We recently published a few articles on how billionaires across the globe stay productive through the day and what all aspiring founders and working professionals can learn from them. When studying the habits of these successful people, we came across one thing they all had in common: They are well read.
Successful entrepreneurs are at their best when they squeeze in some meaningful time to read in their busy schedule. Sure you can’t read 50 books a year as Bill Gates does, but you can certainly grab a copy of any book from this handpicked list, recommended by successful people before the year ends.
These books have just the right balance of facts and stories, inspiration and actions that will make you look at things with a new-found perspective.
Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras
Recommended by: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, Naukri’s Founder Sanjeev Bikhchandani
Bezos once said in an interview that he usually buys around ten books a month. Aside from sci-fi novels, one of the entrepreneurial books which soon became his favourite was ‘Built to Last’ by Jim Collins. Similarly, for Bikhchandani, CEO of India’s largest job portal site, Naukri.com, Built to Last has been an inspiration to create the business he has today.
The New York Times bestseller, Built to Last, is filled with hundreds of real-life examples and frameworks to help entrepreneurs of all levels build a prosperous organisation. The authors draw upon a six-year research project examining the common practices of the most outstanding companies such as Hewlett-Packard, 3M, Motorola, Procter & Gamble, Merck, Nordstrom, Sony, Disney, Marriott, and Walmart.
It must be worth a read if it helped Bezos become one of the richest people in the world!
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel
Recommended by: Tesla’s Elon Musk
Authored by PayPal’s co-founder, Zero to one is THE book for entrepreneurs, innovators and doers.
The book explores how companies can better predict the future and take action to ensure that their startup is a success. It forces the aspiring entrepreneurs to think ‘what valuable company is no one building’ and if the company they are thinking of will show a diminishing rate of return or higher rate of returns.
The book also has four interesting rules that are common in every ‘zero to one’ idea. In Musk’s words, “Peter Thiel has built multiple breakthrough companies, and ‘Zero to One’ shows how!”
Business Adventures by John Brooks
Recommended by: Bill Gates, Warren Buffet
When Bill Gates first met Warren Buffet, he asked for a business book recommendation. Without a doubt, Buffet recommended his favourite book, “Business Adventures,” by John Brooks.
Compiled in 1962, the book has used 12 stories from the world of wall street to describe the success and failures of businesses during that era, which stands true even today. Unlike various business books, you won’t find any listicles in Brook’s book. The book consists of long articles that frame an issue, explore it in depth, introduce a few compelling characters, and show how things went for them.
Although the 12 tales date back to the early days of wall street, it remains to be the best books for entrepreneurs as the rules for running a strong business and creating value haven’t changed much at all.
Autobiography of Yogi by Hindu guru Paramahansa Yogananda
Recommended by: Apple’s Steve Jobs, Games2Win’s Alok Kejriwal
During Steve Jobs memorial service in October 2011, each attendee received a brown box as a farewell gift. Inside the box was a copy of “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Hindu guru Paramahansa Yogananda.
This acclaimed autobiography presents a fascinating portrait of one of the great spiritual figures of our time. The book is a beautifully written account of an exceptional life and a profound introduction to the ancient science of Yoga and its time-honoured tradition of meditation.
Instead of business, numbers and profits, the book emphasises the importance of ‘Self-realization.’ Translated into more than twenty languages, it’s a modern spiritual classic and must-read book for entrepreneurs who deal with stress, confusion and aloofness on a daily basis.
Gandhi: An Autobiography by Mohandas Karamchand (Mahatma) Gandhi
Recommended by: Apple’s Tim Cook, Former USA President Barack Obama
First published in instalments in the late 1920s, the book recounts the life of Mahatma Gandhi, as well as how he developed the concept of civil disobedience.
While for Obama this book is his most famous forever favourites, Cook got interested in the book when he visited a museum during his trip to India.
According to Cook, this book has helped him to grow Apple’s business. Another business executive who’s a fan of Gandhi’s autobiography is Siemens India CEO, Sunil Mathur. Mathur said that the book had inspired him “to run a value-based business that is sustainable.”
No matter how crazy the schedule, one can always find time to delve into the depths of a good book. Do drop in a comment here after you read any one of these. Or just tell us about any book that has had the most profound effect on your thinking.