Elizabeth Holmes recommends4 min read

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Ambitious businesswoman and the CEO of Theranos recommends the books she is fascinated by

                  “The Odyssey” by Homer

–from interview to achievement.org

Also mentioned in Books That Inspire CNN Founder Ted Turner

Any classical scholar or schoolchild should know the basics of this work, especially as it appears on every book list from Trojan War history to Top 100 Must-Reads. The great Ithacan warrior Odysseus has spent ten years attempting to return to his homeland, after winning the war against Troy, enmeshed in struggles against nature and mythical creatures alike. His wife Penelope is besieged in waves after waves of suitors, not unlike her husband’s continual near-deaths at sea. His son Telemachus is considered a threat to the suitors, and there are plans to have him removed as an unwelcome obstacle. While gods debate and a nymph swoons over the imprisoned hero, his one thought is of home.

                  “The Iliad” by Homer

Also mentioned in Books That Inspire CNN Founder Ted Turner

Equally well-known on college reading lists, this book covers a similar timeframe as the Odyssey – nine years after the Trojan War has begun. An Apollo priestess is under lock and key, which is the reason for a continual plague on the Greek armies. Two representatives of Greece and Troy are chosen to do battle: Paris and Menelaus. After Paris flees, many battles rage in Mount Olympus and on earth, by land and by sea. After refusing to fight due to a deadly insult, Achilles does a body-armor swap with a friend that ends disastrously, but he gets a new purpose and set of armor that helps him accomplish a temporary truce.

                  “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville

Also mentioned in 5 Fiction Books Morgan Freeman Inspired By, Steve Jobs’ Reading List

Melville is a talented (if long-winded) author whose masterpiece remains the story about an elusive whale, and its mad pursuer, Captain Ahab. The narrator is not the only character with an exotic Biblical name (Ishmael), and there are as many themes to be had as fish in the sea. Moby Dick is a strangely destructive whale, who seems to take delight in capsizing and destroying the life of whaling vessels. Captain Ahab’s thirst for avenging his lost leg and ship prove to be his undoing. He makes a strange figure, teetering about his own ship on a leg made from a whale’s jawbone, and seeking the prophetic mutterings of a harpoon crew member for clues on Moby Dick’s location. Reading between the lines of whale oil and prophecy lies a fascinating tale of the nature of good and evil – and madness.

                  “The Complete Story of Civilization” by Will Durant and Ariel Durant

–from interview to achievement.org

This eleven-volume set includes some rather forgotten eras of history, such as the ‘Age of Voltaire’ and the ‘Age of Napoleon’. The wedded pair of Nobel Prize-winning historians managed to work in many illustrations of women and domestic life, which is sometimes overlooked in historical accounts. The lively wording and primary source quotes put this set on the 1960’s Book of the Month club listings. While some readers complain that the section on Asia origins is rather thin, those in search of improving their grasp of Western Civilization should find this an insightful and entertaining read, especially if the readers enjoy puns.

                  “The Emperor’s Handbook: A New Translation of The Meditations” by Marcus Aurelius

–from interview to achievement.org

Also mentioned in Top Books To Read According To Bill Clinton

Called a “must-read” by Steve Forbes, and praised for its manly tone of translation by Jacques Barzun, this book may become as much of a business classic as Sun Tzu’s “Art of War”. The emphasis on personal virtue despite others’ inclinations or pressures, reality versus fantasy thinking, and viewing obstacles as the road to improvement, are just as applicable now as in the second century A.D. Other readers who added this Aurelius work to their reading lists include the former leader of the US Ethics office (Stephen Potts), a former director of the CIA (Admiral Turner), and a Yale history professor. Hillsdale Academy included this book in its recommended summer reading list for students.

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