6 Best Books for CEOs, by CEOs – the 2023 list

To succeed in your new business, you may need some inspiration and guidance from the big companies’ managers who are smart people. Business books written by chief executives can help you to shape your path in the business world. 

I have compiled a list of the best 6 CEO books for CEOs and business founders. You can check out CEO book recommendations and start reading the ones that interest you the most. Here is the list of books that can inspire you.

Best Management Books for CEOs

1. Invent and Wander: The Collected Writings of Jeff Bezos, With an Introduction by Walter Isaacson – Jeff Bezos

This book is a collection of Amazon’s former CEO and founder Jeff Bezos’ writings. The book consists of Bezos’ letters, speeches, and interviews, which helps readers know his background.

The book is written directly and provides business tactics and distinctive insights that may inspire you. It can be considered a self-help and autobiography book that sheds light on Bezos’ management ways. Invent and Wander’s easy-to-read style focuses on the mindset of Bezos while managing the company. 

Since it was written in 2020, the book also focuses on how the Covid-19 pandemic affected the company’s management. Being customer-obsessed and having a company with culture are the critical factors of Amazon’s success. You can learn more about these issues while reading Bezos’ own words.

American author, journalist, CEO and successful leader of Aspen Institute Walter Isaacson contributes to this book’s introduction. Apart from that, Amazon’s former president and CEO Jeff Bezos’ own words occur in the book.

Why should people have this book?

If you are curious about Amazon’s growth, you should read this book because it would be beneficial for a deeper understanding of Bezos’ background. Besides, you can learn more about how his ideas formed and what differentiates Amazon, as a global company, from other companies. 

A reader wrote this review about the book:

Buy it on Amazon now!

2. It’s the Manager: Moving From Boss to Coach – Jim Clifton, Jim Harter

It’s the Manager, which emphasizes the importance of excellent management in a company. According to this book, team leaders and managers are significant factors in companies’ growth. Adapting to different situations and evolving day by day is emphasized as well.

Also, giving importance to diversity in a company is mentioned by writers.

The writers of this book are Jim Clifton and Jim Harter, who work in a management consulting company called Gallup. Jim Clifton is CEO of Gallup and Jim Harter is the company’s chief scientist. They both have great experience in manager positions.

Why should people have this book?

The book gives comprehensive advice about managing a company. Important steps such as hiring an employee and evaluating their performance are explained in detail. Apart from these, managing and controlling other managers also have significant importance in successful companies. 

In order to be prepared for managing a company, you can read this book and learn valuable lessons from experts. 

Reader reviews:

“Today, all companies must adapt and grow, and for this, there is nothing better than doing it from the development and growth of its own employees. In this sense, the authors say it best with the following sentence: “If you give every team member in your company a great manager -a great coach- one who cares about their development and growth, you have successfully engineered an organization with unlimited potential.”

“I actually attended a seminar with one of the authors. The seminar was great and I had a hard time keeping up with my notes while taking photos of the slides. This book was the entire presentation plus more. It is broken down into small 2-4 page chapters. Easy to read.”

Buy it on Amazon.

3. Business @ the Speed of Thought: Succeeding in the Digital Economy – Bill Gates

One of the most read CEO books, Business @ the Speed of Thought, focuses on success stories and tells how technology functions in business. Famous CEO Bill Gates discusses technology’s importance in his book. 

Besides, Gates emphasizes that managers should adapt to current technologies and improve themselves while managing a company. He predicts how technology will transform and impact business in the future as well.

Bill Gates is the co-founder of Microsoft. Being Microsoft’s chairman and CEO, Bill Gates also has author, investor and software developer titles. He is an American businessman who graduated from Harvard University.

Why should people have this book?

Since it was written in 1999, the book might seem outdated. But knowing Gates and his impact in the technology and business world, it can be said that his ideas are timeless. So, in order to improve your management skills, and learn about advanced electronics’ effects you can read Gates’ book about this issue.

Reader reviews:

“Bill Gates’ book reveals – at the speed of thought- the true nature of business operations in this day and age. Besides being a “business game changer “ this book is a must read for all current and future business leaders and entrepreneurs.”

“The book is informative and easy to read. Bill Gates recalls stories working at Microsoft. The case studies are slightly outdated. However, they remain relevant today. Overall I enjoyed reading.”

Buy it on Amazon now!

4. Rework – Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson

Rework can be considered as a manifesto for startup company Basecamp. It suggests leaving competition and outside investors behind. Planning is not suggested, and it is said that the plans are rather harmful.

The book gives essential strategies and shows how to do business without procrastinating. Being more productive and achieving success are mentioned in the book as well.

One of the writers of this book, David Heinemeier Hansson is a partner of Basecamp. Jason Fried, the co-founder and CEO of Basecamp, contributes to this book as well. Both writers of this book take place in Basecamp, a successful startup company founded in 1999.

Why should people have this book?

Rework is a very straightforward book that explains how your company can succeed easily. The book gives simple but efficient solutions for managers and CEOs. Rather than radical and overly competitive solutions, this book focuses on sustainable ideas that can be more applicable. 

In order to get things done and improve day by day, Rework gives advice that actually makes sense and is relevant for startups.

Reader reviews:

“Jason Fried and David Hansson follow their own advice in Rework, laying bare the surprising philosophies at the core of 37signals’ success and inspiring us to put them into practice.  There’s no jargon or filler here, just hundreds of brilliantly simple rules for success.  Part entrepreneurial handbook for the twenty-first century, part manifesto for anyone wondering how work really works in the modern age, REWORK is required reading for anyone tired of business platitudes.”

–Chris Anderson, New York Times bestselling author of The Long Tail and Free

“The brilliance of Rework is that it inspires you to rethink everything you thought you knew about strategy, customers, and getting things done. Read this provocative and instructive book—and then get busy reimagining what it means to lead, compete, and succeed.”

–William C. Taylor, Founding Editor of Fast Company and co-author of Mavericks At Work 

Buy it on Amazon.

Best Leadership Books for CEOs.

5. The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company – Robert Iger

The Ride of A Lifetime is written as a memoir of the former CEO of the Walt Disney Company. The book gives leadership guidance by focusing on the key concepts of managing a business. 

According to Iger, the most important principles that a leader should give importance are optimism, decisiveness, courage, and fairness. He explains these principles in detail and guides leaders to become more productive and decision-maker leaders.

Robert Iger was CEO of The Walt Disney Company from 2005 to 2020. Having 15 years of experience in the company, he worked as chairman of the board and executive chairman as well. Iger was also chosen as the businessperson of the year by Time in 2019.

Why should people have this book?

It does not matter which industry you are involved in; Iger’s book gives general and necessary principles that are applicable in each sector. Reading this book can be beneficial thanks to featured insights for leadership development.

Reader reviews:

“I expected a book written by the person who has led Disney for decades to be defined by both gripping storytelling and deep leadership wisdom. Bob Iger delivers, and then some! The Ride of a Lifetime is leadership gold—you won’t forget the stories or the lessons.”—Brené Brown, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dare to Lead

“Nurturing creativity is less a skill than an art—especially at a company where the brand alone is synonymous with creativity. That’s a lot to live up to. Bob Iger has not only lived up to ninety-six years of groundbreaking history but has moved the Disney brand far beyond anyone’s expectations, and he has done it with grace and audacity. This book shows you how that’s happened.”—Steven Spielberg

Buy on Amazon now!

6. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike – Phil Knight

Shoe Dog is a memoir by Phil Knight, who tells the story of his own experiences and leadership journey. He tells his story with honest and sincere language and opens up to his audience. It is considered as one of the greatest CEO memoirs since it is straightforward and remarkable. 

Knight expresses the hardships he encountered and how he overcame them. It can be great if you are new to the business world and aspire to learn more about big companies’ leaders.

Phil Knight is an American businessman who was the former CEO of Nike. He is also the co-founder and chairman emeritus of the company. He was ranked as the 24th richest person globally by Forbes in 2020.

Why should people have this book?

You can read this book to be inspired by the story of a businessperson who is the co-founder and CEO of one of the most famous brands in the world. Knight sharing his journey and his vision can be helpful for business people. Bill Gates also referred to this book as one of his five favorite books. 

Reader reviews:

“A refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like. It’s a messy, perilous, and chaotic journey riddled with mistakes, endless struggles, and sacrifice. Here Knight opens up in a way few CEOs are willing to do. I don’t think Knight sets out to teach the reader anything. Instead, he accomplishes something better. He tells his story as honestly as he can. It’s an amazing tale.”—Bill Gates, one of his favorite books of 2016

“The best book I read last year. Phil is . . . a gifted storyteller.”—Warren Buffett

Buy it on Amazon now!


Frequently Asked Questions:


What books do CEOs read?

As we have compiled in our list, most of the time, books by famous CEOs and co-founders of well-known companies are read by CEOs. A CEO book can be about the experiences of CEOs and how they improve their business. 


What should I read to become a CEO?

If you want to become a CEO and succeed in your business, you can read the books of famous CEOs. These books can be about CEOs’ memoirs, interviews and their ideas can be understood by reading them. Also, most CEOs write books about managing a company and give business strategies to their audience. 


How many books do CEOs read?

According to Inc, most CEOs read 4 to 5 books per month. It can be said that CEOs read a book per week although they are busy people. Most CEOs give importance to reading books to improve themselves and adapt to new ideas, innovations with deeper understanding. They do not only read CEO book per week for sure; most CEOs and successful people read different books from different categories so as to be more open-minded and innovative.

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Osman Koc

Osman is the CEO and Co-founder of UserGuiding, a code-free product walkthrough software that helps teams scale user onboarding and boost user engagement.