Below are the best, most representative quotes from the reading lists of Bill Gates, Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, Jeff Bezos, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg and Richard Branson.
1. A Short Guide to a Happy Life, by Anna Quindlen
"You are the only person alive who has sole custody of your life. Your particular life. Your entire life. Not just your life at a desk, or your life on the bus, or in the car, or at the computer. Not just the life of your mind, but the life of your heart."
2. An Inconvenient Truth, by Al Gore
"Many people today assume mistakenly that the Earth is so big that we humans cannot possibly have any major impact on the way our planet's ecological system operates. That may have been true at one time, but it is not the case any more."
3. Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand
"Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists ... it is real ... it is possible ... it's yours."
4. Be Here Now, by Baba Ram Dass
"The cosmic humor is that if you desire to move mountains and you continue to purify yourself, ultimately you will arrive at the place where you are able to move mountains."
5. Bossypants, by Tina Fey
"My unsolicited advice to women in the workplace is this. When faced with sexism, or ageism, or lookism, or even really aggressive Buddhism, ask yourself the following question: 'Is this person in between me and what I want to do?' If the answer is no, ignore it and move on."
6. Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits, by Philip A. Fisher
"Competitors are only one and not necessarily the best source of informed opinion. It is equally astounding how much can be learned from both vendors and customers about the real nature of the people with whom they deal."
7. Conscious Business, by Fred Kofman
"Have you ever driven down the highway on cruise control, engaged in a conversation or daydreaming, only to realize you missed your exit? You didn't literally lose consciousness, but you dimmed your awareness. Relevant details, such as your location and the actions needed to reach your goal, receded from the forefront of your mind Your eyes were open, but you didn't see. This is a poor way to drive--and an even poorer way to live."
8. Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, by Chögyam Trungpa
"Decency is the absence of strategy. It is of utmost importance to realize that the warrior's approach should be simple-minded sometimes, very simple and straightforward. That makes it very beautiful: You having nothing up your sleeve; therefore a sense of genuineness comes through. That is decency."
9. Data-Driven Marketing, by Mark Jeffery
"These statistics are symptomatic of why data-driven marketing and marketing measurement are so difficult for many organizations: the internal processes do not support a culture of measurement, and they also do not have an infrastructure to support data-driven marketing and marketing metrics. But beyond these high-level processes, my experience is that most marketers are overwhelmed with data and do not know where to start in terms of measuring the right things to drive real results."
10. Dealing With China, by Hank Paulson
"We face daunting challenges in today's increasingly complex and inter-connected world. Almost all of them, from cybersecurity to opening big markets for American exports, will be easier if the United States and China can work together or in complementary ways. Our task will be much more difficult, if not impossible, to solve if the world's two most important economic powers work against each other."
11. Good to Great, by Jim Collins
"Our findings do not represent a quick fix, or the next fashion statement in a long string of management fads, or the next buzzword of the day, or a new 'program' to introduce. No! The only way to make any company visionary is through a long-term commitment to an eternal process of building the organization to preserve the core and stimulate progress."
12. How to Lie with Statistics, by Darrell Huff
"The secret language of statistics, so appealing in a fact-minded culture, is employed to sensationalize, inflate, confuse, and oversimplify. Statistical methods and statistical terms are necessary in reporting the mass data of social and economic trends, business conditions, "opinion" polls, the census. But without writers who use the words with honesty and understanding and readers who know what they mean, the result can only be semantic nonsense."
13. Inside the Tornado, by Geoffrey A. Moore
"After the better part of a century being content with letters, telegrams, and telephones, we have in the past 30 years adopted touchtone phones, direct-dial long distance, Federal Express, answering machines, fax machines, voice mail, email, and now internet addresses. In every case, until a certain mass was reached, we didn't really need to convert. But as soon as it was, it became unacceptable not to participate. As members of a market, our behavior is invariable: We move as a herd, we mill and mill and mill around, and then all of a sudden we stampede."
14. Lean Thinking, by James P. Womack & Daniel T. Jones
"Lean thinking therefore must start with a conscious attempt to precisely define value in terms of specific products with specific capabilities offered at specific prices through a dialog with specific customers. The way to do this is to ignore existing assets and technologies and to rethink firms on a product-line basis with strong, dedicated product teams."
15. Long Walk to Freedom, by Nelson Mandela
"No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite."
16. Now, Discover Your Strengths, by Marcus Buckingham & Donald O. Clifton
"From this point of view, to avoid your strengths and to focus on your weaknesses isn't a sign of diligent humility. It is almost irresponsible. By contrast the most responsible, the most challenging, and, in the sense of being true to yourself, the most honorable thing to do is face up to the strength potential inherent in your talents and then find ways to realize it."
17. On Immunity, by Eula Biss
"The United States was engaged in two ongoing wars that seemed to be benefiting no one other than military contractors. People were losing their houses and their jobs while the government was bailing out the financial institutions it deemed too big to fail and using taxpayer money to shore up the banks. It did not seem unlikely that your government favored the interests of corporations over the well-being of its citizens."
18. Only the Paranoid Survive, by Andrew S. Grove
"The sad news is, nobody owes you a career. Your career is literally your own business. You own it as a sole proprietor. You have one employee: yourself. You are in competition with millions of similar businesses: millions of other employees all over the world. You need to accept ownership of your career, your skills, and the timing of your moves. It is your responsibility to protect this personal business of yours from harm and to position it to benefit from changes in the environment. Nobody else can do that for you."
19. Rational Ritual, by Michael Suk-Young Chwe
"Public rituals can thus be understood as social practices that generate common knowledge. A public ritual is not just about the transmission of meaning from a central source to each member of an audience; it is also about letting audience members know what other audience members know."
20. Structures, by J. E. Gordon
"The struggle to understand the real reasons why structures work and why things break has been a great deal more difficult and has taken much longer than one might have expected. It is really only quite recently that we have been able to fill in enough of the gaps in our knowledge to answer some of these questions in any very useful or intelligent manner."
21. Superintelligence, by Nick Bostrom
"The expected arrival date has been receding at a rate of one year per year; so that today, futurists who concern themselves with the possibility of artificial intelligence still often believe that intelligent machines are a couple of decades away."
22. The Better Angels of Our Nature, by Stephen Pinker
"If the past is a foreign country, it is a shockingly violent one. It is easy to forget how dangerous life used to be, how deeply brutality was once woven into the fabric of daily existence. Cultural memory pacifies the past, leaving us with pale souvenirs whose bloody original have been bleached away."
23. The Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb
"Our world is dominated by the extreme, the unknown, and the very improbable (improbable according to our current knowledge) -- and all the while we spend out timer engaged in small talk, focusing on the known, and the repeated."
24. The Dice Man, by Luke Rhinehart
"To change man, the audience by which he judges himself must be changed. A man is defined by his audience: by the people, institutions, authors, magazines, movie heroes, philosophers by whom he pictures himself being cheered and booed."
25. The End of Power, by Moiss Nam
"Today's power players often pay a steeper and more immediate price for the mistakes than did their predecessors. Their response to that new reality, in turn, is reshaping the behavior of those over whom they have power, setting in motion a chain reaction that touches every aspect of human interaction."
26. The Innovator's Dilemma, by Clayton Christensen
"When faced with a disruptive technology, people and processes in a mainstream organization cannot be expected to allocate freely the critical financial and human resources needed to carve out a strong position in the small, emerging market. Creating an independent organization, with a cost structure honed to achieve profitability at the low margins characteristic of most disruptive technologies, is the only viable way for established firms to harness this principle."
27. The Intelligent Investor, by Benjamin Graham
"The art of investment has one characteristic that is not generally appreciated. A creditable, if unspectacular, result can be achieved by the lay investor with a minimum of effort and capability; but to improve this easily attainable standard requires much application and more than a trace of wisdom. If you merely try to bring just a little extra knowledge and cleverness to bear upon your investment program, instead of realizing a little better than normal results, you may well find that you have done worse."
28. The Lean Startup, by Eric Ries
"Startups do not yet know who their customer is or what their product should be. As the world becomes more uncertain, it gets harder and harder to predict the future. The old management methods are not up to the task. Planning and forecasting are only accurate when based upon a long, stable operating history and a relatively static environment. Startups have neither."
29. The Little Book of Common Sense Investing, by Jack Bogle
"[There is] a profound conflict of interest between those who work in the investment business and those who invest in stocks and bonds. The way to wealth for those in the business is to persuade their clients, 'Don't just stand there. Do something.' But the way to wealth for their clients in the aggregate is to follow the opposite maxim: 'Don't do something. Just stand there.' For that is the only way to avoid playing the loser's game of trying to beat the market."
30. The Most Important Thing, by Howard Marks
"What, exactly, is 'the most important thing'? In July 2003, I wrote a memo with that title that pulled together the elements I felt were essential for investment success. Here's how it began: 'The most important thing is X.' And then ten minutes later it's 'The most important thing is Y.' And then Z, and so on. Successful investing requires thoughtful attention to many separate aspects, all at the same time. Omit any one and the result is likely to be less than satisfactory."
31. The Mythical Man-Month, by Fredrick P. Brooks Jr.
"Systems program building is an entropy-decreasing process, hence inherently metastable. Program maintenance is an entropy-increasing process, and even its most skillful execution only delays the subsidence of the system into unfixable obsolescence."
32. The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
"Studies show that people of all colors use and sell illegal drugs at remarkably similar rates. If there are significant differences in the surveys to be found, they frequently suggest the whites, particularly white youth, are more likely to engage in drug crime than people of color. [Despite that,] in some states, black men have been admitted to prison on drug charges at rates twenty to fifty times greater than those of white men."
33. The Outsiders, by William Thorndike Jr.
"The metric that the press usually focuses on is growth in revenues and profits. It's the increase in a company's per share value, however, not growth in sales or earning or employees, that offers the ultimate barometer of a CEO's greatness. It's as if Sports Illustrated only put the tallest pitchers and widest goalies on its cover."
34. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas Kuhn
"The transition from a paradigm in crisis to a new one from which a new tradition of normal science can emerge is far from a cumulative process, one achieved by an articulation or extension of the old paradigm."
35. Wild Swans by Jung Chang
"I was extremely curious about the alternatives to the kind of life I had been leading, and my friends and I exchanged rumors and scraps of information we dug from official publications. To me, the ultimate proof of freedom in the West was that there seemed to be so many people there attacking the West and praising China."
36. Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, by Shunryu Suzuki
"Even though you try to put people under control, it is impossible. You cannot do it. The best way to control people is to encourage them to be mischievous. Then they will be in control in a wider sense. To give your sheep or cow a large spacious meadow is the way to control him. So it is with people: First let them do what they want, and watch them. This is the best policy. To ignore them is not good. That is the worst policy. The second worst is trying to control them. The best one is to watch them, just to watch them, without trying to control them."
37. Zero to One, by Peter Thiel
"It's hard to develop new things in big organizations, and it's even harder to do it by yourself. Bureaucratic hierarchies move slowly, and entrenched interests shy away from risk. In the most dysfunctional organizations, signaling that work is being done becomes a better strategy for career advancement than actually doing work (if this described your company, you should quit now)."