Three books every CEO should read. Especially if you don’t have time.

I get it. As a CEO or founder you are busy. I’ve been there. I AM there. I know you are working 70+ hour weeks, driving yourself and your team towards your goals. There’s not enough time in the day to see your kids or work out, let alone read. Am I right? I feel grateful that you are even taking the time to read this. But I promise, it will change the way you think.

First, there is a TON of research that shows the world’s most successful business people have a single trait in common. They read. And they read not for entertainment, but to learn. It’s hard to argue with the likes of Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, and Elon Musk. If they can make time (long before they were as successful as they are now), what’s stopping you?

Second, reading WILL make you better at what you do. It will prompt you to look at problems and opportunities differently. It will make you smarter. It can’t not. When something has a guaranteed return on your time investment it seems crazy to forgo it.

So, what are the three books I recommend every CEO or business owner reads in the next quarter?

The Signals are Talking by Amy Webb.

With all the talk of the fourth industrial revolution, how much time have you spent thinking about how the blurring of lines between the physical and digital worlds will affect your business? A decade from now, do you want to be the one left standing on the sidelines saying ‘what happened?’. Amy lays out a methodology for looking at the future in order to decipher the real trends from the ‘merely trendy’. Her book is relevant to every single business. Every single sector. You will not regret taking the time to read this book.

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris.

I’ll readily admit I am not a Tim Ferriss fan. But this book is extraordinary. The sheer bulk of it might make you squirm, but fear not – Tim knows his audience and this is designed to be consumed in bite-sized chunks. Each chapter can be read in 15 minutes, at the most. Seriously, who can’t find 15 minutes in their day? If you can’t, try making your bed first thing in the morning (see p.143 – it’ll all make sense).

Tim’s book is divided into three broad categories – health, wealth and wisdom – and based on hundreds of interviews he’s done with very successful people over the years. There are little nuggets on every page and I guarantee there will be something in there to get you thinking, talking, debating or even trying something new. Acroyoga, anyone?

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

This is not a new book, or a new concept. But it is the simplest and most compelling justification for creating a purpose-driven business that I’ve read. It won’t take you long to read. Make a list of discussion topics as you go – then call your management team together and talk about it. You’ll soon find potential gaps, but perhaps more important, you’ll see opportunities to be a better (more successful) business that you may not have spotted before.

In total, you could probably crack the back of these books with a total of 20 hours of reading.

If you aim to do it over 90 days, that’s 25 minutes per day reading. 25 minutes that is guaranteed to make you smarter. Can you really afford not to?

I’d love to her how you get on, and any other books you’d recommend for the 90 day reading challenge!


4 Responses

  • Jul 29, 2017

    I highly recommend “Leadership and Self-Deception” by the Arbinger Institute.

    Bruce Jul 29, 2017
    • Jul 31, 2017

      Excellent. Thanks for that suggestion – we will check it out!

      editor Jul 31, 2017
  • Jun 20, 2017

    Really appreciate this information.

    I love to read but wading through the what to read is definitely the hard bit.
    The fact that they can be consumed in under 25 hours is also a massive bonus as we all seem to be “time starved” at the moment.
    I also find Simon Sinek to be very thought provoking so will definitely be digging into that book.

    Once again thanks for doing the legwork!

    Mark Jun 20, 2017
  • Lisa Stenson
    May 2, 2017

    Working as a business and leadership coach within an international automotive corporation, I often ask leaders the following questions:
    How does what you already know make you a great leader?
    What is one area of knowledge that you are curious about that could motivate you even more as a leader?
    With whom would you share this new found knowledge with? How? When?

    I really appreciate your book and practical tips, and how you link them to real leadership examples and other motivational factors!

    Greetings from Sweden
    Ps. Still thinking about my book recommendation!

    Lisa Stenson May 2, 2017

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