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7 Leader Profile Books

7 Best Leader Profiles that All Managers Should Read

Great business books about great business leaders.

Follow their paths to success.

Listed below are seven of the best biographies and autobiographies ever written about some of the most successful business leaders and entrepreneurs of our generation (the last 25 years). These are the books that leaders, aspiring leaders, and entrepreneurs absolutely must have on their bookshelves. Read them once for inspiration and big-picture tactics, but refer back to them repeatedly for decision-making advice and leadership perspective.

Our Top 7 (in no particular order):

STEVE JOBS
by Walter Isaacson

Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs conducted over multiple years—as well as interviews with more than a hundred family members, friends, adversaries, competitors, and colleagues—Isaacson has written the authoritative story of the roller-coaster life and searingly intense personality of the former Apple CEO. Steve Jobs is an inside look at a creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionized six different industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.


THE EVERYTHING STORE: JEFF BEZOS AND THE AGE OF AMAZON
by Brad Stone

Brad Stone enjoyed unprecedented access to current and former Amazon employees and Bezos family members, and this book is the first in-depth, fly-on-the-wall account of life at Amazon. The Everything Store is the book that the business world can’t stop talking about, the revealing, definitive biography of the company that placed one of the first and largest bets on the Internet and forever changed the way we shop and read.


THE SNOWBALL: WARREN BUFFETT AND THE BUSINESS OF LIFE
by Alice Schroeder

This is the book that recounts the life and times of one of the most respected (and richest) men in the world, Warren Buffett. The legendary investor has never written a memoir, but did allow just one writer, Alice Schroeder, unprecedented access to explore directly with him – and those close to him – his work, opinions, struggles, triumphs, follies and wisdom. The result is The Snowball – a personally revealing and complete biography of the man known everywhere as the “Oracle of Omaha”.


TOUGH CHOICES: A MEMOIR
by Carly Fiorina

As Chief Executive Officer of Hewlett Packard (HP) from 1999 to 2005, Fiorina was the first woman to lead a Top-20 company as ranked by Fortune Magazine. In 2002, Fiorina oversaw what was then the largest technology sector merger in business history, in which HP acquired rival PC manufacturer, Compaq for approximately $25 billion. In Tough Choices, Fiorina candidly reveals her rise through the technology ranks, her triumphs and failures, her personal fears, and the difficult confrontations she endured during her tenure as CEO.


LOSING MY VIRGINITY: HOW I SURVIVED, HAD FUN, AND MADE A FORTUNE DOING BUSINESS MY WAY
by Richard Branson

This book is chock-full of out-of-the-ordinary, outrageous stories of one of the most innovative and daring entrepreneurs of the last half-century. Branson, in his own words, describes how he dropped out of school, thumbed his nose up at the so-called experts, and went on to influence the formation of nearly one hundred successful business ventures. Branson’s risk-taking nature comes through clearly, as does his softer, more balanced side. Losing My Virginity is a great all-around read about a truly unconventional (but uber-successful) entrepreneur.


SHOE DOG: A MEMOIR BY THE CREATOR OF NIKE
by Phil Knight

In this candid and riveting memoir, and for the first time ever, Nike founder and board chairman Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands. With personal stories of overcoming obstacles to million-dollar business decisions, Shoe Dog offers loads of practical advice about perseverance, decision-making, branding, entrepreneurship, and leadership.


JACK: STRAIGHT FROM THE GUT
by Jack Welch with John Byrne

Follow the career of former General Electric CEO Jack Welch from his beginnings as a stuttering, competitive kid from working-class Salem, Massachusetts, to his early days as a GE engineer, and finally to his ascension to CEO and a 20-year reign at the top. Fortune Magazine named him “The Manager of the Century” in 1999. During his tenure at the helm of General Electric, Jack Welch defied conventional wisdom and turned an aging behemoth of a corporation into a lean, mean engine of growth and corporate innovation. In Jack: Straight From the Gut, Welch stresses the importance of people, originality, creativity, and common sense while sharing his thoughts on what it takes to be a great leader.

We hope you enjoyed reading through our list. Leave a comment below and let us know:

  • How many of these 7 books you have already read?
  • Which of these books do you still need to read?
  • Which business profiles did our list miss?

Happy Reading!

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