There's no question, if you want to get ahead, you must read as many books as you can. As I've written before, Bill Gates reads about 50 books per year and Mark Zuckerberg about 24. But the undisputed king of reading remains Warren Buffett, who spends 80 percent of his day reading.
Want to start (or add to) your Christmas book-reading wish list? Without further ado, here are some past and present book recommendations by the most successful people on the planet, including Jobs and Bezos.
Recommended by Steve Jobs: The Innovator's Dilemma, by Clayton M. Christensen (1997, 2016)
The Innovator's Dilemma has been named one of "100 Leadership & Success Books to Read in a Lifetime" by Amazon editors. A classic on disruptive innovation, it is noted as the only business book that Apple's Steve Jobs said "deeply influenced" him.
Source: Harper Collins
Recommended by Jeff Bezos: The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro (1990)
In his biography of Bezos, The Everything Store, author Brad Stone writes that this book is Bezos's favorite novel. Ishiguro's novel is a first-person narrative told by a butler who recalls his time serving in the army during the first World War. The book explores the meaning of duty, the pursuit of greatness, and the sacrifices that come with both. "Bezos has said he learns more from novels than nonfiction," Stone writes.
Recommended by Bill Gates: The Heart, by Maylis de Kerangal (2016)
Gates has historically mostly read nonfiction work, but when his wife, Melinda Gates, recommended the book to him, she said, "It's different from most of the books you read." Gates says "And that's true--but part of the reason for that is that it's different from most books."
Source: Gates Notes
Recommended by Tim Cook, CEO, Apple: Competing Against Time: How Time-Based Competition Is Reshaping Global Markets, by George Stalk (2003)
Reportedly, this is one of Cook's all-time favorite books, and he's been known to hand out copies to his colleagues and new employees. The authors describe exactly how reducing elapsed time can make the critical difference between success and failure. Give customers what they want, when they want it, or the competition will.
Recommended by Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft: Dawn of the New Everything: Encounters With Reality and Virtual Reality, by Jaron Lanier (2017)
This book is being released on November 21, but an advance copy has apparently made it to Nadella's night stand. This is a deeply human, highly personal account by author Lanier about the birth of virtual reality.
Source: McKinsey & Company
Recommended by Drew Houston, CEO, Dropbox: Sam Walton: Made in America, by Sam Walton (1993)
The undisputed merchant king of the late 20th century, Sam Walton shares his thinking about building the Walmart empire in a candid, straight-from-the-shoulder style.
Source: McKinsey & Company
Recommended by Indra Nooyi, CEO, PepsiCo: The Road to Character, by David Brooks (2016)
Named one of the best and most influential books of 2016, The Road to Character struck home for the head of PepsiCo. Nooyi said, "Beyond provoking valuable self-reflection and introspection, it sparked a wonderful discussion with my two daughters about why building inner character is just as important as building a career."