7 Books That Every Aspiring Founder And CEO Should Read

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Being a CEO comes with a lot of incredible challenges at work. It is in fact not for the faint of heart. As a CEO, you need to command a good grasp of the market and your product. Doing this would fundamentally necessitate you to also influence people, inspire action, determine directions and strategically make calls which are sometimes controversial.

As much of an uphill task as these may sound, if you see the letters CEO in your future, it is really not too early to start preparing.


You might have wondered: how do they often get through it? The answer is simple – they seek inspiration, ideas and strategies from books. In the following article, Anthony Olanrewaju has compiled a list of 7 Books that cut across works of history and classic business books that have inspired the top CEOs of today. These 7 books are what every founder or CEO should read.

Therefore, create a reading list and add these books to it if you want to ascend yourself to the C-suite.


1. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

I term this book the “only real” business book. This epic writing by Ben Horowitz basically encapsulates what it is like to lead a startup. It is worth the read.


2. Behind the Cloud by Marc Benioff & Carlye Adler

Do you know Salesforce.com? If you do, fine! But if you don’t, you need to go check them out. This book by these two authors tells the untold story of how Salesforce.com went from Idea to Billion-dollar company and revolutionalized an industry. I need not say more on this as the title says it all.


3. Zingerman’s Guide To Giving Great Service by Ari Weinzweig

This one especially is targeted at businesses whose focus revolves around Customer Service. You must have heard sayings such as “The Customer is King”. This book goes a long way to describe the intricacies about creating a great customer experience.


4. High Output Management by Andy Grove

Finding it difficult to prioritise? Then, grab this book by Andy Grove and discover the recent OKR trend used by Google and many other companies to manage priorities.


5. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition by Robert Cialdini

This book is worth reading 4 times within 2 years! It would help you understand the cognitive biases we, as individuals and managers use to make decisions.


6. Practicing the Power of Now: Essential Teachings, Meditations, and Exercises From The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.

Many often than not, we tend to focus on the future of a business. This book will re-shape your thinking and channel your thoughts into thinking about the “now” of a business. It helps to overcome this anxiety associated with the daily anxiety of running a business.


7. Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer

Customer service is always one the key talk points for any business that intends to take a hold of the Millennial age. Just the way you delight in excellent customer service, so does everyone. Nobody knows delivering great service  better than Danny Meyer, who orchestrates one of America’s leading restaurants.


Your take

Do you think this list encapsulates all the books needed for a CEO to perform? Have you read any of these books at one point or the other? Which is your favourite book of all time? I would love to hear from you.

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