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What CEOs Are Reading This Summer

While every CEO and business owner has his or her own taste, one book that keeps rising above all the rest as one of interest to chiefs is The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers, by Ben Horowitz, cofounder of venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. CEOs listed this book the most because of its honesty and helpful lessons on how to survive as a business leader. In addition, one reviewer on Amazon called it “solid advice about running a company from a wartime CEO.” Here’s a handy list of other inspirational books on CEOs’ summer reading list. Print out and stick in your suitcase or on your fridge.


Title Author Who’s Reading It Why They’re Reading It
The Alchemist Paulo Coelho Idan Shpizear, CEO, 911 Restoration “I try to read this every year or two [because] it’s an incredible story that really drives to the heart of the idea that life is about the journey and not simply the destination.”
David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants Malcolm Gladwell Faisal Husain, Co-Founder and CEO, Synechron “I love the way this book challenges you to think differently.”
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Ashlee Vance Cindy Whitehead, CEO, Sprout Pharmaceuticals “There is always something to learn from the game-changing entrepreneurs.”
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less Greg McKeown Carla O’Dell, CEO, American Productivity & Quality Center. “I wish I lived this!”
The Female Advantage: Women’s Ways of Leadership Sally Helgesen Margot Micallef, Founder and CEO, Gabriella’s Kitchen “This quarter-century-old tome, which I first read more than a decade ago, is part of my “leadership tune-up.”
Give and Take Adam Grant Carla O’Dell, CEO, American Productivity & Quality Center “He provides a unique perspective based on research about why and how ‘good guys’ can finish first.”
How We Got To Now Steven Johnson C.J. Joyner, CEO, Triose “I’ve always been curious about people’s perception of culture, the differences in generations and new trends, and what seems to drive people.”
It’s Not the Now or the What, But the Who Claudio Fernandez-Araoz C.J. Joyner, CEO, Triose People are what truly make a difference” in the workplace, he said. “This book reinforces that philosophy.”
Marketing To Millennials: Reach the Largest and Most Influential Generation of Consumers Ever Jeff Fromm and Christie Garton Stew Leonard, Jr., head of Stew Leonard’s “My four daughters are all in their twenties and I’m interested in how to turn this next generation into Stew Leonard’s shoppers.”
Ogilvy on Advertising David Ogilvy Thomas Holt, Founder, Babbel “The most sought-after wizard in the business, to return to some of the basics of marketing.”
Purple Cow: Transform Your Business By Being Remarkable Seth Godin Cindy Whitehead, CEO, Sprout Pharmaceuticals Though this was published originally in 2007, “Every year I re-read this book that became a personal favorite on the importance of choosing to stand out in a sea of sameness.”
The Responsible Company Yvon Couinard and Vincent Stanley Eileen Mockus, CEO, Chief Coyuchi “An encouragement to keep focusing on a better way to run a business that factors in more than the numbers.”
Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir Tracy Benson, CEO, On the Same Page It is “helping me fully grasp the power of that perspective – and the dangers of the opposite.”
Steve Jobs: Thinking Differently Patricia Lakin Faisal Husain, Co-Founder and CEO, Synechron It “expresses a strong message that one should never take anything or anyone for granted, especially while running a business.”



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