Books may have officially taken off when Guttenberg invented the printing press, but they existed way before this moment. Whether kept on stone tablets, on papyrus scrolls or in handmade volumes written by monks, human beings have always felt the need to share their thoughts and idea in a manner that could be understood by others: in writing. These books recommended by Warren Buffett and Bill Gates can help you change your life.
Sadly these days, books are losing their charm. We favor ebooks, which we read either on special devices (such as Kindle) or on mobile phones or computers. But, in one form or another, books are a core part of our lives since early childhood.
Each Book Is a Universe
The first book each of us had in hands was a coloring book. Even if it did not share much information, the coloring book helped us become more creative and develop our sense of aesthetics and proportions.
Later on, we loved to lose ourselves in the magic world of fairy tales, where superheroes fought terrible monsters in order to free the princess and save the kingdom. As we grew older, we spent an increasing number of hours reading school books that taught us various topics including math, history, and literature.
No matter what kind of books passed through your hands, each of them shaped you and made you into the person you are now. Many of your ideas, thoughts, and beliefs are influenced by the books you read since early childhood.
What Kind of Books Do Great Business Leaders Read?
So, if we are partly the products of books we read, what do successful people read? What kind of books do they favor and how does their reading list influence them? I tried to find an answer to this question by analyzing the books that inspired two of the most successful people on Earth: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates.
Before we take a look at their favorite books, let me tell you a few words about each of them.
Who Is Warren Buffett?
Born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1930, Warren Buffett is an investor, business magnate, speaker, and philanthropist. He is currently the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, a multinational holding company that owns major brands such as Duracell, Fruit of the Loom and Dairy Queen. Berkshire Hathaway also holds minority shares in American Express, Wells Fargo, Apple, Bank of America and The Coca-Cola Company.
As a result of his savvy investment strategy, Warren Buffett is currently the third richest person on Earth. Analysts across the globe acknowledge him as one of the most successful investors.
Apart from his business acumen, Warren Buffett is known as a generous philanthropist. He pledged to give away 99% of his wealth (currently valued at US &84.4 billion) to charity, primarily through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Who Is Bill Gates?
William Henry Gates III, better known as Bill Gates, is most famous as the principal founder of Microsoft Corporation and the inventor of Windows operating system. During his active years in the company, Bill Gates served as chairman, CEO and chief software architect. Until 2014, when he stepped down from all his positions, he was also the largest individual holder of Microsoft shares.
At present, Bill Gates is focused on charity work together with his wife through their Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
One of the key aims of the foundation is to eradicate polio at a global level, through programs developed together with Rotary International.
In 2009, Bill Gates founded The Giving Pledge with Warren Buffett. Together with other billionaires, he pledged to give away at least half of his wealth to philanthropy.
Let us discover the books that inspired Warren Buffett and Bill Gates:
Books That Inspired Warren Buffett and Bill Gates
1. The Myth of the Strong Leader, by Archie Brown
This is one of the books recommended by Bill Gates. Its author is an Oxford politics scholar, who challenges the widespread belief that strong, authoritative leaders are the most successful people.
Archie Brown uses real-life examples of 20th-century political leaders to support his ideas. He points out both the achievements and the failures of these leaders. Also demonstrates how leaders who rely on collaboration rather than on their personal charisma are the ultimate high achievers.
Even if you are not going to open a business, this book will help you judge characters more accurately and appreciate the true values of leadership.
2. Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales From the World of Wall Street by John Brooks
In 1991, Bill Gates asked Warren Buffett what his favorite book was. Buffett offered Gates this book. To this day, Bill Gates states that this is the best business book he has ever read.
In it, you will find real-life stories of incredible success and tremendous failure in one of the wealthiest strips of real estate on the planet: Wall Street.
You will read about the rise of Xerox, the scandals that marred the image of General Electric, and the Edsel disaster of Ford Motor Company.
Each iconic company is defined by a specific high or low point in its existence. It helps us understand how the corporate world works behind the lofty boardrooms and million dollars mergers.
Never ignore Warren Buffett’s book recommendations.
3. Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson
Books recommended by Bill Gates will help you understand how innovative products, such as the printing press or the battery came into being.
In this book, the author analyzes the life and work of some of the most creative inventors. And identifies seven key patterns they all have in common.
This Bill Gates book recommendation can be extremely helpful if you feel that you are stuck in routine work. If you’re unable to move forward and rethink your career choices, go for this book.
Who knows, you may even invent something amazing!
4. Where Are the Customers’ Yachts? by Fred Schwed
Warren Buffett wrote that this is “the funniest book ever written about investing” in a letter to the Berkshire Hathaway shareholders in 2006. Using humorous stories, the book teaches important lessons about how to invest money smartly.
The author, Fred Schwed, has a lot of experience working on the Wall Street and knows all of the opportunities and pitfalls a newbie investor will have if they decide to join the game.
5. Carol Dweck’s – Mindset: The New Psychology of Success
Carol Dweck is a Stanford University psychologist, and her book is among Bill Gates’ favorite reads. The author explains that success in every aspect of life is hugely influenced by the way in which people assess and value their skills, abilities, and talents.
The author explains that there are two types of mindsets.
- People with a fixed mindset believe that genetics, family circumstances and destiny make the difference between success and failure.
- People with a growth mindset are self-starters. Those who believe that they make their own destinies and are the driving forces behind their success.
Which one of these books will you include in your reading list for this year and why? Have you read any book that inspired and changed your life? Share your views in the comments section below!