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Top 250 Book Recommendations From Tech Titans – Jeff Bezos

We look at the books that the top people in tech have been reading and recommending over the last few years. This compilation of the best book recommendations and lists from Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sanders, Jack Dorsey, Peter Thiel, Satya Nadella and more. We have researched interviews, news articles, conference notes and their own personal blogs to gather this comprehensive list of over 250 books.

There are many more that we didn’t have room to include since some leaders, like Bill Gates, Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg are prolific readers – publicly stating they read from 25 to 50 books each year that they would recommend.

Many of these Founders, CEOs, entrepreneurs and tech titans credit many of these books with their initial innovative ideas, and for their continued success in life. Some of the books are also “just for fun” reading, but which still have strong influences on how these creative people express their world views. It’s really insightful to see what they are reading.

Most of these books are included in Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited program, a lot of them are available as low cost Kindle e-books and nearly all of them can be checked out for free from your local public library (you can get either physical books or e-reader downloads).

If you haven’t yet gotten a Kindle e-reader, this may be the time. The 6″ Kindle Paperwhite is a personal  favorite. And don’t forget to get the essential accessories for your e-reader.

We’ve compiled the list alphabetically, starting with Bezos and ending with Zuckerberg. For each, we have also listed the books alphabetically by title. With title is the author, year the book was published, number of pages and a brief description as found on Amazon. Each title is linked to Amazon for more details, reviews and ordering.

To keep these articles a manageable size (especially if you are coming to us from a smartphone or smaller tablet), we have divided it into separate parts, one for each recommender. You can jump to any of them using the links below, and we’ll include these same jump-links in the other articles as well. It also makes it cleaner and simpler to update each list as they add recommended reads.

We hope this list will provide as much inspiration to you as it did for us during this research.
Here is our recommenders list below, with the jump-links to each.
The only dilemma is where to start!

Jeff Bezos – Founder, CEO Amazon
Richard Branson – Founder, CEO Virgin Group
Tim Cook – CEO Apple
Jack Dorsey – Co-Founder, CEO Twitter; Co-founder, CEO Square
Bill Gates – Founder Microsoft
Melinda Gates – Co-Founder The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Steve Jobs – Co-Founder Apple; Co-Founder Pixar; Founder, CEO, Chairman NeXT
Elon Musk – Founder Space-X, Tesla; Co-Founder Paypal
Satya Nadella – CEO Microsoft
Larry Page – Co-Founder Google
Sheryl Sandberg – COO Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg – Co-Founder, CEO Facebook

Here are 12 great books you can choose from …

Jeff Bezos – Founder, CEO Amazon

The Black Swan, by Nassim Taleb (2010, 444 pages)

A black swan is an event, positive or negative, that is deemed improbable yet causes massive consequences.

In this groundbreaking and prophetic book, Taleb shows in a playful way that Black Swan events explain almost everything about our world, and yet we—especially the experts—are blind to them.

In this second edition, Taleb has added a new essay, On Robustness and Fragility, which offers tools to navigate and exploit a Black Swan world.

 

Built to Last, by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras (2004, 329 pages)

Drawing upon a six-year research project at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business, James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras took eighteen truly exceptional and long-lasting companies and studied each in direct comparison to one of its top competitors. They examined the companies from their very beginnings to the present day — as start-ups, as midsize companies, and as large corporations. Throughout, the authors asked: “What makes the truly exceptional companies different from the comparison companies and what were the common practices these enduringly great companies followed throughout their history?”

Filled with hundreds of specific examples and organized into a coherent framework of practical concepts that can be applied by managers and entrepreneurs at all levels, Built to Last provides a master blueprint for building organizations that will prosper long into the 21st century and beyond.

Creation: Life and How to Make It, by Steve Grand (2003, 240 pages)

Working mostly alone, almost single-handedly writing 250,000 lines of computer code, Steve Grand produced Creatures®, a revolutionary computer game that allowed players to create living beings complete with brains, genes, and hormonal systems―creatures that would live and breathe and breed in real time on an ordinary desktop computer. Enormously successful, the game inevitably raises the question: What is artificial life? And in this book―a chance for the devoted fan and the simply curious onlooker to see the world from the perspective of an original philosopher-engineer and intellectual maverick―Steve Grand proposes an answer.

From the composition of the brains and bodies of artificial life forms to the philosophical guidelines and computational frameworks that define them, Creation plumbs the practical, social, and ethical aspects and implications of the state of the art. But more than that, the book gives readers access to the insights Grand acquired in writing Creatures―insights that yield a view of the world that is surprisingly antireductionist, antimaterialist, and (to a degree) antimechanistic, a view that sees matter, life, mind, and society as simply different levels of the same thing. Such a hierarchy, Grand suggests, can be mirrored by an equivalent one that exists inside a parallel universe called cyberspace.

Data-Driven Marketing: The 15 Metrics Everyone in Marketing Should Know, by Mark Jeffery (2010, 320 pages)

In the new era of tight marketing budgets, no organization can continue to spend on marketing without knowing what’s working and what’s wasted.

Data-driven marketing improves efficiency and effectiveness of marketing expenditures across the spectrum of marketing activities from branding and awareness, trail and loyalty, to new product launch and Internet marketing.

Based on new research from the Kellogg School of Management, this book is a clear and convincing guide to using a more rigorous, data-driven strategic approach to deliver significant performance gains from your marketing.

Explains how to use data-driven marketing to deliver return on marketing investment (ROMI) in any organization:

  • In-depth discussion of the fifteen key metrics every marketer should know
  • Based on original research from America’s leading marketing business school, complemented by experience teaching ROMI to executives at Microsoft, DuPont, Nisan, Philips, Sony and many other firms
  • Uses data from a rigorous survey on strategic marketing performance management of 252 Fortune 1000 firms, capturing $53 billion of annual marketing spending
  • In-depth examples of how to apply the principles in small and large organizations
  • Free downloadable ROMI templates for all examples given in the book

With every department under the microscope looking for results,those who properly use data to optimize their marketing are going to come out on top every time

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvements, by Eliyahu Goldratt (2014, 362 pages)

Written in a fast-paced thriller style, The Goal, a gripping novel, is transforming management thinking throughout the world. It is a book to recommend to your friends in industry – even to your bosses – but not to your competitors.

Alex Rogo is a harried plant manager working ever more desperately to try improve performance. His factory is rapidly heading for disaster. So is his marriage. He has ninety days to save his plant – or it will be closed by corporate HQ, with hundreds of job losses. It takes a chance meeting with a professor from student days – Jonah – to help him break out of conventional ways of thinking to see what needs to be done.

The story of Alex’s fight to save his plant is more than compulsive reading. It contains a serious message for all managers in industry and explains the ideas, which underline the Theory of Constraints (TOC), developed by Eli Goldratt.

One of Eli Goldratt s convictions was that the goal of an individual or an organization should not be defined in absolute terms. A good definition of a goal is one that sets us on a path of ongoing improvement.
Pursuing such a goal necessitates more than one breakthrough. In fact it requires many. To be in a position to identify these breakthroughs we should have a deep understanding of the underlying rules of our environment.

Twenty-five years after writing The Goal, Dr. Goldratt wrote Standing on the Shoulders of Giants. In this article he provided the underlying rules of operations. This article appears at the end of this book.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins (2001, 400 pages)

The Challenge: Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the verybeginning.

But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

The Study: For years, this question preyed on the mind of Jim Collins. Are there companies that defy gravity and convert long-term mediocrity or worse into long-term superiority? And if so, what are the universal distinguishing characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great?

The Standards: Using tough benchmarks, Collins and his research team identified a set of elite companies that made the leap to great results and sustained those results for at least fifteen years. How great? After the leap, the good-to-great companies generated cumulative stock returns that beat the general stock market by an average of seven times in fifteen years, better than twice the results delivered by a composite index of the world’s greatest companies, including Coca-Cola, Intel, General Electric, and Merck.

The Innovator’s Dilemma, by Clayton Christensen (2016, 288 pages)

The bestselling classic on disruptive innovation, by renowned author Clayton M. Christensen.

His work is cited by the world’s best-known thought leaders, from Steve Jobs to Malcolm Gladwell. In this classic bestseller—one of the most influential business books of all time—innovation expert Clayton Christensen shows how even the most outstanding companies can do everything right—yet still lose market leadership.

Christensen explains why most companies miss out on new waves of innovation. No matter the industry, he says, a successful company with established products will get pushed aside unless managers know how and when to abandon traditional business practices.

Offering both successes and failures from leading companies as a guide, The Innovator’s Dilemma gives you a set of rules for capitalizing on the phenomenon of disruptive innovation.

Sharp, cogent, and provocative—and consistently noted as one of the most valuable business ideas of all time—The Innovator’s Dilemma is the book no manager, leader, or entrepreneur should be without.

Lean Thinking: Banish Waste and Create Wealth in Your Corporation, by James Womack and Daniel Jones (2003, 396 pages)

Expanded, updated, and more relevant than ever, this bestselling business classic by two internationally renowned management analysts describes a business system for the twenty-first century that supersedes the mass production system of Ford, the financial control system of Sloan, and the strategic system of Welch and GE. It is based on the Toyota (lean) model, which combines operational excellence with value-based strategies to produce steady growth through a wide range of economic conditions.

In contrast with the crash-and-burn performance of companies trumpeted by business gurus in the 1990s, the firms profiled in Lean Thinking — from tiny Lantech to midsized Wiremold to niche producer Porsche to gigantic Pratt & Whitney — have kept on keeping on, largely unnoticed, along a steady upward path through the market turbulence and crushed dreams of the early twenty-first century. Meanwhile, the leader in lean thinking — Toyota — has set its sights on leadership of the global motor vehicle industry in this decade.

Instead of constantly reinventing business models, lean thinkers go back to basics by asking what the customer really perceives as value. (It’s often not at all what existing organizations and assets would suggest.) The next step is to line up value-creating activities for a specific product along a value stream while eliminating activities (usually the majority) that don’t add value. Then the lean thinker creates a flow condition in which the design and the product advance smoothly and rapidly at the pull of the customer (rather than the push of the producer). Finally, as flow and pull are implemented, the lean thinker speeds up the cycle of improvement in pursuit of perfection. The first part of this book describes each of these concepts and makes them come alive with striking examples.

Lean Thinking clearly demonstrates that these simple ideas can breathe new life into any company in any industry in any country. But most managers need guidance on how to make the lean leap in their firm. Part II provides a step-by-step action plan, based on in-depth studies of more than fifty lean companies in a wide range of industries across the world.

Memos from the Chairman, Alan Greenberg (1996, 160 pages)

“Ace Greenberg did almost everything better than I do—bridge, magic tricks, dog training, and arbitrage—all the important things in life.” —WARREN BUFFETT Alan C. Greenberg, the former chairman of Bear, Stearns, and a celebrated philanthropist, was known throughout the financial world for his biting, quirky but invaluable and wise memos.

Read by everyone from Warren Buffett to Jeff Bezos to Tom Peters (“I love this book,” the coauthor of In Search of Excellence said), Greenberg’s MEMOS FROM THE CHAIRMAN comprise a unique—and uniquely simple—management philosophy.

Make decisions based on common sense. Avoid the herd mentality. Control expenses with unrelenting vigil. Run your business at the highest level of morality. Free your motivated, intelligent people from the chain of command. Always return phone calls promptly and courteously. Never believe your own body odor is perfume. And stay humble, humble, humble.

The Mythical Man-Month, by Frederick P. Brooks, Jr. (1995, 336 pages)

Few books on software project management have been as influential and timeless as The Mythical Man-Month. With a blend of software engineering facts and thought-provoking opinions, Fred Brooks offers insight for anyone managing complex projects.

These essays draw from his experience as project manager for the IBM System/360 computer family and then for OS/360, its massive software system.

Now, 20 years after the initial publication of his book, Brooks has revisited his original ideas and added new thoughts and advice, both for readers already familiar with his work and for readers discovering it for the first time.

The added chapters contain (1) a crisp condensation of all the propositions asserted in the original book, including Brooks’ central argument in The Mythical Man-Month: that large programming projects suffer management problems different from small ones due to the division of labor; that the conceptual integrity of the product is therefore critical; and that it is difficult but possible to achieve this unity; (2) Brooks’ view of these propositions a generation later; (3) a reprint of his classic 1986 paper “No Silver Bullet”; and (4) today’s thoughts on the 1986 assertion, “There will be no silver bullet within ten years.”

The Remains of the Day, by Kazuo Ishiguro (1990, 245 pages)

This is Kazuo Ishiguro’s profoundly compelling portrait of Stevens, the perfect butler, and of his fading, insular world in post-World War II England.

Stevens, at the end of three decades of service at Darlington Hall, spending a day on a country drive, embarks as well on a journey through the past in an effort to reassure himself that he has served humanity by serving the “great gentleman,” Lord Darlington.

But lurking in his memory are doubts about the true nature of Lord Darlington’s “greatness,” and much graver doubts about the nature of his own life.

 

Sam Walton: Made in America, by Sam Walton (1993, 368 pages)

Meet a genuine American folk hero cut from the homespun cloth of America’s heartland: Sam Walton, who parlayed a single dime store in a hardscrabble cotton town into Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world. The undisputed merchant king of the late twentieth century, Sam never lost the common touch. Here, finally, inimitable words. Genuinely modest, but always sure if his ambitions and achievements. Sam shares his thinking in a candid, straight-from-the-shoulder style.

In a story rich with anecdotes and the “rules of the road” of both Main Street and Wall Street, Sam Walton chronicles the inspiration, heart, and optimism that propelled him to lasso the American Dream.

It’s a story about entrepreneur, and risk, and hard work, and knowing where you want to go and being willing to do what it takes to get there. And it’s a story about believing in your idea even when maybe some other folks don’t, and about sticking to your guns. Sam Walton.

Meet a genuine American folk hero cut from the homespun cloth of America’s heartland: Sam Walton, who turned a single dime store in a hardscrabble cotton town into Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world. The undisputed merchant king of the late twentieth century, Sam never lost the common touch. Here, finally, Sam Walton tells his extraordinary story in his won inimitable words.

Genuinely modest, but always sure of his ambitious and achievements, Sam shares his thinking in a candid, straight-from-the-shoulder style. In a story rich with anecdotes and the “rules of the road” of both Main Street and Wall Street, Sam Walton chronicles the inspiration, heart, and optimism that propelled him to lasso the American Dream. “Here is an extraordinary success story about a man whose empire was built not with smoke and mirrors, but with good old-fashioned elbow grease.”

Continue the reading list from the tech titans:

Jeff Bezos – Founder, CEO Amazon
Richard Branson – Founder, CEO Virgin Group
Tim Cook – CEO Apple
Jack Dorsey – Co-Founder, CEO Twitter; Co-founder, CEO Square
Bill Gates – Founder Microsoft
Melinda Gates – Co-Founder The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
Steve Jobs – Co-Founder Apple; Co-Founder Pixar; Founder, CEO, Chairman NeXT
Elon Musk – Founder Space-X, Tesla; Co-Founder Paypal
Satya Nadella – CEO Microsoft
Larry Page – Co-Founder Google
Sheryl Sandberg – COO Facebook
Mark Zuckerberg – Co-Founder, CEO Facebook

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