by Katia Ferrante and Maria Sole Ferrero

MONACO. Successful CEOS never stop learning. Personal growth is almost as important as hard work in building a winning business. Many entrepreneurs accomplish this through workshops, conferences, and even a few continuing education courses. However, for a busy entrepreneur, being away from the office for a few days can lead to other problems. For that reason, it’s likely no surprise some of the top CEOs choose to boost their personal growth through reading a good book. Not only is it a great way to learn and grow, but it provides a way to relax after a long day. Many of these leaders, despite being extremely busy, set aside at least an hour a day (or five hours a week) over their entire career for activities that could be classified as deliberate practice or learning. We could call this phenomenon the five hour rule, which fell into three buckets: reading, reflection, and experimentation. Hereby 12 top CEOs in the world suggestions to kick off your reading list. (CEOS’ names are in alphabetical order)

  1. Amazon founder and CEO JEFF BEZOS lists Kazuo Ishiguro’s “The Remains of the Day” among his favorite books, citing its ability to teach readers about life and regret. The Remains of the Day is told in the first-person narration of an English butler named Stevens. As Salman Rushdie comments, it is “a story both beautiful and cruel.” It is a story primarily about regret: in fact, throughout his life, Stevens puts his absolute trust and devotion in a man, the owner of Darlington Hall, who makes drastic mistakes. In the totality of his professional commitment, Stevens fails to pursue the one woman with whom he could have had a fulfilling and loving relationship. His prim mask of formality cuts him off from intimacy, companionship, and understanding. Another book on Jeff Bezos’s list is “The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done (Harperbusiness Essentials) by Peter F. Drucker, which helps with time management and decision making. The measure of the executive, is the ability to “get the right things done.” This usually involves doing what other people have overlooked as well as avoiding what is unproductive. Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that mold them into results.
  2. Former New York City mayor and business magnate MICHAEL BLOOMBERG recommends “How Will You Measure Your Life?” which explores the importance of mingling business and philosophy. We recall that the day after Prince Albert II of Monaco and Princess Charlene of Monaco attended the 2016 Princess Grace awards gala at Cipriani in New York City, USA, on October 25th 2016 Princess Charlene of Monaco and Michael Bloomberg met in New York City, within the framework of their respective foundations (Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies), in order to discuss drowning prevention and water safety. They exchanged ideas on how to raise public awareness and how to reach the greatest number of people, as well as on how to save children’s lives.
  3. One of the world’s top investor, WARREN BUFFET spends most of his time reading. Among the many books on the billionaire’s to-read list is the “The Intelligent Investor” by Benjamin Grahamwhich he says shaped his investment philosophy. This classic text is annotated to update Graham’s timeless wisdom for today’s market conditions… The greatest investment advisor of the twentieth century, Benjamin Graham, taught and inspired people worldwide. Graham’s philosophy of “value investing” — which shields investors from substantial error and teaches them to develop long-term strategies has made The Intelligent Investor the stock market bible ever since its original publication in 1949.
  4. Apple’s TIM COOK reportedly recommends to new hires and hands out copies to colleagues of “Competing Against Time: How Time-Based Competition is Reshaping Global Markets” by George Stalk. Today, time is the cutting edge. In fact, as a strategic weapon time is the equivalent of money, productivity, quality, even innovation. In this path-breaking book based upon ten years of research, the authors argue that the ways leading companies manage time–in production, in new product development, and in sales and distribution represent the most powerful new sources of competitive advantage
  5. Microsoft co-founder BILL GATES read “Business Adventures” at Buffett’s recommendation and says the 1969 collection of Wall Street tales remains his favorite business book to date. In addition to his business book recommendations, Bill lists “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger as his all-time favorite, admiring its depiction of the intelligence of youth. Anyone who has read J.D. Salinger’s New Yorker stories–particularly A Perfect Day for Bananafish, Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut, The Laughing Man, and For Esme With Love and Squalor – will not be surprised by the fact that his first novel is full of children. This classic book is also mentioned in “Haruki Murakami recommends 5 good books” and “Woody Allen recommends what to read next” http://favobooks.com/writers/89-good-books-to-read.html (haruki) http://favobooks.com/writers/94-what-to-read-next.html (Woody)Catcher in the Rye is undoubtfully a classical work of the American literature and is very popular in “Top 10 books” lists. This novel was the peak of J.D. Salinger’s career, as after it was published, he decided to live a life of a hermit. The hero-narrator is an ancient child of sixteen, a native New Yorker named Holden Caulfield, a youth of 1960-s still actual today. Among his favorite books, Gates also recommends “Shoe Dog” recently released by Philip Knight, the co-founder of Nike. Gates calls the book a “refreshingly honest” reminder that the road to success is never a straight line. It’s a winding path rife with disagreements, fallouts, and hurt feelings. “I’ve met Knight a few times over the years,” Gates writes. “He’s super nice, but he’s also quiet and difficult to get to know. Here Knight opens up in a way few CEOs are willing to do.” According to an  Harvard Business Review article “Nike founder Phil Knight so reveres his library that in it you have to take off your shoes and bow.”
  6. As Morgan Stanley’s chairman and CEO, JAMES GORMAN finds inspiration in “The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympics”, a story by Daniel James Brown of determined amateurs who accomplished great things. The nine boys who made up the Olympic rowing team, sons of western loggers and hardworking laborers, may not have had the pedigree of the elite teams of the east, but they set out to prove themselves to the world at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  Author Brown captures the struggles, including the Great Depression, poverty, and the loss of family, of a team that showed the nation what pulling together meant.
  7. Though he’s no longer with us, STEVE JOBS remains an inspiration. Among his favorite books was Clayton Christensen’s book “The Innovator Dilemma” on changing technology, which he said deeply influenced him. The Innovator’s Dilemma is the revolutionary business book that has forever changed corporate America. Based on a truly radical idea—that great companies can fail precisely because they do everything right—this Wall Street Journal, Business Week and New York Times Business bestseller is one of the most provocative and important business books ever written. Entrepreneurs, managers, and CEOs ignore its wisdom and its warnings at their great peril.
  8. When she wants to inspire her staff, Lockheed Martin Corp’s MARILLYN HEWSON brings in with “The Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell. The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate. This widely acclaimed bestseller, in which Malcolm Gladwell explores and brilliantly illuminates the tipping point phenomenon, is already changing the way people throughout the world think about selling products and disseminating ideas.
  9. Yahoo CEO MARISSA MAYER threw her support behind “The Charisma Mith” by Olivia Fox Cabane, which instructs readers on mastering charisma to win people over. The charisma myth is the idea that charisma is a fundamental, inborn quality – you either have it (Bill Clinton, Steve Jobs, Oprah) or you don’t. But that’s simply not true, as Olivia Fox Cabane reveals. Charismatic behaviors can be learned and perfected by anyone. Drawing on techniques she originally developed for Harvard and MIT, Cabane breaks charisma down into its components. Becoming more charismatic doesn’t mean transforming your fundamental personality. It’s about adopting a series of specific practices that fit in with the personality you already have. The Charisma Myth shows you how to become more influential, more persuasive, and more inspiring.
  10. When Facebook CEO SHERYL SANDBERG released her book “Lean In” Cisco’s John Chambers saw it as the perfect opportunity to encourage the promotion of women. He handed a copy to each of his senior managers. In addition to her own book, Sandberg recommends “A Short Guide to Happy Life” by Anna Quindlen, which centers around women’s roles and self-perception. Life is made of moments, small pieces of silver amidst long stretches of tedium. It would be wonderful if they came to us unsummoned, but particularly in lives as busy as the ones most of us lead now, that won’t happen. We have to teach ourselves now to live, really live . . . to love the journey, not the destination.” Sandberg says.
  11. MEG WHITMAN: the HP CEO makes “Playing to win: How strategy Really works” required reading for HP’s hundreds of thousands of employees, believing its advice on setting and following strategy is crucial to success. Strategy is not complex. But it is hard. It’s hard because it forces people and organizations to make specific choices about their future—something that doesn’t happen in most companies. Now two of today’s best-known business thinkers, A.G. Lafley & Roger L. Martin get to the heart of strategy—explaining what it’s for, how to think about it, why you need it, and how to get it done. And they use one of the most successful corporate turnarounds of the past century, which they achieved together, to prove their point. In fact, A.G. Lafley, former CEO of Procter & Gamble, in close partnership with strategic adviser Roger Martin, doubled P&G’s sales, quadrupled its profits, and increased its market value by more than $100 billion in just ten years. Now, drawn from their years of experience at P&G and the Rotman School of Management, where Martin is dean, this book shows how leaders in organizations of all sizes can guide everyday actions with larger strategic goals built around the clear, essential elements that determine business success – where to play and how to win. The result is a playbook for winning. Lafley and Martin have created a set of five essential strategic choices that, when addressed in an integrated way, will move you ahead of your competitors. They are:• What is our winning aspiration? • Where will we play?• How will we win?• What capabilities must we have in place to win?• What management systems are required to support our choices?
  12. Facebook’s founder MARK ZUCKERBERG’ inaugural pick for his “Year of Books” challenge, “The End of Power” by Moisés Naím updates the very notion of power for the 21st century. Power, we know, is shifting: from West to East and North to South, from presidential palaces to public squares, from once formidable corporate behemoths to nimble startups and, slowly but surely, from men to women. But power is not merely dispersing; it is also decaying. Those in power today are more constrained in what they can do with it and more at risk of losing it than ever before. Mark Zuckerberg book club aka A Year of Books that started in January 2015 through his personal Fb account, made a book recommendation which “emphasize learning about new cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies” every two weeks for a year to his millions of Facebook followers. When Zuckerberg kicked off his goal to read a new book every two weeks, Moisés Naím’s book caused Amazon’s stock to sell out.

Main Source: Business Insider


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