15 must-read books by tech CEOs that will give you a peek inside their brilliant minds

Tech CEOs are some of the smartest people in the world.

And a lot of them want to share their ideas with anybody who will listen.

We’ve put together 15 of the best books written by current and former tech CEOs that will give you a peek inside their fabulous minds.

Peter Thiel - 'Zero to One'

Author: Peter Thiel, former CEO/founder of PayPal, cofounder of Palantir, and early investor in Facebook and many other companies.

Book description: 'Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1...Tomorrow's champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today's marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.'

Amazon Rating: 4.5/5

Most positive review: 'Zero to One is a refreshing intellectual deep dive into the motives behind entrepreneurship. It's full of unique, practical insights, and discusses success in terms of human nature and culture.'

Most critical review: 'I had high hopes, but this book was just OK...Instead, the book is basically a series of rambling, disjointed essays that spell out Thiel's philosophies on the world, none of which are particularly earth shattering.'

Order here.

Marc Benioff - 'Behind the Cloud'

Author: Marc Benioff, CEO/cofounder of Salesforce

Book description: 'For the first time, Marc Benioff, the visionary founder, chairman and CEO of salesforce.com, tells how he and his team created and used new business, technology, and philanthropic models tailored to this time of extraordinary change.'

Amazon Rating: 4.5/5

Most positive review: 'This is a fun to read book chock-full of no-holds-barred advice on everything a growth company faces...In short, this is a practical guide on how to grow a successful business without selling your soul to Mephistopheles.

Most critical review: 'This is a well-written book I would have preferred some more in-depth stories rather than a series of management platitudes...In sum, this is a good but not great book.'

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Andy Grove - 'Only the Paranoid Survive'

Author: Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel

Book description: 'Grove reveals his strategy of focusing on a new way of measuring the nightmare moment every leader dreads--when massive change occurs and a company must, virtually overnight, adapt or fall by the wayside.'

Amazon Rating: 4.2/5

Most positive review: 'Andrew Grove was at the center of this company from its inception, and this is his story in his own words...Warmly recommended as a must for all students of business.

Most critical review: 'The book is chock full of common sense, backed up with case studies from the world of successful -- and not so successful -- American businesses.'

Order here.

Ben Horowitz - 'The Hard Thing About Hard Things'

Author: Ben Horowitz, cofounder and partner at VC firm Andreessen Horowitz, former CEO of Opsware

Book description: 'While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyses the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he's gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies.'

Amazon Rating: 4.6/5

Most positive review: 'As someone who spent 20+ years in Silicon Valley, including both the dotcom boom and bust eras, I felt Ben's pain when I read this book.'

Most critical review: 'This book is like countless 'how to be a leader' books on the market, and says a lot of the same things. Only this time you get it from the perspective of a guy flailing to build a silicon valley startup to a point where he can unload it on some unsuspecting buyer and walk away with enough money to retire at 35...'

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Lou Gerstner - 'Who Says Elephants Can't Dance?'

Author: Lou Gerstner, former CEO of IBM

Book description: 'Sums up Lou Gerstner's historic business achievement, bringing IBM back from the brink of insolvency to lead the computer business once again.'

Amazon Rating: 3.8/5

Most positive review: 'This book focuses on the processes of leadership and management, strategic choice, and the decision process. But it speaks also to the essential importance of corporate culture, at IBM, a way of life that is based on values rather than just on being first.'

Most critical review: 'Unfortunately, he does not go into enough detail for the reader to fully understand what he faced and how he did it. Neither the technology nor the brutal methods he had to employ were adequately addressed, at least for me.'

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Chris Anderson - 'The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More'

Author: Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics, ex-Wired magazine Editor-in-Chief

Book description: 'Chris Anderson shows how the future of commerce and culture isn't in hits, the high-volume head of a traditional demand curve, but in what used to be regarded as misses--the endlessly long tail of that same curve.'

Amazon Rating: 4.2/5

Most positive review: 'The era that Anderson characterises as 'a market of multitudes' continues to grow in terms of both its nature and extent. In this book, Anderson takes his reader on a guided tour of this market as he explains what the probable impact the new market will have and what will be required to prosper in it.

Most critical review: 'But how does the ordinary businessperson experience the success of the eBays of the world? Here, Anderson falls short...Understanding an economy is only the first step. The real question is - what are you going to do about it to make yourself an integral part of the Long Tail?'

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Ed Catmull - 'Creativity, Inc.'

Author: Ed Catmull, cofounder and president of Pixar

Book description: 'A book for managers who want to lead their employees to new heights, a manual for anyone who strives for originality, and the first-ever, all-access trip into the nerve center of Pixar Animation...'

Amazon Rating: 4.7/5

Most positive review: 'With this book, Ed Catmull has given the world an amazing gift. Much more than a book for managers, it contains wisdom and stories that you will carry into the rest of your life.'

Most critical review: 'It's not a good business book because the message is too mixed. You get Ed Catmull's views told from his memory and mind mixed together with Amy Wallace's impressions of Ed Catmull's views, as gleaned from talking with Ed Catmull and others around him. The mixture, unfortunately, does not meld well.'

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Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg - 'How Google Works'

Author: Eric Schmidt, executive chairman and ex-CEO of Google, and Jonathan Rosenberg, former senior VP of products at Google.

Book description: 'An entertaining, page-turning primer containing lessons that Eric and Jonathan learned as they helped build the company.'

Amazon Rating: 4.4/5

Most positive review: 'Eric and Jonathan cover a vast territory in their engaging discussion of Google's leadership in our software driven era...Overall, my sentiment about the book is summarized by my ordering copies for my sons, nieces and nephews, regardless of the sectors they work within, or majors they are pursuing.'

Most critical review: 'Nothing new here folks. Google is unique, it runs itself. The author doesn't get credit (but thinks he does) for the influence or direction of what it is now.'

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Mark Cuban - 'How to Win at the Sport of Business'

Author: Mark Cuban, owner of Dallas Mavericks, founder of Broadcast.com

Book description: 'Using the greatest material from his popular Blog Maverick, Cuban has collected and updated his postings on business and life to provide a catalogue of insider knowledge on what it takes to become a thriving entrepreneur.'

Amazon Rating: 4.5/5

Most positive review: 'Small quirks aside, this book is a good, fast read filled with lots of valuable information. There is by no means anything earth shattering here, but there is plenty of useful information for anyone running a business or thinking of starting one.'

Most critical review: 'I was somewhat disappointed to find that this book read like a series of motivational posters (or, I suppose, blog posts--as that is the source material here).'

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Reid Hoffman - 'The Startup of You'

Author: Reid Hoffman, founder and ex-CEO of LinkedIn, investor at Greylock Partners.

Book description: 'This book isn't about cover letters or resumes. Instead, you will learn the best practices of Silicon Valley start-ups, and how to apply these entrepreneurial strategies to your career.'

Amazon Rating: 4.3/5

Most positive review: '...an excellent book to motivate and inspire you to take charge and accountability of your professional career. The authors intertwine interesting historical references and extensive personal experiences to provide a roadmap to transforming your career.'

Most critical review: 'Rather than drawing directly on their experiences as founders and venture capitalists, Hoffman and Casnocha make a rote journey through modern Silicon Valley-themed business book territory.'

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Bill Gates - 'The Road Ahead'

Author: Bill Gates, former CEO and cofounder of Microsoft

Book description: 'Focusing on the so-called 'information superhighway,' Gates describes the breathtaking changes that will affect us all, and how emerging technologies will transform human existence in unprecedented ways.'

Amazon Rating: 3.5/5

Most positive review: 'It maybe a historic piece of writing, but equally it is one of the most important books about computers ever written. If you like computers and if you like technology then read this modern classic.'

Most critical review: 'Seriously this is Bill Gates talking about the future but out of 300 pages about 9 are dedicated to talking about the internet -- and most of that is buried with other information.'

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Tony Hsieh - 'Delivering Happiness'

Author: Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

Book description: 'The hip, iconoclastic CEO of Zappos shows how a different kind of corporate culture can make a huge difference in achieving remarkable results -- by actually creating a company culture that values happiness --and then delivers on it.'

Amazon Rating: 4.6/5

Most positive review: 'In this hard-to-put-down book, Tony Hseieh (CEO of Zappos) tells the story of how his life became entangled with the life of Zappos...Overall a highly enjoyable book, very nicely written in an informal style, with a great story and good pointers to further resources.'

Most critical review: 'I am not sure the book delivers happiness. But here's what it does do, and does very well. It provides an insight into the success of one of America's trendiest and high performing companies as well as the brain of the man behind it.'

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Michael Dell - 'Direct from Dell'

Author: Michael Dell; founder and CEO of Dell

Book description: 'As Dell journeys through his childhood adventures, ups and downs, and mistakes made along the way, he reflects on invaluable lessons learned.'

Amazon Rating: 4.1/5

Most positive review: 'I have my own business and found Mr. Dell's book refreshing and packed with simple, but useful strategies. It is no wonder that Dell has turned the PC Industry on it's ear. Read it, you'll benefit. Great book.'

Most critical review: 'This book is essentially a superficial narrative of the rise of Dell computer from its start at the room of Michael Dell at University to its growth into the direct sales computer company. There are no real insights into the success of the company.'

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David Packard - 'The HP Way'

Author: David Packard, founder and ex-CEO of HP

Book description: 'Much more personal than standard corporate histories, David Packard's The HP Way provides insights into managing and motivating people and inspiration for would -- be entrepreneurs.'

Amazon Rating: 4.1/5

Most positive review: 'What made this book stand out for me was the fact that in learning about the HP history, you also found out what Hewlett and Packard both did to make their company one where employees would actually enjoy working at.'

Most critical review: 'Once you get through the first 6 or 7 chapters the book becomes and absolute GEM. Until then -- and unfortunately you almost have to read the first few chapters -- the book is a positive cure for sleeplessness.'

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Maynard Webb - 'Rebooting Work'

Author: Maynard Webb, founder of Webb Investment Network, former CEO of LiveOps, former COO of eBay

Book description: 'Maynard Webb has always been the go-to guy when Silicon Valley companies have thorny problems...In his first book, Webb brings this same focus to tackle outdated models of work, created a century ago, which no longer sync up with either individual or employers' needs.

Amazon Rating: 4.5/5

Most positive review: 'I was pleasantly surprised at just how engrossing it was, filled with tangible real-world advice and insight while being exceedingly well-written (I finished it in a little over a day).'

Most critical review: 'I already 'get' that work is changing, entrepreneurship is key, leverage the internet, work smarter, build good systems -- that sort of stuff. Thus, I didn't feel it was necessary to trudge through the page after page of 'stories' and examples. It seemed like too much.'

Order here.

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