Best Time Management Books

The most successful people pride themselves on their ability to manage their time wisely. Your skills and talents alone may allow you to progress to a certain point, but never all the way. Only when combined with exceptional time management skills will you be able to achieve everything you want in life.

Balancing your career and personal life remains one of the most difficult challenges in today’s modern society. A successful job is so often a demanding one that robs you of your time with friends and family members.

At a certain point in life, this can make you regret some of the decisions you’ve made. In the same way, putting your career on hold to spend time with family can also have its negative effects, and sometimes ends up with you resenting someone you love dearly.

How do you start addressing this problem? At the end of the day, it is just about time management. When you know how to manage your time, you can make anything a possibility.

One thing that plays a huge part in time management is knowing what’s important. You should organize your priorities and find out which among them, in the long run, will benefit you most.

Of course, there are a ton of other factors to keep in mind, all of which will be discussed in my compilation of the best time management books. It’s time for you to stop wondering whether to put more time on your family or your business. It’s also time for you to know how important self-care is and why it’s crucial to give yourself a break now and then.

While you will never be able to completely break free of the hold time, give yourself some form of control over it and of your life. You can do all that and more with the help of the following books:

 

 

Best Time Management Books

 

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

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
The

The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment: Achieve More Success with Less Stress

Elizabeth runs a successful consulting business that helps people make more meaningful use of their time. If you’re looking to focus less on the unimportant and more on what really matters, this book offers tested advice for achieving this goal.
Cal Newport
Author
Indistractable:

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
The

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

How to be a Productivity Ninja: Worry Less, Achieve More and Love What You Do

The book changed the way I plan and work towards my goal. It’s a one-stop source for achieving high productivity in work life.
Deepak Hariharan
Founder & CEO/MentorYes
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
Juliet's

Juliet’s School of Possibilities: A Little Story About the Power of Priorities

Laura is my go-to expert for time management and Juliet's School of Possibilities is a delightful book. You can read it in a couple of short sittings, then go away with a lifetime of application.
Chris Guillebeau
Author
Super

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

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
Off

Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done

For every minute you spend inside this book, you'll get back ten. Off the Clock will show you how to spend your hours more meaningfully, reclaim vast amounts of wasted time, and live a better life. Picking up this book will be one of the most valuable investments you make in yourself.
Chris Bailey
Creator/A Life of Productivity
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
The

The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done

My favorite business book is the Effective Executive by Peter Drucker. No question. Business literature is full of nonsense. Drucker doesn’t tolerate nonsense 🙂

Drucker defines an effective executive as anyone who gets the right things done (an “executive” for Drucker is broad — it’s essentially what we would call knowledge workers). It’s actually a really important point: being effective is not about your personality. The only thing that matters is if you get the right stuff done.

Steve Benjamins
Founder/Site Builder Report

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

Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time

The best book on productivity and time management that I’ve read.
Adam Johnston
CEO & Co-Founder/Last Call Trivia
Deep

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

Creating an Effective Management System: Integrating Policy Deployment, TWI, and Kata

We have a poster at our company that reads ‘The systems you have in place are perfectly organized to produce the behaviors you are currently experiencing.’ If you are seeking new behaviors and better results, new systems are the only way to get there. Creating an Effective Management System is just the book to get you started. The decades of experience-based wisdom that Graupp, Steward and Parsons share will set you on a new path to a more joyful organization and the tangible results it will produce.
Rich Sheridan
CEO/Menlo Innovations; Author

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
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

Agile Selling: Get Up to Speed Quickly in Today’s Ever-Changing Sales World

Agile Selling shows you how to become an overnight expert, capable of bringing a continuous string of sales-inducing ideas to your clients. Get it to develop superpowers your competitors will envy.
Genevieve Bos
CEO/IdeaString
Competing

Competing Against Time

Cook loves this book so much that he often gives out copies of the same to his colleagues and recommends this book to the hires.
Tim Cook
CEO/Apple

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
Time

Time to Think: Listening to Ignite the Human Mind

Question: What are your must-read books for business leaders?

Answer: Time to Think by Nancy Kline and Thrive by Ariana Huffington.

Catherine Hodgson
CEO/Hodgson Group
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

Free to Focus: A Total Productivity System to Achieve More by Doing Less

Busyness is meaningless. What matters is consistently executing the work that actually matters. This book shows you how.
Cal Newport
Author
Principles:

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

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
The

The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure

I would say because it influenced me and created an imperial impact on my career path. An amazing book to read as it teaches you How to reprogram your mind in minutes to eliminate fears and phobia. Being a sales and marketing professional. I adopted many great changes in me and used some of the best techniques which are explained very well in this book by Grant Cardone.

I would definitely recommend it to everyone who wants growth. Be focused and keep fueling the fire of success with your tries and learnings!

Haris Siddique
Co-Founder/Artimization
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
Work

Work the System: The Simple Mechanics of Making More and Working Less

Work the System (Carpenter), which is one of the best books you can get on scaling yourself & your business. It’s excellent & wish I had read it earlier in my career.
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups

The Pursuit of Wow! Every Person’s Guide to Topsy-Turvy Times

Tom Peters at his best--the book that will push you to do the safe (risky) thing you must do to make your products remarkable.
Seth Godin
Author & Entrepreneur
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
What

What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture

Ben Horowitz recently published another book called What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture.

When we were starting MavenHut, company culture was one of the things I struggled with.

I mean, I worked 70 hours/week, should my employees do the same (no, of course not!). My business parteners were working weekends as well during the early days of the company, I didn't want to. But people say that the leaders of the company should be part of the culture. So?

I just found out about the book so I only read the first few chapters, but it goes some ways I didn't think about.

The first part of the book is about the slave rebellion that created, in the end, Haiti. What is so interesting about this? Well, it's apparently the only slave rebellion in the world that was successful in creating a new country. How is it connected to company culture? I have no idea yet. 

There's, apparently, another chapter on a prison gang. And another on Genghis Khan. 

If you are confused, you're not the only one. But since I trust the author, I'm sure it will make sense at some point.

Bobby Voicu
Founder/The CEO Library

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

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
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
Reinventing

Reinventing Organizations

First, a word on career paths. In time, I realised that career paths are like one-way streets. Magic happens in unexplored territories. Plus life is how you choose to live every moment, every day. So today, rather than building a career, I prefer to make lateral moves in life, working with great people and being part of ambitious projects impacting the world. There are a few books that got me here: [...] Frederic Laloux Reinventing Organizations.
Cristina Riesen
Founder/We Are Play Lab

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
Start

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 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
Originals:

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

It's always interesting just to learn different perspectives, but to be careful of not trying to just say, 'Oh this book is the Bible, and we should copy that,' [...] Instead, I want us t0 take the parts that make sense for Zappos and try to incorporate them.
Tony Hsieh
CEO/Zappos
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

In Search of Excellence: Lessons from America’s Best-Run Companies

In Search of Excellence focused my daydreaming mind into what it takes to build truly great companies.
Alden Mills
CEO/Perfect Fitness, Navy SEAL, Author

Scaling Up: How a Few Companies Make It…and Why the Rest Don’t (Rockefeller Habits 2.0)

Fast-growing companies - not small ones or big ones - create almost all the jobs and innovation in our economy, and Verne has been an invaluable guide to leaders of such companies, like me. Scaling Up helps us put in place the disciplines critical to building a significant business.
Graham Weston
CEO/Rackspace
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
Making

Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality

I still use some of the methods this book teaches around productivity. It also teaches some very important lessons around how to break out of 'analysis paralysis' and actually execute on ideas.
Andreas Zhou
Co-Founder/Askable
The

The Most Important Thing Illuminated: Uncommon Sense for the Thoughtful Investor

This is that rarity, a useful book.
Warren Buffett
CEO/Berkshire Hathaway
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 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

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
Startup

Startup Life: Surviving and Thriving in a Relationship with an Entrepreneur

For a long time, I didn't see myself as an entrepreneur. I worked for an organization where I felt fulfilled, loved the work I got to do, and was amazed by who I got to do it with. Then five years ago, my husband started our first gym and I began to see behind the curtain of entrepreneurship. I stumbled upon Startup Life by Brad Feld and Amy Batchelor, it gave me great perspective on how to support my husband, how business affects a couple on multiple levels, and how we could evolve our roles and relationship.
AnneMarie Schindler
Founder/Small Wins Consulting
Eleven

Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success

Favorite business or leadership book in a long time.
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
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

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
The

The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results

I would say is the book that had the biggest impact on me and showed my life path. The amazing thing about this coaching book, that I did not find in any other book so far, is that it does not try to give you a certain path that you need to follow, quite the opposite. This book gives you the “tools” in order to find by yourself what you are looking for. Each and every person can interpret the information in the own way and adapt it to their own needs at the time being. Whether you want to find your path (which was my case), want to grow your business, develop yourself in your personal life, professional life or both, this book gives you the necessary tools to do so.
Tudor Teodorescu
Founder/Transylvania Uncharted
Toyota

Toyota Production System: Beyond Large-Scale Production

Perhaps the only business book I’ve read and truly loved is Taiichi Ohno’s “The Toyota Production System”. It’s referenced a lot as the origin of the “Lean” movement, but it’s a much more enjoyable read than that makes it sound. Rather than management guru speak, it’s a wonderful book about the hard-won lessons Taiichi Ohno learned on the factory floor at Toyota. It won’t teach you what kanban means in modern management, but learning about Ohno’s desire to build an information nervous system for Toyota’s plants is so much more interesting!
Grey Baker
Co-Founder/Dependabot
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

Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life

I promote range and diversity. Thus, I recommend readers to expose themselves to as many different topics as possible. I usually have 2-4 books I refer back to at any given time. They range in topics from management, art, spirituality and philosophy. Trying to get the engineering thing going but don't much of a mind for science.
Henry Medine
Co-Founder/Space Jam Data
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

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
Only

Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company

This book is about one super-important concept. You must learn about Strategic Inflection Points, because sooner or later you are going to live through one.
Steve Jobs
Founder/Apple
A

A Gentleman in Moscow

I promote range and diversity. Thus, I recommend readers to expose themselves to as many different topics as possible. I usually have 2-4 books I refer back to at any given time. They range in topics from management, art, spirituality and philosophy. Trying to get the engineering thing going but don't much of a mind for science.
Henry Medine
Co-Founder/Space Jam Data
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

Brave, Not Perfect: Fear Less, Fail More, and Live Bolder

The perfect is not just the enemy of the good; the pressure to be perfect is the enemy of girls around the world. Reshma Saujani, the founder and CEO of Girls Who Code, examines how to free girls—and women—from the shackles of social expectations.
Adam Grant
Author
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 Soros Lectures: At the Central European University

I promote range and diversity. Thus, I recommend readers to expose themselves to as many different topics as possible. I usually have 2-4 books I refer back to at any given time. They range in topics from management, art, spirituality and philosophy. Trying to get the engineering thing going but don't much of a mind for science.
Henry Medine
Co-Founder/Space Jam Data

The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker’s Essential Writings on Management

Business books come and go, with the times and trends but anything by Peter Drucker, as in the collection of The Essential Drucker.
Audrey Russo
President & CEO/Pittsburgh Technology Council

Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders?: (And How to Fix It)

The single most important book on leadership of our time. This insightful, innovative, original perspective is an absolute must-read for anyone who wants to identify the best leaders for their business and to be the best leaders they can be themselves--men and women alike. This book is now going to be my go-to gift for everyone I know, in business and in life.
Cindy Gallop
Founder/IfWeRanTheWorld, MakeLoveNotPorn

Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World

This is one of the most provocative, lucidly written books I’ve read on work, by a renowned thought leader and an influential talent executive. Be prepared to throw your strategic plan out the window and become well-lopsided instead of well-rounded.
Adam Grant
Author
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
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

Giftology: The Art and Science of Using Gifts to Cut Through the Noise, Increase Referrals, and Strengthen Retention

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

Answer:

  • 50 Signs You Know You Are An Entrepreneur - John Rampton and Joel Comm
  • Giftology - John Ruhlin
John Hall
CEO & Co-Founder/Influence & Co
Leadership

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box

Imagine working in an organization where the aim of your colleagues is to help you achieve your results. I could not believe it possible. After reading this book I just had to bring Arbinger to the UK to teach our people. What an experience! We are all better people for it. This book touches the very foundation of culture, teamwork, and performance.
Mark Ashworth
CEO/Butcher’s Pet Care
How

How Google Works

How Google Works is a good insight to a large corporate in the tech world.
Gary Bury
Co-Founder/Timetastic
The

The Leader Who Had No Title: A Modern Fable on Real Success in Business and in Life

The book is all about self-development, building a strong mindset that helps you to conquest problems and obstacles. We can’t be successful until we keep on learning and implementing new techniques to make them strong skills for us. The book is not only ideal to read just but also epitome enough for practical implementations.

The idea to change begins from thoughts. When you start anything from scratch, you follow a thought process to give practical execution to your idea and for that, you need strength, wisdom, power, courage, inspiration, and guidance.

This book is not only for entrepreneur or marketer instead it’s for everyone who loves to develop themselves to achieve heights in life. It has tons of practical knowledge on leadership; easy to put into practice in your life and career. Read this book and charismatically feel the change inside you.

Haris Siddique
Co-Founder/Artimization
The

The Radical Leap: A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership

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

Answer:

  • Radical Leap by Steve Farber
  • Becoming a Category of One by Joe Calloway
  • Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith
  • Killing Marketing by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose
  • Waiting for your Cat to Bark by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg
  • The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath
Drew McLellan
Founder/McLellan Marketing Group & Agency Management Institute

Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts

Brilliant. Buy ten copies and give one to everyone you work with. It's that good.
Seth Godin
Author & Entrepreneur

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
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

The Google Story: Inside the Hottest Business, Media, and Technology Success of Our Time

Certainly, hearing how Google started. It was called “The Google Story”, can’t remember the authors of that one. It’s quite an old book now, would probably need to be updated.
Yaro Starak
Founder/Entrepreneurs-Journey.com
Data-Driven

Data-Driven Marketing: The 15 Metrics Everyone in Marketing Should Know

“A guide to using data to measure everything from customer satisfaction to the effectiveness of marketing. Amazon employees must support all assertions with data, and if the data has a weakness, they must point it out or their colleagues will do it for them,” Stone writes.
Jeff Bezos
CEO/Amazon
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

Ultralearning: Master Hard Skills, Outsmart the Competition, and Accelerate Your Career

Ultralearning is like a superpower in our competitive economy. Read this book! It will change your life.
Cal Newport
Author

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
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
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
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
The

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

A leadership fable about a failing Silicion Valley tech company who brings in a new CEO. Kathryn attempts to unite a highly dysfunctional team and through his narrative Lencioni explains the five key ways that teams struggle, and how to overcome the hurdles. I read this book at a key point in time where we were just discovering that we needed to put our values into words and shape the culture of Buffer. The book helped to clarify that through culture, provided we lived it, we could solve problems of trust and enable much better teamwork within the company.
Joel Gascoigne
Co-founder/Buffer
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
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
Becoming

Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader

When it comes to books, one of the great injustices of our time is that --or, rather, how-- Walter Isaacson wrote Steve Jobs's official biography. I was almost angry when I finished the book. It was well-researched, yes; but Isaacson only used that research to
Gabriel Coarna
Founder/Readable
The

The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime

I don't know how many times I read that book when I was broke but, of course, the sidewalk, slow, and fast lane, I borrowed that for the SSF method that I talk about sidewalk, slow, and fast lane for lead generation. He talks about it from a financial perspective, so almost completely, entirely unrelated but that book was very, very life changing for me. So, two of those books, by far, the best books that from a level of changing my life at the right time.
Scott Oldford
Founder/LeadCraft
Principles

Principles for Success

Ray Dalio has provided me with invaluable guidance and insights.
Bill Gates
Founder / Microsoft
Dare

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

With Dare to Lead, Brené brings decades of research to bear in a practical and insightful guide to courageous leadership. This book is a road map for anyone who wants to lead mindfully, live bravely, and dare to lead.
Sheryl Sandberg
COO/Facebook
Goals:

Goals: Setting and Achieving Them on Schedule

Zig is your grandfather and my grandfather. He's Tony Robbins' grandfather. None of us would be here if it weren't for Zig.
Seth Godin
Author & Entrepreneur

Smartcuts: How Hackers, Innovators, and Icons Accelerate Success

My list would be (besides the ones I mentioned in answer to the previous question) both business & Fiction/Sci-Fi and ones I personally found helpful to myself. The business books explain just exactly how business, work & investing are in reality & how to think properly & differentiate yourself. On the non-business side, a mix of History & classic fiction to understand people, philosophy to make sense of life and Science fiction to picture what the future could be like (not always utopian).
Marvin Liao
Partner/500 Startups
When

When Panic Attacks

I had been suffering from acute anxiety and panic attacks for 5 years without knowing what the hell was wrong with me while assuming I had every life-threatening disease under the sun. Then one day I picked up a book, When Panic Attacks by Áine Tubridy, and read the back. I immediately said to myself, holy shit, that's me! Needless to say, I went straight to the counter and made the purchase.
Nicky Cullen
Writer, Anxiety Coach

Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers, and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets

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

Answer:

I know this is sounds self-serving but I’d recommended both of my books, the soon to be released,
  • “Niche Down: How to Become Legendary by Being Different”
and
  • Harper Collins’ “instant classic,” “Play Bigger: How Pirates, Dreamers and Innovators Create and Dominate Markets”
In addition:
  • The Effective Executive, by Peter Drucker
  • The E-Myth, by Michael Gerber
  • Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott
  • Back from the Dead, by Bill Walton
  • The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing, by Al Ries and Jack Trout
Christopher Lochhead
Host/Legends and Losers Podcast

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
Immunity

Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization

It’s interesting to learn about what is stopping people from getting what they want and surprisingly most of the time the resistance is self inflicted and in order to succeed in business it’s important to learn how to overcome these social defense mechanisms.
Nadia Al Sheikh
Founder/Deal’n
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
Think

Think and Grow Rich

I do goal-setting. The first time I read about this was in Napoleon Hill's 'Think and Grow Rich,' I was 16 years old.

Daymond John
Founder/FUBU

In The Plex: How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives

I’m currently reading “In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes Our Life and am excited on gaining more insight into how google is changing the world and hopefully to get some valuable understanding I can use to maximize business decisions and read future trends while assessing investment opportunities for my company, ABM Investments.
Alan Pierce
CEO/Ansuz Balder Magni Investments
The

The Three-Box Solution: A Strategy for Leading Innovation

Great book that discusses a balanced and essential approach to innovation.
Indra Nooyi
Board of Directors/Amazon
The

The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months

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
The

The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation

My next book for A Year of Books is The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation.

I'm very interested in what causes innovation -- what kinds of people, questions and environments. This book explores that question by looking at Bell Labs, which was one of the most innovative labs in history.

As an aside, I loved The Three-Body Problem and highly recommend it. If you're interested in Chinese history, virtual reality and science fiction -- I'm three for three! -- then you'll enjoy this book. I'm going to try to fit in the sequel before the end of the year as well.

Mark Zuckerberg
CEO/Facebook
The

The Net and the Butterfly: The Art and Practice of Breakthrough Thinking

Currently reading a fascinating book about the brain science of creativity, The Net & the Butterfly

Joe Gebbia
Co-founder/Airbnb

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

The Storyteller’s Secret: From TED Speakers to Business Legends, Why Some Ideas Catch On and Others Don’t

Since Kapwing is still a very young company, The Storyteller’s Secret helps me think about how I can communicate the origin story of Kapwing to our users and other people. I’m enjoying both!
Julia Enthoven
Co-Founder/Kapwing

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

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

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

Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2013

I already posted a full review of Tap Dancing to Work, a collection of writings about Warren Buffett put together by his friend Carol J. Loomis. I can’t resist an opportunity to recommend this book again. It's very, very good. The pieces go back more than 40 years some of them, and it’s very interesting to see how Warren framed things years ago and how he’s dealt with certain challenges since. You get to see how consistent Warren’s framework has been, how he has always looked at the world in terms of integrity and financial valuation. There are some speeches in here that offer great insights into how Warren evaluates stock markets over time and how to assess the margin of safety available in investments at any point in time. I thought the book was super good.
Bill Gates
CEO/Microsoft

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

After reading Lean In and listening to Sheryl, I realize that, while I believe I am relatively enlightened, I have not consistently walked the talk. I think each of you, on reflection, will identify opportunities to operate at a new level with your women employees, leaders, customers, partners, and peers ... 1) please read the copy of Lean In you will be receiving shortly, before we get to the SVP/VP off-site and 2) determine 3-4 specific things you will do differently.
John Chambers
CEO/Cisco
The

The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential

John has been a mentor and teacher for me for many years and what I love most about him is that he has pushed and helped me personally go through the 5 Levels of Leadership!
Kevin Turner
COO/Microsoft
Pre-Suasion:

Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade

I just finished reading Pre-Suasion, or I should say I just finished skimming Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini. I don’t think I needed to read the entire book to get the point, but it was still good to read what I did.
Naval Ravikant
CEO & Co-Founder/AngelList
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
Social

Social Business By Design: Transformative Social Media Strategies for the Connected Company

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

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

7 Rules for Positive, Productive Change: Micro Shifts, Macro Results

In this book, Esther has beautifully captured the essence of successful lasting change. The seven rules provide a framework for engaging with people and systems in a way that honors everyone and creates the kind of safety necessary for change to take root, all without glossing over the hard parts. A must-read for anyone seeking to have a lasting impact or bring about change.
Elisabeth Hendrickson
Vice President, Research and Development/Pivotal

Waiting for Your Cat to Bark?

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

Answer:

  • Radical Leap by Steve Farber
  • Becoming a Category of One by Joe Calloway
  • Selling the Invisible by Harry Beckwith
  • Killing Marketing by Joe Pulizzi and Robert Rose
  • Waiting for your Cat to Bark by Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg
  • The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath
Drew McLellan
Founder/McLellan Marketing Group & Agency Management Institute
Growing

Growing Up Fast: How New Agile Practices Can Move Marketing And Innovation Past The Old Business Stalemates

In proper combination, innovation creates marketing opportunities, which create innovation, which creates marketing opportunities, which create innovation, which creates marketing, and on and on.
Kevan Lee
Marketing Director/Buffer

Our True Intent Is All For Your Delight: The John Hinde Butlin’s Photographs

  • Tibor, Tibor Kalman
  • Chip Kidd Book One, Chip Kidd
  • Once Upon a Time, Slim Aarons
  • Our True Intent is for Your Delight, Martin Parr
These are a selection of my favorite creative minds who visually inspire me like no one else.
Karen Pfaff Manganillo
Co-Founder/By Karen and Jess
You

You Say to Brick: The Life of Louis Kahn

The longer I look at architecture, the more I appreciate the genius of Louis Kahn, the designer of the Yale Art Gallery in New Haven, the Salk Institute in La Jolla and the Kimball Art Museum in Fort Worth. He was miraculously capable of creating bold, uncompromising spaces that are at once completely original and utterly comfortable. This book exposes the man and his work in a way that illuminates both.

Michael Bierut
Founder/Design Observer
Alexander

Alexander Hamilton

Winston Ma
Managing Director/China Investment Corporation
Creativity,

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

This book is written by the founder of Pixar and is about his experience building a culture that fosters creativity.

His theory is that people are fundamentally creative, but many forces stand in the way of people being able to do their best work.

I love reading first-hand accounts about how people build great companies like Pixar and nurture innovation and creativity. This should be inspiring to anyone looking to do the same, and hopefully there will be lessons we can apply to connecting the world!

Mark Zuckerberg
CEO/Facebook
Where

Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation

Author Steven Johnson argues in his 2010 book that innovation comes from the collision of ideas. This can happen when an individual working in isolation builds off years of existing knowledge to fuel his insights, or it can happen much more quickly when several creative types bounce ideas off each other in a community like Silicon Valley.

This theory is one of the reasons why Hsieh decided to invest $350 million of his own money in 2010 into the Downtown Project, which is building a community of entrepreneurs in Zappos' neighborhood.

Tony Hsieh
CEO/Zappos
The

The Great Game of Business: The Only Sensible Way to Run a Company

This book showed me the importance of transparency in business (making everyone understand the “game” of business”), and then how essential it is to give your employees some skin in the game. This book is why we adopted a profit-sharing program at O2E Brands called GGOB (Great Game of Business).
Brian Scudamore
Founder and CEO/1-800-GOT-JUNK? & O2E Brands

Human + Machine: Reimagining Work in the Age of AI

Read some wonderful and enlightening books this year.
Doug McMillon
CEO/Walmart
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

Certain to Win: The Strategy of John Boyd, Applied to Business

It's a short but deep book about John Boyd and his strategies, the most famous of which is the OODA loop.
Bill Earner
Founder/Connect Ventures
Thanks

Thanks for the Feedback: The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well

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
Conscious

Conscious Capitalism: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business

Tindell is actually close friends with Mackey, who is the co-author of this book and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market. According to Tindell, both men believe in conscious capitalism. They say that when everyone wins, the business is most profitable and there should be no losses.
Kip Tindell
CEO/The Container Store
Yes!

Yes! 50 Secrets from the Power of Persuasion

I find it difficult to say I have a favorite business book, there is no perfect book in my opinion, each has its own elements to take away, and each will inevitably have elements that don’t apply to you or you disagree with. [...] Yes! 50 Secrets from the Power of Persuasion sticks in my mind as one I particularly enjoyed reading. [...] very entertaining and a great insight into people's minds, marketing and selling. I was writing a lot of web copy at that time and this book really helped me get to grips with the ‘what’ and ‘why’ I was writing.
Gary Bury
Co-Founder/Timetastic
Rework

Rework

If given a choice between investing in someone who has read Rework or has an MBA, I'm investing in Rework every time. This is a must read for every entrepreneur.
Mark Cuban
Co-founder/HDNet & Broadcast.com
Built

Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies

Ruimin mentions this book in response to a question about long-term success. From Ruimin's point of view, the chief challenge is for leaders to maintain their entrepreneurial spirit, year after year. He admits it isn't easy:
Zhang Ruimin
CEO/Haier Group
Tiger

Tiger Woods

I was riveted (and appalled) by Tiger Woods and probably talked to more people about this book than anything else I read this year.
Ryan Holiday
Media Strategist, Author, Founder/Brass Check

Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth, and Happiness

This might feel like a weird book to include, but I think it presents another side of strategy that is too often forgotten. It’s not always about bold actors and strategic thrusts. Sometimes strategy is about subtle influence. Sometimes it is framing and small tweaks that change behavior. We can have big aims, but get there with little moves. This book has excellent examples of that kind of thinking and how it is changing politics, government and business. My favorite example is about the bumblebee that they started putting on urinals–which drastically reduced the amount of spray and spillage because it changed where men aimed when they peed. It’s not exactly the coolest strategy but it solved a problem. So we can learn from it.
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
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

The Minto Pyramid Principle: Logic in Writing, Thinking, & Problem Solving

The Minto Pyramid Principle: For would-be consultants, a (very dry) book on how to write effectively for business.

Patricia Reed
Technology Growth Leader & Mentor

The Art of Selling to the Affluent: How to Attract, Service, and Retain Wealthy Customers and Clients for Life

Shockingly professionals are still following the advice of the sales gurus of yesteryear who preached the importance of asking for referrals. Yet, when is the last time anyone responded to this question by immediately jotting down the name, number, and email address of a good friend or family member? Matt has tapped into the mindset of the affluent helping marketers and sales professionals understand the far more subtle techniques that build long-term loyal clients who happily refer –without being asked. The Art of Selling to the Affluent II is an easy read with actionable takeaways. It cements the fact that relationship management strategies combining business and social interactions are the secret to an endless source of introductions.
Susan Theder
CMO/Cetera Financial Group

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
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

The Sales Acceleration Formula: Using Data, Technology, and Inbound Selling to go from $0 to $100 Million

Question: What books do you recommend for people starting out or just resources? What are the ones that you go to?

Answer: First book that I think of is Mark Roberge's book, Sales Acceleration Formula. Mark came from an engineering background and really thought about things mathematically, and not just from like a sales dude sleezy car sales perspective. That's the first one and it's really good. And it also talks a lot about who are your first hires for your sales organization, how do you incentivize them, ultimate sales machine.

Anton Sepetov
VP of Sales/Sumo
Skin

Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life

Changed my view of how the world works.
Daniel Kahneman
2002 Nobel Laureate/Economy
Steve

Steve Jobs

It’s unusual for modern biographies to be this good. It’s especially unusually for the subject of the biography to approach the biographer in the way that Steve Jobs did (thinking that he was the intellectual heir of Benjamin Franklin and Albert Einstein). But despite those two things, this bio is and will likely forever be a classic. It shows Jobs at his best–determined, creative, prophetic–and at his worst–petty, selfish, tyrannical and vicious. You can learn just as much about what kind of leader you probably don’t want to be from this book as you can from anything else. That’s what is so strange about Jobs and this biography. You read it and you’re blown away and impressed but I think very few of us think: yeah, I want to be that guy. I want to treat my kids that way, I want to be obsessed with trivial design things that way, I want to hate that way, and so on. You admire him but you also see him as a tragic figure. That’s how you know that Isaacson did an amazing job with this book. TC mark
Ryan Holiday
Founder/Brass Check
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
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