From all of my reading, here are the top 5 business memoirs to read. I agree with the saying that you are the average of your five closest friends – and if you do enough reading, the characters in the books you read begin to feel like friends. When you’re a business geek, that means you might end up feeling like you are friends with Warren Buffett or Bill Gates. A little anecdote for you: a few months ago, I had a dream that Buffett and Gates were teaching me how to play bridge, the card game. This was when I knew that I had passed the point of no return.
Here is a look at my favorite 5 business memoirs to read. May these people become friends of yours, as well.
The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder
Apart from this book being first, none of the books on this list are in any order. At age 18, this almost 1,000-page book on securities investing held my full attention. The Snowball tells the story of Warren Buffett, from early childhood, with a unique amount of detail, as Schroeder was approached by Buffett to author his biography. Buffett’s story demonstrates the importance of doing the reading, the research, and asking the right questions. This book functions as a strong introduction to value investing from none other than the man who has exemplified the power of compound interest.
Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
If you think you know Elon Musk from following his popular tweets, there is a lot to him you are missing. Vance’s book details Musk’s early life in South Africa and the process of Musk’s founding of PayPal, followed by SpaceX and Tesla. The lesson to be learned from Musk is that if ambition is accompanied by hard work, then there is no ceiling on what a person can achieve.
Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business by Barbara Corcoran
Many know Barbara Corcoran as the beloved Shark Tank investor, but her book sheds light on the success that placed her in the ranks to join the show. Shark Tales is a memoir of Corcoran’s journey to build a real estate empire in New York City. Written by herself, the book displays Corcoran’s battle with self-confidence, constantly striving to show the men she worked alongside that she was capable – and show that, she did. (Quick tip: listen to the audiobook version of this. Barbara, herself, reads it!)
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight
Shoe Dog records the history of NIKE, a story of vision and determination. NIKE’s founder, Phil Knight, experienced obstacle after obstacle during the birth of his business, from lengthy lawsuits to manufacturing complications, always pushing through. Knight’s example as a successful entrepreneur illustrates the value of tenacity and problem-solving when launching and maintaining a growing business.
The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin by Benjamin Franklin
A short read on the life and thoughts of Benjamin Franklin, The Autobiography positions this Founding Father as a surprisingly approachable inventor, intellectual, and entrepreneur. Franklin’s list of thirteen virtues of which he sought to improve upon in himself show a man with extreme self-awareness and an affinity for self-growth.
That wraps up my list of 5 business memoirs to read. So tell me, what should I read next?