Here are the books these 25 successful Australian CEOs will be reading this summer

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The weather is warming up and department stores are hanging decorations in their windows, which can only mean on thing: Summer is coming.

Plan ahead to make this summer enjoyable and productive by choosing a great book.

Whether it be for the mind, leadership or business, these are the books 25 successful Australian CEOs will be reading this summer.

Hint: Maybe you can ask for one for Christmas.

A Song For Nagasaki: The Story of Takashi Nagai-Scientist, Convert, and Survivor of the Atomic Bomb by Fr. Paul Glynn

A Song For Nagasaki is sitting on my bedside table right now. It’s a biography of Takashi Nagai, a Japanese physician and survivor of the atomic bombing.

— Tara Commerford, Vice President and Managing Director of GoDaddy ANZ

Buy it here >>

Soccernomics: Why England Loses, Why Spain, Germany, and Brazil Win, and Why the US, Japan, Australia and Even Iraq Are Destined to Become the Kings of the World’s Most Popular Sport by Simon Kuper and Stefan Szymanski

I tend to stock up during the year and try to get through everything over the break while we’re in the UK. I’m currently finishing off Soccernomics, which is like Moneyball meets Freakenomoics.

— Adam Schwab, Co-Founder and CEO of Luxury Escapes

Buy it here >>

Zero to One by Peter Thiel and Blake Masters

Zero to One delves into the philosophy and strategy of one of Silicon Valley’s most successful founders and VCs. He has an unorthodox approach with some key learnings and actionable items. I’ve actually read this book already, but I’ll be reading it for the second time this Summer. It’s the kind of book you finish and you know there will be more nuggets the second time around. I couldn’t put it down the first time I read it so I’m looking forward to digging into it again.
— Ryan Hanly, CEO & Co-Founder at Travello

Buy it here >>

Monash and Chauvel: How Australia’s two greatest generals changed the course of world history by Roland Perry

I’ve always been fascinated with reading history and strategy around wars, so I’m pretty firmly in the “non-fiction camp”. I was recently given Roland Perry’s Monash and Chauvel: How Australia’s Two Greatest Generals Changed the Course of World History by my mother-in-law. She keeps asking if I’m enjoying it so that one is next on my list to get started on, and full credit she suggested it given my interest in the topic.
— Simon Banks, SVP and MD of APAC of Hyperwallet

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Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility by Patty McCord

This summer I’ll be reading Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility by Patty McCord as it was recommended by another co-founder of The Sharing Hub. I think any business leader wants to build this kind of culture in their company.
— Mike Rosenbaum, co-founder of The Sharing Hub and CEO of

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Alibaba: The House that Jack Built by Duncan Clark

Jack Ma has such an inspirational story. He started his career as a teacher and went on to build Alibaba into one of the world’s largest companies, raising the largest global IPO ever and creating an e-commerce site that has disrupted the global retail industry. The book details how a tremendous entrepreneur has overcome significant challenges to reach global success.
— Kelly Quirk, CEO of Harrier Human Capital

Buy it here >>

Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World by Tim Ferriss

Ferriss’ book is a massive collection of generally applicable mentorship advice and pearls of wisdom from the world’s best. The advice is practical and are things you can implement in everyday life.
— Darren Winterford, CEO of Ed App

Buy it here >>

It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

The default in a startup is “it is crazy at work”. I’m reading this as a challenge to that idea and in the hopes of finding a way to make it at least a little less crazy.
— Elliot Smith, CEO of Maxwell Plus

But it here >>

Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future by Ashlee Vance

This summer I’ll be reading Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future. I’m looking forward to seeing what it has to offer and to learn more about this innovative character.
— Kym Atkins, CEO of The Volte

Buy it here >>

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

I really enjoyed Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk on Why which led me to buy his book. It is a simple yet powerful concept that can have a direct impact on your business and how you think. This is a great book to help you understand why your company does what it does.
— Mick Spencer, CEO of ONTHEGO

Buy it here >>

Global Green Shift: When Ceres met Gaia by John A. Matthews

One of the sharpest Australian minds explains the economic and political forces that are driving the greening of capitalism in Asia. This remarkable technological shift – now being led by China – will have massive implications for Australia and the world. The book promises a completely novel take on this transformation and its global implications.
— Ken Wallace, CEO of Educator Impact

Buy it here >>

21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari

I’ll be reading 21 Lessons for the 21st Century by Yuval Noah Harari as I’ve been recommended it by other founders. I’m looking forward to gaining more insights from Noah following on from his incredible book Sapiens.
— Alexis Soulopoulos, co-founder of The Sharing Hub and CEO of Mad Paws

Buy it here >>

On China by Henry Kissinger

The rise and rise of China over the past several decades has and will continue to shape the world we live in. Australia now finds itself in an increasingly complex position in a changing geopolitical environment. As a student of Chinese language, culture, and history for the past 30 years I look forward reading about the personal experiences of one of the most famous diplomats of the 20th Century and his observations of China through a foreign policy lens.
— Adrian Harrison, CEO of Huobi Australia

Buy it here >>

The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley

Matt Ridley makes the argument for markets as the main driver for human progress. It is an interesting summer read about the history of trade and innovation.
— Adrian Przelozny, CEO of Independent Reserve

Buy it here >>

Age of Ambition: Chasing Fortune, Truth, and Faith in the New China by Evan Osnos

Many books have been written about the return of China but few compare to the Age of Ambition. Rather than statistics about China’s economic growth, Osnos takes us on a more personal journey through the eyes of people from every strata of Chinese society.
— Adam Brimo, CEO of Openlearning

Buy it here >>

Good Strategy/ Bad Strategy: The difference and why it matters by Richard Rumelt

Summer is usually a time for swimming and surfing but I always make a point to tackle one non-fiction work over the break. I’m a student of strategy and I’m looking forward to finally opening the cover on Good Strategy Bad Strategy by Richard P Rumelt is a book that I’ve had on the shelf for a while now and am growing impatient to dig into. It’s a book that challenges some of the orthodoxies about strategy formulation and it’s important to always remain open to new perspectives.
— Martin Mercer, CEO and Managing Director of Arq Group

Buy it here >>

Sapiens: A brief history of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari

I walked past a store and the cover caught my eye. I read the blurb and thought that the history of humankind and what it means to be human is a topic well worth pursuing this summer.
— Richard Watson, Country Director of Twilio

Buy it here >>

The Orange Balloon Dog: Bubbles, Turmoil and Avarice in the Contemporary Art Market by Don Thompson

I love modern art and am fascinated by how the market works and how unregulated it is. Not exactly a lazy summer romance novel, but nice to read something other than a business book or report for a change.
— Taryn Williams, CEO and founder of and Wink Models

Buy it here >>

Think Like a Freak: Secrets of the Rogue Economist by Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt

Time is always a challenge so my current reading tends to be what I call “airplane books”; something a bit light and fun. I enjoyed Dubner and Levitt’s first books and I think this one is probably a little more in the “self-improvement” category, how to look at challenges a little differently etc.
— Greg Bader, CEO of

Buy it here >>

Finding my Virginity Richard Branson

To be continually inspired by one of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs, and to gain an insight into almost 50 years of business building into one of the world’s most iconic brands.
— Mark Gustowski, CEO of QUT Creative Enterprise Australia

Buy it here >>

Mastering Change – Introduction to Organizational Therapy by Dr. Ichak Adizes

Dr. Adizes was my mentor for some years and we worked closely together, his theory and methods provide the best tool box for a CEO. Change is a constant thing we need to learn to manage.
— Haggai Alon, CEO of Security Matters

Buy it here >>

Around the Grounds by Peter Newlinds and David Brewster

I’m not a great one for self-help or business books. I mostly need my books to provide me an escape from business/work, hence a big preference for fiction. Having said that, bios are a big plus. I’ve been based in the UK for the past few months so technically it has just been summer here, so these are the books I’ve just read. I’ve just finished a lovely nostalgic journey through the eyes of former ABC commentator Peter Newlinds – Around the Grounds. If you’re my vintage or thereabouts (early 50’s) and a sports tragic then you’ll get a big kick out of this.
— Jaimie Fuller, Executive Chairman of SKINS

Buy it here >>

Grit by Angela Duckworth

As a passionate entrepreneur, I relate well to the hypothesis the author develops as a means to achieve outstanding success. Angela’s research suggests that success does not stem from talent alone but rather a combination of passion and long term perseverance, also referred to as GRIT! I also believe timing to be an important factor as well.
— Zane Yoshida, CEO of Fiji Kava

Buy it here >>

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande

How we care for our ageing population reflects on us as a society and it is more relevant in Australia today than ever before. Having spent time in countries from the United States to Rwanda, India, Pakistan, China and Afghanistan I frequently see how different cultures think about ageing and death and I love the way Atul Gawande writes and conveys what are truly powerful messages. Atul is a leading voice in the call for a change to how we think about health care. Rather than ensuring health and survival, it is “to enable well-being.” I can’t wait to get stuck into this book.
— Tony Brennan, CEO of Talisium

Buy it here >>

Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio

I’m not a fan of fiction but I do enjoy reading books that help me improve as a person, and in particular as a business owner and CEO. It comes highly recommended and I like what I’ve read about it helping people to focus on what its important and taking responsibility for your outcomes.
— Nima Yassini, CEO and founder, New Republique

Buy it here >>

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