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CEOs

15 Inspirational Reads for CEOs this Summer

It’s the dog days of summer and hopefully, over the next few weeks, most CEOs will have a chance to kick back and relax, taking a well-deserved vacation from the day-to-day of running their companies. Whether you’re able to escape to the beach or the mountains for some R&R or need some inspiration to bring your company to the next level, there are a couple of deserving reads to check out. The following list compiles the best books CEOs can read this summer, from stories of hard work and entrepreneurship to advice on how to build and grow great businesses.

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration, Ed Catmull

creativity incAn insider look at the success of Pixar
Animation might be exactly the inspiration you
need to start thinking about developing your
business. Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar,
reveals company philosophies that have
fostered creativity for years.

 

The Hard Thing About Hard Things, Ben Horowitz

the hard thing about hard thingsBased on his popular blog, Ben Horowitz covers
what business school doesn’t. CEOs and company
executives of all levels of experience have
something to gain from the less glamorous aspect
of running and building a company:
the fact that it’s really hard.

 

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX and the Quest for a Fantastic Future, Ashlee Vance

elon muskThe story of Elon Musk alone is enough to
engage readers interested in his bold
persona and unique journey, but Vance also
uses this biography to comment on invention
and innovation in the modern world.

 

 

Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman

Thinking fast and slowWritten by a Nobel Prize winner in Economics,
this book dives into the systems driving
the way we think. Discussing the impact of
strategic overconfidence, predicting happiness,
and our cognitive biases, it’s a read for both
personal and professional enlightenment.

 

The Wright Brothers, David McCullough

the wright brothersTwo-time Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough writes
a portrait of the two brothers who taught
the world to fly. We all grew up learning
the basics of the great American invention
of flight, but this book takes a behind-the-scenes
approach to highlight the ingenuity of the story.

 

No Ordinary Disruption: The Four Global Forces Breaking All Trends, Richard Dobbs, James Manyika, & Jonathan Woetzel

no ordinary disruptionPublished in May, McKinsey Global Institute directors
provide the research for this compelling call to
rethink our intuition about how the world works.
It examines the rise of emerging markets, the
impacts of technology, an aging population,
and accelerating flows of trade between countries.

 

The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies, Erik Brynjolfsson & Andrew McAfee

second machine ageAs technology plays an exponentially important
role in our society, understanding both
the positive and negative impacts is essential.
Pick up this book to gain insight on
adapting to the inevitable changes technology
will most certainly impose on society.

 

The Misfit Economy: Lessons in Creativity from Pirates, Hackers, Gangsters and Other Informal Entrepreneurs, Alexa Clay & Kyra Maya Phillips

misfit economyFor those in an innovation rut, this book
captures stories of creativity in business from
some of the least likely places. Get inspired
by the underground innovation of unknown
visionaries, innovation catalysts, and get
back to the essence of entrepreneurial vision.

 

Clay Water Brick: Finding Inspiration From Entrepreneurs Who Do the Most With the Least, Jessica Jackley

clay water brickMuch like Misfit Economy, this book offers
inspiration with success stories outside the
mainstream focus.  From the co-founder of microlending
platform Kiva, learn from stories of businesses opened
in challenging places.

 

 

Collaborative Intelligence: Thinking with People Who Think Differently, Dawna Markova & Angie McArthur

collaborative intelligenceAlthough this book won’t be released until
August 11th, it’s already receiving praise
for insights into how we deal with our biggest
challenge at work: other people. This book is
essential for people trying to understand their
mind patterns and how they fit with the
people we work with everyday.

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right, Atul Gawande

the checklist manifestoAs the world becomes increasingly complex,
individuals make more mistakes. Atul Gawande
believes in the power of the simple but
effective checklist to help people do better.

 

 

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink

drive motivationDaniel Pink believes the business incentives
of bonuses and material goods aren’t going
to get the most productivity out of employees.
Rather, a better motivator to capitalize on
is our human need to direct our own lives and
make the world and our lives better.

 

The Signal and the Noise: Why Most Predictions Fail — But Some Don’t, Nate Silver

the signal and the noiseAccording to Nate Silver, our best tool for
predicting accurately is an appreciation of
uncertainty. As he walks through stories of
predictions, both good and bad, we learn that
the biggest threat to a successful prediction
is our own overconfidence.

 

Marketing To Millennials: Reach the Largest and Most Influential Generation of Consumers Ever, Jeff Fromm & Christie Garton

Marketing to MillennialsWhether you’re a B2C or B2B company,
the Millennial generation is quickly becoming
impossible to avoid. Full of interviews,
successful brand profiles, and market
research, this book brings insight to the
generation entering their peak earning and spending years.

 

And the Good News Is…: Lessons and Advice from the Bright Side– Dana Perino

and the good news isDana Perino has a wealth of experience from
her time at as the presidential press
secretary and in television media. In this
book, she shares how her professional career
has helped her develop negotiating skills
and remain genuine.

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