News & Opinion

What Books CEOs Read

July 23, 2007


Harriet Rubin wrote a piece for the Saturday New York Times titled C. E. O.

Harriet Rubin wrote a piece for the Saturday New York Times titled C.E.O. Libraries Reveal Keys to Success.

Rubin says that people at the top read things other than business books:

If there is a C.E.O. canon, its rule is this: "Don't follow your mentors, follow your mentors' mentors," suggests David Leach, chief executive of the American Medical Association's accreditation division. Mr. Leach has stocked his cabin in the woods of North Carolina with the collected works of Aristotle.

Forget finding the business best-seller list in these libraries. "I try to vary my reading diet and ensure that I read more fiction than nonfiction," [Michael] Moritz said. "I rarely read business books, except for Andy Grove's 'Swimming Across,' which has nothing to do with business but describes the emotional foundation of a remarkable man. I re-read from time to time T. E. Lawrence's 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom,' an exquisite lyric of derring-do, the navigation of strange places and the imaginative ruses of a peculiar character. It has to be the best book ever written about leading people from atop a camel."

The libraries of Steve Jobs, Phil Knight, and Sidney Harman all make appearances.

Harriet is also a great person to write this story, having created the Currency imprint at Random House.

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