t solving one big monolithic problem. It was going through a process.
Ashley Hathaway
Enterprise Product Manager
Lean

Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation

Jeff Bezos is known as an authoritarian leader. He has established rules, processes and methods that are strictly followed. Jeff’s Reading List is a list of 12 books Bezos expects Amazon employees to read. Many are related to business, but there are other themes as well.

Author Brad Stone who wrote the Bezos biography The Everything Store lists those 12 books. The author says the books have shaped Bezos’ leadership style and way of thinking. Lean Thinking is one of those 12 books.

Jeff Bezos
CEO/Amazon
Now,

Now, Discover Your Strengths: How To Develop Your Talents And Those Of The People You Manage

This book has been instrumental in how we think about developing talent at Facebook.
Sheryl Sandberg
COO/Facebook
Being

Being Nixon: A Man Divided

I was a little surprised to learn what a bad manager Nixon was. Although it doesn’t compare to his other failings, Nixon’s management style offers some good reminders of how not to run a team. He avoided conflict at all costs. His staff frequently left meetings with diametrically opposed views on what he had just asked them to do. Or he would be crystal-clear about what he wanted, while actually expecting his staff to ignore his demands. His team wisely blew off his repeated orders to break into the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank, and steal a document that might be damaging to him.
Bill Gates
CEO/Microsoft

The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm

I don't know if you can teach this kind of creativity, but you can certainly raise your expectations by seeing how well they do design.
Seth Godin
Author & Entrepreneur

The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail

It's important that we make this transformation, because of what Clayton Christensen calls the innovator's dilemma, where people who invent something are usually the last ones to see past it, and we certainly don't want to be left behind.

Steve Jobs
Founder/Apple
Designing

Designing Brand Identity: An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team

When asked what books she would recommend to youngsters interested in her professional path, Kimberly mentioned Designing Brand Identity.
Kimberly Gloria Choi
Founder/Marchbaby Collective
Jack:

Jack: Straight from the Gut

I read Jack Welch’s book back in 2003 and it was at the time a great source of inspiration. There were a couple of things that got stuck in my mind and in some cases changed my mind: that there are no shortcuts, that facts always must be faced no matter how brutal and that losing or failing had a value as long as your learn from them. His thoughts on how crucial the soft values are, inspired me a lot. It is really a genuine focus on people and mindset, or call it culture, that makes an organization excel in the long run.
Annika Falkengren
CEO/SEB Group
Joy

Joy At Work: A Revolutionary Approach to Fun on the Job

Joy At Work provides great insight into the journey of Dennis Bakke and AES, the company he co-founded. Bakke and his partner Roger Sant started the company and strived to live to a core value of Fun. It is a fascinating read in terms of their definition of fun (making important decisions and being given trust, not ping pong tables and snacks), and also in how difficult they found it to run the company unconventionally in order to be true to their values.

AES reached over 40,000 employees all across the world and they created a significantly different corporate structure than many organizations of today. At Buffer, AES and Bakke have been a big inspiration for us in staying true to our own values.

A large part of the process of staying true to the value of fun for Bakke was for him to be a sevant leader and to help individuals in the company make as many important decisions as possible. They devised the Decision Maker method of making decisions as a team, where the person closest to the problem (rather than a manger) makes key decisions. He also wrote a fable called The Decesion Maker around this concept, which I have also included in this list.

Joel Gascoigne
Co-founder/Buffer
The

The Happiness Hypothesis: Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom

Honourable Mentions: Four Hour Work Week, The Happiness Hypothesis, Meditations, Catch 22, A Guide To The Good Life.
Mike Benkovich
Founder/Anatomonics
Prediction

Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence

This book makes artificial intelligence easier to understand by recasting it as a new, cheap commodity--predictions. It's a brilliant move. I found the book incredibly useful.
Kevin Kelly
Co-Founder/Wired
Unstoppable:

Unstoppable: My Life So Far

I’m definitely a story-lover and maybe that’s why I like to read a lot of biographies. It’s fascinating to discover how people with different backgrounds, interests, businesses, careers have found solutions for various challenges from all areas of their life. Elon Musk, Andre Agassi, Phil Knight, Maria Sharapova, Arnold Schwarzenegger are only a few of good recent ones. A specific moment when I recall one of the inspiring stories is probably when I think I can’t anymore. I take a deep breath and move on. It’s only in our mind. We can always do a little more.
Irina Botnari
Managing Partner & Co-Founder/Bucur's Shelter Hostel
One

One Up On Wall Street: How To Use What You Already Know To Make Money In The Market

Read this if you want to learn more about the stock market.
Patrick Swalls
Founder/StarterStory

It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work

Just finished this on the train back to Kyoto. Felt like I took the deepest inhale of fresh air. @jasonfried @dhh grateful for your clarity and conviction, as always!
Claire Lew
CEO/Know Your Company

Sell More Faster: The Ultimate Sales Playbook for Start-Ups (Techstars)

Sell More Faster is the sales playbook every startup founder needs to read. Whether you're searching for product-market fit or have found it and are starting to scale, this book will give you the play by play approach of what you need to do to build an awesome sales organization.
Brad Feld
Co-Founder/Foundry Group
The

The Statistical Mechanics of Financial Markets

Very useful book, particularly in what concerns alternative L-Stable distributions. True, not too versed in financial theory but I'd rather see the author erring on the side of more physics than mathematical economics. As an author I don't ask much from books, just to deliver what they indend. This one does.

Clear historical description of Einstein/Bachelier. Hopefully one day we will call derivatives pricing the Bachelier valuation.

The book in short provides an excellent perspective on the statistical approach to asset price dynamics. Very clear and to the point.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Flaneur
The

The Automatic Millionaire: A Powerful One-Step Plan to Live and Finish Rich

The Automatic Millionaire by David Bach - this is the book that started Tiffany on her financial journey.
Tiffany Aliche
Founder and CEO/The Budgetnista
The

The Cyber Effect: A Pioneering Cyberpsychologist Explains How Human Behavior Changes Online

My favorite book is usually a recent one that helped me with a particular task or question. In the last year, I’ve been working (and studying) more about online influencers. In this context, two books come to mind: one that really inspired me on how to work better with people -- the classic How to win friends and influence people by Dale Carnegie; the other helped me understand the dynamics of online interactions -- The Cyber Effect: A Pioneering Cyberpsychologist Explains How Human Behavior Changes Online by Mary Aiken.
Irina Nica
Senior Marketing Manager/HubSpot
Finite

Finite and Infinite Games: A Vision of Life as Play and Possibility

While I was thinking of the best books to add to this short list, I realized that not even half of them are directly related to digital marketing. This is because I believe that the best marketers are people who understand human nature deeply and aim to bring out the best in it. Call me naive, but that’s how I see it. If I were to want to pursue a career in marketing, I’d read [...] Finite and Infinite Games.
Andra Zaharia
Freelance Content Marketer/The Content Habit
Content

Content Machine: Use Content Marketing to Build a 7-Figure Business With Zero Advertising

Question: What books would you recommend to young people interested in your career path?

Answer:

  • Rework, Getting real and Remote - The combo from Fried and DHH.
  • Girlboss by Sophia Amoruso
  • From Impossible To Inevitable by Aaron Ross & Jason Lemkin
  • How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • Predictable Revenue by Aaron Ross
  • Content Machine by Dan Norris
  • Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
  • Contagious by Jonah Berger

 

Vincenzo Ruggiero
CEO/Prospect.io
Man's

Man’s Search for Meaning – The Classic Tribute to Hope from the Holocaust

Frankl is one of the most profound modern thinkers on meaning and purpose. His contribution was to change the question from the vague philosophy of “What is the meaning of life?” to man being asked and forced to answer with his actions. He looks at how we find purpose by dedicating ourselves to a cause, learning to love and finding a meaning to our suffering. His other two books on the topic, Will To Meaning and Man’s Search for Ultimate Meaning have gems in them as well.
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check

Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace

It’s difficult to say what business book is my favorite, as they all appeal to me in different ways. I’d say that the most influential book on my early career was Orbiting The Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie. It was an insider look at creative leadership from the former creative director at Hallmark, and helped me open up to the effects of bureaucracy on creativity and how to surmount them.
Todd Henry
Founder of Accidental Creative
The

The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership: Achieving and Sustaining Excellence through Leadership Development

One of the books I got a lot out of and I haven’t mentioned yet is called “The Toyota Way” which is a book that essentially looks at the Toyota car manufacturing process and why it was so revolutionary, talking about some concepts like kaizen and theory of constraints that came out of that process that Toyota developed and the book about it will give you such an insight into manufacturing, but also just general productivity, like kaizen became a concept that was almost as important as the 80-20 rule to me with my own business but with my own life as well.

By the way, kaizen means, it’s like a philosophy of continuous improvement that the Japanese follow or, at least Toyota certainly follows in their business with the car manufacturing. So, that’s something that I think can make a difference perhaps to any entrepreneur but certainly if you’re looking at something to do with like an assembly line, if that’s your business plan, if it included an assembly line then you’ve gotta get yourself “The Toyota Way” book because that’s gonna be so relevant to what you’re doing and will probably give you a head start instead of just trying to figure it out by yourself. So that’s another recommendation.

Yaro Starak
Founder/Entrepreneurs-Journey.com

Boom Town: The Fantastical Saga of Oklahoma City, its Chaotic Founding… its Purloined Basketball Team, and the Dream of Becoming a World-class Metropolis

Sam Anderson is a visionary artist who sees what others can’t; he’s a master wordsmith who creates beauty and light from confusion and plunging darkness; he's our tour guide to a better tomorrow because he understands a complex and foundational history that is our launching pad to new and unexplored universes.

Bill Walton
Basketball Player/TV Sportscaster/Author

The Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage

The Cuckoo's Egg by Clifford Stoll is another great book. I believe it's the first documented account of a computer being misused by a remote attacker. It talks about how Clifford attached physical teleprinters to the incoming phone lines so that he could see what the attacker was actually doing on the computer, and how he traced the attacker across several countries.
James Stanley
Founder/SMS Privacy
Shantaram

Shantaram

Today is World Book Day, a wonderful opportunity to address this #ChallengeRichard sent in by Mike Gonzalez of New Jersey: Make a list of your top 65 books to read in a lifetime.
Richard Branson
Founder/Virgin Group
Multipliers:

Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

Multipliers by Liz Wiseman is an excellent book on leadership.
Ben Chestnut
Founder & CEO/MailChimp

Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life

This book was recommended by Daymond John on page 234 of Tools of Titans.

Daymond John
Founder/FUBU
Bad

Bad Feminist

It’s hard to pick an all-time favorite because, as time goes by and I grow older, my reading list becomes more “mature” and I find myself interested in new things. I probably have a personal favorite book for each stage of my life. Right now I’m absolutely blown away by everything Roxane Gay wrote, especially Bad Feminist.
Irina Nica
Senior Marketing Manager/HubSpot

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

Michael Bungay-Stanier’s The Coaching Habit was the first book I read when I received the altMBA6 “care package.” It delivers a system for developing worthwhile habits and engagements that I found compelling and effective. I use the seven question system Michael teaches in my work as a guitar teacher, life coach, and musical collaborator.
Scott Perry
Author, Stoic Guitarist
The

The Culture Map

The one book that impressed me the most lately is The Culture Map. [...] For an organization like OutSystems where we have Dutch, we have people from Dubai, we have Portuguese, we have British, we have Americans [...] The book is fantastic and from all the examples I've seen, it creates a framework for two people that are from different cultures to actually understand why the other react the way they are [...] and so it helps into a lot of the communication process.
Paulo Rosado
CEO/OutSystems
Setting

Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

A few months ago, I was drinking a Noah’s Mill whiskey (cute) with my good buddy Brian Balfour and talking about life... During the conversation, we got on the topic of books that changed our lives. I want to share them with you. I judge a book's success if a year later I'm still using at least 1 thing from the book.
Noah Kagan
Founder/Sumo
Customer

Customer Centered Selling: Sales Techniques for a New World Economy

At last! A sales primer for the intelligent salesperson. It involves the salesperson actively in the customer's buying process instead of relying on jargon, slogans, and gimmicks.
Phil Duff
Former CFO/Morgan Stanley
Hire

Hire With Your Head: Using Performance-Based Hiring to Build Great Teams

In what regards the professional side, if we talk about headhunting, it still remains an inspiration for me what Lou Adler wrote in
Madalina Uceanu
Managing Partner/CareerAdvisor
Essentialism:

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

This book taught me a valuable lesson about focusing on what’s most important and saying no to everything else. This approach freed up my time dramatically; suddenly focusing on sales and strategy was something I did, not something I wanted to do. If you’ve ever found yourself stretched too thin, feel simultaneously overworked and underutilised, or, and this one was a biggie for me, feel like your time is constantly being hijacked by other people’s agendas, then Essentialism is the game changer you’ve been looking for. This book changed my life and the business.
Heather Baker
CEO/TopLine Comms

Breathe To Succeed: Increase Workplace Productivity, Creativity, and Clarity through the Power of Mindfulness

Breathe to Succeed is an excellent prescription for any aspiring or current leader. Sandy Abrams’ new book offers valuable insights into addressing the hectic schedule and constant stress of everyone from an employee to the CEO. By understanding the causes and effects of stress on the human body, Sandy offers tools of the mind and breath to find your way through the storm and achieve optimal health.
Mark Bertolini
Former Chairman & CEO/Aetna

Smart and Gets Things Done: Joel Spolsky’s Concise Guide to Finding the Best Technical Talent

The book spans a broad field and it's obvious that many things, like the location of your company, are beyond the control of most managers and technical interviewers. Joel recognizes this and gives solid and honest no-nonsense advices. Like all of Joel's writings this book is humorous, interesting and a true joy to read. I tend to disagree quite often with Joel's technical opinions, but on the softer aspects of the business, he's brilliant. If you're involved in the hiring process, this book will give you a lot of ideas and advices.
Adam Tornhill
Founder/Empear
The

The Mysterious Island

I will pick Jules Verne’s Mysterious Island for a non-business favorite. I don’t claim this is the best book out there. Not even in its category (whatever that is). But I adored this book as a young boy. I remember that the night when I was approaching the end of the book a power outage happened, and I finished it reading it with the help of candle light. I love this book that much. Jules Verne introduces a world full of mysteries, with challenges that seem insurmountable but with heroes that always find ingenious ways to overcome them using science and strength of character. It is also part of a Universe (like the Marvel one), building on some of the reveals from “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea” or “In Search of the Castaways”. Maybe your readers shouldn’t rush and grab this one unless they are 14 yrs old or deeply into steampunk adventure stories. But it meant a lot to me at the time. Maybe it sparked my interest in sciences or cultivated my sense of adventure.
Vladimir Oane
Founder/UberVU
Marketing

Marketing Outrageously Redux: How to Increase Your Revenue by Staggering Amounts

My favorite business book is Marketing Outrageously by John Spoelstra, as he talks about his time being the Marketing Director for various sports teams and the philosophy of courage when it comes to even being a small company. We are not Coca-Cola - we don’t have the name they do, so why would we think investing money via social media or Google AdWords would ever bring us any results based on our mostly non-recognizable brand?

One quote in particular about this helps guide me along when a Google Account Manager tries to get us to purchase more ad credit: “If you run ads only to build identity, you’ve got a lot of cute little ads, but they’re very difficult to measure...However, if you ask the ad to build identity and buy now, then it’s easy to measure.” This idea is fairly fundamental now, but back in 2001 when he wrote the book and internet was starting to become a mainstream household item, that was a big deal. Be brave - and branding for the sake of branding is a waste of money for startups.

Ari Iaccarino
Co-Founder/Ridj-it
Disrupted:

Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble

The book starts like a punch in the gut, but the story and the reality dose of this book are something that we all need from time to time in the Tech Startup Age. It helped me look beyond the excitement of working on new projects as a goal in itself and keep at least one foot on the ground. Plus the writing is extraordinary!
Irina Marinescu
Product Manager & Co-Founder/Save Potatoes
The

The Business of Consulting

This book is filled with real-world, practical and proven tactics that, when used, do build successful consulting practices. It is a must-have resource for people who are thinking of becoming a consultant and for anyone who already is one!
Dana Gaines Robinson
President/Partners in Change
B.S.,

B.S., Incorporated

I enjoyed the hell out of this book. It harpoons the bloated, mindlessly self-destructive tendencies of American corporations. But it’s also a human story. Which is why--despite the absurdity and arrogance and plain ol’ stupidity on display at BSI--I’d kind of like to work there. Are they hiring?
Bill Anderson
President/One Voice Creative Media
Developing

Developing the Leader Within You

I remember during the days when I was in National Service, between the ages of 19 to 21. I had a lot of time on my hands. I managed to stumble upon the author by the name of John C Maxwell. He was really popular during that period of time and he had so many good titles like “Developing the leader with you.”, “Today Matters.”, “The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership.”. These series of books really mold me into who I am now. These are very deep character building books. And they came at the right time when I was at an age ready to be mentored and guided.
Lex Na Wei Ming
CEO/Bountie.io
Hooked:

Hooked: How to Build Habit-Forming Products

Recommended by Marc Goodman in Tools of Titans.
Marc Goodman
Founder/Future Crimes Institute
The

The Surprising Science of Meetings: How You Can Lead Your Team to Peak Performance

In workplaces around the world, meetings are where productivity and creativity go to die. Steven Rogelberg is the world's leading expert on how to fix them, and here he shares the best evidence on how we can stop wasting time and falling victim to groupthink.
Adam Grant
Author
The

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

Also hard to find on audio. I find Steve's voice to be fascinating, and even before I knew him, I was fascinated by listening to him speak his own work. The War of Art is one of those books, at least for me when I finally was exposed to it, I said, 'Why wasn't I informed? Why did it take this long for this book to land on my desk?'... You need to be clear with yourself about what you are afraid of, why you are afraid, and whether you care enough to dance with that fear because it will never go away.
Seth Godin
Author & Entrepreneur
The

The Obstacle is the Way

Follow these precepts and you will revolutionise your life.
Steven Pressfield
Author/The War of Art
Made

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

I work in digital marketing so I would [recommend]: [...] Made to stick by Chip and Dan Heath.
Raluca Radu
Owner/MTH Digital
The

The Forest Passage

This is a book about freedom and materiality, how one can regain his freedom by forsaking material possessions and leave the society of bonded men, like classical Germany’s outlaws would leave home and family to escape retribution in the deep forests. The launch of a business, and more to the point, the transition from being a well-fed corporate agent to being a starving and permanently scared entrepreneur is very close to the one from living in a house with your family to sleeping in the woods and fending off starvation on a daily basis. Realizing that this was not too high a price to pay for my freedom was defining for me.
Stephane Grand
Managing Partner/S.J. Grand Financial and Tax Advisory
Crossing

Crossing the Chasm: Marketing and Selling Disruptive Products to Mainstream Customers

This is a key component in my Purple Cow thinking, but with a twist. I'm not as worried about the chasm as I am about the desire of marketers to go for the big middle.
Seth Godin
Author & Entrepreneur

Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers

I could probably name a dozen books here, but I’ll point out The Business Model Generation and Value Prop Design from Strategyzer. I steal from these constantly and are engrained in my work process. These books put into practice really taught me how to think. As soon as I saw that everything should have a foundation of empathy, what good user-testing looks like, how to test and iterate it changed everything. After that any problem could be solved. It wasn’t solving one big monolithic problem. It was going through a process.
Ashley Hathaway
Enterprise Product Manager
The

The Fountainhead

It condenses most of her philosophy in a shorter book, without the intellectual whirlpools Atlas Shrugged is known for. The hero, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who refuses to compromise his artistic and personal vision for success. He chooses to battle the establishment and stand by his values against all odds. The story is simplistic but it serves as a vessel for communicating liberal values like individualism, private property, innovation or capitalism. All of which are foundational traits for any creator (entrepreneur or not).
Vladimir Oane
Founder/UberVU
No

No Bull: My Life In and Out of Markets

As a speculator I learned to take the best from books and ideas without arguments (many readers seem to be training to be shallow critics)--good insights are hard to come by. One does not find these in the writings of a journalist. There are some things personal to the author that might be uninteresting to some, but I take the package. The man is one of the greatest traders in history. There are a few jewels in there.

The man did it. I'd rather listen to him than read better written but hollow prose from some journalist-writer.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Flaneur

Rule #1: The Simple Strategy for Successful Investing in Only 15 Minutes a Week

Robert Kiyosaki's “Rich Dad Poor Dad” stopped me from making a mistake and buying a car - because it wasn’t an asset. It also convinced me to invest in shares, while the books “Rule no.1” and “The Snowball” taught me how to choose them.
Robert Hajnal
Founder/Trail Running Academy
Losing

Losing My Virginity

I encourage you to read his autobiography “Losing My Virginity” as well as his book “Business Stripped Bare” if you haven’t gone through them yet. Uber-inspiring. For people who want to become Remarkable Entrepreneurs – and express their absolute best.
Robin Sharma
Founder/Sharma Leadership International
Radical

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity

I am currently reading two business books: Radical Candor by Kim Scott which I expect can help me build better relationships with my colleagues, and Lean Customer Development by Cindy Alvarez which helps me have more open conversations with clients and better define our product roadmap.
Thomas Graziani
Co-founder/WalktheChat
Across

Across the Pacific

Across the Pacific by Akira Irie, great book for those who want to see the bigger picture of East-West relations.
Stephane Grand
Managing Partner/S.J. Grand Financial and Tax Advisory
Born

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

I also pay attention to any book recommendations my friends post on Facebook. I started reading Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime after I saw Radu Marcusu, CEO of Upswing, recommending it. He swore by it that is was funny -- and it was! Until the last chapter. I remember listening to the audiobook on a train and crying my eyes out. So yeah. That happened.
Irina Nica
Senior Marketing Manager/HubSpot
The

The Greatest Trade Ever: The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street and Made Financial History

I have lots of books to recommend, but they are not related to my career path. The only one that is remotely related is Peter Thiel’s Zero to One. That said here are books I would recommend.
Fabrice Grinda
Serial Entrepreneur, Investor

The Gathering Storm (The Second World War)

When I look back at my career path, it is the one of an entrepreneur. I have built various businesses, from accounting and financial advisory firms to tech and security businesses. I have also spent most of my adult life in China, a country that is quite hostile to foreigners and very unfair. I have accepted to suffer the hardships of building my business without any investment from anybody, and stick very firmly to my values. I would recommend young people to read about adventure, hardships, and moral choices. Of course, it would be important to also read about the drivers of our humanity, hence the motley list below:

[...]

  • The Second World War by Winston Churchill. In War: Resolution, In Defeat: Defiance, In Victory: Magnanimity, In Peace: Goodwill.
Stephane Grand
Managing Partner/S.J. Grand Financial and Tax Advisory
The

The Ego and His Own: The Case of the Individual Against Authority

The ego and his own by Max Stirner, because there is a bit of an anarchist in every entrepreneur.
Stephane Grand
Managing Partner/S.J. Grand Financial and Tax Advisory
The

The Seven-Day Weekend: Changing the Way Work Works

Ricardo Semler took over his father's business, Semco, in 1980 under the condition that he could change it completely. On his first day as CEO, he fired 60% of all top managers. Since then he has introduced a wide range of unconventional practices, such as having no official working hours, employees choosing their own salaries, and having no vision (instead wanting employees to find the way using their instinct).

For me, The Seven-Day Weekend opened my eyes and helped me to question every business practice that exists today. Semler aimed to operate as a 'sevant leader' and made a conscious effort to make zero decisions himself.

Joel Gascoigne
Co-founder/Buffer
Rockonomics:

Rockonomics: A Backstage Tour of What the Music Industry Can Teach Us about Economics and Life

An absolutely brilliant mind. The definition of left and right brain balance!!
Quincy Jones
Musician
The

The Centurions

The Centurions, an amazing novel by Jean Larteguy, both for the leadership and counterinsurgency aspects of it. This book was on the nightstand of General David Patraeus during his years as the commander of the ISAF in Afghanistan.
Stephane Grand
Managing Partner/S.J. Grand Financial and Tax Advisory
Thus

Thus Spoke Zarathustra: A Book for Everyone and No One

My favorite book is “Thus spoke Zarathustra” by Friedrich Nietzsche. I do not think I have ever read a book that had more resonance for me.
Stephane Grand
Managing Partner/S.J. Grand Financial and Tax Advisory
On

On The Happy Life

When I look back at my career path, it is the one of an entrepreneur. I have built various businesses, from accounting and financial advisory firms to tech and security businesses. I have also spent most of my adult life in China, a country that is quite hostile to foreigners and very unfair. I have accepted to suffer the hardships of building my business without any investment from anybody, and stick very firmly to my values. I would recommend young people to read about adventure, hardships, and moral choices. Of course, it would be important to also read about the drivers of our humanity, hence the motley list below:

[...]

  • De Vita Beata (on the happy life) by Seneca the Younger
Stephane Grand
Managing Partner/S.J. Grand Financial and Tax Advisory
The

The Gay Science

I have been running my own businesses for the last 15 years. Just before that, before diving head-on into entrepreneurship and independence, I used to be the country monitor of a large accounting and consulting network for China. Having had some ethical differences with members of my former network, I decided to break away from it. However, since I was equipped with a very expensive education, everybody around me was recommending that I would go and work for another firm. I was mired in doubt and was considering going back to management consulting. I have always had two go-to books when having moments of self-doubt like this. Those books are the Zarathustra and the Gay Science by Nietzsche. As I was reading through the prologue of the Zarathustra, and the title character was seeing the acrobat crossing between towers on the marketplace of Baghdad, I realized that staying in a cushy job would not help me cross between the beast and the superman, in a manner of speaking. Hence, Nietzsche helped me make a decision that I had already made in my heart, and which consisted in starting my own company.
Stephane Grand
Managing Partner/S.J. Grand Financial and Tax Advisory
Zodiac

Zodiac

I also have to say Zodiac by Neal Stephenson for fiction. It’s about an eco-terrorist in Boston. It’s an amazingly fun read.
Ashley Hathaway
Enterprise Product Manager

The Naked Ape: A Zoologist’s Study of the Human Animal

When a look back at my career path, it is the one of an entrepreneur. I have built various businesses, from accounting and financial advisory firms to tech and security businesses. I have also spent most of my adult life in China, a country that is quite hostile to foreigners and very unfair. I have accepted to suffer the hardships of building my business without any investment from anybody, and stick very firmly to my values. I would recommend young people to read about adventure, hardships, and moral choices. Of course, it would be important to also read about the drivers of our humanity, hence the motley list below:

[...]

  • The Naked Ape, Desmond Moriss’s classic zoological study of the human being.
Stephane Grand
Managing Partner/S.J. Grand Financial and Tax Advisory

To-Do List Formula: A Stress-Free Guide To Creating To-Do Lists That Work!

The best book I've read on To-do lists!
Gennady Batrakov
CEO & Founder/Strivechat & BubblesPlanner

What To Do When It’s Your Turn

These books and their core ideas have stuck with me the most and continue to guide me when I hit crossroads along the way.
Andra Zaharia
Freelance Content Marketer/The Content Habit
The

The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership

In 2014, I read The Education of a Coach, a book about Bill Belichick which influenced me immensely (coincidentally, the Patriots have also read my book and were influenced by it). Anyway, I have been chasing that high ever since. Bill Walsh’s book certainly met that high standard. Out of all the books I read this year, I marked this one up the most. Even if you’ve never watched a down of football, you’ll get something out of this book. Walsh took the 49ers from the worst team in football to the Super Bowl in less than 3 years. How? Not with a grand vision or pure ambition, but with what he called the Standard of Performance. That is: How to practice. How to dress. How to hold the ball. Where to be on a play down the very inch. Which skills mattered for each position. How much effort to give. By upholding these standards—whatever they happen to be for your chosen craft—success will take care of itself.
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
Lateral

Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step

While I was thinking of the best books to add to this short list, I realized that not even half of them are directly related to digital marketing. This is because I believe that the best marketers are people who understand human nature deeply and aim to bring out the best in it. Call me naive, but that’s how I see it. If I were to want to pursue a career in marketing, I’d read [...] Lateral Thinking.
Andra Zaharia
Freelance Content Marketer/The Content Habit
The

The Lean Startup

There are quite a few good business books on technology, and I'll list below some I find to be a good starting point. Personally, I like biographies a lot and I mostly read biographies of dead people, because those are the most honest ones. So because the computer age is still very young, there won't be a lot of biographies in my list.
Bogdan Iordache
Co-Founder/How to Web
My

My Berlin Child

I’m reading more books at the same time. Guilty. Some of them are Tools of Titans - Tim Ferriss, My Berlin Child – Anne Wiazemsky, Women who Run with the Wolves - Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Tim is full of lessons to learn, remember & implement, I’ll see what the rest of the books will unfold.
Irina Botnari
Managing Partner & Co-Founder/Bucur's Shelter Hostel
Hillbilly

Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis

In terms of other surprising memoirs, I found JD Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy to be another well-written gem.
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
We

We Were Soldiers Once…and Young: Ia Drang – The Battle That Changed the War in Vietnam

When a look back at my career path, it is the one of an entrepreneur. I have built various businesses, from accounting and financial advisory firms to tech and security businesses. I have also spent most of my adult life in China, a country that is quite hostile to foreigners and very unfair. I have accepted to suffer the hardships of building my business without any investment from anybody, and stick very firmly to my values. I would recommend young people to read about adventure, hardships, and moral choices. Of course, it would be important to also read about the drivers of our humanity, hence the motley list below:

[...]

  • We were soldiers once, and young … because entrepreneurship is infantry combat.
Stephane Grand
Managing Partner/S.J. Grand Financial and Tax Advisory
Wishes

Wishes Fulfilled: Mastering the Art of Manifesting

The second category of books would be related to self awareness and keeping a positive approach to life generally, which I think makes a lot of difference in the way you create your professional path as well. Here you can either go more on the NLP approach and watch Tony Robbins interventions, or more towards the spiritual path, maybe at a later stage and read Wayne Dyer's books.
Madalina Uceanu
Managing Partner/CareerAdvisor
Unshakeable:

Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook

The second category of books would be related to self awareness and keeping a positive approach to life generally, which I think makes a lot of difference in the way you create your professional path as well. Here you can either go more on the NLP approach and watch Tony Robbins interventions, or more towards the spiritual path, maybe at a later stage and read Wayne Dyer's books.
Madalina Uceanu
Managing Partner/CareerAdvisor
Fall

Fall of Giants

It’s vacation time so I got brave enough to start a sizeable trilogy by Ken Follett, The Century (Fall of Giants, Winter of the World, Edge of Eternity). The only expectation I had was to enjoy a good story, take my mind off into a different space. And it delivers, it’s a nice blend of history and fiction, an absorbing story throughout 20th century.

Tudor Mihailescu
Finance and Business Enablement Manager
Elements

Elements of Information Theory

Folks frequently ask “What are the books that changed your life?” If I tell them, they are usually radically disappointed. I find that curious. I just cleared out of an office, and these are 4 shelves of spines of books that mattered enough to me to bring home. So here they are.
Eric Weinstein
Managing Director/Thiel Capital

Co-Active Coaching: Changing Business, Transforming Lives

Very well structured material on coaching. I'm a better listener now.
Bogdan Lucaciu
CTO/Adore Me

Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media, and Blogs

If you want to find a niche and adapt to the marketing, one of my favorite techniques is Inbound Marketing. Great book to understand what's inbound marketing and how you can use effectively this technique for your business or clients.
Ionut Danifeld
Co-Founder/DevMark.co

General Relativity (Graduate Texts in Physics)

Folks frequently ask “What are the books that changed your life?” If I tell them, they are usually radically disappointed. I find that curious. I just cleared out of an office, and these are 4 shelves of spines of books that mattered enough to me to bring home. So here they are.
Eric Weinstein
Managing Director/Thiel Capital
Disciplined

Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup

[One of the books that had the biggest impact on Maya.]
Maya Zlatanova
Co-Founder & CEO/FindMeCure
MONEY

MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom

The second category of books would be related to self awareness and keeping a positive approach to life generally, which I think makes a lot of difference in the way you create your professional path as well. Here you can either go more on the NLP approach and watch Tony Robbins interventions, or more towards the spiritual path, maybe at a later stage and read Wayne Dyer's books.
Madalina Uceanu
Managing Partner/CareerAdvisor
The

The Front Nine: How to Start the Year You Want Anytime You Want

Mike is the former editor-in-chief of Lifehack.org — an experience that transformed him into a incisive commentator on what works and what doesn’t in the world of productivity. His new book takes a surprisingly nuanced look at what it (really) takes to get important projects from conception to completion.
Cal Newport
Author

The Disease Delusion: Conquering the Causes of Chronic Illness for a Healthier, Longer, and Happier Life

On the healthcare side on the microbiome, I really love the book called, Disease Delusion by Jeff Bland and The Human Superorganism. I just love both of them. It gives you a whole holistic view of the body.
Naveen Jain
Founder/Moon Express
Peddling

Peddling Prosperity: Economic Sense and Nonsense in an Age of Diminished Expectations

Folks frequently ask “What are the books that changed your life?” If I tell them, they are usually radically disappointed. I find that curious. I just cleared out of an office, and these are 4 shelves of spines of books that mattered enough to me to bring home. So here they are.
Eric Weinstein
Managing Director/Thiel Capital

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t

I picked up Leaders Eat Last when I was going through a lot of transition at work. Our organization had experienced a significant scandal; the leadership team which I really respected was turning over; my direct boss and mentor was leaving; And I was still charged with managing one of the bigger teams in the organization.

 

I would read this quote over and over again to guide my everyday,the true price of leadership is the willingness to place the needs of others above your own. Great leaders truly care about those they are privileged to lead and understand that the true cost of the leadership privilege comes at the expense of self-interest.

 

It grounded me in what was important and when I made it a core value for myself, I was easy to use that as a benchmark for myself and influence my team to operate at a higher standard.

 

AnneMarie Schindler
Founder/Small Wins Consulting

The Decision Maker: Unlock the Potential of Everyone in Your Organization, One Decision at a Time

Within Buffer, we have a concept where anyone is able to make any decision, provided they get advice from people who will be affected by the decision. It is the way we've found to envision a company without managers or bosses. We're still at the beginning of this journey, it's an exciting one to be on and I think we're creating an incredible company to be part of.

This decision making concept originates from a company called AES. I already mentioned Joy At Work, AES co-founder Dennis Bakke's first book and this is a fable he wrote to describe a company changing how they work and adopting the Advice Process.

Joel Gascoigne
Co-founder/Buffer
The

The Ideas of Particle Physics: An Introduction for Scientists

Folks frequently ask “What are the books that changed your life?” If I tell them, they are usually radically disappointed. I find that curious. I just cleared out of an office, and these are 4 shelves of spines of books that mattered enough to me to bring home. So here they are.
Eric Weinstein
Managing Director/Thiel Capital

Like a Virgin: Secrets They Won’t Teach You at Business School

I would recommend any biographies of business people, but definitely I would have on the list any of Richard Branson's books. That should cover a better business and mentality understanding.
Madalina Uceanu
Managing Partner/CareerAdvisor
Hot

Hot Seat: The Startup CEO Guidebook

It's solid, realistic advice from someone who definitely knows what he's talking about.
Kristen Hamilton
Co-founder/Koru

The Founder’s Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup

Will assume career path is running a startup, getting clients and managing a team of employees or collaborating with founders. These are some of the best books to cover these areas. It’s hard running a startup, let alone being the person who has to make the highest decisions in the organization. These books help provide the framework in how to run a successful organization but also share some of the stories and pitfalls from other founders so you can avoid making the same mistakes.
Cody McLain
CEO/SupportNinja
Truth

Truth About Chernobyl

The Truth About Chernobyl is essential reading from a Soviet physicist's perspective... and Grigori Medvedev had his boots on the ground. An excellent combination of historic recounting and clear science.
Craig Mazin
Creator, Writer, Producer/Chernobyl TV Series

Writing Riches: Learn How to Boost Profits, Drive Sales and Master Your Financial Destiny With Results-Based Web Copy

Like Charlie Munger once said: “I’ve long believed that a certain system - which almost any intelligent person can learn - works way better than the systems most people use [to understand the world]. What you need is a latticework of mental models in your head. And, with that system, things gradually fit together in a way that enhances cognition. Just as multiple factors shape every system, multiple mental models from a variety of disciplines are necessary to understand that system. You can read this book to start building a latticework of mental models in your head.

Ola Olusoga
Co-founder/Populum

Screw It, Let’s Do It: Lessons In Life

I would recommend any biographies of business people, but definitely I would have on the list any of Richard Branson's books. That should cover a better business and mentality understanding.
Madalina Uceanu
Managing Partner/CareerAdvisor

Unsubscribe: How to Kill Email Anxiety, Avoid Distractions, and Get Real Work Done

This is a vitally important book, an urgent call for reason that can transform the way you spend hours every day.
Seth Godin
Entrepreneur, author, marketer
Buy-In:

Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down

As a marketing & strategy addict, I'll go beside all the books mentioned above with Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, Buy-In: Saving Your Good Idea from Getting Shot Down by John P. Kotter and Lorne A. Whitehead, The E-Myth: Why Most Small Businesses Don't Work and What to Do About It by Michael E. Gerber.
Irina Botnari
Managing Partner & Co-Founder/Bucur's Shelter Hostel

Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader

It’s a very simple & interesting read. It takes a different approach about reaching your goals and dreams it pushes you to not just prepare & work on yourself but to put yourself out there & interact with leaders to learn from them & to figure out what kind of leader you are.
Nadia Al Sheikh
Founder/Deal’n
Differential

Differential Topology

Folks frequently ask “What are the books that changed your life?” If I tell them, they are usually radically disappointed. I find that curious. I just cleared out of an office, and these are 4 shelves of spines of books that mattered enough to me to bring home. So here they are.
Eric Weinstein
Managing Director/Thiel Capital

Pitch Anything: An Innovative Method for Presenting, Persuading, and Winning the Deal

Great book on pitching, and more generally, sales. Funny too. Has some ideas very reminiscent of Thinking Fast and Slow.
Michael Herrmann
Founder/Terminerinnerung
Write.

Write. Publish. Repeat.: The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success

Sean Platt has a good book that just came out about writing many books. I recommend it. “Write. Publish. Repeat.” I think Sean has published over 50 books. I don’t know because he uses pseudonyms as well.

James Altucher
Founder/StockPickr

Designing Organizations: Strategy, Structure, and Process at the Business Unit and Enterprise Levels

Question: What five books would you recommend to young people interested in your career path & why?

Answer: In addition to Built to Change, Process Consultation, and Flawless Consulting, I would add:

  • The Wisdom of Teams by Katzenbach & Smith
  • Diagnosing and Changing Organizational Culture by Cameron & Quinn
  • Designing Organizations by Galbraith
  • Understanding Research Methods by Patten
  • Competitive Strategy by Michael Porter
Denise Morris Kipnis
Founder & Principal/ChangeFlow Consulting
CA$HVERTISING:

CA$HVERTISING: How to Use More than 100 Secrets of Ad-Agency Psychology to Make Big Money Selling Anything to Anyone

Cashvertising is a virtual blueprint for persuading the consumer mind. It's fast, fun, and a must-read for businesses in all industries.
Roger Dawson
Author/Secrets of Power Negotiating

Supermanifolds (Cambridge Monographs on Mathematical Physics)

Folks frequently ask “What are the books that changed your life?” If I tell them, they are usually radically disappointed. I find that curious. I just cleared out of an office, and these are 4 shelves of spines of books that mattered enough to me to bring home. So here they are.
Eric Weinstein
Managing Director/Thiel Capital

Epic Content Marketing: How to Tell a Different Story, Break through the Clutter, and Win More Customers by Marketing Less

In terms of business, some of the must-read books I would mention are Hooked by Nir Eyal, Web Analytics: An Hour A Day by Avinash Kaushik, Call To Action and Always Be Testing by Bryan Eisenberg, Epic Content Marketing by Joe Pulizzi, How To Build Websites That Sell by Peep Laja, Content Chemistry by Andy Crestodina.
Raluca Radu
Owner/MTH Digital
Pour

Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time

I really, really like company biographies. They're just kind of the style of book that I've gotten really into. [...] I've read the Starbucks CEO book.
Jilliene Helman
CEO/Realty Mogul
Flowers

Flowers for Algernon

It’s pretty hard to pick only one favorite book because as we get wiser (to be read: get older ☺) our interests change and so do our books, but it’ll stick to the plan. The highlight of this year for me was Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. The idea behind is heartbreaking and completely brilliant, being in the same time so perfect and so horribly disturbing.
Irina Botnari
Managing Partner & Co-Founder/Bucur's Shelter Hostel

Introduction to Gauge Field Theories (Theoretical and Mathematical Physics)

Folks frequently ask “What are the books that changed your life?” If I tell them, they are usually radically disappointed. I find that curious. I just cleared out of an office, and these are 4 shelves of spines of books that mattered enough to me to bring home. So here they are.
Eric Weinstein
Managing Director/Thiel Capital
Everybody

Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content

The alternate click-bait title of Ann’s great new book could have been 73 Ways to Improve Your Writing and Conquer the World! …and it would have been an understatement. We’re all publishers now, and the better writers connect, persuade, and win. Be one of them with this book.
Brian Clark
Founder & CEO/Copyblogger Media
My

My Years with General Motors

If you have to read just one business book to understand the global corporate world we live in today, I think this is it. And I think Bill Gates said this first. Alfred P. Sloan was the CEO of General Motors in its early beginnings, and he went through all the stages of the growth, going bust, growth and then consolidation of the beginning (when some companies were creating mechanical horses - no kidding) to the '60s, when he retired.
Bogdan Iordache
Co-Founder/How to Web
Personal

Personal Finance in Your 20s and 30s For Dummies

One of the key factors that impact our quality of life is our finances. This book is relevant to the concerns and questions that myself and fellow young professionals have as we enter or navigate our lives and careers in our 20s and beyond!
Miracle Olatunji
Founder & CEO/OpportuniMe
The

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience

Question: What five books would you recommend to young people interested in your career path & why?

Answer:

  • Rich Dad Poor Dad - Robert Kiyosaki
  • Second Chance - Robert Kiyosaki
  • Why the Rich Are Getting Richer - Robert Kiyosaki
  • The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs: How to Be Insanely Great in Front of Any Audience - Carmine Gallo
  • The Little Voice Mastery - Blair Singer
Jack H. M. Wong
Trainer & Author
We

We Are All Weird: The Rise of Tribes and the End of Normal

We Are All Weird, Seth Godin, is also a bible for our fast forward changing world. We're all different in our own ways. The businesses shall adapt, quick. And so shall we.
Irina Botnari
Managing Partner & Co-Founder/Bucur's Shelter Hostel
The

The Courage Quotient: How Science Can Make You Braver

When asked what books he would recommend to youngsters interested in his professional path, Stephen mentioned The Courage Quotient.
Stephen Lew
Director/The School of Positive Psychology
The

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work

The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work by Alain de Botton gave me a wider perspective on work in the modern age, and what it means to be a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker versus a Regional Sales Managers for an obscure biscuit brand (real example from the book).
Benjamin Spall
Co-Author of My Morning Routine
Crystallizing

Crystallizing Public Opinion

Crystallizing Public Opinion was written by the Godfather of PR. Bernays combined crowd psychology with the psychoanalytical ideas of his uncle, Sigmund Freud, to become the first thinker to explain how PR could thrive by managing public opinion. It’s truly incredible how poignant his insights and analysis remain in popular culture.
Ronn Torossian
CEO, Founder/5W PR
Screw

Screw Business As Usual: Turning Capitalism into a Force for Good

I would recommend any biographies of business people, but definitely I would have on the list any of Richard Branson's books. That should cover a better business and mentality understanding.
Madalina Uceanu
Managing Partner/CareerAdvisor
You'll

You’ll See It When You Believe It

The second category of books would be related to self awareness and keeping a positive approach to life generally, which I think makes a lot of difference in the way you create your professional path as well. Here you can either go more on the NLP approach and watch Tony Robbins interventions, or more towards the spiritual path, maybe at a later stage and read Wayne Dyer's books.
Madalina Uceanu
Managing Partner/CareerAdvisor

The Virgin Way: If It’s Not Fun, It’s Not Worth Doing

I would recommend any biographies of business people, but definitely I would have on the list any of Richard Branson's books. That should cover a better business and mentality understanding.
Madalina Uceanu
Managing Partner/CareerAdvisor
The

The Emperor of Scent: A True Story of Perfume and Obsession

For my science friends, I ask them to read The Emperor of Scent, by Chandler Burr, about my friend Luca Turin. It talks about a renegade scientist being stymied by the journal Nature, by various conferences, by the established research centers, and it's just a wonderful introduction to how the dissident voice is marginalized. Because Luca is such a genius of olfcation and chemistry, he's able to take a perspective, which may or may not be true, but keep pushing forward and battling. So, that's one of my favorites.

Eric Weinstein
Managing Director/Thiel Capital
Introductory

Introductory Econometrics: A Modern Approach

Folks frequently ask “What are the books that changed your life?” If I tell them, they are usually radically disappointed. I find that curious. I just cleared out of an office, and these are 4 shelves of spines of books that mattered enough to me to bring home. So here they are.
Eric Weinstein
Managing Director/Thiel Capital

Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor’s Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond

I tend to jump from book to book and may switch if I am interested in some new topic. This is a pleasure for me (which I also do benefit work wise from too). It’s quite a random list because I have eclectic interests (or just scatterbrained most likely) on tech business, AI, general global economy, geopolitics, rising Biotech economy & history. I'm basically 15% to 50% into all these books.
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups
Your

Your Erroneous Zones: Escape negative thinking and take control of your life

The second category of books would be related to self awareness and keeping a positive approach to life generally, which I think makes a lot of difference in the way you create your professional path as well. Here you can either go more on the NLP approach and watch Tony Robbins interventions, or more towards the spiritual path, maybe at a later stage and read Wayne Dyer's books.
Madalina Uceanu
Managing Partner/CareerAdvisor
The

The Power of Intention

The second category of books would be related to self awareness and keeping a positive approach to life generally, which I think makes a lot of difference in the way you create your professional path as well. Here you can either go more on the NLP approach and watch Tony Robbins interventions, or more towards the spiritual path, maybe at a later stage and read Wayne Dyer's books.
Madalina Uceanu
Managing Partner/CareerAdvisor
Total

Total Recall

Schwarzenegger's autobiography is, first and foremost, a really really great rags-to-riches story. But it's true. And it's surprising: he didn't make his first million dollars by acting. And it's inspiring: he goes a little into how one should think, when pursuing a particular goal. And, lastly, it's very well written. It'll completely redefine your idea of the man. And it may give you a glimpse into how you might better sculpt your idea of you.

Gabriel Coarnă
Founder/Readable

What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-smart Executive

Question: What books had the biggest impact on you? Perhaps changed the way you see things or dramatically changed your career path.

Answer:

  • “Zen and the Art of Making a Living: A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design” By Laurence Boldt
  • “Horse Sense: The Key to Success Is Finding a Horse to Ride” by Al Ries and Jack Trout
  • “What They Don't Teach You at Harvard Business School” by Mark McCormack
Christopher Lochhead
Host/Legends and Losers Podcast
Running

Running Lean: Iterate from Plan A to a Plan That Works

For business, I've read Influence by Robert Cialdini 3 times, and Traction by Gabriel Weinberg twice, so if number of times read indicates favor, then those are it. There are a whole bunch of others, like The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman, Confession of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy, The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, and Running Lean by Ash Maurya, that I've also enjoyed and recommend to people.
Ola Olusoga
Co-founder/Populum

Small Is the New Big: and 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas

I thought I might put my money where my mouth is. I keep whining that young people are not in touch with some essential books on advertising that have helped me shape the way I practise my trade today, but I never did anything about it. So I am starting here the ultimate books to read list. I will add to it as I get suggestions and as more good books get written.
Bogdana Butnar
Head of Strategy/Poke
Business

Business Stripped Bare: Adventures of a Global Entrepreneur

I would recommend any biographies of business people, but definitely I would have on the list any of Richard Branson's books. That should cover a better business and mentality understanding.
Mădălina Uceanu
Managing Partner/CareerAdvisor

More Heat than Light: Economics as Social Physics, Physics as Nature’s Economics

Folks frequently ask “What are the books that changed your life?” If I tell them, they are usually radically disappointed. I find that curious. I just cleared out of an office, and these are 4 shelves of spines of books that mattered enough to me to bring home. So here they are.
Eric Weinstein
Managing Director/Thiel Capital
Tribal

Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization

Tony Hsieh admires the book because it explains the importance of creating a strong company culture.
Tony Hsieh
CEO/Zappos
Alexander

Alexander Hamilton

Winston Ma
Managing Director/China Investment Corporation

The Adweek Copywriting Handbook: The Ultimate Guide to Writing Powerful Advertising and Marketing Copy from One of America’s Top Copywriters

Like Charlie Munger once said: “I’ve long believed that a certain system - which almost any intelligent person can learn - works way better than the systems most people use [to understand the world]. What you need is a latticework of mental models in your head. And, with that system, things gradually fit together in a way that enhances cognition. Just as multiple factors shape every system, multiple mental models from a variety of disciplines are necessary to understand that system. You can read this book to start building a latticework of mental models in your head.
Ola Olusoga
Co-founder/Populum
How

How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships

In my career I spend a great chunk of time dealing with clients and people in general. Our environment today is different from what it was before, we spend a lot of time communicating via electronics that we actually lost some great deal of knowledge in human communication, things that we don’t really learn at school (we actually should), but which I believe are essential to communicating with our peers. Leil did a great job in that book to explain simply those tricks of communication, some of which I am sure lots of people will think trivial and already do, but many that we probably don’t realize we can use.
Nicolas Jouvenceau
CEO/Pink Diamonds Boutique
Finding

Finding My Virginity: The New Autobiography

I would recommend any biographies of business people, but definitely I would have on the list any of Richard Branson's books. That should cover a better business and mentality understanding.
Madalina Uceanu
Managing Partner/CareerAdvisor
The

The Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas

Winston Ma
Managing Director/China Investment Corporation
Shoe

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

As a general rule, most new memoirs are mediocre and most business memoirs are even worse. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight is an exception to that rule in every way and as a result, was one of my favorite books of the year and favorite business books ever. I started reading it while on the runway of a flight and figured I’d read a few pages before opening my laptop and working. Instead, my laptop stayed in my bag during the flight and I read almost the entire book in one extended sitting. Ostensibly the memoir of the founder of Nike, it’s really the story of a lost kid trying to find meaning in his life and it ends with him creating a multi-billion dollar company that changes sports forever. I’m not sure if Knight used a ghostwriter (the acknowledgements are unclear) but his personal touches are all over the book—and the book itself is deeply personal and authentic. The afterward is an incredibly moving reflection of a man looking back on his life. I loved this book. It ends just as Nike is starting to turn into the behemoth it would become, so I hold out hope that there may be more books to follow.

Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check

The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money

Folks frequently ask “What are the books that changed your life?” If I tell them, they are usually radically disappointed. I find that curious. I just cleared out of an office, and these are books that mattered enough to me to bring home. So here they are.
Eric Weinstein
Managing Director/Thiel Capital
Women

Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

I’m reading more books at the same time. Guilty. Some of them are Tools of Titans - Tim Ferriss, My Berlin Child – Anne Wiazemsky, Women who Run with the Wolves - Clarissa Pinkola Estés. Tim is full of lessons to learn, remember & implement, I’ll see what the rest of the books will unfold.
Irina Botnari
Managing Partner & Co-Founder/Bucur's Shelter Hostel
Heraclitean

Heraclitean Fire: Sketches from a Life Before Nature

I have another weird recommendation, which is the book Heraclitean Fire by Erwin Chargaff, who effectively shorted Watson and Crick. He told Watson and Crick that he didn't think that they were very good or very smart, and that they didn't know their chemistry. They weren't qualified to work on DNA, etc. It turned out that they got it right, and he got it wrong. When I heard that there was somebody who bet against Watson and Crick, I thought, Well, this is just going to be the laugh of the century, but it turned out that just to short those guys required another genius. He writes about trying to suppress these guys and failing because they were right and he was wrong. He has enough presence of mind to struggle with it. [...] These are books that I think are incredibly powerful because they talk about what it's like to be one against the many.
Eric Weinstein
Managing Director/Thiel Capital
Getting

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In

Charlie Munger recommends this title in the book Poor Charlie's Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger.
Charlie Munger
Vice Chairman/Berkshire Hathaway
Accounting

Accounting for Tastes

Folks frequently ask “What are the books that changed your life?” If I tell them, they are usually radically disappointed. I find that curious. I just cleared out of an office, and these are 4 shelves of spines of books that mattered enough to me to bring home. So here they are.
Eric Weinstein
Managing Director/Thiel Capital
1984

1984

Steve Jobs called this book one of his favorite and recommended it to the hires. The book also inspired one the greatest TV ad (made by Jobs)
Steve Jobs
Founder/Apple
The

The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns

In his 2014 shareholder letter, Buffett recommended reading this book over listening to the advice of most financial advisers.
Warren Buffett
CEO/Berkshire Hathaway
A

A Random Walk down Wall Street: The Time-tested Strategy for Successful Investing

If you want to get into stock trading or in case you want to become an investor, then I definitely would recommend to read the book I already mentioned and in addition: A Random Walk Down Wall Street by Burton Malkiel.
Michael Hebenstreit
Founder/MH Themes

Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World’s Most Unusual Workplace

Maverick is Semler's earlier book, which goes into the full details of how he took over Semco from his father, fired over half of the executive team, diversified the business and revolutionized the way an organization could be run.

I especially enjoy how Semler challenges some deeply ingrained assumptions and beliefs about how business needs to be run. Things like whether growth is even a good thing, and how rules and policies can quickly snowball and grind companies to a halt. It has helped us to reach one of our most powerful phrases we use at Buffer, as an often used alternative to policies: use your best judgement.

Joel Gascoigne
Co-founder/Buffer
Getting

Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity

Getting Things Done by David Allen. He recently spoke at our Zappos all-hands meeting and gave me a signed copy of his book.
Tony Hsieh
CEO/Zappos
The

The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies

Like Charlie Munger once said: “I’ve long believed that a certain system - which almost any intelligent person can learn - works way better than the systems most people use [to understand the world]. What you need is a latticework of mental models in your head. And, with that system, things gradually fit together in a way that enhances cognition. Just as multiple factors shape every system, multiple mental models from a variety of disciplines are necessary to understand that system. You can read this book to start building a latticework of mental models in your head.

Ola Olusoga
Co-founder/Populum
Damn

Damn Right: Behind the Scenes with Berkshire Hathaway Billionaire Charlie Munger

I’m a huge Charlie Munger fan. For some reason, I’d missed this biography of him. I learned a few things I didn’t know and got to travel back in time to a book written in the context of Charlie Munger about 20 years ago.
Brad Feld
Co-Founder/Foundry Group

From Worst to First: Behind the Scenes of Continental’s Remarkable Comeback

Founder and CEO of DOMO, Josh James, is a fan of the book “From Worst to First.”
Josh James
CEO/DOMO

Healing Emotions: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Mindfulness, Emotions, and Health

A book that taught me deeply about understanding and managing my emotions, as well as others’, is Healing Emotions: Conversations with the Dalai Lama on Mindfulness, Emotions, and Health by Daniel Goleman. The book is a record of a series of encounters that the Dalai Lama had with acclaimed Western psychologists, physicians, and other specialists. Their purpose was to explore the mind-body connection and how one can heal the other. This book is just one of an entire series and one of my goals is to read them all!
Andra Zaharia
Freelance Content Marketer/The Content Habit