The Power-Up is the best way stay up to date on the gaming industry news. Click here to find out why!
The Art of War - cover

The Art of War

By Sun Tzu

Buy the book


We hope you love the books people recommend! Just so you know, The CEO Library may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page.

This book has 13 recommendations

Ryan Holiday (Founder/Brass Check)

I know this will offend many strategy purists, but for most audiences I recommend these two books only with a pretty strong disclaimer. While both are clearly full of strategic wisdom, they are hard to separate from their respective eras and brands of warfare. As budding strategists in business and in life, most of us are really looking for advice that can help us with our own problems. The reality is that Napoleonic warfare does not exactly have its equivalents in today’s society. On the other hand, Sun-Tzu is so aphoristic that it’s hard to say what is concrete advice and what is just common sense. But the books are so convincing that you might still end up leaving thinking that they can be easily applied. So, again, check these books out if you’re really interested, but I think some of the other books are much better places to start.

Reid Hoffman (CEO/LinkedIn)

Reid read Carl von Clausewitz and Sun Tzu as a boy, which informed his strategic thinking.

Neil deGrasse Tyson (Astrophysicist, Author & Science Communicator)

Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on planet? [...] The Art of War (Sun Tsu) [to learn that the act of killing fellow humans can be raised to an art]. If you read all of the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world.

Robert Hajnal (Founder/Trail Running Academy)

Because running is, first of all, a mental sport and you need to learn how to dominate your opponent.

Michael Hebenstreit (Founder/MH Themes)

If you want to become an entrepreneur and succeed in a competitive environment, then there are some evergreen books as well, for example: The Art of War by Sun Tzu.

Bill Liao (General Partner/RebelBio,

The human world occurs in language so best get good at it!

Bernard Tan (Founder/ReCactus)

The “Tao Te King” by Lao Tzu probably resonated with me the strongest, but others like the “Art of War” by Sun Tzu, “Bhagavad Gita” or Zen Buddhist scriptures were also real eye-openers, even for a non-religious person like myself.

Audrey Russo (President & CEO/Pittsburgh Technology Council)

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


  • 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.

Boban Dedovic (Serial Entrepreneur)

When I was starting my career I wasn’t very even tempered, especially when dealing with people who I believed wronged me. This demeanor wasn’t helpful when I started running my own company because things go wrong every day—it’s just the way of things.

I found myself spending lots of time chasing down contractors who didn’t finish work properly, domain squatters...etc. We were planning to initiate legal action against a party who was misusing our copyright when I recalled Sun Tzu’s famous The Art of War, a short read on dealing with military conflict. The book outlined how any conflict should be avoided because it’s costly and a real leader achieves victory by their ability to avoid such entanglements in the first place.

Comparing the teachings I remembered in the book with my own actions at the time was a big step towards humility for me. I was making a huge mistake by spending time on such inconsequential matters. I immediately changed my approach to how I deal with such folks and have never looked back.

Virginia LeBlanc (Founder/Defining Paths)

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


  • The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  • Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson, M.D.
  • Our Iceberg is Melting: Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions by John Kotter
  • Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey
  • The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle
  • Divergent series by Veronica Roth
A mash up, I know…some simple others profound but just as important, eye-opening, and affirming. These and so many more helped change how I see things, my thinking and being, and helped to understand and accept my divergent (differing/deviating) career path in life.

Foti Panagio (Founder/GrowthMentor)

Honestly, it’s not really as simple as following a career path, at least not anymore. I’d recommend instead reading books on innovation and leadership because that can give you the confidence you need to blaze your own trail and to take your career as it comes. I’d suggest that a good background reading list would include [...] Art of War by Sun Tzu.

Gilles Bernhard (Co-Founder/SCPlanner)

A classic everyone should read. It only takes a few hours to read as well. It is fun to read, doesn't relate explicitly to business but yet connections with business can be drawn easily. I am sure there are loads of information online about it if you want to really go deep with this book and its lessons!

Dan Lok (Serial Entrepreneur)

One of the must read books.

Amazon description

Sun Tzu's The Art of War has been a vastly influential treatise on military strategy in the east from the time of China's Warring States Period (403-221 BC) onward. Though its first translation into a European language was only in 1782, the book's significance was quickly recognized and even such towering figures of Western history as Napoleon and General Douglas MacArthur have claimed it a source of inspiration.

Get this book on Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | iBooks

See more books recommended by

Ryan Holiday, Reid Hoffman, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Robert Hajnal, Michael Hebenstreit, Bill Liao, Bernard Tan, Audrey Russo, Boban Dedovic, Virginia LeBlanc, Foti Panagio, Gilles Bernhard, Dan Lok

See more books written by

Sun Tzu


We'd love to hear your thoughts, so leave a comment:

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.