Best Business Biographies
Here are the best business biographies and autobiographies of the past few years.
One of the most efficient and effective ways to take advantage of the experience of others is by reading biographies and autobiographies.
Memoirs are a window in the minds of the people we admire and want to understand. They help explain their achievements. And provide a map to our own aspirations.
Mark Twain wrote, “The man who does not read good books is no better than the man who can’t.”
These ten books represent enjoyable and profitable reads. The take-aways are profound.
Here is a blog post of great reasons to read biography.
Walter Isaacson is an incredible writer and it speaks volumes, for both of them, that Steve Jobs approached him to write his biography. Walter has written other great biographies of Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin that are well worth reading. He also wrote The Wise Men and The Innovators which are fantastic!
If you haven't seen Steve's commencement speech at Stanford in 2005 you owe it to yourself to watch it.
Paypal, Tesla, Space X, Solar City... Elon is one of the great innovators and entrepreneurs of our time. And author Ashlee Vance delivers the goods. This book is fast paced and full of entrepreneurial case studies.
Elon had one of the all time greatest weeks of any entrepreneur last year when a Space X rocket docked with the space station and came back to Earth and landed on a drone ship in the Atlantic, and Tesla took record orders for its Model 3 car. As of April 2017 Tesla has a market capitalization larger than Ford and is closing in on GM.
I want to drive my Tesla on Mars, and Elon is the guy to get me there!
#GIRLBOSS was the winner of the 2014 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Business Book.
Sophia Amoruso is the founder of the Nasty Gal clothing empire which started as an eBay store. Her autobiography is filled with inspiring life and business lessons.
There is a new Netflix series inspired by Sophia's best-selling book. the series follows the rise of Amoruso's multi-million dollar fashion empire, Nasty Gal.
The incredible story of Nike founder Phil Knight written by the man himself. Go Ducks!
This book is very well written and inspiring. Phil Knight comes across as a person of intellect and integrity and the kind of guy that you root for to succeed. He knows what is important. He also addresses honestly the sacrifices that were made in his family life by pursuing such an all consuming goal.
Interestingly it covers the arc of the early years up until the IPO. Even though these are the uncertain times where Phil is tested again and again and each time rises to the challenge, you come to understand that this is where meaning and purpose were forged. For anyone going through the dip of pursuing something large and risky, this book will provide support and encouragement.
Check out Bill Gate's review of Shoe Dog. Nike is such an incredible company. I have a lot of Nike gear for running, hiking, and working out and its all great.
Check out the Nike products below!
Pixar President Ed Catmull has produced one of the half-dozen best books that have been written about creative business and creative leadership. Ever.
The last chapter titled “Thoughts for Managing a Creative Culture,” offers a master class in creative leadership.
Read Creativity, Inc. and then binge watch a bunch of his films.
The Autobiography of Andrew Grove who escaped communist Hungary and grew Intel along the principles of Moore's Law.
Under Andy Grove's leadership, Intel became the world's largest chip maker and one of the most admired companies in the world.
Losing My Virginity is the autobiography of one of the great business geniuses of our time.
He founded the Virgin Group, which controls more than 400 companies including his big branded companies: Virgin Records, Virgin Atlantic, Virgin Galactic, Virgin Money, Virgin Media and Virgin Trains.
He is an adventurer and holds several world records in ballooning. In March 2000, Branson was knighted at Buckingham Palace for "services to entrepreneurship". Everybody loves Sir Richard. And everybody should have a private get-away like Necker Island.
Warren Buffet is arguably the greatest investor of all time.
Also check out his partner Charlie Munger's book Poor Charlie's Almanac. Also The Tao of Charlie Munger is filled with sage aphorisms.
Damn Right! is a great biography of Charlie Munger. Charlie is vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, the conglomerate controlled by Warren Buffett.
Read these before you invest a dime in the market.
Mary Harris "Mother" Jones 1837–1930 was one of the most influential working-class labor leaders in the United States. Her passion for socioeconomic justice earned her the moniker "The Most Dangerous Women in America." Reading her autobiography reveals a fascinating historical perspective on business and economics in hardscrabble times.
One of the great magazines and sources of investigative journalism is named after her. Mother Jones is the winner of the American Society of Magazine Editors' 2017 Magazine of the Year Award. Check it out!
The New York Times said:
This book is a triumph of the art of biography. Unflaggingly interesting, it brings John D. Rockefeller Sr. (1839-1937) to life through sustained narrative portraiture of the large-scale, 19th-century kind.
Ron Chernow is one of the greatest biographers of our time. Check out his other books The House of Morgan about J.P Morgan and The Warburgs. Both of those are amazing stories of banking dynasties. And of course his biography of Alexander Hamilton which was the inspiration for the Broadway musical.
Made in Japan is the autobiography of Akio Morita, the co-founder and former chairman of Sony Corporation.
It is a fascinating read about rising from the ashes of post-war Japan to becoming an industrial titan.
Iacocca is an iconic American automobile executive. He is best known for spearheading the development of Ford Mustang and Pinto cars while at the Ford Motor Company in the 1960s, and then later for reviving the Chrysler Corporation as its CEO during the 1980s.
Ricardo Semler is the CEO and majority owner of Semco Partners, a Brazilian company best known for its radical form of industrial democracy and corporate re-engineering.
He also wrote The Seven Day Weekend.
Check out his podcast episode with Tim Ferriss who wrote the The 4-hour Workweek.
Industrialist, Hollywood Mogul, Aviator; handsome and dashing; Howard Hughes was a brilliant enigma. He was a businessman, investor, pilot, film director and philanthropist known during his lifetime as one of the most financially successful individuals in the world. He was an eccentric genius well worth contemplating as to issues like success, wealth, and madness.
Check out The Aviator starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Hughes.
"There is only one boss-the customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else." -Sam Walton
Sam Walton was a retail genius whose grasp of supply chains and volume discounting and pricing revolutionized how we buy.
John Boyd was one of the greatest fighter pilots in American history. He was also a scholar and innovator. This book has great lessons for any entrepreneur of business person.
One of Boyd's great innovations is the OODA loop. The acronym stands for the decision cycle of Observe, Orient, Decide and Act. This cycle is applicable in any iterative approach to innovation.
This is a great read about a fascinating person.
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