Ever wonder what the most successful business people do in their spare time? They read. If perhaps you are reading this blog during “vacation time” between Christmas and New Years, here are a few library suggestions. If it’s after January 6th, you can always order online from your favorite bookseller.
Bill Gates, Microsoft. We thought Gate’s selection of favorites were particularly interesting, especially in view of the recent election outcome.
- String Theory by David Foster Wallace
A collection of essays on the game of tennis. While reading it may be enjoyable if you are a tennis fan, it has nothing to do with business.
- Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
A memoir by the co-founder of Nike about what the path of business success really looks like: messy, precarious, and riddled with mistakes.
- The Gene, by Siddhartha Mukherjee
The past, present, and future of genome science with a special focus on ethics. Time to thinking about all this.
- The Myth, by Archie Brown
After the election, a look-back at the book about great leaders: not the ones we perceive as “strong leaders” but the ones who collaborate, delegate and negotiate—and recognize that no one person can or should have all the answers.”
- The Grid, by Gretchen Bakke
This book has special interest for Gates because his first job in high school was writing software for the company that controls the power grid in the Northwest. It may be especially interesting to us now considering that we live in a scary world dependent on the power grid to keep us informed and alive.
Jeff Bezos, Amazon. Books shaped Bezos’ career, and he continues to shape our culture and what we buy.
- The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
This novel about a butler who recalls his career in service during wartime Great Britain during a motor trip has become for readers a meditation on the condition of modern man.
- Sam Walton: Made in America by Sam Walton
An autobiography from the man who founded Walmart—he was made in America, though most of what he sells is not.
- Memos from the Chairman by Alan Greenberg
The former chairman of Bear Sterns shares his memos to employees on modesty and frugality, which in light of the collapse in 2008 of the company he led, makes for interesting contemplation.
- The Mythical Man-Month by Frederick P. Brooks, Jr.
An influential computer scientist makes the counterintuitive argument that small groups are more effective at solving problems than large ones. Actually, the basis of Bezos’s 2-pizza team rule at Amazon—that teams should never be larger than what 2 pizzas can feed.
- Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins
Why certain companies succeed over time and the core ideologies that guide them (and why only those employees who embrace the central mission flourish while those who don’t are expunged “like a virus” from the companies.
Diana Louiso, DLMoneyMatters
- Books also shaped my career. Books like ledgers, QuickBooks, and books read to grandchildren curled up on my lap.
Happy New Year 2017!