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20 Biographies Of Influential Business Leaders You Should Not Miss

20 Biographies Of Influential Business Leaders You Should Not Miss

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

King Carl Icahn

    “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

    Wild Company 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

      Start Something That Matters

        “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

        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.

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          5. Be my Guest

          By Conrad Hilton

          Be-My-Guest-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

            Martha-Rules-Essentials-Achieving-Business

              “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

              Rich dad poor dad

                “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

                Steve Jobs

                  “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

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                  Super-Rich-Guide-Having-All

                    “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

                    Conscious-Capitalism

                      “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

                      Powerful Inspirations

                        “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

                        Idea Man 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

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                          Delivering Happiness Hsieh

                            “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

                            Shark Tales

                              “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

                              Alwaleed Businessman, Billionaire, Prince

                                “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

                                Losing My Virginity

                                  “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

                                  Walt Disney

                                    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

                                    Built from Scratch

                                      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

                                      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

                                        By Invitation Only

                                          “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.

                                          Image Source: edans via photopin cc

                                          Featured photo credit: edans via farm7.staticflickr.com

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                                          Jessica Millis

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                                          Last Updated on April 6, 2020

                                          How To Be Successful In Life: 13 Life-Changing Tips

                                          How To Be Successful In Life: 13 Life-Changing Tips

                                          What is success to you? How to be successful in life?

                                          To some, when they think of success, they imagine wealth; others want power; some just want to make a positive impact on the world.

                                          All of these are perfectly valid, indeed success is a concept that means different things to different people. Though no matter what success is to you, it almost certainly isn’t something will come easily.

                                          There are countless guides and books to being successful, however, as success is personal and unique to each individual. The advice contained in these books can often not be relevant. Therefore following the advice of a single individual can often be unhelpful.

                                          With this in mind, considering the advice of a great many people, people whose ideas of success were different both to each other, and quite possibly, to you can be a good alternative.

                                          What follows is a list of 13 of the best pieces of advice from some of the most successful people who have ever lived. If you want to learn how to be successful, these tips are essential:

                                          1. Think Big

                                            From Michelangelo Buonarroti, Great Renaissance Artist:

                                            “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.”

                                            There are few artists as influential as Michaelangelo. Today centuries after his death, his work still inspires and connects to people. His work is world famous, just think of his statue of David, or the Mural in the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

                                            Imagine then, if he decided not to work as an artist.

                                            Being a successful artist has always been extremely difficult, imagine if he decided to give up this ambition in favour of something easier?

                                            Oftentimes, people often decided to put their dreams aside for something more “realistic”. To give up their dream for something easier. This quote teaches us the danger of such a point of view.
                                            Instead be ambitious.

                                            2. Find What You Love to Do and Do It

                                              From Oprah Winfrey, Media Mogul:

                                              “You know you are on the road to success if you would do your job and not be paid for it.”

                                              This is a good quote to remember and think about when you’re at work.

                                              Imagine being as successful as possible in your current job. Ultimately you’ll probably find yourself working extremely hard and this it will take up much of your time.

                                              If it’s a job you hate, then being successful at it might only mean filling your life with something you hate to do. What’s the sense in this?

                                              Instead, why not focus on doing something you love? When you’ve found what you’re passionate about, you get the motivation to keep you moving. Success at this means the fulfilment of your dreams.

                                              Not sure what your passion is yet? You should learn about this Motivation Engine first.

                                              Even if you’re not successful, you still filled your time with something you love to do. Many successful musicians spent years of their lives doing unpaid performances, the only reason they kept playing was because they loved to perform.

                                              3. Learn How to Balance Life

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                                                From Phil Knight, CEO of Nike Inc.:

                                                “There is an immutable conflict at work in life and in business, a constant battle between peace and chaos. Neither can be mastered, but both can be influenced. How you go about that is the key to success.”

                                                All too often, people think that to be successful, they need to make the object of their success their life.

                                                If a person thinks their job will lead them to success, then they may spend countless hours per day, and well into the evening working hard.

                                                However this comes at the cost of rest, your health and having an enjoyable life. Ultimately they may burn out and cease to be successful at their job anyway.

                                                If success comes from having a strong social life and a good group of friends, their job may suffer; meaning that they may lose their job, and then be unable to afford going out with friends.

                                                In these ways, success, as Phil Knight says above, is helped by balance. Think of it as a balance between rest and work, or work and play.

                                                To achieve that balance, this Ultimate Guide to Prioritizing Your Work And Life can help you.

                                                4. Do Not Be Afraid of Failure

                                                  From Henry Ford, Founder of Ford Motors:

                                                  “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

                                                  There is a story, it’s unconfirmed whether it actually happened, yet the message within is none the less true:

                                                  Thomas Edison inventing the lightbulb was the result of several hundred failed attempts. In an interview, he was asked “How do you feel after all of your failed attempts?”

                                                  His response was great, “I didn’t fail, I learned hundreds of ways not to invent the lightbulb”

                                                  He saw each “failure” as a lesson. From that lesson he learned what won’t work, and also might work instead.

                                                  Each failed attempt, each rejection, were key steps on his path to success. It is easy to feel like you should give up after a failure. But perhaps in that failure is a lesson.

                                                  Pay attention to your failures, study them. Perhaps then you’ll learn how to succeed.

                                                  If you find it difficult to fight your fear of failure, here’s a guide for you: Why You Have the Fear of Failure (And How to Conquer It Step-By-Step)

                                                  5. Have an Unwavering Resolution to Succeed

                                                    From Colonel Sanders, Founder of KFC:

                                                    “I made a resolve then that I was going to amount to something if I could. And no hours, nor amount of labor, nor amount of money would deter me from giving the best that there was in me. And I have done that ever since, and I win by it. I know.”

                                                    This, in many ways relates to the above quote about learning from your failures.

                                                    It’s the easiest thing in the world to give up from a failure. The only way to push on is if you have the true burning desire to succeed, to not be moved or dissuaded from your goals.

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                                                    If you are not truly dedicated towards success, then each failure will hurt more, each set back will slow you down.

                                                    Success is hard; without the unwavering desire to succeed, this difficulty may seem insurmountable. With the desire, it is merely an obstacle to go through.

                                                    6. Be a Person of Action

                                                      From Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Genius:

                                                      “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”

                                                      Though it was said hundreds of years ago, it works just as much today as it ever had. It applies to literally any successful person.

                                                      Think about it, picture someone like William Shakespeare:

                                                      When we think of the time he lived in, we think of the time in a way shaped by him. When we think of Renaissance era Italy, we think of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci. Or think about the present day, Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. Our current way of life would simply be incomparably different if they didn’t accomplish what they did.

                                                      You’re probably reading this article on a device by a company that they either founded or companies influenced by them.

                                                      All these figures were proactive, they saw ways to do things differently and did them. If they let the world shape them, then they’d simply fit into the background. Instead they shaped the world.

                                                      Applying this to you?

                                                      Don’t be afraid of going outside the norm. If you can think of a better way to do something, do it that way. If you fail, try again.

                                                      7. Cultivate Positive Relationships

                                                        From Theodore Roosevelt, 26th President of America: “

                                                        The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”

                                                        The best leaders and some of the most influential people (and Theodore Roosevelt is one of the best leaders and one of the most influential people to have lived) were not those who caused commotions, who fought with people or disregarded people; but were people who were friendly to those around them.

                                                        People liked them. They wanted them to do well.

                                                        This is key to good leadership.

                                                        It’s logical. If someone likes you, they want to help you; if you give them a suggestion, they’ll gladly follow through with it.

                                                        But if someone doesn’t like you, they may either refuse to help or actively get in your way.

                                                        What’s more, it’s always a good idea to cultivate good relationships. You can never tell who will prove to become someone who’ll be able to help you in a big way, or even be a good and supportive friend.

                                                        As such, help people and they may help you; and be good to people, and they my be good to you.

                                                        8. Don’t Be Afraid of Introducing New Ideas

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                                                          From Mark Twain, Famed Author:

                                                          “A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

                                                          It is an unfortunate truth that those with the boldest ideas are often disregarded.

                                                          Most of us are taught from an early age to think and do things similarly to everyone else. This can be great to fill an existing role. But to truly do things differently (and all successful people did things differently), you need to think differently.

                                                          If you have a new idea, don’t throw it away because it’s new and different; instead, celebrate it. Your strange new idea might one day be the one that leads you to success.

                                                          9. Believe in Your Capacity to Succeed

                                                            From Walter Disney, Founder of Walt Disney Company:

                                                            “If you can dream it, you can do it.”

                                                            Success has to be something you can imagine yourself achieving.

                                                            It is possible that you will come across those who doubt you and your ability to succeed. You must not become one of these people because the moment you cease believing and dreaming is the moment these dreams fall away.

                                                            Keep dreaming!

                                                            10. Always Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude

                                                              From Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of America:

                                                              “Nothing can stop the man with the right mental attitude from achieving his goal; nothing on earth can help the man with the wrong mental attitude.”

                                                              Like the above quote says, you need to trust in your ability to succeed. This is the only way to cultivate the right mindset.

                                                              Replace negative thoughts with the positive ones. You need to approach problems, not as obstacles stopping you, but merely tasks that need to be completed for you to keep going.

                                                              If you stay positive and think like this, setbacks won’t affect you so much, people’s doubts won’t impact you and even the biggest obstacles will seem like minor problems.

                                                              However with the wrong mindset of doubt, you’ll be much easier to stop.

                                                              11. Don’t Let Discouragement Stop You from Pressing On

                                                                From Abraham Lincoln, 16th President of America:

                                                                “Let no feeling of discouragement prey upon you, and in the end you are sure to succeed.”

                                                                It is an unfortunate fact of human nature — all of us in some way, doubt ourselves. This can be made far worse if others doubt us too.

                                                                When surrounded by doubts, giving up can actually seem like a good idea.

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                                                                Don’t pay attention to the doubts. If you are discouraged, ignore it.

                                                                If this discouragement moves into your mind and you begin to doubt yourself. It is important to ignore this too.

                                                                This is How Self Doubt Keeps You Stuck and How to Overcome It

                                                                12. Be Willing to Work Hard

                                                                  From JC Penny, Founder of JC Penney Inc.:

                                                                  “Unless you are willing to drench yourself in your work beyond the capacity of the average man, you are just not cut out for positions at the top.”

                                                                  You might have heard the quote that “success is 1% inspiration, 99% perspiration” or you may have heard about the 10,000 hours idea.

                                                                  Whichever way you frame it, they say one thing:

                                                                  True success comes from work.

                                                                  You’ll never become successful if you don’t work towards your goal in life and keep working towards it.

                                                                  Check out this article and you’ll understand Why Hard Work Beats Talent.

                                                                  13. Be Brave Enough to Follow Your Intuition

                                                                    From Steve Jobs, Co-founder of Apple Inc.:

                                                                    “Have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

                                                                    In ancient Greece, there was a group of Oracles who lived in Delphi. Everyone who needed advice or to know their future visited them, from the poorest of society to kings. Above the doorway of the temple were the words “know thyself”.

                                                                    If you strongly believe and desire something, chances are that you already have an idea how to get there. If not, you may naturally know what things will help you and what things will slow you down.

                                                                    It’s like how your body can detect danger even when things seem safe.

                                                                    Ultimately then, you need to trust your own instincts.

                                                                    Final Thoughts

                                                                    What you might have noticed is that many of the above lessons are similar — most are about developing the right state of mind. This clearly suggests that the key to achieving success, in whatever you wish, comes down to the way you approach it mentally.

                                                                    Moreover, no matter what stage of life you’re at now, you can still make a difference and pursue success. You can make resetting your life possible when you do this: How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

                                                                    More Tips for Achieve Success

                                                                    Featured photo credit: Ryan Wong via unsplash.com

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