10 books CEOs recommend in 2021
The end of 2021 is a good time to take a break from another tumultuous pandemic year. In addition to hanging out with friends and family, many of us will use the holiday break to dive into a new book or two.
We asked 10 CEOs and Founders to share their favorite reads from the past year. Consider a few of the items below for your last minute giveaways or to expand your own reading list:
âOne of my favorite reads this year was Ssomething deeply hidden, by Sean Carroll, with whom I had the opportunity to talk about my Never stay still podcast, âsays Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal.
âThe book presents one fascinating concept after another, and I think it’s essential reading. I have spent a lot of time thinking about the implications of multiple worlds and entanglement, and how our reality is always an endless set of connected possibilities. It is truly breathtaking. The more you dive into quantum mechanics, the more it challenges you to keep an open mind about everything. “
âI have always been an avid reader and I believe that great works of fiction need to be advanced. Love in the days of cholera, by Gabriel GarcÃa MÃ¡rquez, is one of those novels, âshares Claire Spofford, CEO of women’s clothing brand, J. Jill. âMarquez brings unabashed characters to life in the midst of love, aging and death. It is a timeless masterpiece in which readers can explore the human condition through beautifully written prose.
George Nichols III, CEO of American College of Financial Services stocks, “The heat of other suns is a wonderful book on black migration [people] in the Midwest, Northeast and West between 1915 and 1970. The history and statistics are very interesting, and the most significant story is that of the biographies of real people whose lives changed forever.
The book presents a contrast and provokes thought as we now seek to “come home to the South”. What are we going to find? How will we feel? I went through this thought process when I thought, “Could I go back to Kentucky knowing who I am now?”
âI love the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction, The son of the orphan master, by Adam Johnson, and I’ve offered it on multiple occasions, âsaid David Rawlinson II, CEO of QVC and HSN’s Retail Group and Headquarters, Qurate.
“It’s a beautiful and deeply documented work of fiction set in North Korea that brings a whole different reality to life, both through its historical narrative and through its exploration of the characters’ personal and inner experiences throughout the book. . “
âThe life we ââlead is a function of how we spend our time. Your number one responsibility as a CEO is to spend and invest your time – and your team’s time – strategically and wisely, âsays Alexi Robichaux, CEO and co-founder of BetterUp.
âIn today’s fast-paced, success-driven world, it’s easy to believe that we just don’t have enough time to accomplish everything we need to do. Seneca advises us to think differently, by putting ourselves in control of our own life, mainly by shedding light on the ways in which we can invest our time more wisely: “It is so: we are not given a short life, but it is short. . . . . Life is long if you know how to use it.
“As we navigate this intersectional calculation, with gender equality as a key issue, we need more women to know that they can drop a bullet or two in order to achieve what they need in life.” says DeNora Getachew, CEO of Faire Something.org.
“Tiffany Quotes [speak to our times], like, âWomen have to stop doing this. We need to stop letting others hijack our journeys. his quote [later in the book] also salient: “If you want something you’ve never had before, you’ll have to do something you’ve never done before to get it.”
âI think this is the most incredible story,â says David Segal, founder of DavidsTea and co-founder of Firebelly Tea. âWe think of Nike as this overnight success, when in reality it took Phil over a decade to be able to quit his day job! He put his house on the line and all of his earnings- bread for this business â talk about operating under pressure â so many lessons in how to adapt when a supplier challenges you to the power of being there and making people feel special.
âThis is the best negotiating book I’ve ever read (and I’ve read a lot). I couldn’t let go of this book,â shares Joe Spector, CEO of Dutch and co-founder of Hims & Hers. Examples provided by Chris regarding negotiation are fascinating and extremely applicable to situations large and small in the workplace. â
âI always try to find time for long-term strategic thinking and I encourage every executive I know to do the same,â shares Lindsay Kaplan, co-founder of the executive network, Chief. “I recently read Dorie’s book and found it inspiring and practical, which is a rarity.”
Tim Murphy, CEO of non-toxic cleaning company Branch Basics, recommends the latest iteration from venture capitalist John Doerr. âEveryone’s talking about climate change, but John Doerr comes up with an achievable, real and inspiring plan to get us to net zero emissions by 2050. It’s a must read for anyone starting a business today. “