The most powerful people in business spend much of their limited free time on a quiet, contemplative pursuit — reading books.
For example, the third-richest person in the world, Warren Buffett, says he spends 80% of his day tearing through the written word.
We’ve pored over interviews with some of America’s most influential execs — from Bill Gates to Jeff Bezos and Oprah Winfrey — to find out what they read.
Here are the favourites.
When Buffett was 19 years old, he picked up a copy of legendary Wall Streeter Benjamin Graham's 'Intelligent Investor.'
He remembers it as one of the luckiest moments of his life, because within the book was the framework he would use for making investments.
'To invest successfully over a lifetime does not require a stratospheric IQ, unusual business insights, or inside information,' Buffett said. 'What's needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions from corroding that framework. This book precisely and clearly prescribes the proper framework. You must provide the emotional discipline.'
Former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates: 'Business Adventures: Twelve Classic Tales from the World of Wall Street' by John Brooks
On the recommendation of Buffett, Gates became obsessed with a book called 'Business Adventures,' a collection of New Yorker stories by John Brooks. The book reminds him that the foundations of successful businesses stay constant, Gates says, regardless of the decade.
For one thing, there's an essential human factor in every business endeavour. It doesn't matter if you have a perfect product, production plan and marketing pitch; you'll still need the right people to lead and implement those plans.
When Bezos was asked what the most influential book for him was, he didn't say a business book -- he gushed about a novel: 'The Remains of the Day,' which deals with age, memory, war, love, and Britain.
'Before reading it, I didn't think a perfect novel was possible,' the Amazon CEO said. 'I am entranced by that: the idea of the impossible achieved.'
With Amazon -- an aggressive, but still profitless company -- disrupting retail and publishing alike, it seems his business is doing much the same.
Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh: 'Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organisation' by Dave Logan, John King, and Halee Fischer-Wright
''Tribal Leadership' codifies a lot of what we've been doing instinctually and provides a great framework for all companies to bring company culture to the next level,' he said.
Coca-Cola CEO Muhtar Kent: 'The Ascent of Money: A Financial History of the World' by Niall Ferguson
Since Winfrey was a little girl, her favourite book has been Harper Lee's staggering coming of age story.
'I remember reading this book and then going to class and not being able to shut up about it,' she said. 'I read it in eighth or ninth grade, and I was trying to push the book off on other kids. So it makes sense to me that now I have a book club, because I have been doing that since probably this book.'
Zuckerberg may be a poster boy for millennial progress, but the Facebook founder's reading taste skews classical.
His favourite: 'The Aeneid'
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by Virgil, an epic poem that tells the the story of Aeneas, a legendary hero associated with the birth of Rome and the fall of Troy.
He's one of many powerful people, including Paul Ryan, to name the book as a fave, which might not be too surprising considering its content.
'If you're not familiar with the novel, it depicts a world where corporate CEOs and one-percenters are the selfless heroes upon which our society depends,' Salon writes, 'and basically everyone else -- journalists, legislators, government employees, the poor -- are the villains trying to drag the rich down out of spite, when we should be kissing their rings in gratitude that they allow us to exist.'
While it's certainly a thought-provoking text, we question some of its business advice.
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