Bill Gates estimates that he reads about 50 books a year, and the best of these are profiled on his blog, gatesnotes.com. Even if his Microsoft days are over, Gates is not losing interest in business anytime soon, and he reviewed many books that can help entrepreneurs and business leaders achieve success.
While most books on his website would provide value to the inquisitive mind, these nine books provide the most direct, actionable advice for starting, growing, and running a world-class business.
- Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (Carol Dweck)
Mindset explores the concept of nature versus nurture as it applies to intelligence, and challenges the idea that the talents and qualities we are born with cannot be altered. Instead, she argues that intelligence can be grown like a muscle, and cautions that the belief of static intelligence can be debilitating.
This book helps to dispel the belief that you can’t achieve success unless you are born “special,” unless you have some magical inborn ability to be great. It is a great motivator, and helps put the rest of this list in context.
In Gates’s opinion, “the greatest virtue of the book is that you can’t help but ask yourself things like, ‘Which areas have I always looked at through a fixed-mindset lens?’” Once you know, you can change your way of thinking to become more productive.
- Where Good Ideas Come From: The Natural History of Innovation (Steven Johnson)
Johnson’s book provides a much-needed perspective on innovation and entrepreneurship, acknowledging a more realistic view of how even the largest breakthroughs come to be. Gates praises the book’s focus on incremental development, and admits that Microsoft wasn’t the result of “a momentous flash of insight.” Innovation takes time, but all too often, the story demands entertainment, drama, larger-than-life characters. But contrary to popular representation, most big companies are not the result of a House-like moment, where one sentence triggers a brilliant revelation.
Where Good Ideas Come From is a great book for the entrepreneur, not only because it brings the story of innovation down to earth, but also because it examines the kind of conditions that foster development. With this book in hand, you can help shape the conditions that are conducive to success.
- Business Adventures (John Brooks)
If Bill Gates recommends a business book, there’s a pretty good chance it’s worth checking out. If Bill Gates and Warren Buffett lavish praise on a book, the real question is why you don’t already have your credit card out.
Business Adventures consists of a series of case studies, examining troubles and triumphs at companies such as General Electric, Ford, and Xerox. It provides a great view on the human factor of successful companies: Do you have the right people? Do they have the right roles?
“Business Adventures is as much about the strengths and weaknesses of leaders in challenging circumstances as it is about the particulars of one business or another. In that sense, it is still relevant not despite its age but because of it. John Brooks’s work is really about human nature, which is why it has stood the test of time.”
Culled from inc.com