10 books CEOs recommend in 2021

The top of 2021 is an efficient time to take a breather after one other tumultuous pandemic 12 months. Along with gathering with family and friends, many people will use the vacation break to dive into a brand new guide or two.

We requested 10 CEOs and founders to share their favourite reads from the previous 12 months. Think about a couple of of the under to your last-minute items—or to broaden your individual studying record:

“One in every of my favourite reads this 12 months was One thing Deeply Hidden, by Sean Carroll, with whom I’ve had the chance to talk on my By no means Stand Nonetheless podcast,” says Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal.

“The guide presents one fascinating idea after one other, and I believe it’s an important learn. I’ve spent loads of time eager about the implications of the Many Worlds and entanglement, and the truth that our actuality is at all times an infinite set of related potentialities. It’s actually blown my thoughts. The deeper you dive into quantum mechanics, the extra it challenges you to maintain an open thoughts about every part.”

“I’ve at all times been an avid reader, and I consider nice fictional works should be gifted ahead. Love in The Time of Cholera, by Gabriel García Márquez, is one such novel,” shares Claire Spofford, CEO of ladies’s clothes model, J. Jill. “Márquez brings to life unapologetically flawed characters grappling with love, ageing, and dying. It’s a timeless masterpiece in which readers can discover the human situation via fantastically written prose.”


George Nichols III, CEO of American School of Monetary Providers shares, “The Heat of Different Suns is a superb guide concerning the migration of Black [people] to the Midwest, Northeast, and West between 1915 and 1970. The historical past and statistics are very attention-grabbing, and the extra highly effective story is the biographies of actual folks whose lives have been without end modified.

The guide presents a distinction and provokes thought as we now look to ‘go residence to the South.’ What’s going to we discover? How will we really feel? I went via that thought course of after I thought of, ‘Might I return to Kentucky understanding who I’m now?’”

“I like the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner, The Orphan Grasp’s Son, by Adam Johnson, and have gifted it many occasions,” says David Rawlinson II, CEO of retail group and residential to QVC and HSN, Qurate.

“It’s a attractive and deeply researched work of fiction set in North Korea that brings to life a totally totally different actuality–each via its historic account and in its exploration of the private, inward experiences of the characters all through the guide.”

“The life we reside is a perform of how we spend our time. Your primary duty as a CEO is to spend and make investments your time—and your staff’s time—strategically and correctly,” says CEO and cofounder of BetterUp, Alexi Robichaux.


“In as we speak’s fast-paced and achievement-oriented world, it’s straightforward to consider that merely we don’t have sufficient time to perform every part we have to do. Seneca counsels us to suppose in another way, putting us in the ‘driver’s seat’ of our personal lives, mainly by illuminating the methods in which we will extra correctly make investments our time: ‘So it’s: we’re not given a brief life however we make it brief. . . . Life is lengthy if you understand how to make use of it.’”

“As we navigate this intersectional reckoning, with gender fairness as a key situation, we want extra girls to know that it’s okay for them to drop a ball or two in order to realize what they want in life,” says DeNora Getachew, CEO of

“Tiffany’s quotes [speak to our times], reminiscent of: ‘Girls should cease doing this. Now we have to cease letting different folks hijack our journeys.’ Her quote [later in the book] can be salient: ‘If you would like one thing you’ve by no means had earlier than, you’ll should do one thing you’ve by no means finished earlier than in order to get it.’”

“I believe it’s the most unbelievable story,” says David Segal, founding father of DavidsTea and cofounder of Firebelly Tea. “We consider Nike as this in a single day success, when in actuality it took over a decade for Phil to even be capable to give up his day job! He put his home on the road and his total livelihood for that enterprise—speak about working underneath strain. So many classes from how one can adapt when a provider throws you a curveball to the ability of being current and making folks really feel particular.”

“That is one of the best negotiating guide I’ve ever learn (and I’ve learn lots). I couldn’t put this guide down,” shares Joe Spector, CEO of Dutch and a cofounder of Hims & Hers. “The examples Chris gives surrounding negotiation are riveting and very relevant to conditions each large and small in the office.”

“I’m at all times making an attempt to find time for long-term, strategic considering, and inspiring any government I do know to do the identical,” shares Lindsay Kaplan, cofounder of government community, Chief. “I just lately learn Dorie’s guide and located it inspiring and sensible—which is a rarity.”

Tim Murphy, CEO of non-toxic cleaning-products firm Department Fundamentals, recommends enterprise capitalist John Doerr’s newest launch. “Everyone seems to be speaking about local weather change, however John Doerr presents an actionable, actual, and galvanizing plan to get us to net-zero emissions by 2050. It’s a must-read for anybody constructing a enterprise as we speak.”


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