In previous posts, I've provided reading lists from Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, and Warren Buffett. However, there are plenty of CEOs in the world with their own ideas of what people should be reading.
Facebook recently asked for reading suggestions from various luminaries from the worlds of business, politics, and the military. I combed through the exhaustive list to bring you these 16 great books, recommended by 16 great CEOs. Enjoy!
1. Alexander Hamilton
Author: Ron Chernow
One Sentence Summary: A new biography describing Hamilton's rise from an illegitimate, largely self-taught orphan from the Caribbean to a leader in the American Revolution and then the first Treasury Secretary of the United States.
Recommended by:Adena Friedman, president of Nasdaq
2. Chinese Politics in the Xi Jinping Era
Subtitle: Reassessing Collective Leadership
Author: Cheng Li
One Sentence Summary: A description of the political climate in today's China, how it's changed over the past few years, and a biographical roadmap of the country's political leaders.
Recommended by: Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart
3. Delivering Happiness
Subtitle: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
Author: Tony Hsieh
One Sentence Summary: The CEO of Zappos explains how he created a corporate culture based upon the concept that there is value to happiness, both for employees and customers.
Recommended by: Chris Nassetta, CEO of Hilton Worldwide,
Subtitle: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything
Authors: Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
One Sentence Summary: A set of amusing case studies illustrating that economics is the study of how people get what they want or need, especially when other people want or need the same thing.
Recommended by: Jeremiah Owyang, CEO of Crowd Companies
5. Judo Strategy
Subtitle: Turning Your Competitors' Strength to Your Advantage
Authors: David B. Yoffie and Mary Kwak
One Sentence Summary: This book applies martial arts strategy to business situations, building the case that, rather than oppose strength to strength, successful challengers use their opponents' size and power to bring them down.
Recommended by: Matt Salzberg, CEO of Blue Apron
6. Lincoln and the Power of the Press
Subtitle: The War for Public Opinion
Author: Harold Holzer
One Sentence Summary: Lincoln's life as viewed through the journalists who covered him from his start through to the night of his assassination, and how the president used the press to speak directly to the people and shape the nation.
Recommended by: Richard Edelman, CEO of Edelman
7. Strong Is the New Beautiful
Subtitle: Embrace Your Natural Beauty, Eat Clean, and Harness Your Power
Author: Lindsey Vonn
One Sentence Summary: The Olympic gold medalist provides a fitness program and advice on what to eat and how to work out, as well as how to bolster self-confidence and build a better body image.
Recommended by: Bobbi Brown, CEO of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics
8. Montana 1948: A Novel
Author: Larry Watson
One Sentence Summary: A young boy learns that truth is not what one believes it to be, that power can be abused, and that it is sometimes necessary to choose between family loyalty and justice.
Recommended by: Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal
Author: Neal Stephenson
One Sentence Summary: A novel describing the efforts to preserve human society in the wake of apocalyptic events on Earth following the unexplained disintegration of the Moon.
Recommended by: Ian Bremmer, president of the Eurasia Group
10. Technology as a Service Playbook
Subtitle: How to Grow a Profitable Subscription Business
Authors: Thomas Lah and J.B. Wood
One Sentence Summary: A guide to decision making and execution around the "as-a-service" model, with the intent of putting a company on a path to profitable growth by changing how "offers" are designed, built, marketed, sold, and serviced.
Recommended by: Stephanie Newby, CEO of Crimson Hexagon
11. The Art of Happiness
Subtitle: A Handbook for Living
Author: The Dalai Lama
One Sentence Summary: Through conversations, stories, and meditations, the Tibetan spiritual leader shows how to defeat day-to-day anxiety, insecurity, anger, and discouragement.
Recommend by: Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft
12. The Girls of Atomic City
Subtitle: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II
Author: Denise Kiernan
One Sentence Summary: The true story of the top-secret World War II town of Oak Ridge, Tennessee and the young women brought there unknowingly to help build the atomic bomb.
Recommended by: Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation
13. The Invention of Nature
Subtitle: Alexander von Humboldt's New World
Author: Andrea Wulf
One Sentence Summary: The forgotten life of a visionary German naturalist whose ideas changed the way we see the natural world and created modern environmentalism.
Recommended by: Mark Tercek, CEO of the Nature Conservancy
14. The Sixth Extinction
Subtitle: An Unnatural History
Author: Elizabeth Kolbert
One Sentence Summary: A description of how humans are creating the most devastating extinction event since the asteroid impact that wiped out the dinosaurs.
Recommended by: Michelle Nunn, CEO of the nonprofit CARE
15. Travels With Charley in Search of America
Author: John Steinbeck
One Sentence Summary: A famous novelist drives the interstates and country roads and reflects on the American character, racial hostility, American loneliness, and the unexpected kindness of strangers.
Recommended by: Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin
16. Woo, Wow, and Win
Subtitle: Service Design, Strategy, and the Art of Customer Delight
Authors: Thomas A. Stewart and Patricia O'Connell
One Sentence Summary: This book promotes the concept of designing your company around service and offers strategies based on the idea that the design of services is different from manufacturing.
Recommended by: Andy Polansky, CEO of Weber Shandwick