Reading is an essential activity for every CEO to enhance your knowledge, skills and provide insight to further you career. Every successful CEO I’ve worked with either is an avid reader or becomes an avid reader as a result of our coaching.
First, why should you read books versus other sources of knowledge? Books are a formulation of the authors BEST work. A book typically represents at least five years of experience or expertise that has been accumulated by the author. Blogs, articles, and podcasts are great but they don’t require the same level of experience or expertise. Books are typically required to have a higher level of fact-checking as well.
I read one book a month at least twice or even three times. I’m not in a race to read as much as I can. I’m in the game of absorbing the knowledge and applying it to my business or life. There is very little benefit of reading until you actually apply it to real life. So remember that application of the knowledge is far more important than accumulation of knowledge.
Below are the books that I feel every CEO should read:
1. As A Man Thinketh
This book is so important that I gave my son a copy when he was six years old. Why? Because one day he will be the CEO of his life. Every day we go through a passage in the book because I want him to know what it means to be a strong man when he gets older. It’s a fast read and somewhat poetic. Once you connect each passage to your life and what it means for you, you will look at life differently.
2. Man’s Search For Meaning
Life can be tough and it can challenge you as a CEO. But most of us haven’t lived like Viktor Frankl who is the author of this book. I don’t want to ruin it for you if you haven’t read it but it gives you a true taste of what it’s like to have a tough like and make it through even stronger. There is no way your life won’t be changed after reading it.
3. Six Thinking Hats
A book about structural thinking. I’m sure you’ve been in way too many meetings where nothing gets accomplished. It’s mainly due to most people being in different thinking modes. One person may be in idea creation and another may be in a more skeptical mode and shoot the idea down immediately. Basically, people are all over the place and wonder why nothing gets done or resolved. Six Thinking Hats will help you facilitate better meetings and organize your own thoughts when dealing with challenges or being more creative.
4. The War Of Art
This is one of my favorite book and firmly believe every CEO should read this. You will always feel resistance in life. Sometimes this resistance is greater than you want and it feels as though the world is working against you. The author, Steven Pressfield, outlines what resistance is really about and how you can not only break through it but also use it to your advantage. This book will give you more energy to follow your biggest dreams.
Every CEO must sell and influence and that requires the ability to communicate more effectively both verbally and in written form. Writing is a very powerful skill once mastered. You can influence others to think a certain way and even make decisions based on your direction. It’s the skill I’ve been working on the most over the past five years and I have generated significant revenues as a result. This book gives you a great overview of what captures people’s attention and get them to buy what you’re selling
If any of these books intrigue you, go grab a copy today. This is Part One of my list. I’ll be sharing Part Two in the coming weeks.
All the best!