Books,  Must Read

10 Biographies that will teach you more than Business Books

1. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

Author: Phil Knight

Synopsis: Post completing his college in 1962, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simple mission: import high-quality, athletic shoes from japan. The idea that came to him during his usual morning run is now churning $30 billion of annual sales for Nike. A memoir rich with not only insight, humour and hard-won wisdom but also studded with lessons about building something from scratch, overcoming adversity, and ultimately leaving your mark on the world.

Review: This book truly defines a founder’s romance to his product and shows how one of the most iconic brand NIKE came into existence. Phil Knight speaks to you like a friend who has the courage to do anything to make his vision come to life.

Quote that we loved:

The cowards never started and the weak died along the way. That leaves us, ladies and gentlemen. Us.

2. The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company

Author: Robert Iger 

Synopsis: Robert Iger, The executive chairman of Disney, shares the ideas and values he embraced during his fifteen years as CEO. Back in 2005, when the company was going through difficult times Robert iger laid the vision into three clear ideas Recommit to the concept that quality matters, embrace technology instead of fighting it, and think bigger—think global. These ideas turned the fortunes for Disney made it even stronger in international market there by making its value nearly five times what it was when Iger took over

Review: Robert Iger encapsulates 10 great leadership lessons that are applicable not just for the CXOs but for anyone who wants to add drive, focus and structure to their professional lives. Humble, honest and hard working – thats how we would describe Robert Iger and his legacy. The book is more like a narration of the lessons he learnt as he grew older. We would recommend this to almost any executive or business owner.

Quote that we loved:

Ask the questions you need to ask, admit without apology what you don’t understand, and do the work to learn what you need to learn as quickly as you can. If leaders don’t articulate their priorities clearly, then the people around them don’t know what their own priorities should be. Time and energy and capital get wasted.

3. The First Tycoon

Author: T.J. Stiles

Synopsis: T.J. Stiles presents the epic story of Cornelius “Commodore” Vanderbilt, the combative man and American legend who, by his intelligence and force of will, accomplished more to develop modern capitalism than maybe any other individual. The First Tycoon is a well researched and exquisitely written account of a remarkable life, from Vanderbilt’s humble beginnings during George Washington’s administration to his death as one of America’s wealthiest men. In between, we see how the Commodore aided in the birth of the automobile, the Gold Rush, the reshaping of Manhattan, and the invention of the modern business. The life of Vanderbilt is both epic in scope and success, and it is also the story of America’s rise.

Review: Through the life of Vanderbilt, the reader can follow the evolution of American economic history from 1800 to 1875. As Vanderbilt transitions from steamboats to railroads (and his intriguing exploits in Nicaragua), it gets increasingly technical in the economic sense. Stiles deserves a lot of credit for his excellent research. The book not only depicts a man’s life (both personal and professional), but also the evolution of the American economic system in the nineteenth century.

Quote that we loved:

Gentlemen: You have undertaken to cheat me. I won’t sue, for the law is too slow. I’ll ruin you. Yours truly, Cornelius Vanderbilt

4. Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography

Author: Walter Isaacson

Synopsis: Walter Isaacson describes the story of a visionary entrepreneur whose voracious ambition and love for excellence revolutionized industries. This globally renowned, bestselling biography is based on more than forty interviews with Steve Jobs conducted over two years, as well as interviews with over a hundred family members, friends, enemies, competitors, and coworkers.

Review: Three things are required for an excellent biograpy, a compelling subject, an engaging narrative and precision. All three are included in Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs.

This book chronicles all of his social and professional ups and downs, as well as all of the complexities that arose over his lifetime and led to the creation of Apple as we know it today.

Quote that we loved:

People who know what they’re talking about don’t need PowerPoint.

5. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

Author: Alice Schroeder

Synopsis: Alice Schroeder used her unprecedented access into the life of buffet and the people close to him to bring the life story of the most successful investor of our times, Oracle of Omaha himself Warren Buffet.The Snowball is required reading for anyone interested in learning more about the man behind the extraordinary achievements.

Review: This book not only chronicles Warren Buffet’s life, but also the evolution of the US investing and industrial landscape across time. Through Buffet’s life you’ll discover why patience is so vital for value investors and how much waiting can pay off.

Quotes that we loved:

“Time is the friend of the wonderful business, the enemy of the mediocre.”

“Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.”

6. The Tatas: How a Family Built a Business and a Nation

Author: Girish Kuber

Synopsis: Back in 1822, In the Gujarati town of Navsari, a child was born into a priestly family. Nusserwanji realised early on that his fate lay outside of his hometown and set out to create a company in Bombay. What Nusserwanji began as a cotton trading business, his son Jamsetji, who was born the same year as Rockefeller, expanded into a multifaceted enterprise that included reviving sick textile mills, establishing an iron and steel company, planning a cutting-edge institute of higher learning, and constructing a world-class hotel.

This enterprise has been steered skillfully through the decades by Jamsetji’s sons Dorabji and Ratanji, the larger-than-life JRD, and then the more business-like Ratan. The Tata group is a 110 billion dollars behemoth and this book is their story.

Review: This book is a fascinating read, it rivetingly captures 200 years of the glorious history of the Tatas, whose ups and downs are mirrored in the development of India itself.

Quote that we loved:

India was waking upto the call of independence and the Tatas realised that they needed to contirbute to the cause.

7. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the quest for a Fantastic Future

Author: Ashlee Vance

Synopsis: This book provides an intimate look into the amazing life of Silicon Valley’s most ambitious entrepreneur Elon Musk. Veteran Tech Journalist Ashlee Vance traces Musk’s path from a tough beginnings in South Africa to the apex of the global corporate world.

Vance interviewed Musk for over 40 hours along with nearly 300 other people close to him in order to convey the stories of Musk’s world-changing companies: PayPal, Tesla Motors, SpaceX, and SolarCity, as well as to depict a guy who has resurrected American industry.

Review: Vance does a commendable job of penning down life story of one of the most revered man of 21st century. He takes you deep into the details, from Musk’s childhood and lineage in South Africa, all the way to Canada and the United States and how Musk managed to thrive while being on the verge of bankruptcy and loosing both Tesla and SpaceX.

Quote that we loved:

Once you figure out the question, then the answer is relatively easy. I came to the conclusion that really we should aspire to increase the scope and scale of human consciousness in order to better understand what questions to ask

8. Invent & Wander: The Collected Writings of Jeff Bezos

Author: Jeff Bezos

Synopsis: This book is a collection of Jeff Bezos’ writings consisting of annual shareholder letters, numerous speeches and interviews which give readers an insight into his work. Each insight gives fresh perspectives on today’s problems – and, more crucially, tomorrow’s – as well as the never-ending need to keep moving forward.

In his own words bezos explains the core principles and philosophy that have guided him in creating, building and leading Amazon and blue Origin.

Review: Invent and Wander is a master class in company values, strategy, and execution written in a clear, down-to-earth style and It takes you inside into one of the greatest brains alive today.

Quote that we loved:

starter pack of essentials for Day 1 : customer obsession, a skeptical view of proxies, the eager adoption of external trends, and high-velocity decision making.

9. Sam Walton: Made in America

Author: Sam Walton

Synopsis: Sam Walton the undisputed late-twentieth-century commercial king, built WalMart from a single dime store in a hardscrabble cotton town into the world’s largest retailer. Sam Walton describes the inspiration, passion, and optimism that spurred him to lasso the American Dream. This book is packed with anecdotes and tricks of the trade from both Main Street as well as Wall Street.

Review: This is a story of what a man can do if he is dead set on accomplishing his goals and is prepared to do whatever it takes to get there. Sam Walton was a modest, hardworking, pleasant, and down-to-earth individual. He was, above all, a learning machine. Walton’s life is filled with valuable teachings that are essential for any budding entrepreneur.

Quote that we loved:

“I had to pick myself up and get on with it, do it all over again, only even better this time. And like most other overnight successes, it was about twenty years in the making. Of

10. No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention

Author: Reed Hastings & Erin Meyer

Synopsis: Netflix’s chairman and CEO Reed Hastings shares the secrets of how the company has transitioned from a DVD mail order service to a streaming powerhouse in record time with market capitalization that challenges Disney itself.

Review: This book describes how Hastings fused a fiery stew into a framework of freedom and responsibility. It teaches about the culture that has made Netflix one of the most unique and influential businesses on the planet.

Quote that we loved:

If you give employees more freedom instead of developing processes to prevent them from exercising their own judgment, they will make better decisions

So which one one are you most to excited to read ? Do let us know in the comments we would love to hear your recommendations.

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