The Top 10 Business Books of all Time, as Voted By 100 Famous CEOs & Entrepreneurs

What are the top business books of all time?


We  analyzed 100 book recommendations from the top CEOs, Founders, and Entrepreneurs from the past 20 years.

Each time I came across a list of books recommended by a successful business person I’ve saved it.

I’ve now compiled 100 book lists from the world’s most successful business leaders (linked at the bottom of this post).

I combined each individual recommendation in Excel. Of the 742 books recommended, I assigned each a point. Then sorted by count.

What books come most recommended by the top CEOs, Foundres, and Entrepreneurs?

It’s not what I expected.

# 1 – Influence by Robert Cialdini

Recommended By: Charlie Munger, David Heinemeier Hansson, Derek Sivers, Guy Kawasaki, John Doerr, Justin Kan, Max Levchin, Paul Allen

From the back cover:

With more than one quarter of a million copies sold worldwide, Influence has established itself as the most important book on persuasion ever published. Inre it, distinguished psychologist Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D., explains why some people are remarkably persuasive and how you can beat them at their own game. You’ll learn the six psychological secrets behind our powerful impulse to comply, how skilled persuaders use them without detection, how to defend against them–and how to put those secrets to work in your own behalf. This indispensable book guarantees two things: You’ll never again say “yes” when you really mean “no” and you’ll make yourself more influential than ever before.

# 2 – The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen

Recommended By: Andrew Grove, Ben Horowitz, Guy Kawasaki, Jeff Bezos, Mark Cuban, Steve Jobs, Steve Blank

From the back cover:In this revolutionary bestseller, Harvard professor Clayton M. Christensen says outstanding companies can do everything right and still lose their market leadership — or worse, disappear completely. And he not only proves what he says, he tells others how to avoid a similar fate.

Focusing on “disruptive technology” — the Honda Super Cub, Intel’s 8088 processor, or the hydraulic excavator, for example — Christensen shows why most companies miss “the next great wave.” Whether in electronics or retailing, a successful company with established products will get pushed aside unless managers know when to abandon traditional business practices. Using the lessons of successes and failures from leading companies, The Innovator’s Dilemma presents a set of rules for capitalizing on the phenomenon of disruptive innovation. Find out: ?When it is right not to listen to customers. ?When to invest in developing lower-performance products that promise lower margins. ?When to pursue small markets at the expense of seemingly ?larger and more lucrative ones. Sharp, cogent, and provocative, The Innovator’s Dilemma is one of the most talked-about books of our time — and one no savvy manager or entrepreneur should be without.

Recommended By: Evan Williams, Steve Blank, Fred DeLuca, Jeff Bezos, Meg Whitman, Max Levchin, Tracy DiNunzio

From the back cover:

The Challenge:
Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning.

But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

The Study:
For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?

The Standards:
Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world’s greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.

# 4- Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Recommended By: Aaron Patzer, Brad Feld, Fred Wilson, John Doerr, Peter Diamandis, Rex Tillerson

From the back cover:

This is the story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world and did. Was he a destroyer or the greatest of liberators?

Why did he have to fight his battle, not against his enemies, but against those who needed him most, and his hardest battle against the woman he loved? What is the world’s motor — and the motive power of every man? You will know the answer to these questions when you discover the reason behind the baffling events that play havoc with the lives of the characters in this story.

Tremendous in its scope, this novel presents an astounding panorama of human life — from the productive genius who becomes a worthless playboy — to the great steel industrialist who does not know that he is working for his own destruction — to the philosopher who becomes a pirate — to the composer who gives up his career on the night of his triumph — to the woman who runs a transcontinental railroad — to the lowest track worker in her Terminal tunnels.

You must be prepared, when you read this novel, to check every premise at the root of your convictions.

This is a mystery story, not about the murder — and rebirth — of man’s spirit. It is a philosophical revolution, told in the form of an action thriller of violent events, a ruthlessly brilliant plot structure and an irresistible suspense. Do you say this is impossible? Well, that is the first of your premises to check.

# 5 – Crossing the Chasm

Recommended By: Andrew Ng, Brad Feld, Guy Kawasaki, Steve Blank, Josh James, Max Levchin

From the back cover:

The bible for bringing cutting-edge products to larger markets—now revised and updated with new insights into the realities of high-tech marketing

In Crossing the Chasm, Geoffrey A. Moore shows that in the Technology Adoption Life Cycle—which begins with innovators and moves to early adopters, early majority, late majority, and laggards—there is a vast chasm between the early adopters and the early majority. While early adopters are willing to sacrifice for the advantage of being first, the early majority waits until they know that the technology actually offers improvements in productivity. The challenge for innovators and marketers is to narrow this chasm and ultimately accelerate adoption across every segment.

 

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