Wal-Mart CEO Lists his Top Six Reads for 2016

gettyimages-499180100In it, McMillon posted a photo of the six tomes that “taught and inspired” him. They range from works about Chinese politics, how best to pay workers and how to nourish the human soul. And it looks like one piece may have been something McMillon read many times before.

Sam Walton: Made in America, by Sam Walton, details how the author (and Wal-Mart founder) went from milking cows and delivering newspapers during the Great Depression to building one of the biggest retail empires in the world.

Apparently, McMillon discovered that the Walton book, which he goes back to frequently, shared features with Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, a work on management strategy by General Stanley McChrystal.

“The six tomes that “taught and inspired” McMillon range from works about Chinese politics, how best to pay workers and how to nourish the human soul.

“It seems they learned some similar things about what works when it comes to leading teams. For example, fostering a shared consciousness and empowering execution delivers results,” McMillon said.

Also among his recommendations was Chinese Politics in the Xi JingpingEra: Reassessing Collective Leadership, by Cheng Li. Wal-Mart has hundreds of stores in China and wants to add more over the coming years, so this choice makes sense.

A little more offbeat perhaps was McMillon’s selection of Soul Keeping by John Ortberg, which pledges to “help you discover your soul and take your relationship with God to the next level.”

Rounding out the six were two books on management strategy. One, Change in Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation, by Tim Brown, offers advice on how organizations can be inspired to innovate.

Meanwhile, The Good Jobs Strategy, by Zeynep Ton, argues that even in low-cost settings, leaving employees behind—with bad jobs and low wages—is a choice, not a necessity. That’s an interesting choice of reading, given that McMillon last year announced Wal-Mart would raise all employees’ wages to at least $10 per hour, above the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

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Ross Kelly
Ross Kelly is a London-based business journalist. He has been a staff correspondent or editor at The Wall Street Journal, Yahoo Finance and the Australian Associated Press.

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