Tim Cook recommends

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CEO of Apple Inc. recommends

Competing AgainstTime” by Jr. George Stalk

Cook loves this book so much that he often gives out copies of the same to his colleagues and recommends this book to the hires

Today, time is on the cutting edge. In fact, as a strategic weapon, contend George Stalk, Jr., and Thomas M. Hout, time is the equivalent of money, productivity, quality, even innovation. The ways leading companies manage time – in production, in new product development, and in sales and distribution – represent the most powerful new sources of competitive advantage. Time consumption, like cost, is quantifiable and therefore manageable. Today’s new generation companies recognize time as the fourth dimension of competiveness and, as a result, operate with flexible manufacturing and rapid-resource systems, expanding variety and increasing innovation.

Andrew Grove recommends

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American businessman, engineer, former CEO of Intel

“The Innovator’s Dilemma” by Clayton M. Christensen

-Grove’s review

Also recommended by Mark Cuban, Malcolm Gladwell, Evan Williams, Steve Jobs, Guy Kawasaki

Out of Harvard Business School Press has come a ‘must’ on the business book list – Christensen’s explanation of why technology changes can derail established companies. He points out the strengths of the companies who use best management practices (listening, aggressive investment in customer demands) but get side-swiped by the paradigm shifts that inevitably happen when disruptive technologies emerge. The cheaper and simpler technology of disk drives, for example, became increasingly more convenient to customers, who then demanded enough to establish that technology in the marketplace – above its competitors.

“Direct from Dell” by Michael Dell

-Grove’s review

The founder of Dell computers gives hope to early stamp-collectors and school truants – herein can lie the path to fame and fortune. Millennials wanting to avoid the soul-killing professional path can also take heart from Dell’s exploits. His parents wanted him to become a doctor, even making a surprise visit to his University of Texas dorm room to destroy his dream of competing with IBM. Dell’s discount route of selling personal computers directly to customers is no longer a novelty, any more than his advice of eschewing the status quo, but this book can make a good addition to book lists dedicated to bootstraps-to-billionaire stories.

Steve Jobs’ recommends

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Pioneer and visioner. Founder of Apple Inc., designer and inventor. His book recommendations are on business and buddism.

“Atlas Shrugged” byAyn Rand

– Steve Wozniak

*Steve Jobs took time in his last little bit of life to go see the “Atlas Shrugged” movie, Pt 1, in his local theater

Also recommended by Mark Cuban, Evan Williams

Individualists, unite! Ayn Rand’s novel, about the triumph of the individual over the tyranny of the collective, has sparked heated conversations and thoughtful dialogue for decades. Some of the celebrities mentioned on Mother Jones praised the book for its achievements and compelling characters (such as Rob Lowe and Billie Jean King). There’s even an Atlas Society of Individualists who celebrate the power of one, as brought to life in Rand’s novel about Dagny Taggart’s railroad efforts, Hank Rearden’s struggles with the steel industry, and the mystery of John Galt.

 “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville

“Jobs told me that “Moby-Dick” was among his favorite books and he reread it a lot when he was a teen”

– from “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

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.

“1984” by George Orwell

Steve Jobs called this book “one of his favorite” and recommended it to the hires. The book also inspired one the greatest TV ad (made by Jobs)

Once a blistering commentary on the future, now Orwell’s famous novel is historical – and never more timely. Winston and Julia are a young couple who meet under oppressive circumstances – he’s an editor at the Ministry of Truth and she operates machines. Their habits of running away together, and thinking against the Party in the far-off land of Oceania, are noticed by the Thought Police. Throughout, there’s the uneasy sense that no one knows what is true and false, and history has no meaning except what the leaders give to it. This is one of the best books to read on the nature of totalitarian regimes, not because it’s fiction, but because it has a ring of truth.

The Innovator’sDilemma” by Clayton M. Christensen

– from “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

Also recommended by Mark Cuban, Malcolm Gladwell, Evan Williams, Andrew Grove, Guy Kawasaki

Out of Harvard Business School Press has come a ‘must’ on the business book list – Christensen’s explanation of why technology changes can derail established companies. He points out the strengths of the companies who use best management practices (listening, aggressive investment in customer demands) but get side-swiped by the paradigm shifts that inevitably happen when disruptive technologies emerge. The cheaper and simpler technology of disk drives, for example, became increasingly more convenient to customers, who then demanded enough to establish that technology in the marketplace – above its competitors.

Be here now” by RamDass

– from “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

This illustrated guide to Yoga was made popular in the 1970’s, and truly lives up to its name. From psychedelic experimentation, to the path of inner discipline, Ram Dass explains why living in the present moment is an all-powerful spiritual concept. Readers who enjoyed Eckhart Tolle’s “Power of Now” may also want to increase their mindfulness with the reading list addition of “Be Here Now”. Readers of Business Insider will be interested to note that Ram Dass’ work made it onto the favorites list of Steve Jobs, who thought it a profound work.

Zen Mind, Beginner’sMind” by Shunryu Suzuki

– from “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

Also recommended by Kevin Rose

Horse aficionados may be surprised that the Zen mind begins with types of horses (excellent, good, poor, and bad) and how they respond to the requests of the rider. The paradoxes of growth and appreciation, struggle and enlightenment, situation versus being, are scattered throughout this 1970’s classic. The virtues of remaining alert and observant are linked with parables and examples, such as carefully watching the rising of bread. Not surprisingly, Steve Jobs added Suzuki’s work to his favorites list, along with Be Here Now.

“The Autobiography of Yogi” by Paramahansa Yogananda

– from “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

This autobiography has made it onto the reading lists of Steve Jobs (who read it annually), Zen Columbus, and blogger Ashram Girl. According to Elvis Presley’s former spiritual advisor, Larry Geller, it apparently even made an impact on the consciousness of the King of Swing. The author shows an appreciation for the Western mind’s demand for verifiable detail, while offering insights from a long line of Hindu yogis practicing mindfulness for many centuries. One of the most impactful chapters centers around a story of the author and his brother having a competition on the subject of God’s providence – a long trip would have to be made without provision for food and without dependence on begging. Yogananda later began the Self Realization Fellowship in the United States.

Diet for a SmallPlanet” by Frances Moore Lappe

– from “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

The winner of the Green Prize for Sustainable Literature (per the Santa Monica Library), Lappe, made her mark with this book in the 1970’s, and has since written over 15 more. Though the author may not have begun the global conversation on sustainable living and dietary responsibility by vegetarian cooking, she certainly has fueled the fire. Recipes including tofu, whole grains, and legumes are woven around personal stories and insights on politics and population growth. Per the Ottowa Citizen, the author did propagate a current misconception about the incompleteness of protein, so it may be important for accuracy to add a later edition to the book list.

Inside the Tornado”by Geoffrey A. Moore

– from HarperCollinsCanada

“Inside the Tornado” is great follow-up to a favorite book of business readers (“Crossing the Chasm”). Using real-life examples of high-tech highs and lows such as Oracle and WordStar, Moore shows how to tame the tornado of global e-commerce. Busy executives may be especially interested in Moore’s description of the operational cycle of a company once it has achieved industry recognition. Positioning and strategic advantage, along with implementation, are explained in a simple parable style that disguises a deep understanding of tectonic market shifts. This book can move your company from creative chaos, to growth and order, if added to your reading list.

“Cutting Through SpiritualMaterialism” by Chogyam Trungpa

– from “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

Chogyam Trungpa’s groundbreaking work on the dangers of spiritual materialism was presented originally in Colorado, as a series of short talks in the 1970’s. Years later, the material was striking enough for Steve Jobs to add it to his extensive reading list, along with Daniel Kottke. Calling the process of the spiritual walk a “subtle process”, Trungpa outlines Buddhist philosophy and explains how spiritual growth is related to suffering, confusion, and the discovery of enlightenment beyond the tyranny of the ego. Readers looking to expand their book lists may also want to see Trungpa’s other works, such as “The Myth of Freedom” and “The Sacred Path of the Warrior”.

“Only the ParanoidSurvive” by Andrew S. Grove

-Steve Jobs

Also recommended by Jamie Dimon

According to the Wall Street Journal, this book is one of coach Jim Harbaugh’s favorite manuals for his football team, the San Francisco 49ers. As CEO, Grove steered Intel toward its status as top creator of computer chips that control our digital world, qualifying him to speak about the necessity of adaptation to instant corporate change. The milestones of change contain an instructive pattern, and Grove uses some of Intel’s challenges (such as the Pentium processor flaw) to show what worked in keeping slightly ahead of Internet expansion: debate, anticipation of change, and seeking answers beyond the job title. Andy Grove currently holds an advisory position at Intel, and helps teach a business seminar at Stanford’s School of Business.

Jeff Bezos recommends

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A pioneer, a visioner, an entrepreneur recommends books he loves

“The Effective Executive: TheDefinitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done” by Peter F. Drucker

“The definite guide to getting the right things done”

–Jeff Bezos

Also mentioned in Guy Kawasaki On Books Every Businessmen Should Read

Though published in 1967, Drucker’s best-seller still has wisdom to share on management theory and implementation. Since effectiveness is a learned skill and not an inherent gift, all that’s needed for effectiveness is practice of the right principles. From systematic management of the most valuable resource (time), to expanding on strengths (rather than weaknesses), leaders must banish the spirit of generalization and channel their team’s efforts toward a few priorities. This gets organizations out of the problem-solving trap, opens up new avenues to explore, and allows executives to distill fact-based evidence from opposite viewpoints into a decision with a deadline.

   “The Goal: A Process of OngoingImprovement” by Eliyahu Goldratt

–The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon, B. Stone

 “Built to Last” byJim Collins

– from interview to Success.com

Collins’ management book on long-lasting companies has been featured on business leaders’ reading lists for many years. From Doug Ducey of Coldstone Creamery, to FIVE ThôT, to wealth management company Pitcairn, the book is recommended for its note of hope – that companies really can last beyond a few good quarterly reports. Critics have pointed out that around 50% of the originally showcased companies have fallen on hard times or merged with other companies (such as Motorola and Philip Morris). Fans retort that all 18 companies are still operable, and business philosophies on creating a visionary culture thriving on change are still good.

 “The Remains of theDay” by Kazuo Ishiguro

– from interview to Success.com

Ishiguro’s work is a necessary addition to the reading lists of those intrigued by modern and Victorian Britain. The story follows the life and unrequited romance of a self-effacing butler, whose goal in life was to add to the honor of the house and master that he served. History students will be fascinated by the rapid changes in house management and service, from the aftermath of the World War I era, to the peace talks before World War II, to the 1950’s. Students of human nature will be drawn in by the interplay between the dignified Stevens the butler and his father, Miss Kenton, and Lord Darlington. A tragic, spiritual portrait of a perfect English butler and his reaction to his fading insular world in post-war England. A wonderful, wonderful book.

  “Dune” by FrankHerbert

– from interview to Fastcompany.com

Also mentioned in Top 7 Sci-Fi Books According To Michael Arrington

Herbert’s classic is still considered a necessary book list addition to real fans of science fiction. (Over 5,500 Wired magazine readers voted for Dune as their first book list choice, out of their top 10 favorite sci-fi novels.) Though the plot drags in some sections, just like the book-based film, the story of Arrakis’ political intrigues over the flow of a valuable spice (that gives long life and interplanetary travel capability) will also capture the imaginations of political science students, who may see some connections between this book and the influence of Machiavelli’s The Prince.

 “A Wrinkle in Time”by Madeleine L’Engle

– from interview to Achievment.org

L’Engle’s novel, on time travel and the importance of family, is another classic children’s book that nearly never made it onto library bookshelves or anyone’s reading list. Like the unlikely heroine Meg, who stubbornly argues points with her teachers, L’Engle pitched the book to many publishers (says NPR) before finding one company who would give the metaphysics-laden novel a chance. Adult readers will be fascinated by this Newberry Award-winner, for its totalitarian themes of the IT-dominated Camazotz, and the power of love over hate.

Jack Dorsey recommends

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CEO of Twitter and Square, one of the brightest entrepreneurs today about his favorite books

The Checklist Manifesto: How ToGet Things Right by Atul Gawande

Jack Dorsey gives this book to new employees at Square

– from instagram.com/jack

Everyone needs a checklist, says Anderson, and no industry needs it more than the medical industry. A surgeon for the Harvard Medical School, and writer for The New Yorker, Anderson makes the stunningly simple point that checklists keep errors from spiraling into life-threatening situations. The second point, which is why this is one of those good books to read for the experts, is that no amount of personal experience can make up for teamwork and attention to protocol. One of the more arresting examples is that of the pilot and his team who landed a geese-hit plane on the Hudson River, saving the lives of over 150 people.

“The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz

– from twitter.com/jack

Also recommended by Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres

Four practices are all you need for a better life, insists Ruiz, and millions of readers have agreed with him. Seven years of being on the New York Times bestseller book list is quite an achievement, for a book describing just a few lifelong changes that need to be made: verbal integrity, questions without assumptions, a refusal to personalize, and making the best happen. As a surgeon with spiritual roots in the deep heart of Mexico, Ruiz weaves both practices in and out of this work. It has been promoted by Spiritually Fit Yoga and by Oprah, at the top of her favorites list.

 The Score Takes Care of Itself:My Philosophy of Leadership by Bill Walsh

Jack Dorsey recommends this book in Twitter

– from twitter.com/jack

The Paleo Solution: TheOriginal Human Diet by Robb Wolf

– from twitter.com/jack

“The Master andMargarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov

– from twitter.com/jack

Though it took over 20 years for this book to be published in Russia (due to Stalin’s control over literature), the originality of Bulgakov’s work is undimmed. There are similarities to C.S. Lewis’ work The Screwtape Letters, except that the devil’s influence, and justification for his evil, are explained in novel rather than letter form. The powerlessness of humans is emphasized by two types of external forces (political and spiritual), and the moral confusion surrounding characters such as married Margarita add to the novel’s complexity. Both Daniel Radcliffe and Simon McBurney (director of British theatre company Complicite) keep this book on their top reading lists.

“Tao Te Ching” by Laozi

– Jack Dorsey on producthunt.com

Also recommended by Pavel Durov

This Book of the Way offers wisdom balanced by the experience of perspective. The book’s appeal rests on the idea that eternal principles can govern all that is mysterious and wonderful about life. This classic text dates back to the fourth century, but the applications of the 81 sections range from cosmological to political, all accessible through «the gate of many secrets», although the focus rests on awareness rather than naming (or blaming).

“Between the World and Me” byTa-Nehisi Coates

– Jack Dorsey on producthunt.com

This open letter from Coates to his teenage son seeks to lift the lid off racial relations in America. Recommended by Toni Morrison as a redemptive and revelatory text of first importance, it links slavery and modern man’s labors in capitalism to global inequities linking back to a perceived solace of better days in heaven. Black power and the sway of music are offered without the prop of church, which makes this a controversial if moving piece.

“The Old Man and The Sea” byErnest Hemingway

– Jack Dorsey on producthunt.com

Hemingway’s reporter roots are evidence in this five-day journey of an old man whose greatest battle at sea leads to his greatest loss. Poignant and searing, this tale of the giant marlin and the man underlines the double blade of success stories: you might lose even as you win. For those who appreciate seafaring tales but don’t want to wade through all of the endless antics of Moby Dick, this simple story took Hemingway 16 years to write, and was dedicated both to friends and in honor of critics who thought his writing days were done.

Evan Williams recommends

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Co-founder of two of the internet’s top ten websites: Blogger and Twitter – tells about works he is inspired by. His book list contains business books, biographies and fiction.

                  “The Power of One” by Bryce Courtenay

-Evan Williams on goodreads

Courtenay’s book is a favorite on the summer reading lists of schools, from Hebron Academy to the Pittsburgh public schools. Though ostensibly a novel on South African differences, much of the intriguing human interest element focuses on Doc and Peekay, united in their love for music, and Doc’s need to categorize cactus plants. Similar to Mitch Albertson’s classic, Tuesdays with Morrie, a prevailing theme is that many people (and institutions) contribute to our formal and informal knowledge of the world. (One of the characters is named Morrie, and furthers Peekay’s financial education.) Some of Peekay’s less prestigious centers of learning include a boarding school and a prison, which adds some excitement to the book.

                  “Moneyball” by Michael Lewis

-Evan Williams on goodreads

By virtue of the title alone, this work of Michael Lewis deserves its spot on the reading lists of financial institutions and Forbes magazine. The British newspaper Guardian did not hesitate to name it as a welcome addition to summer reading lists, pointing to the “nerdy” and statistically heavy underpinnings of baseball. Essentially, this book makes the same connections as classic books on the art of stock-picking – that some baseball players are undervalued because of their lack of aesthetics, though they dominate at least one aspect of the game. Oakland A’s manager Billy Beane discovered this oversight, and was the first (but not the last) to lean on the help of experts for the creation of a winning team.

                  “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand

-Evan Williams on goodreads

Also recommended by Mark Cuban

Ayn Rand is better known for her impressive tome, Atlas Shrugged, but readers may find this shorter novel to be an easier introduction into the author’s controversial blend of individualism and capitalism. This story of Howard Roark the architect, and his battle against the conformist powers of society, could be seen as autobiographical. In the same way that Roark struggles against rejection to maintain his individual outlook on architecture, Rand struggled to publish the book after no less than 12 publisher rejections. In 2010, Business Insider added it to their top 15 reading list for entrepreneurs.

                  “The Halo Effect: … and the Eight Other Business Delusions That Deceive Managers” by Philip M. Rosenzweig

-Evan Williams on goodreads

Since the 1980’s, management theory books have filled business bookshelves. Rosenzweig’s book is a diatribe on all of the management “gurus” who have gutted their readers’ pocketbooks on theories that won’t work. From sample bias to the over-inflation of success stories (short-term expanded into long-term), from bad data to the bad habit of seeking “the” success formula, management delusions abound. Rosenzweig castigates continual favorites on business book lists, such as Good to Great and Tom Peters’ In Search of Excellence. Fellow author Daniel Kahneman, an economics winner of the Nobel prize, joins Rosenzweig in his critiques.

                  The China Study: The Most Comprehensive Study of Nutrition Ever Conducted And the Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss, And Long-term Health by Philip M. Rosenzweig

-Evan Williams on goodreads

Listed as a favorite on the reading list of Twitter founder Evan Williams, this book covers hundreds of health variables in China and Taiwan, and explores Western medicine and diet trends. Like Rosenzweig’s book on the fallacies of management, this non-fiction book questions the real value of nutrition when compared against groups who wish to profit from nutrition. Perhaps because of its controversial nature, or because of the author’s prior business book success, it’s easier to find complimentary comments on the Halo Effect that this book on health.

                  “Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance” by N. N. Taleb

-Evan Williams on goodreads

Also recommended by Malcolm Gladwell

The role of luck in life is under-appreciated, and reasons assigned to success are over-simplified, declares Taleb in his new work. Positing that risk and uncertainty are an ignored part of life and business (including not knowing why something works and why it doesn’t), he points to the amount of information in which society drowns, after drawing misguided conclusions. Using historical figures such as the wealthy Croesus, and games of chance such as Russian roulette, Taleb forms a picture of unwelcome reality that must be faced. Recommended as thought-provoking, from Pine River Capital Management trader Steve Kuhn to the Trading Pitt, this book makes an intriguing addition to the reading list.

                  “Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age” by Paul Graham

-Evan Williams

Graham has developed the promotion of unpopular, go-against-the-grain habits of nerds to a fine art. A common pitfall for large companies, he says, is simply imitating and improving on someone else’s innovation, like Hollywood blockbusters that use a tried-and-true formula with a few new plot twists. Startup companies can nip around bureaucracy, please customers, and award those who get things done, joining in the true joy of wealth creation. InSITE, a New York City hub, featured his work on a top 10 reading list for 2012, along with startup job promoter GetWakefield.com.

                  “The Innovator’s Dilemma” by Clayton M. Christensen

-Evan Williams on goodreads

Also recommended by Mark Cuban, Malcolm Gladwell, Steve Jobs, Andrew Grove, Guy Kawasaki

Out of Harvard Business School Press has come a ‘must’ on the business book list – Christensen’s explanation of why technology changes can derail established companies. He points out the strengths of the companies who use best management practices (listening, aggressive investment in customer demands) but get side-swiped by the paradigm shifts that inevitably happen when disruptive technologies emerge. The cheaper and simpler technology of disk drives, for example, became increasingly more convenient to customers, who then demanded enough to establish that technology in the marketplace – above its competitors.

                  “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t” by Jim Collins

-Evan Williams on goodreads

Besides his other blockbuster, Built to Last, this is Jim Collins’ most famous maker of book lists, such as spot 11 on Time magazine’s top 25 books on business management. Collins and a team of researchers pooled their knowledge and hashed out one of the biggest business questions of the 21st century: why do some companies make it, and some fail? Personal humility in leaders, clear-eyed confrontation of unwelcome facts, and the development of self-discipline alongside the use of technology are just a few of the long-term themes running through Collins’ work. It is well worth a read.

Kevin Rose recommends

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Internet entrepreneur, Digg founder, investor about the books he rereads. Explore his book suggestions

“Eight Weeks to OptimumHealth” by Andrew Weil M.D.

– Kevin Rose on Random show

Out of the many healthy living books available in America, Dr. Weil’s work focuses on the human body’s ability to heal itself without ignoring the advances of modern medicine. He combines advice on vitamins, exercise, weight loss, and ways to minimize stress. Dr. Weil also notes that health does not remain at an ideal level, once improvement has been reached, but is a fluctuating effort. The focus on gradual improvement and lifestyle changes make this book accessible to a busy public, and comes recommended on reading lists from PBS producer Gail Harris to Rainmaker Strategies.

“Zen Mind, Beginner’sMind” by Shunryu Suzuki

– Kevin Rose on Random show

Also recommended by Steve Jobs

Horse aficionados may be surprised that the Zen mind begins with types of horses (excellent, good, poor, and bad) and how they respond to the requests of the rider. The paradoxes of growth and appreciation, struggle and enlightenment, situation versus being, are scattered throughout this 1970’s classic. The virtues of remaining alert and observant are linked with parables and examples, such as carefully watching the rising of bread. Not surprisingly, Steve Jobs added Suzuki’s work to his favorites list, along with Be Here Now.

 “The Miracle ofMindfulness: An Introduction to the Practice of Meditation” by T. N. Hanh

– twitter.com/kevinrose

English-speaking devotees of Buddhism will be interested in this book as a simple introduction to meditation, and observers of our own thinking. Translated from its original Vietnamese hasn’t detracted from the book’s emphasis on ignoring the stress of the future and past to focus on the present. Those wishing to embrace a whole life approach to dieting – enjoying food one bite at a time instead of gulping – will be intrigued by the book’s message on savoring fruit. Hanh’s work has been included on prestigious book lists such as the Vanderbilt Center for Integrative Health, the Association for Humanistic Psychology, and the psychology department of Murdoch University.

“EnvisioningInformation” by Edward Tufte

– Kevin Rose on Random show

A Presidential appointee to the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, Tufte has clearly outlined the difference between knowledge and information, and the role it plays in our world. From cave drawings to railway charts, data presentation is laid bare – in all its glory – because graphs by themselves do not always stimulate the brain. (Tufte gets quite enraged at the presumption and inadequacy of Powerpoint slides, in his Yale lectures and in other works.) Amazon competitor and CEO of Alibris, Brian Elliot, has put this book at the top of his reading list as “most influential”, along with the Evangelist at Microsoft, Jon Udell.

“The Tipping Point”by Malcolm Gladwel

– Kevin Rose on Random show

Gladwell himself was surprised by the success of this book, saying on an interview with Fast Company that he merely hoped that it would gain credibility with his mother. Well-recognized as a favorite on business book lists, from Oprah to Koch Capital Management, this book describes how small changes can add up to big changes, until the dominoes fall – positively or negatively. One of his inspirations came from the rapid crime decrease in New York City, which led him to speculate (and then to research) reasons why things change at the rate they do. Positive and negative examples of personality and context-laden trends abound, such as the rapid rise of syphilis in Baltimore to the popularity of certain shoe brands.

“The IntelligentInvestor” by Benjamin Graham

– Kevin Rose on Random show

Also recommended by Jamie Dimon, Bill Ackman, Whitney Tilson, Warren Buffett

If investors are intimidated by Graham’s prior groundbreaking work, “Security Analysis”, this book makes a good introduction to the difference between making investments and capitalizing on speculation – a risky business. Another favorite book of Warren Buffet’s (who wrote the introduction), it covers emotional decision-making versus rational analysis of markets and their fluctuations. Forbes magazine author Jason Zweig also counts it at the top of his favorite book list, calling it “prophetic”. Graham’s own history as a survivor of the Great Depression stock crash, and master of detailed company research yielding 14% annual returns, qualifies him to mentor others down the investment path.

Tim Ferriss recommends

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A start-up angel investor (Twitter, Posterous, RescueTime), blogger and entrepreneur gives awesome book recommendations.

  “Vagabonding (An UncommonGuide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel)” by Rolf Potts

– Random show

By his enthused affirmation of the lifestyle of non-tourism travelers, Potts inspired the work of another contributor to contrarian reading lists. Tim Ferriss, author of The Four Hour Work Week, mentions Vagabonding as one of the top four highly recommended additions to anyone’s book list who wants to get out of the modern rat race. A most helpful addition to this book, all about the art of international travel, is the author’s website, which has travel updates and increased resources for those who want to discover the world before their retirement years.

  “Letters from aStoic” by Seneca

– Random show

Although Seneca is not as well-known as either Plato or Aristotle, it hasn’t stopped his fans in adding this Stoic work to their reading lists for many centuries. Pinning Seneca’s work between the 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing and Gladwell’s The Tipping Point, author Tim Ferriss of the Four Hour Work Week says that this book is a necessary book list item. Business readers will appreciate the emphasis on personal virtue, and self-sacrifice when faced with overwhelming emotions – always a necessary element when building a lasting enterprise. The rejection of slavery will also dovetail with a business philosophy of seeing employees as partners rather than assets or mere wage earners.

 “Leaving Microsoft toChange the World (An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’sChilden)” by John Wood

– Random show

Wood has been compared to two influential Carnegie’s – Dale and Andrew – in two different categories. The author clearly shows the influence of Dale Carnegie’s class (author of classic business book list addition How to Win Friends and Influence People) in his approach to people. At the same time, his deep business insights have led to the San Francisco Chronicle’s assessment of John Wood as the spirit of Andrew Carnegie let loose in third world countries, according to Rakestrawbooks.com. This is the story of Wood’s rejection of the corporate for the developing world, via the startup of a non-profit designed to inspire the love of reading in children.

“The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing (Violate Them at Your Own Risk!)” by Al Ries and Jack Trout

– Random show

What this book lacks in quantitative analysis, it makes up for in common-sense ideas boiled down to marketing laws. While the Laws of Leadership have also been mentioned by leadership author John Maxwell, Ries and Trout point out that marketing leadership is more about leading the pack by being first, and therefore remembered. This recommended reading list addition (for Government Express and Mark Amtower’s Federal Direct clients) includes powerful concepts such as ‘mindshare’, candor, and niche specialization.

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose” by Tony Hsieh

– Tim Ferriss

This blockbuster from Zappo’s anti-corporate leader made it onto the top of the New York Times reading list, as well as USA Today and the Wall Street Journal. Hsieh redefines how a company ought to run, based on the right people (one of the most mind-blowing points is that new employees should be incentivized to leave the team if they’re not a culture fit), the right product, and the right world-changing passion. This book is part of a movement to make a corporation’s reason for being infused into every product and every person, instead of the responsibility being relegated to one leader or one department.

  “Getting Real: Thesmarter, faster, easier way to build a successful web application” byJason Fried, Heinemeier David Hansson, Matthew Linderman

– Random show

This Web Geek ‘must have’ on the reading list includes the joint effort of Fried, Hansson, and Linderman. Topics include the idea-building value of outside limits (such as budgets and time constraints), and saying ‘no’ to additional but unnecessary features. The authors (one of whom was a writer for the business-focused Inc magazine) practiced the idea simplicity that they preached, because their 6 applications have been used by half a million people, without the founders getting funds from angel investors or hiring a team of over 10 people.

“Motherless Brooklyn”by Jonathan Lethem

– Random show

Madame Malaprop, an amusing creation of Richard Brinsley Sheridan in the 18th century, is a pale shadow of Lethem’s characters. While Mrs. Malaprop occasionally uttered a misplaced word in The Rivals, bumbling detective Lionel Essrog is in a constant state of confused verbal uproar. Fellow detective Frank Minna, the protagonist, trains four orphaned boys in the trade of discovery, who then attempt to avenge his demise. Critics from Salon.com to the UK’s Guardian describe the work as a fascinating but dizzying ride, so fans of detective fiction will have to decide on their own whether to add this book to their favorites list – or not.

“Surely You’re Joking, Mr.Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)” by Richard P. Feynman

Tim Ferriss recommends this book in one of the episodes of “Random Show”.

Also recommended by Larry Page

Fact is surely stranger than fiction. Richard Feynman seeks to dispel the image of a Nobel laureate as inhumanly grave and ascetic, by publishing his exploits – and his annoyance at being given the Nobel news at 4 in the morning. The author’s alma mater, MIT, enthusiastically promotes his book as an addition to American reading lists by describing his penchant for practical jokes and bongo drums, plus an ability to open sophisticated safes in Los Angeles. Those who haven’t heard of this amazing physicist will be interested in his contributions to science, including the quantum theory of electrodynamics, and a better understanding of helium.

Mark Cuban recommends

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Famous american entrepreneur Mark Cuban tells about great books that changed him most. Explore his book list!

                  “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand

Also recommended by Evan Williams. Ayn Rand is also recommended by Steve Jobs

Ayn Rand is better known for her impressive tome, Atlas Shrugged, but readers may find this shorter novel to be an easier introduction into the author’s controversial blend of individualism and capitalism. This story of Howard Roark the architect, and his battle against the conformist powers of society, could be seen as autobiographical. In the same way that Roark struggles against rejection to maintain his individual outlook on architecture, Rand struggled to publish the book after no less than 12 publisher rejections. In 2010, Business Insider added it to their top 15 great books for entrepreneurs.

                  “The Gospel of Wealth” by Andrew Carnegie

– from usnews.com

Though Carnegie hasn’t made quite as many book lists as Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations, some of the principles remain the same. While Smith focuses on the origins of wealth and the beginnings of the Industrial Revolution, Carnegie displays more concern with the continuance of the Industrial Revolution’s benefits, and its administration. Many biographies have been written about the avarice (or philanthropy) of Andrew Carnegie, and the industrial wars of which he was a part, but this book details Carnegie’s own concerns about the gaps between rich and poor, and the necessity of wealthy men living lives of virtue and self-denial on behalf of those less fortunate.

                  “Rework” by Jason Fried

– Cuban’s review

Also recommended by Chris Anderson

This book is enthusiastically endorsed as a reading list additive by Tribes author Seth Godin and Diane Danielson of Entrepreneur.com. From the guesswork of business plans, to the need for speed in making priorities, Fried and Hansson have written a book that will appeal to startups and managers alike. Many of the research and development issues are the same, though some business leaders may be surprised by topics on which the authors urge their readers to say no – including third-party investors and business escape plans. If boiled down to a phrase, this book would heavily promote the rejection of multi-tasking and the necessity of focus.

                  “The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need” by Andrew Tobias

– from usnews.com

Tobias’ guide to making money work for his readers has had numerous additions since its initial publication in the late 1970’s, from updated tax advice to tips on 401(k) retirement funds. However, the core elements of saving on inessentials, (such as impressive luxuries) to invest in retirement essentials, remains true to the original writing. Householders wanting to prove that they can build wealth via Costco discounts will find validation in this addition to their reading lists. Stock analysts will be intrigued by Tobias’ enthusiasm for index funds. It has a little bit of something for everyone.

                  “Cold Calling Techniques” by Stephan Schiffman

– from usnews.com

Cold calling may be out of vogue in this social media era. However, Schiffman’s book still provides valuable advice on the necessity of creating a conversation with prospects, and planning for the inevitability of rejection before buy-in. Web designers may want to peruse this business classic just for tips on overcoming the prospect’s disinclination to change, affirming the competition, and selling the concept of doing better. Perhaps this is why US News included Schiffman’s work on its business book list of top 50 enduring works, and Mark Cuban considers it an essential entrepreneurial tool.

                  “The Innovator’s Dilemma” by Clayton M. Christensen

– from usnews.com

Also recommended by Steve Jobs, Evan Williams, Malcolm Gladwell, Andrew Grove, Guy Kawasaki

Out of Harvard Business School Press has come a ‘must’ on the business book list – Christensen’s explanation of why technology changes can derail established companies. He points out the strengths of the companies who use best management practices (listening, aggressive investment in customer demands) but get side-swiped by the paradigm shifts that inevitably happen when disruptive technologies emerge. The cheaper and simpler technology of disk drives, for example, became increasingly more convenient to customers, who then demanded enough to establish that technology in the marketplace – above its competitors.

                  “Call Me Ted” by Ted Turner

– Mark Cuban

No one can say that Turner has led a boring life, with a marriage to Jane Fonda and the creation of CNN in his wake. That was besides winning the American Cup for sailing, buying up land to rival Donald Trump, and owning a baseball team. He attributes these accomplishments to the classic virtues of hard work and early hours – and advertising. This is one of those good books to read if you own your own business (or want to), and like stories about the self-made man. The informal title matches the informal and open style of the book, as Turner discussed everything from three marriages to getting fired from AOL/Time Warner – but the focus is on action.

Mark Zuckerberg recommends

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photo: Scott Beale / Laughing Squid

Facebook founder, the youngest billionier, one of the most influential people

                  “The Aeneid” by Virgil

–from interview to The New Yorker

Also mentioned in Books That Inspire CNN Founder Ted Turner

Most schoolchildren know the basics of the Trojan horse, but Virgil outlines all of the intriguing details of myth and legend. Tension between the gods of the heavens and the underworld, true love, flaming pyres, shipwreck, political intrigue, revenge – no drama is left out or neglected. Aeneas recounts tales of strange beasts, the goddess Juno plots a settling of scores with Troy (for their future role in the destruction of noble Carthage), and battles erupt. While Virgil is no longer around to rejoice at his work’s placement on numerous book lists, this unfinished epic poem is still worth a read after nearly 2,000 years of translations.

                  “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card

Mark Zuckerberg listed this book as the only one on his Facebook profile

Sensitive parents may not find Card’s work to be one of the best books (or most uplifting) for child reading, according to commonsensemedia.org. However, book recommendations from newspapers like The Guardian point out that Ender Wiggins’ adventures while training at Battle School (to wipe out war-hungry aliens) include explorations into timeless virtues of courage in the face of peer exclusion. The book’s prestigious accolades, such as the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award, may make parents think twice about reading the book for themselves – as well as to find out if the themes are damaging to children or not.

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