What do billionaires read? As they make their plans, build their businesses, and invest their money, what are the books that they carry around, give away to friends, and dip into when they have a moment? Surely these books contain the answers to how we billionaires, too, can become successful, or at least by our own standards.
Richard Reis and Anurag Ramdasan are the founders of Most Recommended Books, a simple website that curates the most recommended books by entrepreneurs, athletes and personalities from different fields. Reis calculated the numbers to find out which books billionaires recommended most often and discovered the top ten.
Here are the top ten books recommended by billionaires, from data compiled by Most Recommended Books.
Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
#1 and Recommended by 11 Billionaires for Most Recommended Books; Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Daniel Ek, Keith Rabois, Kishore Biyani, Ray Dalio, Reid Hoffman, Richard Branson, Vinod Khosla, Melinda Gates and Changpeng Zhao. Of Wikipedia, Harari says, “the natural sciences set the limits of what is possible for human activity, and the social sciences shape what happens within those limits.” Sapiens has sold more than 12 million copies and on Goodreads the book is rated 4th according to more than 45,000 reviews .4 out of 5 rated.
Principles by Ray Dalio
Just behind the top spot and recommended by 10 billionaires, including Drew Houston, Dustin Moskovitz, Howard Marks, and Jack Dorsey, Principles sold nearly a million copies and was named Amazon’s Business Book in 2017. Billionaires agree it’s good. In the book, hedge fund manager Dalio shares principles he developed while running Bridgewater Associates, prompted by receiving a candid memo from his top lieutenants in 1993 about his interpersonal performance as a manager. Dalio originally published a shorter version of principles online in 2011 where it received over three million downloads.
High output management by Andy Grove
Ranked third and recommended by 9 billionaires including Brian Armstrong, Brian Chesky, Larry Ellison and Ron Conway, High Output Management has over 800 reviews on Goodreads and an average rating of 4.3. The book is a crash course for middle managers by the former Intel CEO, with a foreword by Ben Horowitz. The book’s blurb describes it as a “legendary business book” and a “Silicon Valley staple.” Marc Andreessen said: “Andy embodies the best of Silicon Valley.
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
Atlas Shrugged is recommended by 8 billionaires, this time including Elon Musk, Ev Williams, Peter Thiel and Mark Cuban. Atlas Shrugged is a 1957 novel that depicts the dystopian United States where private business suffers from increasingly onerous laws and regulations. According to Wikipedia, Rand’s stated goal in writing the novel was “to show how badly the world needs and viciously treats driving forces” and to depict “what would happen to the world without them”. As of 2019, the novel had sold 9 million copies.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
Endorsed by 7 billionaires including Keith Rabois, Larry Page, Peter Thiel and Mark Zuckerberg, The Hard Thing About Hard Things explores the trials and tribulations Ben Horowitz experienced during his career as founder and CEO of VC at Andreessen Horowitz in the late 1990s and early 1990s 1990s met 2000s. Distinguishing between what is right and what is easy, Horowitz has been described as one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, known for his humor and outspokenness. From over 3,000 reviews on Goodreads, including one that said, “This is one of the best books you’ve ever read on entrepreneurship and being a CEO.” The book’s average rating is 4.23.
Poor Charlie’s Almanack compiled by Peter D. Kaufman
Endorsed by Bill Gates, Daniel Ek, Drew Houston, Marc Andreessen, Patrick Collison, and of course Warren Buffet, Poor Charlie’s Almanack is a collection of speeches and lectures by Charlie Munger, compiled by Peter D. Kaufman and first published in 2005. The book equips investors with the psychological skills needed to keep investing simple and straightforward. Bill Gates says that Charlie Munger is “truly the most comprehensive thinker I’ve ever met,” and Dropbox’s Drew Houston said Poor Charlie’s Almanack is one of the best books he’s ever read.
Flash scaling by Chris Yeh and Reid Hoffman
The subtitle of the book is the lightning-fast way to build tremendously valuable businesses and as Hoffman explains, “Blitzscaling is what you do when you need to grow really, really fast. It’s the science and art of building a business quickly to serve a large and usually global market, with the goal of becoming the first to deliver at scale.” With a foreword by Bill Gates and over 5,000 reviews on Goodreads, this is it Book popular recommendation of billionaires. With a score of 3.95 on Goodreads, it’s not a unanimous favorite, but its billionaire fans include Brian Chesky, Eric Schmidt, Vinod Khosla, Changpeng Zhao and Sheryl Sandberg.
Only the Paranoid Survive by Andrew Grove
How to exploit the trouble spots that challenge any business promises the subtitle of Season 8th The Book Most Recommended By Billionaires. Endorsed by Bill Gates, Charlie Munger, Marc Andreessen, Steve Jobs, Vinod Khosla and Jamie Dimon, Only the Paranoid Survive follows the history of Intel under Grove’s leadership as CEO and President. The book examines “strategic turning points” that Steve Jobs said, “You have to learn about them because sooner or later you’re going to live through one.” Over 8,000 Goodreads reviews give the book an average of 3.96 stars. Famed management consultant Peter Drucker said, “This great book is dangerous… It will make people think.”
The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen
Written by a Harvard professor and economist, this book expands on the concept of disruptive technologies, a term Christensen coined in a 1995 article entitled Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave. The Innovator’s Dilemma won the Global Business Book Award for Best Business Book of the Year in 1997, the year of its publication. The Economist also named it one of the six most important books on economics ever written. Well-known Billionaires fans include Drew Houston, Ev Williams, Jeff Bezos, Mark Benioff, Mark Cuban and Steve Jobs and the book receives an average of 4.03 stars from over 48,000 reviews on Goodreads.
Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson
Snow Crash, a science fiction novel published in 1992, is endorsed by Ev Williams, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Tobi Lütke, Cameron Winklevoss, and Mark Zuckerberg. Randomhouse describes the book as “a mind-bending rampage through a future America that’s so bizarre, so outrageous … you’ll recognize it immediately.” Stephenson originally conceived Snow Crash as a computer-generated graphic novel, and Goodreads gives it an average of 4.03 stars over 10,000 reviews (and 258,000 ratings). The book is said to have sold over a million copies in North America alone.
Following the top ten are these twelve, in order of popularity: Shoe Dog, Zero to One, The Better Angels of Our Nature, Becoming Steve Jobs, Measure What Matters, Thinking Fast and Slow, “Sure you’re kidding, Mr. Feynman ! “, Antifragile, The Fountainhead, The Art of War, 7 Powers, The Lean Startup. Each of these books has been recommended by at least five billionaires.
Become a billionaire by acting like one. Act like one by thinking like one. Think like one by reading the books they read and recommend.