Best Trading Books for Entrepreneurs, CEOs and Freelancers

Trading is something humans have done since the beginning of time. Ever since people discovered that things have value, they have been quick to use that to their advantage. But what are the tricks of the trade, so to speak, when it comes to trading?

You and I want the same thing; we both want that secret wisdom legendary traders have. While reading through the best trading books won’t necessarily guarantee that, it will offer a great start and some considerable knowledge on what to do to improve your skills.

Like many of the traders before you, you’ll get to where you need to be with sufficient experience. You may stumble and fall, but, when properly guided, you should be able to learn from your mistakes and eventually achieve success.

What’s great about my compilation of books is that there’s always one that will cover the current level of your trading skills. We’ve all got to start somewhere, right?

If you’ve only dabbled in trading before and enjoyed it, now’s your chance to get serious. It may seem like a game of luck that you’re not willing to bet on, but words from our experts should convince you otherwise. For the authors of most books in this collection, luck doesn’t just happen for anyone; it happens to those who work hard for it.

Trading books help you think more clearly so that you can make better decisions. They’re also the type of books you should read again and again so you can ingrain in yourself the lessons they teach. Don’t move from one book to another without truly understanding the purpose of the book.

So, without further ado, let me introduce you to a compilation of essential reads on trading. May these books take your trading skills to the next level and help you win at life.

Best Trading Books

One

One Good Trade: Inside the Highly Competitive World of Proprietary Trading

Not exactly a business related book but to me the concepts and lessons highlighted within are highly relatable in the business world such as the value of patience in striking at the right market timing and also reading the price tape which equates to understand the flow of the market your business is in in order to better deal with it and grow as a business.
Aviers Lim
CEO/Gashub
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 New Market Wizards: Conversations with America’s Top Traders

Jack Schwager simply writes the best books about trading I've ever read. These interviews always give me a lot to think about. If you like learning about traders and trading, you'll find that reading this book is time well spent.
Richard Dennis
Trader, President/The Dennis Trading Group, Inc.
Fiasco:

Fiasco: The Inside Story of a Wall Street Trader

I remember reading this shocking book and thinking, holy shit. This book will make you sick.
Charlie Munger
Vice Chairman/Berkshire Hathaway
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
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
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
Psychology

Psychology of the Stock Market

For those interested in the stock markets ~G.C Selden's 1912 (yes 1912!!) The Psychology of the Stock Market. Human emotions and thought processes remain the same. Greed and fear. Even though my business is in fitness and wellness most of the books are pretty awful and I haven't been influenced by individuals in this sphere. i keep hearing younger trainers talking about bodybuilders and their online presence, videos, etc but that doesn't interest me. No I haven't watched Pumping Iron. There are some very good marketers to be sure such as Pat Rigsby and Ryan Lee who I have bought material from but no book per se has influenced this career.
David Sisk
Founder/David Sisk Fitness
What

What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars

There are lots of books on aspiring to something. Very little are from actual people who aspired, achieved, and lost it. With each and every successful move that he made, Jim Paul, who made it to Governor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, was convinced that he was special, different, and exempt from the rules. Once the markets turned against his trades, he lost it all — his fortune, job, and reputation. That’s what makes this book a critical part in understanding how letting arrogance and pride get to your head is the beginning of your unraveling. Learn from stories like this instead of by your own trial and error. Think about that next time you believe you have it all figured out. (Tim Ferriss recently produced the audiobook version of this, which I recommend.)
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check

Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture: What the World’s Wildest Trade Show Can Tell Us About the Future of Entertainment

I’m currently reading Comic-Con and the Business of Pop Culture: What the World's Wildest Trade Show Can Tell Us About the Future of Entertainment by Robert Salkowitz. I want to learn more about how I can create a diehard fan base that loves and is passionate about our brands and will support us all the way. During our latest IT’S THE SHIP 2017 festival, we had 8 guests that got our IT’S THE SHIP tattoos on their bodies – this shows that this festival has and will continue to impact people’s lives. I want to try and implement similar things like this for all of our events.
Iqbal Ameer
Co-Founder/Livescape Group
The

The Blank Swan: The End of Probability

I am relieved to finally find a book that deals with Black Swan Events in a new way. Ayache brings a reverse-probabilistic perspective: instead of considering that a price is the result of probabilistically derived expectation, he reverses the issues and investigates these artificial constructs as probabilities and expectations as secondary, derived, fictitious concepts that we bring about to explain prices, decisions, and other things.

This, of course, is just the beginning, so one has to be understanding about the speculative aspect of the effort --so view this as a gutsy look at the end of probability and how we will need to envision the world once we get rid of this artificial, antiquated tool. I am also glad to see that those of us trained in the trading of options can have views original enough to influence the philosophy of probability and the philosophical understanding of contingency.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Flaneur
The

The Intelligent Investor

To invest successfully over a lifetime does not require a stratospheric IQ, unusual business insights, or inside information. What's needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions from corroding that framework. This book precisely and clearly prescribes the proper framework. You must provide the emotional discipline.
Warren Buffett
CEO/Berkshire Hathaway
From

From Third World to First: Singapore and the Asian Economic Boom

It’s incredible how he almost single-handedly took a third world country and built it into a first-world country in one generation.
Will Shu
Founder/Deliveroo
Memos

Memos from the Chairman

[The book is] a collection of memos to employees by the chairman of the now defunct investment bank Bear Stearns, Stone writes. In his memos, Greenberg is constantly restating the bank's core values, especially modesty and frugality.
Jeff Bezos
CEO/Amazon
Liar's

Liar’s Poker

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

Answer:

  • Anything by Peter Senge.
  • The Hard Thing About Hard Things – Ben Horowitz
  • Once you are Lucky, Twice you are good – Sara Lacey
  • Revolutionary Wealth – Alvin Toffler
  • Black Swan – Taleb
  • Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change, by Ellen Pao.
  • Creative Class – Richard Florida
  • Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull & Amy Wallace
  • Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis
  • American Government 101: From the Continental Congress to the Iowa Caucus, Everything You Need to Know About US Politics – Kathleen Spears
  • The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff.
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
  • Any book by Herman Hesse
  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu.
Audrey Russo
President & CEO/Pittsburgh Technology Council
The

The Essays of Warren Buffett: Lessons for Corporate America

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: The Essays of Warren Buffett by Warren Buffett.
Michael Hebenstreit
Founder/MH Themes
Kochland:

Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America

With deep reporting and narrative flair, Leonard has rendered a revealing portrait of the Koch family as ruthless businessmen and savvy political operatives who quietly built an empire and defined the face of American capitalism and its hold on Washington over the last fifty years.
William Cohan
Author of House of Cards
Reminiscences

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator

In my opinion this book is one of the best investment books ever and I highly recommend it to everyone who is interested in stock and commodity trading. The book is a biography of Jesse Livermore who is such an interesting character and the book is full of insights and advice while you learn about the crazy life of Jesse Livermore.
Michael Hebenstreit
Founder/MH Themes

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

The Bartering Mindset: A Mostly Forgotten Framework for Mastering Your Next Negotiation

Brian Gunia is an expert on negotiating, and he does something unusual here: he offers insights about bargaining that are both novel and useful.
Adam Grant
Author
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
The

The Box: How the Shipping Container Made the World Smaller and the World Economy Bigger

You might think you don’t want to read a whole book about shipping containers. And Levinson is pretty self-aware about what an unusual topic he chose. But he makes a good case that the move to containerized shipping had an enormous impact on the global economy and changed the way the world does business. And he turns it into a very readable narrative. I won’t look at a cargo ship in quite the same way again.
Bill Gates
CEO/Microsoft

Under the Radar: Talking to Today’s Cynical Consumer

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 22 Immutable Laws of Branding

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

Truth, Lies, and Advertising: The Art of Account Planning

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
Disruption:

Disruption: Overturning Conventions and Shaking Up the Marketplace

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
Ogilvy

Ogilvy on Advertising

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

Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle

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
Guerrilla

Guerrilla Marketing

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
Madison

Madison And Vine: Why the Entertainment and Advertising Industries Must Converge to Survive

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
Reality

Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change the World

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
Playing

Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

The entire company has organized around Playing to Win which is a book written by A.G. Lafley and a colleague of his.

Listen, there are many ways to deploy strategy in companies. This is one I found to be particularly helpful because organizations have a lot of trouble making decisions, particularly at our scale.

So this notion of where to play, what countries, what market segments, what products, and where not to play because we can't do it profitably, has been a very good discipline. ...

And then once you determine where you're going to play, how to win. That is through a combination of where you are going to excel versus competitors.

It's actually been a really good common framework that we can apply across HP. It's easily understandable and actually forces the tough trade-offs.

Meg Whitman
CEO/HP

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
A

A Master Class in Brand Planning: The Timeless Works of Stephen King

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
Storms

Storms of My Grandchildren: The Truth About the Coming Climate Catastrophe and Our Last Chance to Save Humanity

When the history of the climate crisis is written, Hansen will be seen as the scientist with the most powerful and consistent voice calling for intelligent action to preserve our planet's environment.
Al Gore
Founder/Alliance for Climate Protection
Where

Where the Suckers Moon: The Life and Death of an Advertising Campaign

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
Convergence

Convergence Culture: Where Old and New Media Collide

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 Clash of the Cultures: Investment vs. Speculation

John Bogle's The Clash of the Cultures is another recommendation from the 2012 [Buffett's] shareholder letter.
Warren Buffett
CEO/Berkshire Hathaway
Why

Why They Do It: Inside the Mind of the White-Collar Criminal

​This summer, Mackenna is learning more about the birth of behavioral economics, the psychology of white collar crime, and the restoration of American cities as locations of economic growth.

Francisco Perez Mackenna
CEO/Quineñco

The Hour Between Dog and Wolf: Risk Taking, Gut Feelings and the Biology of Boom and Bust

I read this book after completing my exposition of overcompensation, how a stressor or a random event causes an increase in strength, in excess of what is needed, like a redundancy. I was also looking for evidence of convex reaction to stressor, or the effect of a mathematical property called Jensen's inequality in domains and found it exposed here (in other words, why a combination low dose (most of the time) and high dose (rarely) beats medium dose all the time. The authors presents the evidence for the phenomenon in the following: 1) acute stressors cum recovery beat both absence of stressors and chronic ones (this includes thermal variations); 2) stressors make one stronger (post traumatic growth); 3) risk management is mediated by the deep structures in us, not rational decision-making; 4) winning causes an increase in strength (the latter are more complicated effects of convexity/Jensen's Inequality).

Great book. I ignored the connection to financial markets while reading it. But I learned that when under stress, one should seek the familiar.

Bravo!

Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Flaneur
American

American Kingpin: The Epic Hunt for the Criminal Mastermind Behind the Silk Road

It is unbelievably riveting. It does that thing where at the end of every chapter it leaves you just enough we're like aah! and you have to read the first paragraph of the next chapter and then before you know it is a downward spiral and you end up finishing this book. Took me four days to get through this.
Casey Neistat
Founder/368 Creative Space
Tai-Pan

Tai-Pan

This novel is the second book in a great saga detailing the intense competition between two shipping magnates and their battle over the gateway to China: the very lucrative island of Hong Kong. Set in the tumultuous period during which the British had seized Hong Kong before it was known as England’s crown jewel, it is an exciting and fun ride detailing Hong Kong as a melting pot of political and economic interests with no shortage of intrigue. It’s a must read for sure.
Alan Pierce
CEO/Ansuz Balder Magni Investments
Fooled

Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets

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
The

The European Identity: Historical and Cultural Realities We Cannot Deny

Barton's interest in this book is clear, given the recent political turmoil in the European Union (EU), which threatens trade and global integration. Identifying the commonalities in culture and heritage among Europeans, Green argues that Europe's peoples should see each other as countrymen rather than rivals; yet citizens of the different countries still cling to their national identities, and across the continent, there are growing nationalist movements (as suggested by Brexit) which rejects involvement with the European Union and seeks to reestablish borders and protectionist trade policies.
Dominic Barton
CEO/McKinsey

The Square and the Tower: Networks and Power, from the Freemasons to Facebook

Niall Ferguson's The Square and the Tower brilliantly illuminates the great power struggle between networks and hierarchies that is raging around the world today. As a software engineer steeped in the theory and practice of networks, I was deeply impressed by this book's insights. Silicon Valley needed a history lesson and Ferguson has provided it.
Eric Schmidt
CEO/Google
Self-Editing

Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself Into Print

My professional path – copywriting – somehow intertwines with my unprofessional (hahaha) path – writing so I would recommend reading literature for both. Somehow reading and writing are two ways of doing the same thing: storytelling (even when you read you tell yourself a story in your own voice, bringing your personal emotion and empathy to the story you’re reading). The only difference is that when I’m reading, panic is far away from me, in a safe place. Nevertheless, the words below helped me rewrite and think twice before adding an exclamation point: Self-editing for Fiction Writers.
Alina Varlanuta
Creator/The Hole in Your Head
Baked

Baked In: Creating Products and Businesses That Market Themselves

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

Free: How Today’s Smartest Businesses Profit by Giving Something for Nothing

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
Herd:

Herd: How to Change Mass Behaviour by Harnessing Our True Nature

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
Unlabel:

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
Connected

Connected Strategy: Building Continuous Customer Relationships for Competitive Advantage

This insightful book blends academic rigor with practical, step-by-step tools that can help you design innovative business models for the Networked Age. Connected Strategy shows how to leverage continuous connectivity and emerging AI to make deep relationships that benefit customers and businesses alike. Read this book if you want to build a business model of the future.
Reid Hoffman
Co-Founder/LinkedIn

A Fire Upon The Deep (Zones of Thought)

This is an immense science fiction space opera which came out in 1992. It covers a lot of themes including AI, aliens, love, betrayal, genocide, and racism. I found the book spectacular in its scale and detail, and original in its ‘zones of thought’ concept, where the galaxy is split into four zones, each with their own laws of physics. There's also the unusual ‘Tines’ race, where each animal is comprised of a group mind of 3 – 5 members.
Benjamin Humphrey
CEO & Co-Founder/DoveTail

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

When the Wolves Bite: Two Billionaires, One Company, and an Epic Wall Street Battle

Wall Street-esque battle between Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn over unlikely target Herbalife. Sip a delicious Herbal Aloe Shake while reading.
Marc Andreessen
Co-Founder/Andreessen Horowitz
Voices

Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster

These are sources I found fascinating and useful. Not ALL of them, but a bunch. First up, obviously... Svetlana Alexievich's Voices From Chernobyl. Absolutely essential, and heartbreaking, reading. There's a reason Ms. Alexievich has a Nobel Prize.
Craig Mazin
Creator, Writer, Producer/Chernobyl TV Series

The Traveler’s Gift

Question: What books would you recommend to young people to be prepared for the future workplaces?

Answer: So many! So many by Seth Godin (Linchpin, The Icarus Deception, Purple Cow) Essentialism by Greg McKeown, Deep Work by Cal Newport, The Choice by Og Mandino, Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki, The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, No More Dreaded Mondays and 48 Days To The Work You Love by Dan Miller, The 12 Week Year by Brian Moran, Will It Fly by Pat Flynn, The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews, QBQ by John Miller, The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss. Wow, there are so many more, but that’s a start.

Vincent Pugliese
Author & Professional Photographer

Cutting Edge Advertising: How to Create the World’s Best for Brands in the 21st Century

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
Tribes:

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

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
Understanding

Understanding Art Markets: Inside the world of art and business

Iain Robertson takes a deep dive into the international art market, in an account that is both impressive in its depth and breadth. He explains the processes by which art is created and valued within the socio-economic context of post-war consumerist society, with a painstakingly curated choice of art and artists from around the world and across the centuries. This is a must-read for anyone involved in the art trade, as well as the casual reader curious about how a single painting can be valued at more than $250 million
Sundaram Tagore
Owner/Sundaram Tagore Galleries
McMafia:

McMafia: A Journey Through the Global Criminal Underworld

Fun though older book.
Vinod Khosla
Co-Founder/Sun Microsystem
No

No Logo

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
Perfect

Perfect Pitch: The Art of Selling Ideas and Winning New Business

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 Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry and Invention

I just finished reading The Most Powerful Idea in the World: A Story of Steam, Industry and Invention by William Rosen. It focuses on the Industrial Revolution basically from the Newcomen atmospheric engine in 1712 to the Stephen Rocket Locomotive in 1850. It does a great job of explaining how thousands of innovations were driven during this period by many elements coming together: increased literacy, patents, societies, scientist/tinkerers, the cotton industry, trade/shipping, measurement, etc. It is a great book although its helps to have an interest in how steam engines actually work since it chronicles how they changed over time in some depth. This book is very worthwhile, and I’ll have more to say about it also in a longer review.
Bill Gates
CEO/Microsoft
Chaos

Chaos Monkeys: Inside the Silicon Valley Money Machine

Chaos Monkeys was a fun one that I read recently. About kind of M&A, and growing a business in Silicon Valley over the last five years.
Mike Dudas
Co-founder/Button
Blink:

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

CEO Marilyn Hewson recommends this book because it helped her to trust her instincts in business.
Marillyn Hewson
CEO/Lockheed Martin

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

Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?

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
Genghis

Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World

Suggested by Daymond John on page 324 in Tools of Titans.
Daymond John
Founder/FUBU
The

The Enlightened Capitalists: Cautionary Tales of Business Pioneers Who Tried to Do Well by Doing Good

James O’Toole’s clear-eyed assessment of the history of ‘enlightened capitalism’ is a must-read for any business leader serious about shaping its future--and thus our own.
Jay Coen Gilbert
Co-Founder/B Lab
Season

Season of the Witch

If you live in San Francisco or have interest in the city, you have to read this book. It's non-fiction that reads like fiction and covers the city's most radical period of change in the 60s and 70s.
Lynn Perkins
CEO/Urbansitter
The

The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking

The Opposable Mind by Roger Martin had the biggest impact on my thinking and viewpoint towards decision making.

Among many other themes, the book stressed the idea that successful leaders (the top 10%) had one distinguishing characteristic: they took traditional two-option decisions (both with pros and cons) and found a winning alternative, we’ll call it C. The winning alternative (C) comes from creative thought and generally minimizes the cons while maximizing the pros of any option. This kind of thinking had a profound impact on my decision making outcomes.

Boban Dedovic
Serial Entrepreneur
Ignore

Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity

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 Picture of Dorian Grey

A copy from 1903 of this book is my most prized possession.
Andra Zaharia
Freelance Content Marketer/The Content Habit

Chief Culture Officer: How to Create a Living, Breathing Corporation

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

A Nation of Wusses: How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great

One of the shorter, fun books I read this summer is A Nation of Wusses: How America’s Leaders Lost the Guts to Make Us Great. It’s by Ed Rendell, who was district attorney, mayor of Philadelphia and then two-term governor of Pennsylvania. If you’ve heard him speak or seen him on TV, you know he’s a colorful and outspoken observer of political life in the U.S. No surprise, then, that this book is colorful too,with lots of great stories. His theme is that leaders shouldn’t just tell people what they want to hear. But because politics has become so intensely partisan, too often our political leaders seem to be afraid to tell us the truth and to actually lead us in making the hard choices we need to face up to, on issues like education reform and the federal deficit. As a mayor and governor, Rendell faced up to some very messed-up budget situations and made some smart trade-offs. I thought his point of view was really refreshing. He makes a good point about how politics has changed in ways that make it harder for leaders to emerge and to truly lead.
Bill Gates
CEO/Microsoft
Crowdsourcing:

Crowdsourcing: Why the Power of the Crowd Is Driving the Future of Business

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
Civilization:

Civilization: The West and the Rest

Can't wait to start reading Niall Ferguson's new book, Civilization, The West and the Rest. Bet lots to think about.
Rupert Murdoch
CEO/News Corporation
Confessions

Confessions of an Advertising Man

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
Empire

Empire State of Mind: How Jay Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office

Just because I didn’t want this list to be all stuffy old classics, I thought I’d put this interesting (and unofficial) biography of Jay-Z on here. This is a biography that also functions as a business book. It shows how Jay applied hustling techniques to the music business and eventually built his empire.
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check

Young Money: Inside the Hidden World of Wall Street’s Post-Crash Recruits

For those interested in starting their career as investment bankers like I did, I’d highly recommend reading Young Money by Kevin Roose before joining. There are tons of people who go into the industry and truly hate it, but I’d argue that reading this book and/or talking with others in the industry beforehand will prepare you for the reality of what life can be like
Deepak Chhugani
Founder/The Lobby
The

The Great Transformation

My father recommended this book long ago,” says Nadella of the 1944 classic by a Hungarian-American writer who chronicles the development of England’s market economy and argues that society should drive economic change.
Satya Nadella
CEO/Microsoft
Up

Up From Slavery

Booker T. Washington’s memoir Up from Slavery [is] incredibly moving and inspiring as well.
Ryan Holiday
Media Strategist, Author, Founder/Brass Check
Here

Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations

Ruimin cites Shirky's book as another example of contemporary thought leadership influencing Haier's direction. In the book, Shirky offers examples of companies which have thrived in the absence of traditional organizational structures. The ideas have clearly influenced Ruimin. He tells strategy business: We used to have a pyramid-style structure for our sales in China. The people in charge of sales had to manage business at the national, provincial, and city levels. After the arrival of the internet age, we realized that under this triangular hierarchical structure, people had a difficult time adapting to the requirements of the times. So we reorganized ourselves as an entrepreneurial platform. We flattened everything out, taking out all the middle management. We decentralized the structure to one with more than 2,800 counties. Each county organization has seven people or fewer.
Zhang Ruimin
CEO/Haier Group
The

The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World

I recently read “The Book of Joy”. It’s a series of dialogues between Dalai Lama and Archbishop Tutu (beautifully narrated in the audio version). They share their view on living a happy life in the face of adversity. The book brought profound clarity on topics like compassion, gratitude, generosity, and it deeply resonated with my worldview. If there’s one book you end up reading from my list, I hope it’s this one.
Bogdan Lucaciu
CTO/Adore Me
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
Extremely

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

So here are my three must read books. I've been reading a lot of great books like: Outsmart Your Instincts, The Culture Code, and Antonio Damasio’s The Strange Order, and sometimes when you read a lot of nonfiction it’s very enriching, sometimes you need a novel. I really believe you should take a minute and read something beautiful. Listen, listen to Lolita by Nabokov. But also listen to Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy and listen to Richard Poe narrate that. Those are two of the greatest feats of the english language that I can think of. Then there’s Fortress of Solitude, an amazing book, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, these are great novels. Cold Mountain is a beautiful novel, Snow Falling On Cedars, I mean they’ve been around for a while. But goddamnit, get those under your belt. Those are the novels I think you should read. You know Love In The Time Of Cholera it just makes you ache. Kind of like a Hemingway thing, where Hemingway “ahh!”, it’s the same thing, you know. So I don’t know, I’m a fan of all those books. Those are my 3 slash 20 books.
Bryan Callen
Co-Host/The Fighter and the Kid

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t

Collins briefed Amazon executives on his seminal management book before its publication. Companies must confront the brutal facts of their business, find out what they are uniquely good at, and master their fly wheel, in which each part of the business reinforces and accelerates the other parts, Stone writes.
Jeff Bezos
CEO/Amazon
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

The MVP Machine: How Baseball’s New Nonconformists Are Using Data to Build Better Player

For too long, stat geeks like me ignored the 'development' side of 'scouting and development.' The MVP Machine is the book that's going to change that. Travis Sawchik and Ben Lindbergh persuasively and entertainingly demonstrate that a baseball player's success is less about God-given talent and more about innovation, hard work, and the willingness to take a more scientific approach to the game. Read it, and you won't think about baseball in quite the same way again.
Nate Silver
Founder & Editor-in-Chief/FiveThirtyEight
Moonwalking

Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything

Of the five books I finished over vacation, the one that impressed me the most – and that is probably of broadest interest – is Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything, by science writer Joshua Foer. This is an absolutely phenomenal book that looks at memory and techniques for dramatically improving memory. Foer actually mastered these techniques, which led him to the finals of the U.S. Memory Championship. His book gives fascinating insights into how the mind works.
Bill Gates
CEO/Microsoft
The

The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists

It probably seems weird to recommend books on pickup artists, pick pockets and con men (nor am I necessarily equating the three groups) but it fits. Though I would accept that most of what these guys do is tactical rather than strategic–they are still quite excellent at identifying opportunities and weaving such flawless, enveloping plans that the marks often have no idea that anything is actually occurring. A favorite con example is the one where the con man sets up a fake boxing match that he agrees to “fix” with his mark.

Taking the marks money, he then fakes the fake boxing match so that it appears that one boxers kills the other in the ring. He and the mark then flee the scene in opposite direction to avoid the police–the mark thinking he got away with murder, when really he was robbed. The Game is about seduction, literally, but the other two books are about seduction in their own way as well. These books are all classics and will help you, no matter what you do.

Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
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
Outliers:

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
Positioning:

Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind

This book is built around the brilliant insight that your prospect doesn't care nearly as much about what you do as you do, and thus you must boil down your offering into a unique slot that repositions the competition.
Seth Godin
Author & Entrepreneur
The

The Fur Country: Seventy Degrees North Latitude

Re-reading a classic 🙂
Ovidiu Drugan
Owner/Set Sail Nautic School

Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)

Google co-founder Larry Page has listed this book as one of his favorites.
Larry Page
Co-Founder/Google
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
Winners

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
Give

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
Nonzero:

Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny

One of the very few books I think about all the time is Robert Wright’s Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny.

Nonzero is an intriguing lens through which to view current events (which is why it’s often in my thoughts). As Chopra notes, cooperation isn’t always the norm…Trumpist Republicans and Brexit proponents are both veering towards the zero sum end of the spectrum and I don’t think it will work out well for either country in the long run.

Jason Kottke
Blogger & Designer
On

On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft

My professional path – copywriting – somehow intertwines with my unprofessional (hahaha) path – writing so I would recommend reading literature for both. Somehow reading and writing are two ways of doing the same thing: storytelling (even when you read you tell yourself a story in your own voice, bringing your personal emotion and empathy to the story you’re reading). The only difference is that when I’m reading, panic is far away from me, in a safe place. Nevertheless, the words below helped me rewrite and think twice before adding an exclamation point: On Writing by Stephen King.
Alina Varlanuta
Creator/The Hole in Your Head

The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune, and Survival in the Age of Networks

In this hyper networked world remade fresh every day, with new perils and new opportunities, there is one book to be sure to read: Joshua Ramo's new book, a masterpiece, The Seventh Sense. To understand the tsunami of the networked age, you need history, biography, tech, philosophy, politics--and you want a book that has a depth beyond whatever else you could be streaming, podcasting, or wiki-ing. This is that book.
Reid Hoffman
Founder/LinkedIn

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

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

Here are some of the guests and some of their books, in no particular order. I recommend all of the below books. If I didn't like a book, I wouldn't have them on the show.

James Altucher
Founder/StockPickr