I have been asked time and again to list out books which have motivated me, helped me overcome weaknesses and become a better human being, innovator and entrepreneur. I have created a list of 30 such books. Some of these books have been major bestseller but that does not matter for a reader like me for whom the quality of the book is most important. So, why these 30? The reason I chose to list these 30 books and none other is the value they have created in my personal and entrepreneurial life, along with the fun I had in reading these books.
(Please note this is absolutely my personal opinion bound upon none)
So, here goes the list:
1) The Godfather (Mario Puzo)
The Godfather is an extraordinary novel which has become a modern day classic. Puzo pulls us inside the violent society of the Mafia and its gang wars. The leader, Vito Corleone, is the Godfather. He is a benevolent despot who stops at nothing to gain and hold power.
2) Steve Jobs – The Exclusive Biography (Walter Isaacson)
In Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography, Isaacson provides an extraordinary account of Jobs' professional and personal life. Drawn from three years of exclusive and unprecedented interviews Isaacson has conducted with Jobs as well as extensive interviews with Jobs' family members, key colleagues from Apple and its competitors, Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography is the definitive portrait of the greatest innovator of his generation.
3) Delivering Happiness - A Path To Profits, Passion, And Purpose (Tony Hsieh)
Now in trade paperback, the hip, iconoclastic CEO of Zappos shows how a different kind of corporate culture can make a huge difference in achieving remarkable results -- by actually creating a company culture that values happiness --and then delivers on it.
4) The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future (Chris Guillebeau)
In The $100 Startup, Chris Guillebeau shows you how to lead of life of adventure, meaning and purpose – and earn a good living.
5) The Last Lecture (Randy Pausch, Jeffery Gaslow)
Professor Randy Pausch's moving and inspirational book based on his extraordinary Last Lecture. 'We cannot change the cards we are dealt, just how we play the hand.' On 18 September 2007 computer science professor Randy Pausch stepped in front of an audience of 400 people at Carnegie Mellon University to deliver his last lecture. At 46, Randy had been told the month before that he had pancreatic cancer and had only
6) The Tipping Point (Malcolm Gladwell)
The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire. Just as a single sick person can start an epidemic of the flu, so too can a small but precisely targeted push cause a fashion trend, the popularity of a new product, or a drop in the crime rate.
7) Who Moved My Cheese? (Spencer Johnson)
The bestselling classic that has helped millions of people find success and happiness through embracing what is inevitable in life: change.
8) The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari (Robin Sharma)
An internationally bestselling fable about a spiritual journey, littered with powerful life lessons that teach us how to abandon consumerism in order to embrace destiny, live life to the full and discover joy.
9) Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way (Richard Branson)
That's the philosophy that has allowed Richard Branson, in slightly more than twenty-five years, to spawn so many successful ventures. From the airline business (Virgin Atlantic Airways), to music (Virgin Records and V2), to cola (Virgin Cola), to retail (Virgin Megastores), and nearly a hundred others, ranging from financial services to bridal wear, Branson has a track record second to none.
10) The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
The Count of Monte Cristo is one of the great thrillers of all time. In 1853 William Thackeray wrote to a friend: 'began to read Monte Cristo at six one morning and never stopped till eleven at night.'
11) Thinking, Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman)
Daniel Kahneman, recipient of the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his seminal work in psychology challenging the rational model of judgment and decision making, is one of the world's most important thinkers. His ideas have had a profound impact on many fields-including business, medicine, and politics-but until now, he has never brought together his many years of research in one book.
12) Murder in Mesopotamia (Agatha Christie)
It was clear to Amy Leatheran that something sinister was going on at the Hassanieh dig in Iraq; something associated with the presence of ‘Lovely Louise’, wife of celebrated archaeologist Dr Leidner.
13) Jugaad Innovation: Think Frugal, Be Flexible, Generate Breakthrough Growth (Navi Radjou, Jaideep Prabhu, Simone Ahuja)
Jugaad Innovation argues the West must look to places like India, Brazil, and China for a new approach to frugal and flexible innovation.
14) Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle (Dan Senor, Saul Singer)
Start-Up Nation addresses the trillion dollar question: How is it that Israel-- a country of 7.1 million, only 60 years old, surrounded by enemies, in a constant state of war since its founding, with no natural resources-- produces more start-up companies than large, peaceful, and stable nations like Japan, China, India, Korea, Canada and the UK?
15) Stay Hungry Stay Foolish (Rashmi Bansal)
Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish is the story of 25 IIM Ahmedabad graduates who chose the rough road of entrepreneurship.
16) Connect the Dots (Rashmi Bansal)
Connect the Dots is the story of 20 enterprising individuals without an MBA, who started their own ventures. They were driven by the desire to prove themselves.
17) Mein Kampf (Adolf Hitler)
This book will give you an insight into one of the greatest tyrant of this century, his political ideals, beliefs and motivation, and his struggle to consolidate Germany into one great nation.
18) The Second World War (Winston Churchill)
Winston Churchill’s monumental The Second World War, is a six volume account of the struggle between the Allied Powers in Europe against Germany and the Axis.
19) The Firm (John Grisham)
When Mitchell McDeere qualified third in his class at Harvard, offers poured in from every law firm in America. Bendini, Lambert and Locke were a small, well-respected firm, but their offer exceeded Mitch's wildest expectations: a fantastic salary, a new home, and the keys to a brand new BMW.
20) Rules for Revolutionaries: The Capitalist Manifesto for Creating and Marketing New Products and Services (Guy Kawasaki, Michele Moreno)
Guy Kawasaki, CEO of garage.com and former chief evangelist of Apple Computer, Inc., presents his manifesto for world-changing innovation, using his battle-tested lessons to help revolutionaries become visionaries.
21) The Art of the Start: The Time-Tested, Battle-Hardened Guide For Anyone Starting Anything (Guy Kawasaki)
A new product, a new service, a new company, a new division, a new organization, a new anything—where there’s a will, here’s the way. It begins with a dream that just won’t quit, the once-in-a-lifetime thunderbolt of pure inspiration, the obsession, the world-beater, the killer app, the next big thing.
22) The Little Kingdom: The Private Story of Apple Computer (Michael Moritz)
Recounts the eight-year growth of Apple Computer, Inc., from garage workshop to international business leader and spotlights the personalities behind Apple's remarkable successes
23) Return of the Little Kingdom: Steve Jobs, The Creation of Apple, and How It Changed the World (Michael Moritz)
Return to the Little Kingdom is a contemporary perspective on the accomplishments of Steve Jobs and the extraordinary comeback of Apple.
24) How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie)
For more than sixty years the rock-solid, time-tested advice in this book has carried thousands of now famous people up the ladder of success in their business and personal lives.
25) The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda (Swami Vivekananda)
Nothing short of extraordinary by a great teacher and philosopher of Modern India.
26) Start-up Sutra: What the Angels Won't Tell You About Business and Life (Rohit Prasad)
Through the true stories of two sets of people who braved the rough road, Start-up Sutra presents entrepreneurship in its essence – not a checklist to be crossed, but a passion to be lived; an iterative process of near-death experiences and incredible turnarounds that founders of businesses navigate by a combination of chutzpah, sagacity and sheer brazen luck.
27) A Bank for the Buck: The New Bank Movement & the Untold Story of the Making of India's Most Valued Bank (Tamal Bandyopadhyay)
The Story of HDFC Bank on how it created value for customers and became India's most valuable bank.
28) Bill Gates: Entrepreneur & Philanthropist (Jeanne M. Lesinski)
Bill Gates is famous for co-founding Microsoft and shaping the computer age. But USA TODAY, the Nation's No. 1 Newspaper, predicts, "[H]is most lasting influence may be in philanthropy as he now sets himself to giving away his vast fortune."
29) Elon Musk: Biography of the Mastermind Behind Paypal, SpaceX, and Tesla Motors (Pauline T.)
Elon Musk is primarily known for the part he played in founding the widely known electronic money transfer site Paypal. These days, Musk applies the same imagination and ability to innovate that he used to make PayPal a success to his leadership of Tesla Motors, of which he is presently chairman.
30) The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses (Eric Ries)
Most startups fail. But many of those failures are preventable. The Lean Startup is a new approach being adopted across the globe, changing the way companies are built and new products are launched. Eric Ries defines a startup as an organization dedicated to creating something new under conditions of extreme uncertainty.