You are what you read, and if your goal is to build a massively successful company where you call the shots, you might want to start with the following books.
We asked wildly successful entrepreneurs and VCs, including Mark Cuban and Peter Thiel, for their top book recommendation. Here’s what they said.
Bianca Male, Aimee Groth, and Alison Griswold contributed to this article.
“The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand
Self-made billionaire Mark Cuban tells Business Insider that this book is required reading for every entrepreneur.
It’s also a favorite of Charlie O’Donnell, a partner at Brooklyn Bridge Ventures. He says, “I don’t know any book that sums up the entrepreneurial passion and spirit better than ‘The Fountainhead‘ by Ayn Rand: ‘The question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me.'”
“The Effective Executive” by Peter Drucker
This is one of the three books that Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos had his senior managers read for a series of all-day book clubs. Drucker helped popularize now commonplace ideas about management. For example, that managers and employees should work toward a common set of goals.
“The Effective Executive” explores the time-management and decision-making habits that best equip an executive to be productive and valuable in an organization.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
“The Innovator’s Dilemma” by Clayton Christensen
Jeff Bezos also had his executives read “The Innovator’s Dilemma,” one of the all-time most influential business books and a top pick of several other founders and VCs, whose reviews are below.
Steve Blank, a former serial entrepreneur who now teaches at U.C. Berkeley and other schools, says of the book: “Why do large companies seem and act like dinosaurs? Christensen finally was able to diagnose why and propose solutions. Entrepreneurs should read these books as ‘how to books‘ to beat large companies in their own markets.”
Chris Dixon, an investor at Andreessen Horowitz and a former cofounder and CEO of Hunch, notes: “‘The Innovator’s Dilemma’ popularized the (often misused) phrase ‘disruptive technology,’ but there’s a lot more than that one big idea. Great insights into the ‘dynamics’ (changes over time) of markets.”