Top 10 Must-Read Books According to Leaders Like Bill Gates, Barack Obama and Elon Musk

Posted by on May 31, 2016 in Books, Media & Arts with 12 Comments

President Barack Obama-compressed

By Sean Kim | Lifehack

Want to know what goes on inside the minds of billionaires, global leaders, and game-changers?

Read what they read.


No matter how successful people like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, or Barack Obama are today, they all acquired their knowledge and experience over time. And they admit that books were a big part of the journey.

I know what you’re thinking: what were these books?

Related Article: 7 Books That Will Change the Way You See the World

Luckily for us, they’ve publicly shared their most recommended and impactful books that have helped them get to where they are today.

We’ve compiled the top 10 books to read, and brought it here for you to enjoy.

Enjoy these 10 books, and share the knowledge with others!

Top 10 Books To Read

1. Atlas Shrugged By Ayn Rand

Recommended by: Steve Jobs and Mark Cuban
Topic: Politics & Business
One-sentence summary: “Solve the world’s problem through entrepreneurial solutions.”

When Steve Wozniak was interviewed about what influenced Steve Jobs in the early days of building Apple, he mentioned that Atlas Shrugged was one of the books that Jobs used as his guide to life & business.

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2. Competing Against Time By George Stalk

Recommended by: Tim Cook
Topic: Business, Economy, Productivity
One-sentence summary: “Time is now added to the other three critical factors in order to remain competitiveness in the market – money, productivity, and quality.”

Competing Against Time is a book that Tim Cook passes out everywhere and makes it a recommendation for all new hires at Apple to read.

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3. Business Adventures By John Brooks

Recommended by: Warren Buffet and Bill Gates
Topic: Business & Finance
One-sentence summary: “A classic story about the American corporate and financial life.”

What do two of the richest men in the world have in common? They love the writings of John Brooks. Gates writes in his essay about Business Adventures: “Brooks eschews ‘listicles’ and doesn’t ‘boil his work down into pat how-to lessons or simplistic explanations for success.’ Instead, he tells entertaining stories replete with richly drawn characters, setting them during heightened moments within the world of commerce.”

Buffett’s classic sayings, such as “you only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out,” fits right into the style of Brooks writing as well.

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4. Influence By Robert Cialdini

Recommended by: Charlie Munger and Guy Kawasaki
Topic: Psychology, Persuasion, Marketing
One-sentence summary: “Science-backed methods to persuade just about anyone you want.”

Related Article: 9 Must-Have Books For Expanding Your Spiritual Awareness

Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett’s partner in crime at Berkshire Hathaway, attributes Cialdini’s work as having a big influence on his thinking process. His published work of the 25 Cognitive Biases of humans was very much influenced by Cialdini’s work.

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5. Life Is What You Make It By Peter Buffett

Recommended by: Bill Clinton
Topic: Life, Purpose, Autobiography
One-sentence summary: “Instead of taking the way of least resistance, choose the path to greatest satisfaction.”

This autobiography book by Peter Buffett, Warren Buffett’s son, shares the wisdom learned from his family and his experiences. Here’s how Ted Turner, Media Icon and the Founder of CNN, describes it: “With home-spun, heart-felt wisdom Peter Buffett ponders how to make a meaningful life, while making a living.”

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6. The Happiness Hypothesis By Jonathan Haidt

Recommended by: Tony Hsieh
Topic: Happiness, Culture, Philosophy,
One-sentence summary: “Giving and serving are the way to happiness.”

Related Article: Top 5 Big Ideas from “The Art of Life” by Ernest Holmes

“This is probably the book that’s made the biggest impact on my life over the past five years. The author examines the beliefs about happiness of different cultures, religions and philosophers from different periods, and then compares those beliefs with research that’s been done on the science of happiness. The book is thought-provoking and the concepts can be applied to business and to life.” – Tony Hsieh (CEO of Zappos)

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7. The Four Agreements By Don Miguel Ruiz

Recommended by: Oprah Winfrey and Jack Dorsey
Topic: Spirituality, Life, Happiness
One-sentence summary: The book can be summarized in the following four precepts:

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
3. Don’t Make Assumptions
4. Always Do Your Best

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As Jack Dorsey is in the process of running two publicly traded companies, Twitter and Square, he’s forced to mature as a leader. Throughout his journey, he acknowledges The Four Agreement as guiding him in the right path.

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12 Reader Comments

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  1. The one about all, but one president, are liars, thieves, murders and gangs.

  2. Obama,,, what book how to cheat,lie,and be a disgrace

  3. How to talk about peace creating new nuclear weapons?

  4. Wouldn’t read any book they think you should read

  5. Try the HOLY BIBLE!!! It will take you further than any other book listed here!!!

  6. Man’s Search For Meaning-Victor Frankl

  7. Can’t really narrow it down to one book, but I can list preferred authors for you: Mark Twain, Jung, Nietzsche, Manly P Hall, Albert Pike, Crowley & Sun Tzu.

  8. I would read every book they recommend to understand what made them so stupid. Lmao

  9. Obama recommends the Quran

  10. Ryan Eull Ryan Eull says:

    Atlas Shrugged!!!!!!!!

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