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11 Books on CEOs’ Summer Reading List

It happens every summer—CEOs take time off for vacation, and they want to have a good book, or two, or three along with them to provide some mental relaxation along with the physical. Here’s what some CEOs told us they have on their summer reading list, and why.

GettyImages-532852345-compressorPut on your reading glasses, pour yourself some fresh lemonade or ice tea, and sit back and get ready to immerse yourself in someone else’s story. With this list of books that your fellow CEOs and business leaders are reading, you may find a few more you might want to add to your own list.

Flying Without a Netby Tom DeLong
Brian S. Cohen, president and CEO, Strategic Growth Advisors, is reading this book to learn “how high-achieving people like CEOs need to manage their work and personal lives effectively.”

Sailing Alone Around the World, by Joshua Slocum
Everyone like a good tall tale, including Michael J. de Waal, president of Global IQX. This book from 1900 “may have been one of the first to stir his desire to sail and “remains one of the most fascinating seafaring adventures in literature,” so as a sailor himself, de Waal plans to re-read it. He’ll also plow into the classic history tome, 1776, by David McCullough.

High Output Management, by the late Andy Grove
Jake Dunlap, CEO and founder of sales consulting firm Skaled says that with a new foreword, this classic business-management book by the former CEO of Intel “offers a fantastic blueprint for ways to think about both big and small projects in their micro-components to ensure maximum efficiency.”

How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery, by Kevin Ashton
David Eben, co-founder and CEO, Carrington Tea Co. is reading this book because it keeps him “in the right mindset—open-minded, creative and informed.”

The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future, by Kevin Kelly
Elizabeth Edwards, CEO of Volume Public Relations says this book is “a great read for anyone wanting to apply a bit of rocket fuel to their thinking about what is coming.” She also likes How Women Decide: What’s True, What’s Not, and What Strategies Spark the Best Choices.

The Jazz of Physics, by Stephon Alexander
Edward Guiliano, president and CEO of the New York Institute of Technology is reading this book because he hopes “to understand and appreciate jazz more and learn about physics.”

Don Quixote, by Miguel Cervantes
Steven H. Kaplan, president of the University of New Haven re-reads this book every summer. It’s a “stunning and incisive portrayal of the power of determination and the human imagination.”

Make Big Happen, by Mark Moses
Joshua McCarter, co-founder and CEO of, calls Moses a “personal friend, experienced CEO and great human,” who writes about experiences and tactics that he uses with his executive-coaching clients to improve their lives. McCarter is also reading The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future, by Steve Case, founder of America Online.

Killing Kennedy: The End of Camelot, by Bill O’Reilly
Steven Nickolas, president and CEO of Alkaline Water Co. credits the Fox News host and author “for rebooting American history and making it interesting again.” He is also reading Foreign Agent, by Brad Thor, and Order to Kill, by the late Vince Flynn. Nickolas is reading the latter to help him “understand more about the state of security in our world than [I] could ever gather from newspapers.”

The Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles
Carol O’Kelley, CEO of Salesfusion is reading this first novel by an investment banker turned author for the sheer pleasure of it. She also has on her summer reading list The Feminine Mistake, by Leslie Bennetts, because “as a working mother, I am painfully aware of the difficulty in balancing work and home life, and Bennetts helps women figure out how to do both.”

Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days, by Barden Kowitz, Jake Knapp and John Zeratsky
Sabrina Parsons, CEO of Palo Alto Software says this is part of the company’s book club “because it’s a book that fits our culture and how we innovate and develop products and ideas.”

Happy summer and happy reading to all!






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