The internet is full of blog articles listing top books for CEOs and entrepreneurs to read. More often than not, these books are business research or nonfiction about business processes, budgets, or motivation to start.
While all these books seem like a great read, why not turn your head towards a shelf with fiction literature as well?
Entrepreneurs learn a lot from business books, but fiction ones can teach them even more. Richard Branson, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and other entrepreneurs and business owners have favorite fiction stories on their bookshelves. And, as they admit, some business lessons from those books deserve attention no less than specific nonfiction literature.
So here go top seven fiction books for CEOs and entrepreneurs to add to your reading lists.
1) Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
The magnum opus in the world of literature, this book is the favorite one for many entrepreneurs and business people. Exploring the aspects of life, such as objectivity, capitalism, and individualism, the author reveals a man's struggle for his ideas and motives behind them.
The book tells the story of how prominent industrialists abandon society because of restrictions to do their business and how the vital industries eventually collapse. And the monologue of John Galt, philosopher and inventor believing in the power of the human mind, not only inspires but can also change your mind about the world around.
2) An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
This classic book is about a kid who grows poor but is ambitious to become a person of fortune and influence. As spoiled in the title, his journey was full of wrong choices, teaching us about the importance of values, focus, and self-discipline for success.
What lessons can business owners get from An American Tragedy? It's how to keep safe from making poor decisions, how to hold true to their values and ideals, and why to keep doing the right things regardless of how much it would cost.
3) The Martian by Andy Weir
The big chances are that you watched the same-name movie with Matt Damon in the leading role. If not, and if you don't have time to read the novel, this 2015 film adaptation is worth your consideration too. It's the story of an astronaut left on Mars with no resources, who tried to survive there while NASA planned and organized his rescue.
His creativity and flexibility can be a great motivation and inspiration for entrepreneurs when business things don't go as expected. This book is about professional wisdom and the ability to find the way out of a deadlock. It teaches us professional ethics, public relations, and negotiation skills.
4) The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The classic novel most of us read in school or college, this story of millionaire Jay Gatsby and his risk attitude towards business and life is a must-read for entrepreneurs. Here you'll find the examples of idealism, social upheaval, and changes we need to make sometimes to reach our goals.
At the same time, the book reveals the flip side of acts and decisions of that nature. The author teaches us to go the vole but stay cold-minded when we get our way in big business.
5) The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Two starkly differing views exist about this book: Some call it elementary and even frustrating, while others admire the author's ability to deliver complex philosophical formulas in such a simple way. It's all about following your dreams and being ready to overcome all the obstacles on your way.
For entrepreneurs, it's a tale to learn how to place day-to-day problems in the context of their big dream and see the bigger picture of life. It's about persistence, attachment to the cause, and not giving up even when everything looks beyond hope.
6) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
This book is about courage most of us need when it comes to entrepreneurship and leading other people. It has become a classic of American literature already and won the Pulitzer Prize.
With the primary themes being racial injustice and the destruction of innocence, the book teaches empathy, tolerance, and resistance to prejudices. In today's business world, where emotional intelligence is as crucial to have for success as hard skills, the characters of To Kill a Mockingbird become our moral heroes to follow.
7) The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
Last but not least in the list, this book is by Ayn Rand again. The story of an architect who struggles for recognition but refused to compromise his principles, it teaches us to stay honest and dedicated in business.
The protagonist is a young individualist specialist, opposing the establishment that doesn't want to accept innovations. It's the struggle between individualism and collectivism, where the hero doesn't give up his integrity and independence to be rewarded for his set principles ultimately.
Regardless of your favorite literature genre, think of investing in knowledge daily on your way to success. As we know, Bill Gates reads 50 books a year; Mark Zuckerberg reads at least one book every two weeks; and, billionaire entrepreneur David Rubenstein goes even further, reading six books a week!
So, do your best to make reading your everyday habit – and the results may surprise you.
About the author:
Lesley Vos is a content strategist and contributor to Bid4Papers and other publications on business, marketing, and self-growth. Feel free to find more works of hers on Twitter @LesleyVos or find her writing portfolio here.