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12 Books Recommended By CEOs That Will Help You Succeed At Work

12 Books Recommended By CEOs That Will Help You Succeed At Work

As business leaders, CEOs face incredible challenges at work. How do they get through it? They seek ideas, inspiration, and strategies from books. Here is a list of 10 novels, works of history, and classic business books that have inspired today’s top CEOs.

1. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras (Jeff Bezos, Amazon)

Built To Last

    “Visionary companies pursue a cluster of objectives, of which making money is only one—and not necessarily the primary one.”

    Jeff Bezos recommends this book because it shows how to create a long lasting company. If you are seeking to build a legacy in business, this modern classic is required reading. Collins and Porras bring outstanding research depth to the book. A key insight from the book is that profit is usually not the only motivation for visionary companies.

    2. The Checklist Manifesto: How To Get Things Right by Atul Gawande (Jack Dorsey, Square/Twitter)

    Checklist-Manifesto

      “Good checklists, on the other hand, are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations. They do not try to spell out everything – a checklist cannot fly a plane. Instead, they provide reminders of only the most critical and important steps – the ones that even the highly skilled professional using them could miss.”

      Jack Dorsey recommends this book because he knows that top notch execution is essential to business. Having good ideas is only part of the equation. Improving performance is a major concern for leaders and CEOs. If you are frustrated with mistakes and errors, building a checklist is a great solution. As Atul Gawande explains, surgeons, doctors, and commercial pilots use check lists to save lives. For a checklist to be useful, it must have a small number of steps that address major problems.

      To get started, read How To Build A Checklist In 6 Steps.

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      3. Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright (Tony Hsieh, Zappos)

      TribalLeadership

        “Change the language in the tribe, and you have changed the tribe itself.”

        Leadership makes the difference between a company that grows and one that fails. We only need to think about corporate scandals and the problems caused by unethical leaders (e.g. Enron) to understand that principle. Tony Hsieh admires the book because it explains the importance of creating a strong company culture. If your organization, department, or team is in trouble, tribal leadership could be the answer.

        4. The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World by Niall Ferguson (Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola)

        The Ascent of Money

          “Only when savers can put their money in reliable banks that it can be channeled from the idle to the industrious.”

          In the modern business world, we have endless financial options and resources to use. There are plenty of ways to borrow money and many ways to seek investors. However, the financial system is a human system that can break down. In Ferguson’s book, you will learn how the financial system evolves and the forces that drive it. Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent considers it a great read. On a personal level, I found this book to be an outstanding and highly engaging introduction to economic history.

          5. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Randall Stephenson, AT&T)

          The Brothers Karamazov

            “Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.”

            A long-standing classic of world literature, The Brothers Karamazov is a powerful read. CEO Randall Stephenson recommended this book in Scouting Magazine. There is much to learn from this book including perspectives on family life and life in Russia. If you’re looking for an engaging work of fiction to read, this book is a great place to start.

            6. The World is Flat by Thomas Friedman (Jamie Dimon, JPMorgan Chase)

            The World is Flat

              “No matter what your profession – doctor, lawyer, architect, accountant – if you are an American, you better be good at the touchy-feely service stuff, because anything that can be digitized can be outsourced to either the smartest or the cheapest producer.”

              Understanding recent changes in the global economy is a challenge. In this popular book, Friedman has explained several key trends including outsourcing and improving technology. As you interact with global customers and competitors, this book will give you a big picture understanding. CEO Jamie Dimon recommends this book (along with The Intelligent Investor) in his suggestion to JP Morgan summer interns.

              7. Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand (Rex Tillerson, ExxonMobil)

              Atlas Shrugged

                “Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won.”

                Atlas Shrugged is a popular book among many successful people. Financial blogger Trent Hamm listed the book as one of the 10 books that changed his life. CEO Rex Tillerson recommends the book because it shows the positive impact that business leaders can make on the world. Published over 50 years ago, the novel remains a popular read in the business community.

                8. The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind (Warren Buffett, Berkshire-Hathaway)

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                The Smartest Guys In The Room

                  “The tale of Enron is a story of human weakness, of hubris and greed and rampant self-delusion; of ambition run amok; of a grand experiment in the deregulated world; of a business model that didn’t work; and of smart people who believed their next gamble would cover their last disaster—and who couldn’t admit they were wrong.”

                  As you build a career, you will be faced with choices. You may have decide whether to take a job or move to a new city. You will also be faced with the decision on whether to act ethically. This book is a great case study in what happens when an unethical focus to produce profits takes over. Warren Buffett has recommended the book. Buffett’s recommendation is in line with his famous newspaper test principle.

                  9. Competing Against Time by George Stalk (Tim Cook, Apple)

                  Competing Against Time

                    “The creation of value by using time as a competitive weapon requires strategies to lock up the most attractive customers to keep competitors at bay.”

                    With millions of customers to impress, it is no surprise that Apple CEO Tim Cook recommends this book. The recommendation is likely influenced by the fact that Cook came up through the ranks with a focus on operations and procurement. After all, if materials and inventory do not arrive on schedule, it is very difficult to run an effective business.

                    10. The Discoverers by Daniel J. Boorstin (Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs)

                    The Discoverers

                      “I have included the story of only a few crucial inventions – the clock, the compass, the telescope and the microscope, the printing press and movable type – which have been essential instruments of discovery… My focus remains on mankind’s need to know – to know what is out there.”

                      Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein has been reading this sweeping history book for years. Much like The World is Flat and The Ascent of Money, this book puts our world into context. You will learn about the people who explored the world, took risks and challenged their society’s ideas. Those are all important lessons to learn as you navigate through new business challenges. This book may also inspire you to keep working if you are working on a new product or a start-up – situations where you are confronted with uncertainty.

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                      11. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell (Marilyn Hewson, Lockheed Martin)

                      malcolm_gladwell_blink

                        “We live in a world that assumes that the quality of a decision is directly related to the time and effort that went into making it…We believe that we are always better off gathering as much information as possible and spending as much time as possible in deliberation. We really only trust conscious decision making. But there are moments, particularly in times of stress, when haste does not make waste, when our snap judgments and first impressions can offer a much better means of making sense of the world. The first task of Blink is to convince you of a simple fact: decisions made very quickly can be every bit as good as decisions made cautiously and deliberately.”

                        Gladwell has become a widely quoted and important author for good reason. His insights and storytelling ability have few peers. In Blink, you will learn about the fine art of decision making and how fast decisions work. CEO Marilyn Hewson recommends this book because it helped her to trust her instincts in business.

                        12. Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman by Richard Feynman (Larry Page, Google)

                        Surely You're Joking

                          “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself—and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists.”

                          Google co-founder Larry Page has listed this book as one of his favorites. As a scientist who worked on many different problems in physics and technology, Feynman is a great example of pushing boundaries. As Google continues to develop new products such as driverless cars, one can see the Feynman’s innovative approach shining through. If your business ideas are novel and facing challenges, Feynman’s book will inspire you to keep working at it.

                          Featured photo credit: Jeff Bezos/Desk.com via desk.com

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                          Last Updated on November 15, 2019

                          Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

                          Expert Advice That Will Teach You How to Increase Your Metabolism

                          Wouldn’t you like to be able to eat twice as much as you do now without gaining weight? If so, I have good news for you because this is possible when you learn how to increase metabolism.

                          How Much Do You Know About Metabolism?

                          Before we get to the meat, let me say that metabolism is a term that describes all the chemical reactions in your body.[1] These chemical reactions keep your body alive and functioning, however, the word metabolism is often used interchangeably with the metabolic rate or the number of calories you burn.

                          The metabolic rate is a rough estimate of how much energy your body needs to simply stay alive and perform all its biochemical reactions. These reactions require energy, aka burn calories.

                          Imagine that your brain alone consumes nearly 20% of your TDEE (total daily energy expenditure at rest),[2] your digestion and the detoxifying system come second, repairing tissues third and so on.

                          Staying alive is expensive for your body and its two main currencies are fats and sugars.

                          When I am talking about improving your metabolic rate (metabolism), I mean improving the amount of energy, your body requires to (pretty much) lay down in bed and do nothing for 24 hours.

                          Extra physical activity, extra thinking or fighting illness are things that require a lot of energy (burn a lot of calories) but they don’t really increase metabolism… actually they can decrease it.

                          Can You Naturally Change the Speed of Your Basal Metabolism?

                          The answer to this question is yes and you can also achieve an increase in metabolism and a drop in body fat by eating more.

                          Shocked? Well, I was too.

                          The way I came across this phenomenon is quite funny. Over my 10 years as a coach, I helped many busy professionals to naturally increase their metabolism by getting them leaner, fitter and stronger but, at the beginning of my career, I actually had no idea whether they were losing weight because of an increase in metabolism or because we created a calorie deficit with diet and exercise.

                          When I was training my clients regularly, they would lose weight. Every time I would take a few weeks of vacation, I would come back to London and find out that most of them gained back a generous amount of weight despite the fact that they were following their diet and they swapped our weight training sessions with cardio.

                          On the contrary, when they were going on vacation, they would do zero exercises and binge like there was no tomorrow but come back either lighter or weighing the same (but looking more muscular).

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                          Observing this phenomenon happening over and over again, got me curious about the mechanics of our metabolism and the ways to hack it.

                          Was it really possible that by relaxing and eating more food, someone could actually maintain his/her current weight or even be losing fat?

                          Driven by the desire to answer this question, I spent a good amount of years researching and testing different food strategies until I finally cracked the code to an improved metabolism that allows you to eat like a king and look like a Greek God.

                          Does Eating More Increase Metabolism?

                          Before I explain why eating more increases your metabolism, let me dig into something that I see people doing much more often: “eating less and moving more.”

                          It is quite common to see people embarking their yearly weight loss journey (usually after Christmas or Easter) by following very restrictive diets and bombarding their body with several hours of exercise per day.

                          Despite the short-term effectiveness of this approach, in the long run, if the goal is to increase metabolism and lose a lot of fat over an extended period of time, this simply won’t work.

                          As I have mentioned before, eating fewer calories and exercising more are energy-consuming activities for your body. In the first case, your body needs to use its own energy reserves to top up the missing energy it needs to fully function; and in the second, it takes your body extra energy to contract your muscles.

                          In both cases, your TDEE (Total daily energy expenditure at rest) doesn’t vary much; therefore your metabolism stays unchanged.[3]

                          A different scenario happens when you eat less and move more for an extended period of time (weeks or months). In that case, your metabolism will slow down because your body is receiving a “we have little access to food and we need to run away from threats” signal.

                          Your metabolism is like your bank account.

                          To understand this concept, let’s imagine that you have $4,000 coming into your bank account each and every month. The money you spend on housing, transport, food and leisure are calibrated according to this monthly income.

                          Now, imagine that a rich uncle starts to send you $1,000 each day. What would you do? Probably, you would save that money for the first two or three days but, when you notice that $1,000 keep on coming every single day, you would likely start to spend more right?

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                          What if, instead of a rich uncle sending you money, a poor uncle needed your financial help to pay for the treatments of his illness? You would probably try your best to adjust your spending according to your old $4,000 monthly budget.

                          That’s exactly how your body reasons:

                          More Resources Coming in = More Energy Released (Improved Metabolism)

                          Fewer Resources Coming in = Less Energy Released (Decreased Metabolism)

                          Note that activities like weight training[4] and high-intensity interval training (HIIT),[5] when combined with an increase in nutrient-rich foods, will also improve your metabolism.

                          For this reason, today, when I coach a new client, I always start by increasing their daily food intake and their physical activities. Usually, people are quite confused because they come to me to lose weight and I tell them to eat more but, without fail, the next weekly weight-check shows a lower number.

                          Be aware that not all foods are equal and only certain foods have the power to increase metabolism to a noticeable extent.

                          Foods That Increase Metabolism

                          Doubling up on Snickers bars won’t improve your metabolism and you know that. What you may not know is that certain foods that are marked as “healthy” doesn’t help you with increasing your metabolism. They also make you gain weight.

                          Before giving you a list of foods to eat or avoid, let me explain a simple principle of human biochemistry.

                          Your body uses energy from three (or four) main sources:

                          • Sugars: whether you eat a Snickers bar or a banana, the carbohydrates contained in both get absorbed in the gut and become blood glucose (the basic form of sugar our body utilizes as a source of energy).[6]
                            When blood glucose is present in the bloodstream (elevated levels), the body always uses it as its primary source of energy. When blood glucose levels drop (this phenomenon happens when you’re using these sugars to fuel a physical activity or when your pancreas produced a spike of insulin and stores that glucose into fat and muscles), your body starts to release fatty acids into the bloodstream to use as a source of energy.
                          • Fatty acids: either from your own fat cells (adipocytes) or from whatever fat-containing foods you ate in the past 2-3 hours. Fatty acids are a slower and more consistent form of energy than sugars that your body can utilise.
                          • Amino acids: Amino acids are the broken-down form of proteins. Proteins cannot be used by the body as a source of energy, not even in their broken-down form. Your body can transform amino acids into glucose with a process called gluconeogenesis.[7] This is a very inefficient process where a decent amount of energy gets wasted (and that’s a good thing for us but I’ll get to that later).
                          • Ketones: when you don’t feed your body any source of carbs (or proteins in excess), your liver produces an alternative source of energy called Ketones. It can replace the need for glucose (most of it at least).[8]

                          Now that you know the four energy sources the body can use to fuel its metabolism, let’s get to the meat (quite literally).

                          To make this simple for you, I am going to divide foods into three categories:

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                          1. Red Flags – Avoid the red foods because they slow your metabolism. They are usually extremely low in micronutrients and high in antinutrients (agents that are highly toxic). They are highly processed or spike your insulin levels (therefore stopping your fat burning process).
                          2. Orange Foods – Limit your consumption of orange foods. The orange foods on the list are suboptimal choices but they don’t have a negative impact on your metabolism when consumed in moderation. In fact, they contain a decent amount of micronutrients and, if eaten in small amounts, they shouldn’t stop your fat burning process.
                          3. Green Foods – These are foods to consume most. Green foods will improve your metabolism and should be the main bulk of your diet.

                          Next, I’ll get into details exactly what foods to eat and avoid:

                          Sugars and Carbs

                          Sugars do not directly improve metabolism because they stop the process of fat utilisation. There is an exception to this rule though. When you eat a diet extremely low in carbohydrates and sugars for an extended period of time (two to six days onwards), introducing carbohydrates and sugars can actually improve metabolism quite a bit.

                          Unfortunately, for most of us that love eating bread, pasta, fruit and yoghurt, unless we were on a low-carb diet for the past few days, these foods are not an optimal choice.

                          Sugars like fructose (found in fruit or commercial sugar) actually decrease metabolism and should be limited. Heavily processed sugars and carbohydrates should be also limited. Here is the colour list of sugars and carbs that affect metabolism:

                          Red Flag Sugary Foods You Should Avoid:
                          • Dried fruit
                          • Commercial and packaged corn
                          • High fructose corn syrup
                          • All sorts of candies and lookalike
                          • Packaged fruit juices and purees
                          • Sugary dairy products like flavoured yoghurt, condensed milk etc
                          Orange Sugary Foods You Should Limit:
                          • Bread and flour-based products
                          • Milk and also vegan milk alternatives that are sweetened
                          • Most fruit (exceptions are in the green list below)
                          • Potatoes and potato starch products
                          • Oatmeals and other grains
                          Green Sugary and Carb-Containing Foods That Improve Metabolism
                          • All berries except strawberries
                          • Tubers like squash, carrots, parsnips etc
                          • Sweet potatoes
                          • White rice
                          • All green vegetables

                          Fats

                          Fatty acids and fats, in general, can improve or decrease metabolism depending on their composition.

                          Red Flag Fatty Foods You Should Avoid:
                          • Margarine and hydrogenated fat
                          • Lard
                          • Gmo oils
                          • Most vegetable oils from seeds and peanut oil
                          Orange Fatty Foods You Should Limit:
                          • Nuts
                          • Meat fat
                          • Nut oils (macadamia, almond, cashew etc..)
                          • Seeds
                          Green Fatty Foods You Should Eat Daily
                          • Extra virgin olive oil (non-heated)
                          • Avocado
                          • Coconut oil
                          • Butter (organic)
                          • Egg yolks (free-range)
                          • Bone marrow

                          The fatty foods in the green section tend to be very effective in increasing metabolism, especially in the absence of carbohydrates because they stimulate the production of ketones (I’ll talk about this later).

                          Bear in mind that 1 gram of fat has 2.5 times the calories of a gram of protein or carbohydrates; therefore “eating more fats” to increase metabolism should be done very gradually to avoid weight gain.

                          Proteins

                          Eating food not only sends regulatory signals to your brain about abundance vs scarcity of resources, but it can also increase your metabolism for a few hours. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF).[9] It’s caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal.

                          Protein causes the largest rise in TEF.[10] It increases your metabolic rate by 15-30%, compared to 5-10% for carbs and 0-3% for fats

                          Eating protein has also been shown to help you feel more full and prevent you from overeating, in fact, a study found that people were likely to eat around 441 fewer calories per day when protein made up 30% of their diet.[11]

                          Also, proteins help preserve muscle mass.[12] The more muscle mass we have, the higher our basal metabolism is.

                          For these reasons, the first nutritional advice I usually give to clients is to reduce sugars and increase proteins. This quick swap is often enough to kickstart their metabolism and commence the fat burning process.

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                          Red Protein Sources That Should Be Avoided
                          • Cheap whey proteins
                          • Soy proteins
                          • GMO meat
                          • GMO eggs
                          • Packaged meat
                          Orange Protein Source to Be Limited
                          • Canned tuna
                          • Canned fish
                          • Canned meat
                          • Gluten-rich products like Seitan
                          • Farmed fish
                          Green Protein Sources to Have Daily
                          • Free-range meat
                          • Free-range eggs
                          • Wild meat and fish
                          • Whey protein isolate
                          • Collagen and beef protein hydrolyzed

                          Note that this is a general categorisation of the foods that, when added to your diet, have the power to increase or decrease metabolism. There are some specific foods and supplements worth mentioning because they have been proven to improve metabolism by increasing thyroid output or resting heart rate, they are as follows.

                          Other Foods and Supplements

                          Cold water

                          Drinking water may temporarily speed up your metabolism. Studies have shown that drinking 17 ounces (0.5 litres) of water increases resting metabolism by 10-30% for about an hour.[13]

                          This is not a surprise since our body is made up mainly by water and proper hydration is key to a fast metabolism. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body uses energy to heat it up to body temperature.

                          MCT Oils or Powders

                          Medium-chain triglycerides or MCT have been shown to improve metabolism by stimulating Ketone production.[14] Coconut oil contains MCT fats and, when used as a replacement for cooking oil can help you improve metabolism.

                          You can buy the concentrated version of MCT oils and eat it separately to further enhance this effect. Either way, coconut oil or pure MCT oil can be a great addition to your diet if you’re following a ketogenic or intermittent fasting protocol.

                          Caffeine

                          Caffeine and coffee have been shown to improve metabolism by improving heart rate and, therefore improving calorie consumption.[15]

                          Green Tea

                          Green tea

                          is thought to increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation, and to reduce fat production and absorption.[16]

                          Bottom Line

                          In this article, I just covered the basics of food and metabolism but, there are many other non-food related things you can do to improve your metabolism, like improving your sleep quality and following certain exercise routines.

                          For now, just know that making small and gradual changes to your diet can increase your metabolism and improve your general health. Starting from changing one habit at a time is always the best strategy to accomplish any goal.

                          Once you improve your diet, your hydration and your supplementation you can think about testing more advanced “bio-hacks” or techniques like ice baths and fasted HIIT training.

                          And remember, having a higher metabolism doesn’t only help you lose weight and keep it off but it also give you more energy and a feeling of vibrancy. If you give it time, it really is worth the investment.

                          Featured photo credit: Fitsum Admasu via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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