Want to know what goes on inside the minds of billionaires, global leaders, and game-changers? Read what they read. In this article, we compile the top 10 books recommended by successful people like Steve Jobs, Mark Cuban, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and more. These books cover topics ranging from politics and business, to psychology and happiness. By diving into these books, you can gain insight into the journey of these successful individuals and learn from their experiences.
1. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Recommended by: Steve Jobs and Mark Cuban
Topic: Politics & Business
One-sentence summary: “Solve the world’s problem through entrepreneurial solutions.”
When Steve Wozniak was interviewed about what influenced Steve Jobs in the early days of building Apple, he mentioned that Atlas Shrugged was one of the books that Jobs used as his guide to life & business.
2. Competing Against Time by George Stalk and Thomas Hout
Recommended by: Tim Cook
Topic: Business, Economy, Productivity
One-sentence summary: “Time is now added to the other three critical factors in order to remain competitiveness in the market – money, productivity, and quality.”
Competing Against Time is a book that Tim Cook passes out everywhere and makes it a recommendation for all new hires at Apple to read.
3. Business Adventures by John Brooks
Recommended by: Warren Buffet and Bill Gates
Topic: Business & Finance
One-sentence summary: “A classic story about the American corporate and financial life.”
What do two of the richest men in the world have in common? They love the writings of John Brooks. Gates writes in his essay about Business Adventures: “Brooks eschews ‘listicles’ and doesn’t ‘boil his work down into pat how-to lessons or simplistic explanations for success.’ Instead, he tells entertaining stories replete with richly drawn characters, setting them during heightened moments within the world of commerce.” Buffett’s classic sayings, such as “you only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out,” fits right into the style of Brooks writing as well.
4. Influence by Robert Cialdini
Recommended by: Charlie Munger and Guy Kawasaki
Topic: Psychology, Persuasion, Marketing
One-sentence summary: “Science-backed methods to persuade just about anyone you want.”
Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s partner in crime at Berkshire Hathaway, attributes Cialdini’s work as having a big influence on his thinking process. His published work of the 25 Cognitive Biases of humans was very much influenced by Cialdini’s work.
5. Life Is What You Make It by Peter Buffett
Recommended by: Bill Clinton
Topic: Life, Purpose, Autobiography
One-sentence summary: “Instead of taking the way of least resistance, choose the path to greatest satisfaction.”
This autobiography book by Peter Buffett, Warren Buffett’s son, shares the wisdom learned from his family and his experiences. Here’s how Ted Turner, Media Icon and the Founder of CNN, describes it: “With home-spun, heart-felt wisdom Peter Buffett ponders how to make a meaningful life, while making a living.”
6. The Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt
Recommended by: Tony Hsieh
Topic: Happiness, Culture, Philosophy
One-sentence summary: “Giving and serving are the way to happiness.”
“This is probably the book that’s made the biggest impact on my life over the past five years. The author examines the beliefs about happiness of different cultures, religions and philosophers from different periods, and then compares those beliefs with research that’s been done on the science of happiness. The book is thought-provoking and the concepts can be applied to business and to life.” – Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos)
7. The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
Recommended by: Oprah Winfrey and Jack Dorsey
Topic: Spirituality, Life, Happiness
One-sentence summary: The book can be summarized in the following four precepts: 1. Be Impeccable With Your Word 2. Don’t Take Anything Personally 3. Don’t Make Assumptions 4. Always Do Your Best
As Jack Dorsey is in the process of running two publicly traded companies, Twitter and Square, he’s forced to mature as a leader. Throughout his journey, he acknowledges The Four Agreements as guiding him in the right path.
8. Self-Reliance by Ralph Waldo Emerson
Recommended by: Barack Obama
Topic: Individualism, non-conformity, and independence
One-sentence summary: “Hold on to your own convictions, despite what society and other people want you to believe.”
Self-Reliance is what put Ralph Waldo Emerson on the map as one of the most influential poets and philosophers of the 19th century. President Obama referenced this essay as one of the most significant books to him in an email to Jon Meacham from the New York Times, and even referenced the importance of self-reliance in his 2008 election victory speech.
9. Benjamin Franklin: An American Life by Walter Isaacson
Recommended by: Elon Musk
Topic: Autobiography, Entrepreneurship, Benjamin Franklin
One-sentence summary: “The rise of Benjamin Franklin from the bottom to the top.”
Elon Musk, the Co-Founder of Paypal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX, has said that Ben Franklin is one of his heroes, and likely sees Franklin as the type of American he himself would like to be and become: a combination of statesman, inventor, and businessman. “You can see how [Franklin] was an entrepreneur. He started from nothing. He was just a runaway kid.” -Elon Musk
10. The Remains Of The Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Recommended by: Jeff Bezos
Topic: History, World War II, Life & Regret
One-sentence summary: “A compelling portrait of the perfect English butler and of his fading, insular world postwar England.”
“Before reading it, I didn’t think a perfect novel was possible. I’m always interested in things that seem to be impossible, but are then achieved.” -Jeff Bezos
By reading these top 10 books, you too can gain wisdom and insight from the experiences of successful individuals. These books cover a range of topics, including business, psychology, history, and more. Choose one that interests you and start your journey to success and knowledge.