10 books CEOs recommend in 2021

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

We requested 10 CEOs and founders to share their favourite reads from the previous yr. Contemplate a number of of the beneath in your last-minute items—or to broaden your personal studying record:

“Certainly one of my favourite reads this yr was Something 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 e book presents one fascinating idea after one other, and I feel it’s an important learn. I’ve spent lots of time occupied with the implications of the Many Worlds and entanglement, and the truth that our actuality is at all times an infinite set of linked prospects. It’s actually blown my thoughts. The deeper you dive into quantum mechanics, the extra it challenges you to maintain an open thoughts about all the pieces.”

“I’ve at all times been an avid reader, and I imagine nice fictional works have to 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, getting old, and loss of life. It’s a timeless masterpiece in which readers can discover the human situation via superbly written prose.”

George Nichols III, CEO of American Faculty of Monetary Companies shares, “The Heat of Different Suns is an excellent e book in regards to 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 individuals whose lives had been endlessly modified.

The e book presents a distinction and provokes thought as we now look to ‘go dwelling 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, ‘May I return to Kentucky understanding who I’m now?’”

“I really 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 very completely different actuality–each via its historic account and in its exploration of the non-public, inward experiences of the characters all through the e book.”

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


“In right this moment’s fast-paced and achievement-oriented world, it’s simple to imagine that merely we don’t have sufficient time to perform all the pieces we have to do. Seneca counsels us to assume in a different way, inserting us in the ‘driver’s seat’ of our personal lives, mainly by illuminating the methods in which we are able to extra properly make investments our time: ‘So it’s: we aren’t given a brief life however we make it brief. . . . Life is lengthy if you know the way to make use of it.’”

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

“Tiffany’s quotes [speak to our times], resembling: ‘Girls need to cease doing this. We’ve to cease letting different individuals hijack our journeys.’ Her quote [later in the book] can also be salient: ‘If you need one thing you’ve by no means had earlier than, you’ll need to do one thing you’ve by no means finished earlier than in order to get it.’”

“I feel it’s the most unimaginable 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 complete livelihood for that enterprise—discuss working underneath strain. So many classes from the best way to adapt when a provider throws you a curveball to the facility of being current and making individuals really feel particular.”

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

“I’m at all times attempting to find time for long-term, strategic considering, and inspiring any govt I do know to do the identical,” shares Lindsay Kaplan, cofounder of govt community, Chief. “I lately learn Dorie’s e book 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 gives an actionable, actual, and provoking plan to get us to net-zero emissions by 2050. It’s a must-read for anybody constructing a enterprise right this moment.”