There are a lot of influential business leaders out there, too many to mention in one article, so some of the best and most popular ones have been chosen. They range from people that that started with nothing, to people that had everything and turn it into billions. This is my Top 20 biographies of business leaders that inspire and motivate to move on and try something new. The list is in no particular order.
1. King Icahn: The Biography of a Renegade Capitalist
By Mark Stevens
“In life and business, there are two cardinal sins. The first is to act precipitously without thought and the second is to not act at all.”
Here is an investment and renegade capitalist that became one of the richest men in America.
2. Wild Company: The Untold Story of Banana Republic
By Mel and Patricia Ziegler
“The only asset we had was our own oblivion.”
This is a book about two people who created the Banana Republic. It explains how they had no business training and how they used military surplus clothing to produce their designs that founded the Banana Republic stores.
3. Start Something That Matters
By Blake Mycoskie
“You don’t have to have a lot of money, a complicated business plan, or a great deal of experience to start something.”
This is the story of how TOMs was created, which is a process by which people buy shoes and eventually give them away to needy children. It is a lesson in resourcefulness.
4. The Autobiography of Andrew Carnegie and The Gospel of Wealth
By Andrew Carnegie
“There is no class so pitiably wretched as that which possesses money and nothing else.”
This is a man that was laughed out of the boardroom when he said he can drive down the price of steel from $170 per ton to $20 per ton, and he is the reason America is the superpower it is today.
5. Be my Guest
By Conrad Hilton
“Success seems to be connected with action. Successful people keep moving. They make mistakes, but they don’t quit.”
This is the story of a guy and his friends and how they made an empire out of hotels.
6. The Martha Rules: 10 Essentials for Achieving Success as You Start, Grow, or Manage a Business
by Martha Stewart
“Build your business success around something that you love.”
This is the same lady that did some insider trading, so there are some dirty deals that are missing from her book, but otherwise it lays out how a person turns what they love into their personal fortune.
7. Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!
By Robert T. Kiyosaki
“Failure defeats losers, failure inspires winners.”
This is a book that tries to teach people the things that rich people teach their kids. He claims that middle and lower class people do not teach their kids these lessons, which makes them have it harder in life.
8. Steve Jobs
By Walter Isaacson
“There is no reason not to follow your heart.”
This is a book based on 40 interviews with Steve Jobs and helps to expose the life of a man that was fired by a failing giant only to come back and give it new legs. Learn how he survived and had fun and how he helped change the face of mobile technology forever.
9. Super Rich: A Guide to Having It All
By Russell Simmons
“I want to fight poverty and ignorance and give opportunity to those people who are locked out.”
A book about a man that built his fortune and become a bestselling author of “Do you.”
10. Conscious Capitalism, With a New Preface by the Authors: Liberating the Heroic Spirit of Business
By John Mackey
“Whole Foods is dedicated to helping people be healthier and live lives with more vitality and greater sense of well being.”
This is the Whole Foods CEO that basically founded the whole foods market in America in a big way.
11. Powerful Inspirations: Eight Lessons that Will Change Your Life
By Kathy Ireland
“I have to say I’ve made many mistakes, and been humbled many, many times. But you know what? It’s never too late to learn.”
She proved a woman can be sexy and successful in business, too. She struck a blow for feminism and now has several books you may enjoy.
12. Idea Man: A Memoir by the Cofounder of Microsoft
By Paul Allen
“Any crusade requires optimism and the ambition to aim high.”
This is a book about a 21-year-old that became a co-founder of Microsoft. This is a great story about the beginning of Microsoft, which is already a great story, so it is good to hear it from another angle.
13. Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose
by Tony Hseih
“We wanted to run our own business, and be in control of our own destiny.”
This is about a guy that made $265 million at the age of 24 by selling an advertising platform to Microsoft. Even if you read the bunk of a man such as this you are still going to learn something.
14. Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business
By Barbara Corcoran
“I borrowed $1,000 from a friend.”
This is a story about turning one thousand dollars into a billion. It is about a woman that couldn’t find a job she liked and did create the Corcoran Group that is worth $6 billion.
15. Alwaleed: Businessman, Billionaire, Prince
By Riz Khan
“If I’m going to do something, I do it spectacularly or I don’t do it at all.”
This is the story of one of the richest men in the world who has an amazing investing style that keeps him rich. He is part of the Saudi Royal family and has amassed a fortune larger than many countries tax budgets (and debts).
16. Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way
By Richard Branson
“Most ‘necessary evils’ are far more evil than necessary.”
This is one of Richard Branson’s books and it is amazing to see how your childhood affects the person you are. He also gives clues to getting rich that are very similar to the clues in the book, “The millionaire next door.” He is a very clever man that has a way of seeming like a big-headed nobody you shouldn’t fear. Maybe that is the way he has managed to build up such a big empire.
17. Walt Disney: An American Original
By Bob Thomas
“Give the public everything you can give them, keep the place as clean as you can keep it, keep it friendly.”
Here is a man that built a massive empire that has affected every country in the world at some point in the past. Here is a man that took a cartoon mouse and built an empire with it that still stands today.
18. Built from Scratch: How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew The Home Depot from Nothing to $30 Billion
By Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus
“Take two Jews who have just been fired, add an Irishman that walked away from a bankruptcy and an Italian with a no-name investment banking firm and you have the recipe for success.”
This is a book about the man that turned Home Depot into a $30 Billion business. This is a nice book for showing you that even if you are fired you can still have a future if you are willing to build one.
19. Business leaders Michael Dell
By Lauri S. Friedman
“Twenty years and $40 billion. They seem like good round numbers.”
This is the guy that helped to found the Dell computer organization and made millions as a result.
20. By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop
By Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson
“On that first day we sensed something revolutionary was happening.”
This is about a pair of rich friends that became richer when they turned their fashion business into a $1 billion enterprise. It is not only inspirational, but it is interesting to see how they did it.
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