Best Non-Fiction Books of 2019 – 80 books recommended by The CEO Library community

Table of Contents

About a month ago (November) I asked all the subscribers of The CEO Library Newsletter and the 18,000+ Instagram followers to fill in a form that was asking what are the best books they’ve read in 2019. I didn’t limit the answers in any way – which might not be the best solution going forward, to be sure.

We’ve got a list of about 100 books in total. Out of those books, several weren’t in English and I didn’t find any English translation, so they didn’t make the list. About 10% of them are Fiction books and you can see that list here.

Aside from the Fiction and Non-Fiction lists, I’ve also compiled a list of books published in 2019 that people recommended:

There is a sort of a ranking in the list below:

  • books mentioned earlier in the list of 3 by each person are higher in the list
  • books mentioned more times are higher in the list

Now, without further ado, here’s the list with the best non-fiction books of 2019, as recommended by you, The CEO Library community.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

A lot of people email me asking about habits - how to form good ones, how to break bad ones, how to stop doing the dumb shit we always do. I've got a friend named James Clear. He's an accomplished author and business owner and is kind of a "habit guru." He's probably forgotten more habits research than I've ever brought myself to look at. He just launched his first book. It's called Atomic Habits and it's probably the most practical and complete guide I've ever seen about habit formation and habit change. Do check it out. And then email him and tell him that I have luscious and beautiful hair and he doesn't. Then stick out your tongue and go, "Nyah, nyanya, nyah, nyah."
Mark Manson
Author
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

Both Melinda and I read this one, and it has sparked lots of great conversations at our dinner table. Harari takes on a daunting challenge: to tell the entire history of the human race in just 400 pages. He also writes about our species today and how artificial intelligence, genetic engineering, and other technologies will change us in the future. Although I found things to disagree with—especially Harari’s claim that humans were better off before we started farming—I would recommend Sapiens to anyone who’s interested in the history and future of our species.

Bill Gates
CEO/Microsoft
Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams

Several friends, who know I both love to sleep and am intrigued with how sleep works, recommended that I read Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams. It was excellent. While my self-assessment of my sleep habits are very positive, I learned a few things. More importantly, I now have a much better understanding of the “Why” surrounding sleep, especially around sleep’s importance to a healthy and long life.
Brad Feld
Co-Founder/Foundry Group
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

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
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We're Wrong about the World--and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong about the World–and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

This was a breakthrough to me. The framework Hans enunciates is one that took me decades of working in global development to create for myself, and I could have never expressed it in such a clear way. I’m going to try to use this model moving forward.
Bill Gates
Founder/Microsoft
Man's Search for Meaning - The Classic Tribute to Hope from the Holocaust

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
Stillness Is the Key

Stillness Is the Key

Some authors give advice. Ryan Holiday distills wisdom. This book is a must read for anyone feeling overwhelmed by the frenetic demands of modern life.

Cal Newport
Author
Educated: A Memoir

Educated: A Memoir

Tara never went to school or visited a doctor until she left home at 17. I never thought I’d relate to a story about growing up in a Mormon survivalist household, but she’s such a good writer that she got me to reflect on my own life while reading about her extreme childhood. Melinda and I loved this memoir of a young woman whose thirst for learning was so strong that she ended up getting a Ph.D. from Cambridge University.
Bill Gates
Founder/Microsoft
Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow

Harari’s new book is as challenging and readable as Sapiens. Rather than looking back, as Sapiens does, it looks to the future. I don’t agree with everything the author has to say, but he has written a thoughtful look at what may be in store for humanity.
Bill Gates
CEO/Microsoft
The Laws of Human Nature

The Laws of Human Nature

Robert has been writing this book since Mastery came out in 2013 and it shows - it's a spectacular masterwork that builds atop all his other books. Robert's book have always been an unvarnished look at how the world really works, for better and for worse. What I like about this book is that it pushes us to question our own biases, our own assumptions, irrationalities and tendencies. It's almost as if we believe other people have a 'human nature' but we don't - we're logical, fair, motivated by higher purposes always. Of course this is silly. Lots of good stuff here for anyone in a position of leadership, who works with an audience or studies human behavior.
Ryan Holiday
Media Strategist, Author, Founder/Brass Check
The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

I loved Mark Manson’s The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck. There’s a reason this book is blowing up. It’s that good.
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air

Reminded me that life could end in an instant and that I need to focus on living, not working.
Tracy Osborn
Founder/Wedding Lovely
Principles: Life and Work

Principles: Life and Work

Ray Dalio has provided me with invaluable guidance and insights that are now available to you in Principles.
Bill Gates
CEO/Microsoft
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Put aside your insecurities over any lack of talent and ability you might feel, and pick up Angela Duckworth's book Grit. Instead of focusing on the idea that there’s a big secret behind outstanding achievement, Duckworth touts the importance of blending passion and relentless persistence, otherwise known as grit. Duckworth herself is the daughter of scientists who frequently told her she lacked genius. Her book shows how everyday people, from cadets at West Point to finalists in National Spelling Bees, have actually succeeded through sheer passion and persistence. The trick is finding your own grit.
Sujan Patel
Co-Founder/Web Profits
A Dream With a Deadline: Turning Strategy Into Action

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
Schopenhauer: The World as Will and Representation

Schopenhauer: The World as Will and Representation

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

The CEO Library Community (through anonymous form)
Reader
That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea

That Will Never Work: The Birth of Netflix and the Amazing Life of an Idea

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

The CEO Library Community (through anonymous form)
Reader
The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play

The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play

THE NOW HABIT is the definitive bible for releasing anyone's procrastinating past and becoming a 'producer.' This book is my go-to recommendation to my clients (and myself!) for beating procrastinatiomn and the guilt that comes with it.

Lisa Rothstein
Author
Winners Dream: A Journey from Corner Store to Corner Office

Winners Dream: A Journey from Corner Store to Corner Office

Bill McDermott has had a hugely successful career—from Xerox to SAP. In this very human book, he describes the secrets that led to this success.

Jack Welch
CEO / General Electric
Without a Trace: 1881-1968: How Can an Aircraft Simply Disappear?

Without a Trace: 1881-1968: How Can an Aircraft Simply Disappear?

One of the best 3 books I've read in 2019
The CEO Library Community (through anonymous form)
Reader
12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos

Just look at the table of contents:
  • Rule 1: Stand up straight with your shoulders back
  • Rule 2: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping
  • Rule 3: Make friends with people who want the best for you
  • Rule 4: Compare yourself to who you were yesterday, not to who someone else is today
  • Rule 5: Do not let your children do anything that makes you dislike them
  • Rule 6: Set your house in perfect order before you criticise the world
  • Rule 7: Pursue what is meaningful (not what is expedient)
  • Rule 8: Tell the truth – or, at least, don’t lie
  • Rule 9: Assume the person you are listening to might know something you don’t
  • Rule 10: Be precise in your speech
  • Rule 11: Do not bother children when they are skateboarding
  • Rule 12: Pet a cat when you encounter one on the street
Read this book.
James Altucher
Entrepreneur, investor
Boyd: The Fighter Pilot who Changed the Art of War

Boyd: The Fighter Pilot who Changed the Art of War

Boyd was probably the greatest post-WWII military strategist; he developed the F-15 and F-16, revolutionized ground tactics in war and covertly designed the US battle plans for the Gulf War. He shunned wealth, fame, and power all to accomplish what he felt needed to be accomplished. Coram captures his essence in a way that no other author has touched.
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

I've been a fan of Cal for a long time. His book So Good They Can't Ignore You is one of my favorites, but it's his new book that's probably had the biggest and most immediate impact on me. For those of you who enjoyed Tyler Cowen's Average is Over, you already know how important the ability to focus, be creative, and think at a high level is going to be in the future. This is a book that explains how to cultivate and protect that skill--the ability to do deep work. One thing I've already started doing since reading this book is recording the number of hours of deep work I do each day in my morning journal. It's a way of keeping a running tally and monitoring if I begin to get distracted or slow my pace. Anyway, great book!
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

Gotta say, I'm pretty flattered every time asks me if I've read @AdamMGrant book Give and Take. Good guy. Good book
Simon Sinek
Best-selling Author
Outliers: The Story of Success

Outliers: The Story of Success

Gladwell is not the first person to come up with the 10,000 hour rule. Nor is he the first person to document what it takes to become the best in the world at something.

But his stories are so great as he explains these deep concepts.

How did the Beatles become the best? Why are professional hockey players born in January, February and March?

And so on.

James Altucher
Founder/StockPickr
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Over the years he’s [Tony Hsieh] recommended well over 20 business books — including his own, the 2010 bestseller Delivering Happiness and you can always find what he’s currently reading atop his cluttered desk. Start with Why is amogst those titles.

Tony Hsieh
CEO/Zappos
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Self-help classics like The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and How to Win Friends and Influence People teach principles I still apply today at work. Books didn't change my career path, people whom I knew and interacted with did.
Daylon Soh
Product, Growth & Design Architect
The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms

The Code of the Extraordinary Mind: 10 Unconventional Laws to Redefine Your Life and Succeed On Your Own Terms

Personal development book with many interesting insights, written in terms programmers will love and understand. Approachable and not geeky in any way though.
Michael Herrmann
Founder/Terminerinnerung
The Daily Stoic

The Daily Stoic

A richly rewarding spring of practical wisdom to help you focus on what's in your control, eliminate false and limiting beliefs, and take more effective action. Make The Daily Stoic your guide and you will grow in clarity, efectiveness, and serenity each day!
Jack Canfield
Co-author/The Success Principles
The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization

The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization

After working at many startups and now running my own company, the one difference I have observed between good and great companies (and products) is how oriented the org is toward learning, The more people in an organization learn, the more value they create for the whole company.
Josh Brewer
Co-founder/Abstract
The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future

I read The Inevitable by Kevin Kelly and it gave me a lot more perspective on the future and how I can participate in the next big changes the world is going to go through. It is both a practical and conceptual book.
Matthieu David-Experton
CEO & Founder/Daxue Consulting
Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts--Becoming the Person You Want to Be

Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want to Be

Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith was eye-opening for me. I was going through a period of greater introspection, and trying to improve my ability to identify when I was being productive, and then to develop an understanding of what led me to have famines and gluts of productivity. Triggers helped me spot more connections and as a result I'm better at spotting when I'm struggling and when I'm in a good place to push myself.
Dave Child
Founder/Readable.io
What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How successful people become even more successful

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How successful people become even more successful

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
Brain Wave Vibration: Getting Back into the Rhythm of a Happy, Healthy Life

Brain Wave Vibration: Getting Back into the Rhythm of a Happy, Healthy Life

A unique synthesis of Eastern and Western thought, a readable and highly accessible program of simple training exercises for health and transformation, a program which is ripe for scientific validation.

John Gruzelier
Professorial Research Fellow, Goldsmiths, University of London
Liao-Fan's Four Lessons

Liao-Fan’s Four Lessons

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

The CEO Library Community (through anonymous form)
Reader
Life Is A Highway - A Roadmap For your journey

Life Is A Highway – A Roadmap For your journey

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

The CEO Library Community (through anonymous form)
Reader
My Life: An Illustrated Autobiography

My Life: An Illustrated Autobiography

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

The CEO Library Community (through anonymous form)
Reader
The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life.

The 5 AM Club: Own Your Morning. Elevate Your Life.

One of the best 3 books I've read in 2019
The CEO Library Community (through anonymous form)
Reader
The Magic (Secret)

The Magic (Secret)

One of the best 3 books I've read in 2019
The CEO Library Community (through anonymous form)
Reader
21 Lessons for the 21st Century

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Harari is such a stimulating writer that even when I disagreed, I wanted to keep reading and thinking. All three of his books wrestle with some version of the same question: What will give our lives meaning in the decades and centuries ahead? So far, human history has been driven by a desire to live longer, healthier, happier lives. If science is eventually able to give that dream to most people, and large numbers of people no longer need to work in order to feed and clothe everyone, what reason will we have to get up in the morning?

It’s no criticism to say that Harari hasn’t produced a satisfying answer yet. Neither has anyone else. So I hope he turns more fully to this question in the future. In the meantime, he has teed up a crucial global conversation about how to take on the problems of the 21st century.

Bill Gates
Founder/Microsoft
A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy

Honourable Mentions: Four Hour Work Week, The Happiness Hypothesis, Meditations, Catch 22, A Guide To The Good Life.
Mike Benkovich
Founder/Anatomonics
Affluence Without Abundance: The Disappearing World of the Bushmen

Affluence Without Abundance: The Disappearing World of the Bushmen

An insightful and well-written book, describing the hard transition of foraging communities in Namibia from relative affluence during the Stone Age to contemporary poverty and misery. Avoiding both modern conceits and romantic fantasies, Suzman chronicles how economics and politics have finally conquered some of the last outposts of hunter-gatherers, and how much humankind can still learn from the disappearing way of life of the most marginalized communities on earth.
Yuval Noah Harari
Historian
Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds

Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds

David Goggins is a being of pure will and inspiration. Just listening to this guy talk makes you want to run up a mountain. I firmly believe people like him can change the course of the world just by inspiring us to push harder and dig deeper in everything we do. His goal to be 'uncommon amongst uncommon people' is something we can all use to propel ourselves to fulfill our true potential. I'm a better man having met him.
Joe Rogan
Podcaster/Joe Rogan Experience
Eat Fat, Get Thin: Why the Fat We Eat Is the Key to Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health

Eat Fat, Get Thin: Why the Fat We Eat Is the Key to Sustained Weight Loss and Vibrant Health

Dr. Mark Hyman has helped thousands of people lose weight and lead happier, more energetic lives. His powerful insights on the dynamics of dietary fat will change the way you think about everyday eating, and show you how easy it is to enjoy a healthier, more satisfying diet.

Toby Cosgrove
Former Doctor & CEO/Cleveland Clinic
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Sorrell, CEO of the communications house/ad agency, WPP, has a rather eclectic mix this summer:

  • Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood’s Creative Artists Agency—James Andrew Miller
  • Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes—Richard Davenport-Hines
  • Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future—Ashlee Vance
Sir Martin Sorrell
CEO/WPP
How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

How to Change Your Mind: What the New Science of Psychedelics Teaches Us About Consciousness, Dying, Addiction, Depression, and Transcendence

Michael Pollan masterfully guides us through the highs, lows, and highs again of psychedelic drugs. How to Change Your mind chronicles how it’s been a longer and stranger trip than most any of us knew.

Daniel Goleman
Author
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

It taught me so much about marketing and human psychology. I keep referring back to that book all the time. It has been instrumental in inspiring the marketing strategies I used to propel Rails and Basecamp.
David Heinemeier Hansson
Co-Founder/Basecamp
Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad

Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad

Such a phenomenal guy and it's a great, great book.
Todd Henry
Founder/Accidental Creative
Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries

Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries

This book has everything: new ideas, bold insights, entertaining history and convincing analysis. Not to be missed by anyone who wants to understand how ideas change the world.
Daniel Kahneman
Nobel Prize Winner, Author
Mastery

Mastery

There is no living writer (or person) who has been more influential to me than Robert Greene. I met him when I was 19 years old and he’s shaped me as a person, as a writer, as a thinker. You MUST read his books. His work on power and strategy are critical for anyone trying to accomplish anything. In life, power is force we are constantly bumping up against. People have power of over us, we seek power ourselves that we might be free enough and influential enough to accomplish our goals—so we must understand where power comes from, how it works and how to get it. But pure power is meaningless. It must be joined to mastery and purpose. So read his book Mastery so that you can figure your life’s task and how to dedicate yourself to it.
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
Open: An Autobiography

Open: An Autobiography

I don’t read “business books”. I may read books which were classified as “Business”, “Leadership”, etc; but, if I do, I do so in spite of the category they’ve been deemed to belong to, not because of it.

I generally split books into three main categories. Here are the titles –sorry, but I simply can’t pick just one– that currently hold the top spots in each:

[...]

Biography/Memoir: Andre Agassi’s and J. R. Moehringer’s “Open“; Elizabeth Gilbert’s “Eat, Pray, Love“; and Salman Rushdie’s “Joseph Anton“.

Gabriel Coarna
Founder/Readable
Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models

Super Thinking: The Big Book of Mental Models

Super Thinking is meant to be a comprehensive collection of mental models needed for good personal and professional decision making, most of which are not effectively taught in schools. I believe if you can master these 300 concepts — yes, it is a lot, but they are very interrelated — you will completely level up your thinking. It’s the book I wish someone had given me earlier in my career, but it is good for anyone. As the anonymous saying goes, “The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” It comes out 6/18 and you can pre-order it now and find out more info (including the full list of models). They are grouped into nine narrative chapters, each with its own theme (e.g. time management, people management, unintended consequences, etc.) so it is easy to digest and refer back to.
Gabriel Weinberg
Founder & CEO/DuckDuckGo
The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

I really enjoyed Brad Stone's The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. Anyone who wants to better understand the dynamics of disruption or just gain a better understanding of the website we've come to love, must read this book.

Shane Parrish
Founder/Syrus Partners
The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties

The Future of Capitalism: Facing the New Anxieties

Collier’s latest book is a thought-provoking look at a topic that’s top of mind for a lot of people right now. Although I don’t agree with him about everything—I think his analysis of the problem is better than his proposed solutions—his background as a development economist gives him a smart perspective on where capitalism is headed.
Bill Gates
Founder/Microsoft
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

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
The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World

Melinda Gates's book is a lesson in listening. A powerful, poignant, and ultimately humble call to arms.
Tara Westover
Author
The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams & Reaching Your Destiny

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari: A Fable About Fulfilling Your Dreams & Reaching Your Destiny

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma is a great read especially when I feel burnt out or when the business is going through hard times. This book made me realize that sometimes I need to prioritize myself before the business as my overall health will affect how I manage my team.
Iqbal Ameer
Co-Founder/Livescape Group
The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World

The Planet Remade: How Geoengineering Could Change the World

One of the best 3 books I've read in 2019
The CEO Library Community (through anonymous form)
Reader
Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out

Unlabel: Selling You Without Selling Out

I've always believed that students should learn their trade from the masters--but there are times when you can't just follow what's come before. Marc Ecko designed his future while putting his own spin on history. He's fearless, and he built his brand out of his love of art and pop culture, without being seduced by nostalgia. Marc may have been inspired by Star Wars, but he made it his own – and no one has made Star Wars cooler than Ecko. His unique vision became a global force in fashion. For art and execution, this is the text book I wish I could have bought in college.
George Lucas
Founder/Lucasfilm, Industrial Light & Magic
Heaven, an Unexpected Journey: One Man's Experience with Heaven, Angels, and the Afterlife

Heaven, an Unexpected Journey: One Man’s Experience with Heaven, Angels, and the Afterlife

One of the best 3 books I've read in 2019
The CEO Library Community (through anonymous form)
Reader
Superhuman by Habit: A Guide to Becoming the Best Possible Version of Yourself, One Tiny Habit at a Time

Superhuman by Habit: A Guide to Becoming the Best Possible Version of Yourself, One Tiny Habit at a Time

One of the best 3 books I've read in 2019
The CEO Library Community (through anonymous form)
Reader
The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man's Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America

The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man’s Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America

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

The CEO Library Community (through anonymous form)
Reader
The Leader You Want to Be: Five Essential Principles for Bringing Out Your Best Self - Every Day

The Leader You Want to Be: Five Essential Principles for Bringing Out Your Best Self – Every Day

Amy Jen Su's helpful frameworks apply to the complicated issues we all grapple with as leaders. The Leader You Want to Be enables readers to show up as their best selves at work, at home, and as they go out into the world.
Jim Massey
Global Vice President / AstraZeneca
The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind

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

The CEO Library Community (through anonymous form)
Reader
Wise and Otherwise - A Salute to life

Wise and Otherwise – A Salute to life

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

The CEO Library Community (through anonymous form)
Reader
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants

Buy Malcolm Gladwell’s book “David and Goliath” and read the interesting stories about how the Davids of that moments have defeated the Goliaths.
Robert Katai
Founder/Instagramology
Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

I'd recommend a sprinkling of business books followed by a heap of productivity and behavioural psychology books. The business books will help you with principals and the psychological books help with everything else in your life. Building your own business can really f!@# you up psychologically.
Mike Benkovich
Founder/Anatomonics
Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

Suggested by Daymond John on page 324 in Tools of Titans.
Daymond John
Founder/FUBU
I Can't Make This Up: Life Lessons

I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons

I’m listening to I Can’t Make This Up because I think Kevin Hart is a really funny comedian.
Dr. Monali Y. Desai
Cardiologist & Founder/If We Were Family
Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life

Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life

An essential book for anyone trying to think, work, or live better.
Ryan Holiday
Media Strategist, Author, Founder/Brass Check
Letters from a Stoic

Letters from a Stoic

After Marcus Aurelius, this is one of my favorite books. While Marcus wrote mainly for himself, Seneca had no trouble advising and aiding others. In fact, that was his job—he was Nero’s tutor, tasked with reducing the terrible impulses of a terrible man. His advice on grief, on wealth, on power, on religion, and on life are always there when you need them.
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me): Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

A book about cognitive dissonance that looks at common weaknesses and biases in human thinking. Peter wants to ensure he goes through life without being too sure of himeself, and this book helps him to recalibrate.
Peter Attia
Founder/Attia Medical
Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

A former FBI hostage negotiator distills the heuristics of how to defuse tense negotiations with unstable humans, and proposes that they’re the same for every other form of negotiations. Not a bad premise, and I found several of the techniques compelling and resonant of what I’ve read about human biases and flaws from other sources. But the FBI bravado is grating. It’s basically “hey, I just learned this stuff, and I whattadoknow, I become so bad ass that I could beat every Harvard trained negotiator with my sick mind hacks”. Okay dude. Nassim Taleb would be proud though ?.
David Heinemeier Hansson
Co-Founder/Basecamp
Rich Dad Poor Dad

Rich Dad Poor Dad

The funny thing is that the books that had the biggest impact (like my Verne’s favourite) are not necessarily the best books, objectively speaking. They were good enough to present a new worldview that I was not aware of. Timing probably was more important than their intrinsic literary qualities. They “managed” to fall into my lap at the right time. Such a book was Robert Kiyosaki’s “Rich Dad Poor Dad”, a mediocre book by my standards of today, but deeply inspirational by the ones from yesterday.

Vladimir Oane
Founder/UberVU
So Good They Can't Ignore You

So Good They Can’t Ignore You

Entrepreneurial professionals must develop a competitive advantage by building valuable skills. This book offers advice based on research and reality--not meaningless platitudes-- on how to invest in yourself in order to stand out from the crowd. An important guide to starting up a remarkable career.
Reid Hoffman
CEO/Linkedin
Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

Here's a list of the top books that taught and inspired me this year. I go back to Sam Walton's book frequently and was struck, this year, by some common principles between Sam and General McChrystal. It seems they learned some similar things about what works when it comes to leading teams. For example, fostering a shared consciousness and empowering execution delivers results. Greg Foran shared The Good Jobs Strategy with me and I see a connection to Tim Brown's Change by Design. We are making progress in designing a "system" for our associates that results in opportunities for them and an even better work environment.
Doug McMillon
CEO/Walmart
The Lean Startup

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
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness

I read The New Jim Crow, a study of how the U.S. justice system disproportionately criminalizes and jails blacks and Latinos. Making our criminal justice system fairer and more effective is a huge challenge for our country. I’m going to keep learning about this topic, but some things are already clear: We can’t jail our way to a just society, and our current system isn’t working (adapted with permission from Facebook’s A Year of Books project).
Mark Zuckerberg
CEO/Facebook
The Obstacle is the Way

The Obstacle is the Way

Follow these precepts and you will revolutionise your life.
Steven Pressfield
Author/The War of Art
The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings on Authenticity, Connection, and Courage

The Power of Vulnerability: Teachings on Authenticity, Connection, and Courage

I read everything with an open mind, often challenging myself by choosing books with an odd perspective or religious/spiritual views. These books do not reflect my personal feelings but are books that helped shape my perspective on life, love, and happiness.
Chelsea Frank
Founder/Life and Limb Gel
The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How.

The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How.

Great reading. The Talent Code, by Daniel Coyle. Forget genes! Greatness isn't born, it's grown - the hard way.
Rupert Murdoch
CEO/News Corporation
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future

Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and Zero to One shows how.
Elon Musk
Founder/SpaceX

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