The most recommended CEO books

Who picked these books? Meet our 61 experts.

61 authors created a book list connected to CEOs, and here are their favorite CEO books.
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Book cover of Exit Planning: The Definitive Guide

John F. Dini Author Of Your Exit Map: Navigating the Boomer Bust

From my list on business owners planning a transition.

Who am I?

I have been a coach to business owners for the last 25 years, with a concentration on exit planning for the last twelve. During that time I have personally worked with over 500 owners. I’ve written 4 books on the subject, two of which were award winners. I’ve seen so many owners who built excellent businesses, but are stymied by how to leave them without deserting their employees and customers. Almost two-thirds of business owners over 60 years old have no plan for the transition of their businesses. I am on a mission to fix that.

John's book list on business owners planning a transition

John F. Dini Why did John love this book?

John Brown is the Founder of the Business Enterprise Institute (BEI,) the organization that grants the Certified Exit Planner (CExP)designation. This is, without a doubt, the most comprehensive book on the options, strengths, and pitfalls of exiting your business. It is, however, pretty dry for the average owner, and is much more useful as a reference work for professional advisors.

By John H. Brown,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Leaving your business is the most significant financial transaction of your life, and nothing has greater financial and emotional consequences. The future quality of your life depends upon how well you manage your exit process.

The Definitive Guide lays out the steps you must take to achieve all of your dreams and aspirations as you exit your business. Author John Brown shares the stories, tested process and exit planning roadmap that is the compilation of wisdom from hundreds of exit planning advisors across North America. These advisors, and John Brown’s company, BEI, create thousands of owner exit plans every year.…


Book cover of Wildfire

Estelle Pettersen Author Of Rainbow Desire

From my list on romance with a thrilling plot.

Who am I?

I am a big fan of romance books with thrilling plots. It’s partly how I remember the stories years later. When I wrote Flowers for Kate in the Rainbow Desire anthology, it started as a pure romance, but I added a supernatural thrill. One reader admitted checking over her shoulder in case a spectral being was there while reading the story. I love writing stories with twists and turns, and surprising readers. Maybe it comes from my childhood days of being a Scooby-Doo fan—I loved the thrill of guessing the mysteries behind each character and the villain being unmasked. I’m an ex-journalist who has published romance stories from erotic to sweet.

Estelle's book list on romance with a thrilling plot

Estelle Pettersen Why did Estelle love this book?

Wildfire starts with the protagonist Stephanie Fournier working as an assistant in a boring 9 to 5 job. Yet, this book is anything but boring. Things heat up very fast when gorgeous CEO Robert Quinlan notices her, and the two become passionate. There’s a catch…she’s a virgin. Will his sudden disinterest in Stephanie mean the end of a romance? Or, can experts be seduced by amateurs? And, there is trouble brewing when another woman’s jealousy bubbles over Quinlan. Wildfire is book one in the Smoke Chaser series. It’s packed with great dialogue, a ruthless female antagonist who drops nasty surprises in Stephanie’s path, and a fiery romance that honors the story’s title. 

By Annabel Allan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Stephanie Fournier is an assistant at a law firm in Toronto, Ontario. Her boring 9 to 5 starts to heat up when Robert Quinlan, the gorgeous CEO of the company, takes a special interest in her. At first she responds to his obvious interest with glee... and then he finds out she's a virgin.

His sudden disinterest is not only embarrassing, but awkward around the workplace, especially with an undeniable heat still present between them. Stephanie sets out to prove she's unshaken, only to entice him back into her thrall. But can an amateur really win over an expert in…


Book cover of High Output Management

Ronny Kohavi Author Of Trustworthy Online Controlled Experiments: A Practical Guide to A/B Testing

From my list on data-driven enthusiasts, and believers in Twyman’s Law.

Who am I?

I had an epiphany at Amazon, when we ran A/B tests at scale and observed the low success rate: we learned to adjust our intuitions. I recall the denial at Microsoft when I proposed to evaluate features with A/B tests “because over 50% of them failed to improve key metrics at Amazon.”  The typical response? We have better program managers. When we started to evaluate ideas at Microsoft, over 2/3 of them failed to improve key metrics, and at Bing, the rate was about 80%. By 2019, most large products at Microsoft were making data-driven decisions with over 100 A/B test treatments launched every workday. I currently teach an A/B Testing class.

Ronny's book list on data-driven enthusiasts, and believers in Twyman’s Law

Ronny Kohavi Why did Ronny love this book?

This great management book was written by an engineer who clearly explains the rationale for his recommendations.

Andy Grove, former chairman and CEO of Intel, is credited with driving the growth phase of Silicon Valley, was named Time’s Man of the Year, and is credited as the “Father of OKRs.” One example that I love: a new hire does poor work. His manager says: “He has to make his own mistakes…that’s how he learns!”

Grove writes: “absolutely wrong…the tuition is paid by his customers…[instead of by the manager].” Another gem: “Review rough drafts [you delegated]; don't wait until your subordinates have spent time polishing them into final form before you find out that you have a basic problem with the contents.”

By Andrew S Grove,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked High Output Management as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The president of Silicon Valley's Intel Corporation sets forth the three basic ideas of his management philosophy and details numerous specific techniques to increase productivity in the manager's work and that of his colleagues and subordinates


Book cover of CEO of Me: Creating a Life That Works in the Flexible Job Age

Carol T. Kulik Author Of Human Resources for the Non-HR Manager

From my list on making work a better place to be.

Who am I?

The average person spends over 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime – that’s roughly one quarter to one third of a person’s life. I’m an academic researcher who studies work. I know how to design workplaces that are good for organizations (high productivity) and the people who work in them (high employee well-being). But if we leave it all up to senior management, we won’t generate positive changes fast enough. There’s a robust body of evidence that we can all use to make our local workplaces more supportive, inclusive, and fulfilling. I’m on a mission to make the world a better place, one workplace at a time. 

Carol's book list on making work a better place to be

Carol T. Kulik Why did Carol love this book?

We hear so much about flexibility at work, but most of the academic research is directed at senior managers (as in: “managers need to offer employees more flexibility”).

Professors Kossek and Lautsch deliberately flip that thinking. Their book is designed to help any employee become more mindful about how they can achieve better work-life balance – and to identify the changes that they can make to get there (even without their boss’s support).

This book inspired me to think about the very small changes that any of us can make in a workplace; it helped me to recognize that it’s not all up to the boss!

By Ellen Ernst Kossek, Brenda A. Lautsch,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

You are the CEO of your life: you, and nobody else. You can establish the new rules that will help you achieve true balance between work and the rest of your life. And if you don't do it, nobody else will. Now is the time to take control, and this is the book that will get you there. CEO of Me is like no other "work-life balance" book you've ever seen: there are no cliches here, and no one-size-fits all solutions. Instead, Drs. Ellen Kossek and Brenda Lautsch help you identify which of six worklife "patterns" you fit into and…


Book cover of Fighting Mr. Knight: A Billionaire Office Romance

Morgan Lennox Author Of Stack the Deck: A Billionaire Romance

From my list on steamy billionaires in London.

Who am I?

There are so many billionaire romances out there based in America, but as a Brit, there’s nothing quite like reading a contemporary romance based in London. The capital city of Great Britain, there are a great number of reasons why books here are simply to die for. The history, the culture, the mixture of communities, and the potential for passion – in my opinion, there’s no better place to escape to in a book. Even better if there are delicious characters to lose yourself with…

Morgan's book list on steamy billionaires in London

Morgan Lennox Why did Morgan love this book?

I had a ‘property tycoons’ itch that I needed to scratch, and this book by Rosa Lucas was exactly what I needed.

I adored this enemies to lovers high stakes romance, and the witty heroine was someone I was rooting for from the very instant I met her. With a dash of CEO/employee and a whole host of fire, this book needs to be on your ereader.

Book cover of Power Plays: Shakespeare's Lessons in Leadership and Management

Ken Wilcox Author Of Leading Through Culture: How Real Leaders Create Cultures That Motivate People to Achieve Great Things

From my list on leadership showing the art of motivating people.

Who am I?

Ken began his career as an Assistant Professor of German Studies at the University of North Carolina. After ten years in academe, he went to the Harvard Business School, following which he embarked on a 36-year career banking. Ken worked at Shawmut Bank, Bank of New England, and from 1990 through 2019 at Silicon Valley Bank. Mr. Wilcox earned a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School, as well as a PhD in German studies Ohio State University. He published Leading Through Culture: How Real Leaders Create Cultures that Motivate People to Achieve Great Things and soon he'll be publishing a second book One Bed Two Dreams: When Western Companies Fail in China.

Ken's book list on leadership showing the art of motivating people

Ken Wilcox Why did Ken love this book?

People often ask themselves, why study literature. What’s the use?

This is the only book I have ever read that attempts to show how literature applies to leadership and management. The authors, one a professor of Shakespearian literature, and the other a management consultant, attempts to show how Shakespeare’s play contain practical lessons for leaders.

The chapter I liked most talks about how and why the CEO doesn’t always want their successor to succeed, and how they sometimes sabotage their successor’s success.

By John O. Whitney, Tina Packer, Steve Noble (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What Can Shakespeare teach us about effective leadership? Everything, according to John Whitney, leading professor at Columbia Business School, and Tina Packer, founder, president and artistic director of the critically acclaimed theatre group Shakespeare & Company. Whether we are dealing with an indecisive Hamlet or a corporate Lear, this innovative approach to management helps us tap into the timeless wisdom and profitable genius of the Bard. The issues fuelling the intricate plots of Shakespeare's 400-year-old plays are the same common yet complex issues that business leaders contend with today. John Whitney and Tina Packer compare Shakespeare's plays with management techniques,…


Book cover of Traffic Secrets: The Underground Playbook for Filling Your Websites and Funnels with Your Dream Customers

Andreas Ioannou Author Of Entrepreneur Makeover

From my list on digital marketing that will help you to stand out.

Who am I?

I am a self-taught marketer. I have gained all my digital marketing knowledge by reading articles and watching videos online. I am the author of the digital marketing book, Entrepreneur Makeover. On my Entrepreneur Makeover website, I share digital marketing strategies through my articles that help people to promote their website/business for free or at a minimal cost. I have a passion for digital marketing because I realised how important digital marketing is in order to succeed in any kind of business. You can have a great website or product but if no one knows about it, this is something that will result in the failure of a business.

Andreas' book list on digital marketing that will help you to stand out

Andreas Ioannou Why did Andreas love this book?

The Traffic Secrets book will teach you how to attract your dream customers to your websites and sales funnels. 

The author, Russell Brunson, is the CEO and co-founder of Clickfunnels (a software company). 

He is also the author of the bestselling books DotCom Secrets and Expert Secrets.

In his Traffic Secrets book, Russell Brunson reveals 20 of the most effective ways to increase the traffic in your funnel.

By Russell Brunson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Master the evergreen traffic strategies to fill your website and funnels with your dream customers in this timeless book from the $100M entrepreneur and co-founder of the software company ClickFunnels.

The biggest problem that most entrepreneurs have isn't creating an amazing product or service; it's getting their future customers to discover that they even exist. Every year, tens of thousands of businesses start and fail because the entrepreneurs don't understand this one essential skill: the art and science of getting tra­ffic (or people) to find you.
And that is a tragedy.
Traffic Secrets was written to help you get your…


Book cover of The Bossier Baby

Charlotte Offsay Author Of How to Return a Monster

From my list on picture books for expanding families.

Who am I?

I am a picture book author living in Los Angeles with my husband and two small children. Through my work, I hope to make children laugh, to inspire curiosity, and to create a magical world readers can lose themselves in time and time again.

Charlotte's book list on picture books for expanding families

Charlotte Offsay Why did Charlotte love this book?

Boss Baby is used to being in charge but when his baby sister arrives, it is clear that there is a new CEO in town, and he is not happy about the perks she is getting that he never got. Boss baby feels replaced and ignored until an unexpected move from the new CEO shows that perhaps there is room for two CEOs after all. With a loud fun voice and adorable artwork, this is a hilarious and heart-squeezing read.

By Marla Frazee,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bossier Baby as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Change is in the air-the Boss Baby's staff has stopped taking his direction! It seems that there is a new CEO in town; from the moment she comes home, Boss Baby's little sister is extremely loud and is demanding all sorts of corporate perks he never got. Can the Boss Baby and his staff get used to the new corporate structure?


Book cover of Most Eligible Billionaire

M. Malone Author Of Beg Me (Mess with Me)

From my list on romantic comedies to make you LOL in public.

Who am I?

Hi! I’m M. Malone, a NYT, USA Today Bestseller, and RITA award winner. My ultimate goal in life is to make readers laugh in the most inappropriate places possible. When I moved away from home after college, it was difficult to make friends in a brand new city. Romantic comedies provided the joy I needed to go out into the real world and thrive. Now I get to make up stories that make other people laugh and in some cases pee their pants just a little (hey, I’m not judging).

M.'s book list on romantic comedies to make you LOL in public

M. Malone Why did M. love this book?

I love dogs, of course (what am I, a monster?) but I especially love naughty dogs who cause trouble in books. Our heroine, who somehow fell into being a pet psychic medium (don’t ask) has now been named caretaker to the richest Maltese in New York. She is trying to keep Smuckers in fancy dog biscuits while dealing with a very unhappy CEO who makes it his mission to discredit her and take back control of his mother’s estate from the dog. The ultimate opposites attract romance. 

By Annika Martin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Most Eligible Billionaire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

He’s a powerful billionaire CEO who built the family business into an empire. The money doesn’t matter to him, but the company is his life. And then his eccentric mother wills it all to her tiny dog.**I’m Vicky, the dog whisperer. (Not really, but that’s what my elderly neighbor always says.) When she dies, she surprises everybody by leaving a corporation worth billions to her dog, Smuckers. With me as his spokesperson. Suddenly I go from running my Etsy store to sitting in an elegant Wall Street boardroom with Smuckers in my lap. And my neighbor’s son, Henry Locke, aka…


Book cover of Gray Goldfish: Navigating the Gray Areas to Successfully Lead Every Generation

Mark Beal Author Of ZEO: Introducing Gen Z – The New Generation Of Leaders

From my list on inspiring creativity, transformation, and innovation.

Who am I?

For more than 30 years I have been immersed in creative public relations and marketing from campaign development and activation to effectively engaging the primary consumer audiences. Me and my teams developed campaigns around such major sports and entertainment properties as the Olympic Games, Super Bowl, and The Rolling Stones. No matter your industry, inspiration for creativity, transformation, and innovation can come from many sources including the compelling storytelling featured in the books that I recommend.  

Mark's book list on inspiring creativity, transformation, and innovation

Mark Beal Why did Mark love this book?

I knew Stan before he was an author and one of the world’s leading experts on helping organizations worldwide increase customer loyalty, improve employee retention and generate positive word-of-mouth.

Stan is one of the most creative marketers I know, and one of the most engaging keynote speakers. His series of goldfish books are insightful and inspiring whether and employer or brand marketer.

Gray Goldfish is very relevant today as companies big and small are attempting to understand and lead an unprecedented multigenerational workplace.

By Stan Phelps, Brian Doyle,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How do you successfully lead the five generations in today’s workforce?

You need the tools to navigate. Filled with over 100 case studies and the Generational Matrix, Gray Goldfish provides the definitive map for leaders to follow as they recruit, train, manage, and inspire across the generations.

We believe the recipe for successfully leading across these five generations is not a one-size-fits-all solution. We believe the recipe comes from understanding nuances and being able to treat each team member as an individual. This involves going beyond the “Golden Rule” and treating others how you would like to be treated. Gray…