The best books on how to become a global business leader

Why am I passionate about this?

Hermann Simon grew up on a small, remote farm and became a world-renowned marketing professor, including stints at MIT, Stanford, and Harvard. But academic fame didn’t satisfy him. He had the ambition to achieve an impact on practice and founded Simon-Kucher & Partners, today with 41 offices and 1600 employees the world's leading price consultancy. He also detected the secrets of the "hidden champions", unknown mid-sized global market leaders (more than 1.5 million Google entries). In China a business school is named in his honor.


I wrote...

Many Worlds, One Life: A Remarkable Journey from Farmhouse to the Global Stage

By Hermann Simon,

Book cover of Many Worlds, One Life: A Remarkable Journey from Farmhouse to the Global Stage

What is my book about?

The CEO of Nestlé, the world’s largest food company, says: “This book tells Hermann Simon’s amazing story in a compelling way.” And the former CEO of Samsung Electronics adds: “I bought the book and finished it on the spot.” This book shows how a farmboy from virtually the “middle ages” can become a global player – an enormous encouragement for ambitious young people independent of what their background is.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Adventures of a Bystander

Hermann Simon Why did I love this book?

Peter F. Drucker is the most famous and influential management thinker of the 20th century. He grew up in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which fell at the end of the First World War. His classic education, his knowledge of history, his broad horizons, his understanding of business processes make him unique among management thinkers. He outshines them all. And he is an outstanding, captivating writer. Anyone who wants to learn and understand about management must read this book. I have read it three times. I mourn this late friend.

By Peter F. Drucker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Adventures of a Bystander as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"It is [a] belief in diversity and pluralism and the uniqueness of each person that underlies all my writings ..." -from the Preface. Regarded as the most influential and widely read thinker on modern organizations and their management, Peter Drucker has also established himself as an unorthodox and independent analyst of politics, the economy, and society. A man of impressive scope and expertise, he has paved significant inroads in a number of key areas, sharing his knowledge and keen insight on everything from the plight of the employee and the effects of technology to the vicissitudes of the markets and…


Book cover of Excellence Wins: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of Compromise

Hermann Simon Why did I love this book?

Horst Schulze started as a bellboy and became the best hotelier in the world. He is the one who created the leading hotel chain Ritz Carlton. He won the Baldridge Quality Award twice. No one else has achieved that. But what's really interesting about this book is not the result, but the way he got there: how did he achieve this great goal? 

Anyone involved in service can learn extremely valuable lessons from this book. And in the process, you will also get to know Horst Schulze as a person. Because at the core of him lies the secret of success; he is a role model and leader.

By Horst Schulze, Dean Merrill,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Excellence Wins as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Horst Schulze knows what it takes to win. In Excellence Wins, the cofounder and former president of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company lays out a blueprint for becoming the very best in a world of compromise. In his characteristic no-nonsense approach, Schulze shares the visionary and disruptive principles that have led to immense global success over the course of his still-prolific fifty-year career in the hospitality industry.

For over twenty years, Schulze fearlessly led the company to unprecedented multibillion dollar growth, setting the business vision and people-focused standards that made the Ritz-Carlton brand world renowned. In Excellence Wins, Schulze shares his…


Book cover of My Adventures in Marketing: The Autobiography of Philip Kotler

Hermann Simon Why did I love this book?

Modern business management without marketing is unthinkable. Marketing is Philip Kotler, and Philip Kotler is marketing. The two are inextricably linked. The descendant of Ukrainian immigrants has shaped the world of marketing like no one else. In this book, he tells not only his personal story, but also the story of marketing. So when you read it, you kill two birds with one stone. You get to know an extremely versatile contemporary and you learn all about a very important management discipline.

By Philip Kotler,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked My Adventures in Marketing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

PHILIP KOTLER is known around the world as the “father of modern marketing.” For over 50 years he has taught at the Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. Kotler’s book "Marketing Management" is the most widely used textbook in marketing around the world. This is his story – How a Ph.D. economist from M.I.T. became the world’s leading marketing authority.

The book covers: new ideas on marketing science and practice - views on the future of marketing and retailing - views on place marketing, person marketing, idea and cause marketing - encounters with museums, art collectors, and the…


Book cover of Herman the German: Just Lucky I Guess

Hermann Simon Why did I love this book?

In my life I have only met two real adventurers. One of them was Gerhard Neumann, a.k.a. Herman the German. Since his mother was Jewish, he left Nazi Germany and went to China. There he made his way as an engineer for the Flying Tigers and achieved technical miracles. He fled across Asia to escape Mao Tse Tung. Only a few years later, he became CEO of General Electric Aircraft Engines, the global market leader. Neumann developed both the best-selling military and commercial jet engines. But he always remained an adventurer. In the Death Valley, he flew supersonically below sea level. In Mexico, his plane crashed, but he survived. As a sailor, he got into distress at sea and survived. And he had a motto that I've adopted myself in business: Feel unsafe!

By Gerhard Neumann,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Herman the German as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Herman the German"This fascinating and amusing account of his life is told by a colorful and highly capable German who became one of America's most successful technical managers in the development of jet engines for aircraft."-David S. Lewis ChairmanGeneral Dynamics Corporation "Not only has Gerhard Neumann's life been filled with exotic and exciting adventures, but he was a highly successful engineer and executive-truly a superior individual and one of my favorite people."-Sanford N. McDonnellChairman, McDonnell Douglas Corporation "Readers of Gerhard's book will probably come to the same conclusion I formed while doing business with him; there is still room in…


Book cover of Principles: Life and Work

Hermann Simon Why did I love this book?

Ray Dalio is well known as the founder of the investment firm Bridgewater Associates and a successful investor. He has systematically worked his way up. This career pattern is not unusual for successful people and not the main reason why I recommend this book. What impressed me much more was the clarity with which he formulated his principles and, above all, the stringency with which he then implemented these principles. This requires an unusual discipline and perseverance that I, myself an entrepreneur, envy Ray Dalio for. Anyone who manages to apply this method will be successful.

By Ray Dalio,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Principles as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

#1 New York Times Bestseller

"Significant...The book is both instructive and surprisingly moving." -The New York Times

Ray Dalio, one of the world's most successful investors and entrepreneurs, shares the unconventional principles that he's developed, refined, and used over the past forty years to create unique results in both life and business-and which any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals.

In 1975, Ray Dalio founded an investment firm, Bridgewater Associates, out of his two-bedroom apartment in New York City. Forty years later, Bridgewater has made more money for its clients than any other hedge fund in…


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The Boldly Inclusive Leader: Transform Your Workplace (and the World) by Valuing the Differences Within

By Minette Norman,

Book cover of The Boldly Inclusive Leader: Transform Your Workplace (and the World) by Valuing the Differences Within

Minette Norman Author Of The Boldly Inclusive Leader: Transform Your Workplace (and the World) by Valuing the Differences Within

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I spent 20 years leading global teams in Silicon Valley, and I had few role models for empathetic, human, and inclusive leadership. I was committed to being the leader I wished I’d had all those years. I had a lot of success, a big VP-level job, and I loved my work. Then, I got a new manager who bullied, undermined, and silenced me. I decided I wanted to help leaders do better. I became an author, speaker, and consultant focused on inspiring leaders to create an environment where everyone is heard, seen, and respected.

Minette's book list on amazing leader, listener, and human being

What is my book about?

To create innovative, collaborative, and high-performing organizations, we need a new leadership model.

Speaker, consultant, and former Silicon Valley executive Minette Norman is committed to inspiring leaders by sharing some of the most important things she learned over the decades she spent in the corporate world, such as: every human being needs to feel they belong; teams thrive when everyone can share their unique ideas and experiences; innovation is a group activity; empathy and compassion are leadership superpowers; and, leaders set the tone by what they say, do, reward, and tolerate.

This is not a book about quick fixes or…

The Boldly Inclusive Leader: Transform Your Workplace (and the World) by Valuing the Differences Within

By Minette Norman,


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