The Best Books by CEOs

If you’ve ever read a business book, or if you have your MBA, then you know that business is an area of study inundated with ambiguous language like “key takeaways,” “return on investment,” and “value proposition.” What do these words mean? It’s hard to know, especially if you aren’t a business expert. After all, there’s no substitute for experience. 

That’s why it’s so valuable to learn from the experts. What’s better than reading the advice of a proven CEO? If you’re interested in learning more about business, or in the lives and rituals of some of the world’s top business leaders, then you’ll love our list of the best books by real-life CEOs.

#GIRLBOSS

Sophia Amoruso decided to start a company while working as a lobby attendant at an art school. She had already dropped out of school herself, and spent a few years roaming around the States as nothing more than a vagabond. Her company started selling vintage clothes on eBay and, now, Sophia Amoruso is the CEO of Nasty Gal, a company that is worth more than $250 million. In #GIRLBOSS, Amoruso speaks to girls like her, girls who are outsiders seeking success. But whether you’re a rebel or a conformist, this book can help you find your way to success. 

The Hard Thing About Hard Things

This matter-of-fact book takes aim at the hard issues. Horowitz’s advice on business and leadership is as bold as it is inspiring, but not without a touch of humor and a dash of empathy. As one of Silicon Valley’s most respected CEOs, Horowitz offers essential advice on starting and maintaining a startup. This advice is practical, no-nonsense, and — at times — brutal. Are you ready to start your own business? This book will tell you what it takes.

Also available in audio.

Rework

This book will teach you all about a faster, more efficient, all-around easier way to succeed in business. It takes a look at the basic business plans and timelines and points where and why they fail, even going so far as to show them as harmful in certain situations. Maybe you don’t need outside investors, maybe you don’t need a detailed roadmap, and maybe you’re better off ignoring the competition. The truth is, you need less than you think, and this book will teach you how to do more with less. 

Setting the Table

Danny Meyer was only 27 years old when he opened Union Square Cafe in 1985. Though Meyer had almost no business experience, the restaurant would come to be one of New York City’s most respected establishments. Flash forward to today, and you’ll find Meyer as the CEO of one of the world’s most successful restaurant organizations. How did he do it? This book will tell you and, if you read closely enough, you might even learn something.

Also available in audio.

Winning

If there’s one thing that Jack Welch knows how to do, it’s win. Over the course of a magnificent forty-year career at General Electric, Welch led the company to a level of success that it had never known. Every year was better than the last, and it was all due in part to Welch’s seasoned leadership. In this book, he lays out an honest approach to being the best kind of leader. Winning is largely considered a classic in business writing, and after reading some of Welch’s advice, it’s easy to understand why.


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