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The 25 Best Business Biographies For Entrepreneurs 2024

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Entrepreneurs and founders must constantly adapt and learn from every possible source, and books are no exception.

This is especially true for business biographies, as they tend to be personally written by the most powerful and game-changing people in the business world.

Below there’s a list of the best 25 business biographies, carefully picked to satisfy everyone’s taste.

25 Best Business Biographies

1) alibaba: the house that jack ma built.

Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built

Name of book : Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built

Description of the book : This excellent entrepreneur biography tells the ultimate story about the world-famous Chinese entrepreneur and founder of Alibaba, Jack Ma. 

The author, Duncan Clark, was an early advisor to Jack Ma in early 1999 when Alibaba was founded. You can read everything about Jack Ma, his breakthrough idea, and the impact it made in the e-commerce sector.

Entrepreneurs can also read about the humble beginnings of Alibaba, how Jack overcame his Silicon Valley rivals, and the story of Alibaba’s domination, with 80% of the market share. 

Author : Duncan Clark

Length : 304 pages

‍Notable quote : “Customers first, employees second, and shareholders third.”

2) Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul

Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul

Name of book : Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul

Description of the book : Onward is an excellent entrepreneur biography that presents the story of the popular coffee brand Starbucks and how they managed to stay on ‘top of their game’ during the 2008 crisis. 

The former CEO Howard Schultz describes his return after 8 years and the methods he implemented afterward. 

The biography offers a deep look at how Howard overcame all odds during the most challenging economic times in history and how Starbucks saved its soul and regained its profitability without sacrificing anything.

Author : Howard Schultz and Joanne Gordon

Length : 350 pages

‍ ‍Notable quote : “Beverages have to be created. And they’re created by looking at what trend is in, say, the fashion industry – what color’s hot right now.”

3) Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography

Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography

Name of book : Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography

Description of the book : Steve Jobs is a well-presented entrepreneur autobiography regarding one of the most influential founders ever. The book is based on over 40 interviews with Steve Jobs, his family members, and colleagues. 

You can see how Steve Jobs got his ideas and how he rose above the challenges throughout time. Walters shows how Jobs revolutionized multiple industries, including music, animated movies, phones, and tablet computers.

As an entrepreneur, you will undoubtedly find this book quite helpful as it shows Steve's methods and work ethic during his journey and how to maintain your sanity during extreme times.

Author : Walter Isaacson

Length : 627 pages

‍ ‍Notable quote : “You should never start a company with the goal of getting rich. Your goal should be making something you believe in and making a company that will last.”

4) Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

Name of book : Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

Description of the book : Nike’s CEO and founder Phil Knight decided to open up and tell his story behind one of the most iconic brands today, Nike. 

His idea to sell high-quality and cheap-priced shoes imported from Japan was born in 1962. Knight shares all details from his journey, including obstacles he overcame, risks he took, and the sacrifices made for Nike to become what it is today.

You can also read plenty about the first partners and relationships with his employees, proving to us that everything is possible through teamwork and loyalty.

Author : Phil Knight

Length : 400 pages

‍ ‍Notable quote : “Let everyone else call your idea crazy... just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where ‘there’ is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.”

5) Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

Name of book : Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

Description of the book : Have you ever wondered how Rockefeller gained his reputation and wealth? Well, award-winning biographer Ron Chernow explored that subject and wrote a book about it, too. 

Titan shows the impressive story behind the most controversial family in the US and their place in history. Chernow tells us a detailed story about John D. Rockefeller, Sr, and his ruthless methods and ethics that made him the world’s first billionaire.

You can clearly see how Rockefeller founded the most powerful and feared monopoly in American history, Standard Oil , all the way to his demise at the behest of President Teddy Roosevelt.

Author : Ron Chernow

Length : 832 pages

‍ ‍Notable quote : “Success comes from keeping the ears open and the mouth closed”

6) Made in Japan: Akio Morita and Sony

Made in Japan: Akio Morita and Sony

Name of book : Made in Japan: Akio Morita and Sony

Description of the book : Made in Japan takes you on a journey behind Sony Corporation , from its co-founder, Akio Morita. 

As one of the best entrepreneur biographies, you can take a deep look at Japan’s business techniques and methods and how the Japanese think, which can be priceless information for founders.

The story narrated by the authors is centered on how Sony was built, from its humble beginning after World War II to its meteoric post-war rise as the most influential company for music entertainment, and multimedia.

Author : Akio Morita , Edwin M. Reingold and Mitsuko Shimomura

Length : 352 pages

‍ ‍Notable quote : “Curiosity is the key to creativity.”

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7) The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

Name of book : The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

Description of the book : The Everything Store is the definitive biography of Amazon and its founder, Jeff Bezos. Brad Stone narrates the story of Jeff Bezos’s corporate culture and the methods he implemented at Amazon . 

You will read what it took for Jeff to build this company and how he changed how we shop and read... Forever!

Author : Brad Stone

Length : 384 pages

‍ ‍Notable quote : “Some of these investments will pay off, others will not, and we will have learned another valuable lesson in either case.”

8) Sam Walton: Made in America

Sam Walton: Made in America

Name of book : Sam Walton: Made in America

Description of the book : This is considered one of the greatest entrepreneur biographies because it describes the origin story of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart and Sam’s Club . You will read how Sam founded the biggest retail stores in history and the largest private employer in the world. 

The authors clearly state what it took for Sam to create Walmart and what techniques he used in that process. Also, you will read about all methods regarding the planning and hiring process that attracted many workers. Today, Walmart is the largest corporation in terms of revenue.

Author : Sam Walton and John Huey

Length : 346 pages

‍Notable quote : “Great ideas come from everywhere if you just listen and look for them. You never know who’s going to have a great idea.”

9) Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Name of book : Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Description of the book : Ashlee Vence presents the detailed life of Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX . It gives you a deep look into Musk’s ideas and innovations about the future he envisioned. Everything changed when Elon sold PayPal and shifted his focus on future investments, like clean automobiles and space programs.

Musk’s story is used to explore the question: can inventors still compete in today’s fierce global competition?

Author : Ashlee Vence

Length : 392 pages

‍ ‍Notable quote : “Good ideas are always crazy until they’re not.”

10) The Snowball; Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

The Snowball; Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

Name of book : The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

Description of the book : The Snowball presents the story of Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors in history and the founder of Berkshire Hathaway Holdings.  

Alice Schroeder narrates this well-read CEO biography about the life of Warren Buffett and the idea to create a holding company that owns stocks in multiple famous corporations like Coca-Cola, American Express, and Apple.

As an entrepreneur, you will find important information about Warren’s secrets despite living in privacy for most of his life.

Author : Alice Schroeder

Length : 960 pages

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

11) Morgan: American Financier

Morgan: American Financier

Name of book : Morgan: American Financier

Description of the book : One of the best business biographies, Morgan gives you a never-before-seen insight about J. Pierpont Morgan, one of the greatest investors in US history. 

In this book, you will read how Morgan reorganized the nation’s railroad and appointed himself as a one-man central bank. The author also guides the reader into Morgan’s life outside his business.

Author : Jean Strouse

Length : 816 pages

‍ ‍Notable quote : “No problem can be solved until it is reduced to some simple form. The changing of a vague difficulty into a specific, concrete form is a very essential element in thinking.”

12) Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles

Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles

Name of book : Here, There and Everywhere: My Life Recording the Music of The Beatles

Description of the book : Here, There and Everywhere is one of the best business biographies regarding The Beatles chief engineer, the man responsible for their unique sound. 

Geoff Emerick describes his journey from the start of The Beatles in 1962, all the way to their meteoric rise to the top. In the book, you will find out how Geoff pioneered innovative recording techniques and how he achieved the sound of their most famous songs that changed rock music forever.

As an entrepreneur, you can learn that starting at a young age can be the best move you can make - just like Geoff did when he was 15 years old!

Author : Geoff Emerick

‍ ‍Notable quote : “It was down to me—not George Martin, not anyone else—to turn the Beatles’ new vision into a reality.”

13) Bloomberg by Bloomberg

Bloomberg by Bloomberg

Name of book : Bloomberg by Bloomberg

Description of the book : Bloomberg by Bloomberg is the origin story of Michael R. Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg L.P. 

Written by Michael himself, this book takes us deep into Bloomberg’s life and his idea of creating his own company after he got fired at the age of 39.

Throughout the book, readers will learn more about his creative mind and the challenges he faced at Wall Street , all the way up to founding the fastest-growing media empire on Earth.

Author : Michael R. Bloomberg

Length : 272 pages

‍ ‍Notable quote : If you're going to succeed, you need a vision, one that's affordable, practical, and fills a customer need. Then, go for it.”

14) Carnegie

Carnegie

Name of book : Carnegie

Description of the book : Carnegie takes us on a journey into the life of Andrew Carnegie, one of the major figures in American history. 

Peter Krass describes the origin story of the titan who made his fortune through the steel industry and how he used the wealth upon his retirement.

The readers can take a look at how Andrew influenced the world’s political stage and the way he founded the largest and the most profitable steel industry on the planet. As a founder, you will learn how Andrew became one of the biggest philanthropists in the world, despite his notorious reputation.

Author : Peter Krass

Length : 612 pages

‍ ‍Notable quote : “The poor enjoy what the rich could not before afford. What were the luxuries have become the necessities of life. The laborer has now more comforts than the landlord had a few generations ago.”

15) Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company

Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company

Name of book : Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company

Description of the book : Every manager must understand that eventually everything changes. This is the critical point in Only the Paranoid Survive by former Intel CEO Andrew Grove. 

The charismatic innovator narrates his story in Intel and how he helped the company to remain the largest chip producer. Readers will discover the strategic inflection points or SIPs Andrew faced in his career and how he beat the Japanese competition.

Only the Paranoid Survive can be the ultimate lesson about leadership skills, which you can benefit almost instantly.

Author : Andrew S. Grove

Length : 224 pages

‍ ‍Notable quote : “Only the Paranoid Survive.”

16) iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It

iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It

Name of book : iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon: How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It

Description of the book : Take a deep look into the creation of Apple and the first personal computer, brought to you by the charismatic Steve Wozniak. 

In iWoz , you will read about the early starts for Wozniak and the idea behind Apple . Narrated by Steve himself, he presents details about his personal life like never before and describes his groundbreaking idea to combine the first real personal computer named Apple I . 

Authors : Steve Wozniak and Gina Smith

Length : 313 pages

‍ ‍Notable quote : “The world needs inventors--great ones. You can be one. If you love what you do and are willing to do what it really takes, it's within your reach. And it'll be worth every minute you spend alone at night, thinking and thinking about what it is you want to design or build. It'll be worth it, I promise.”

17) My Life and Work: Autobiography of Henry Ford

My Life and Work: Autobiography of Henry Ford

Name of book : My Life and Work; Autobiography of Henry Ford

Description of the book : Published in 1922, this entrepreneur autobiography gives you the slightest details regarding Ford’s beginnings, the strategies he used to revolutionize the automotive industry, and how he got into the business.

Henry Ford guides the reader through his history and his own business philosophy used to create Ford Motor Company. 

Author : Henry Ford

Length : 204 pages

‍Notable quote : “There is no disgrace in honest failure; there is disgrace in fearing to fail

18) Commodore: The Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt

Commodore: The Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt

Name of book : Commodore: The Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt

Description of the book : This is the detailed story about Cornelius Vanderbilt, the forefather of modern American business. 

Readers will find out how Cornelius built his fortune and his vision to turn New York into the financial capital we see today. This book sheds light on Cornelius’s private life from previously unreleased articles.

Author : Edward J. Renehan Jr.

Length : 364 pages

‍Notable quote : “Never tell anyone what you are going to do till you have done it.”

19) Jack: Straight from the Gut

Jack: Straight from the Gut

Name of book : Jack: Straight from the Gut

Description of the book : Many readers would agree that this book is one of the best business biographies. The authors will introduce you to the life of former General Electrics Chairman and CEO Jack Welch. 

You will find out how Jack managed to run one of the biggest corporations of our time in a robust economic era in the US.

Authors : Jack Welch , John A. Byrne , and Mike Barnicle

Length : 496 pages

‍ ‍Notable quote : "There is no straight line to anyone's vision or dream."

20) Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

Name of book : Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

Description of the book : Written directly by former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, this entrepreneur biography contains detailed information and tips on how to manage your company. 

Entrepreneurs and founders will read about Tony’s early start and learn the creativity he used to run Zappos to the top of its industry.

Author : Tony Hsieh

Length : 246 pages

‍ ‍Notable quote : “I had decided to stop chasing the money, and start chasing the passion.”

21) Iacocca: An Autobiography

Iacocca: An Autobiography

Name of book : Iacocca: An Autobiography

Description of the book : Let’s dive into the automotive world once again. Lee Iacocca, the former legendary President at Ford and Chairman at Chrysler, is the man behind this book . 

In this entrepreneur biography, Lee guides the reader from his humble beginnings and working at Ford and how he saved Chrysler Corporation from bankruptcy during the 1980s. 

Lee presents his vision and how he came up with the idea to create the Mustang , one of Ford’s famous models.

Authors : Lee Iacocca and William Novak

Length : 357 pages

‍ ‍Notable quote : “Get all the education you can then go out and do something - do anything.”

22) American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company

American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company

Name of book : American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company

Description of the book : American Icon gives us a magnificent story about Ford Motors and its turnaround of the leadership from its CEO Alan Mulally. 

The book explains how Alan managed to save the company in the 2008 crisis, upon rejection of financial help from the government. 

Alan implemented the methods he used in Boeing , reorganized Ford’s management, and turned the corporation into the largest automotive producer during those difficult times.

Entrepreneurs can read this book and see what plans Alan used to prevent Ford’s collapse.

Author : Bryce G. Hoffman

Length : 432 pages

‍ ‍Notable quote : “You have to expect the unexpected, and you have to deal with it.”

23) The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Rev olution

23) The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution

Name of book : The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution

Description of the book : The Man Who Solved the Market is a best-selling book about mathematician Jim Simons and his pioneering algorithm-driven approach to investing. 

The book follows Simons’s path to success, starting with his early years, education at MIT and work at IBM, and finally, his late-life acclaim as the founder of Renaissance Technologies. 

The is a great entrepreneur biography for those wanting to learn more about finances, teamwork, and professional collaboration.

Author : Gregory Zuckerman

Length : 359 pages

‍ ‍Notable quote : “Any time you hear financial experts talking about how the market went up because of such and such—remember it’s all nonsense.”

24) The Animated Man: A Life Of Walt Disney

The Animated Man: A Life Of Walt Disney

Name of the book : The Animated Man: A Life of Walt Disney

Description of the book : Michael Barrier is the man behind one of the best business biographies, the origin story of Walt Disney. In this book, readers will discover important details from Walt’s life and how he got the idea to make cartoons.

Michael recorded countless interviews with Disney’s partner and friends to write this book.

You will see what challenges Walt overcame and how he battled out of the disaster that occurred in 1941.

Author : Michael Barrier

Length : 393 pages

‍ ‍Notable quote : "I am not a literary person. As far as realism is concerned, you can find dirt anyplace you look for it. I'm one of those optimists. There's always a rainbow. The great masses like happy endings. If you can pull a tear out of them, they'll remember your picture.”

25) I’d Like the World to Buy a Coke: The Life and Leadership of Roberto Goizueta

I’d Like the World to Buy a Coke: The Life and Leadership of Roberto Goizueta

Name of the book : I’d Like the World to Buy a Coke: The Life and Leadership of Roberto Goizueta

Description of the book : I’d Like the World to Buy a Coke takes us on a journey in the life of Roberto Goizueta, one of the longest-serving and highest-paid CEOs in history. 

The book explains Roberto’s arrival from Cuba in the 1960s and his rise while working in Coca-Cola. You will find out how Roberto reorganized Coca-Cola, the leader in the soft-drink industry, and his marketing strategies that made Coke the most popular beverage on Earth. 

Author : David Greising

Length : 334 pages

‍ ‍Notable quote : “Not to take risks is the biggest risk.”

What Business Biographies Did We Miss?

So there you have it!

25 of the best entrepreneur biographies out there that can undoubtedly give you some sort of inspiration as you prepare yourself for the next ‘big’ step. 

All of these biographies are written with the purpose of helping entrepreneurs, as many of them come from groundbreaking founders and investors that reshaped the business world. 

Just like always, if we missed any biography that deserves a spot on our pretty list , don’t forget to send us an email - we’re more than happy to update our list with more and more entrepreneur biographies.

Questions About Business Biographies

What are business biography books.

Business biography books tell the behind-the-scenes stories of the greatest minds in the business industry, including Walt Disney, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos.

What Are The Best Business Biographies?

The best business biographies are Alibaba, by Duncan Clark, Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson, and Shoe Dog, by Phil Knight.

What Are The Best CEO Biographies?

CEO biographies are a segment of business biographies, which share the stories of the CEOs of the biggest companies. Only the Paranoid Survive, by Andrew Grove, Jack, by Jack Welch, and Delivering Happiness, by Tony Hsieh, are the best CEO biographies.

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18 Best Business Biographies to Read

By: Angela Robinson | Updated: October 21, 2021

You found our list of top business biographies .

Business biographies are narratives that tell the stories of entrepreneurs and the birth and growth of influential companies. These works deal with topics such as childhood influences, education and early career, business founding, and the evolution of entrepreneurial empires. The purpose of these books is to provide further context and insight into the personal factors that contributed to the creation of companies, and to inspire and educate current and future entrepreneurs.

These works are a subset of business books and are similar to entrepreneur books and CEO books .

This list includes:

  • autobiographies of business founders
  • biographies of business leaders
  • entrepreneur biographies
  • business biographies about women

Here we go!

List of business biographies

Here is a list of biographies of business leaders that shed light on how to launch and nurture legacies and empires.

1. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Shoe Dog

Shoe Dog is one of the most popular autobiographies of business founders of all time. This memoir has received endorsements from the likes of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.

In his own words, Nike founder Phil Knight recounts the journey of founding the sneaker company and its ascent into a top athletic wear brand. Knight gives a peek into his early life and influences, as well as insights into his leadership and business philosophy. Shoe Dog is a masterful illustration of tenacity, vision, and the business lifestyle.

Notable Quote: “Beating the competition is relatively easy. Beating yourself is a never-ending commitment.”

Read Shoe Dog .

2. Amazon Unbound: Jeff Bezos and the Invention of a Global Empire by Brad Stone

Amazon unbound book cover

Amazon Unbound is Brad Stone’s followup to the bestselling book, The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon. This latest biography about the founder of Amazon charts the company’s rise to global titan status and chronicles Bezos’ evolution as a leader within the past decade. The work includes the company’s development of cloud technology, Alexa, and Prime Video, as well as acquisitions of Whole Foods and The Washington Post . The book continues the narrative of the story of Amazon and its founder and lays forth the next chapter in the saga of the e-commerce giant.

Notable Quote: “Jeff is master of ‘this isn’t working today, but could work tomorrow.’ If customers like it, he’s got the cash flow to fund it.”

Read Amazon Unbound .

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3. Iacocca: An Autobiography by Lee Iacocca

Iacocca an autobiography book cover

Iacocca: An Autobiography is a firsthand account of the life of the legendary auto executive. Lee Iacocca’s life is a prime example of the American dream– raised by immigrants, he rises up the ranks in corporate America and dominates the auto world. In the course of this journey, Lee Iacocca revolutionized the automobile industry and earned icon status. The autobiography traces the highlights of Iacocca’s illustrious career, from his part in creating the Mustang and ascent to president of Ford, to saving the Chrysler brand, and defeating hurdles along the way. Iacocca: An Autobiography is a motivational read and a rallying call for resilience.

Notable Quote: “In the end, all business operations can be reduced to three words: people, product, and profits. People come first. Unless you’ve got a good team, you can’t do much with the other two.”

Read Iacocca: An Autobiography .

4. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. by Ron Chernow

titan the life of john d rockefeller book cover

Titan  traces the life of legendary businessman John D Rockefeller. This biography aims to examine Rockefeller through a new lens. Many other accounts either overly-glorify Rockefeller as a hero or condemn him based on The Standard Oil Company’s later scandals. Ron Chernow angles to lift the veil on and gain insight into the notoriously private Rockefeller by compiling a comprehensive account of his full life. The book follows John Rockefeller Sr from his childhood to death. In doing so, the author not only recounts the moves and deals that helped build a business and charity empire, but also shares stories and quotes that more thoroughly flesh out the figure behind the great deeds.

Notable Quote: “Rockefeller equated silence with strength: Weak men had loose tongues and blabbed to reporters, while prudent businessmen kept their own counsel.”

Read Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

5. The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution by Gregory Zuckerman

The man who solved the market book cover

The Man Who Solved the Market is a bestselling book about Jim Simons, the mathematician who pioneered an algorithm-driven approach to investing that achieved unheard-of market returns. The book unpacks Simon’s backstory by tracing the codebreaker’s early adolescence, education at MIT, early career, and finally the late-life acclaim and founding of Renaissance Technologies. Gregory Zuckerman connects Simons’ story to the broader current climate and notes the influences the discovery had on the wider world. The Man Who Solved the Market also holds lessons about teamwork and professional collaboration.

Notable Quote: “Scientists and mathematicians are trained to dig below the surface of the chaotic, natural world to search for unexpected simplicity, structure, and even beauty”

Read The Man Who Solved the Market .

6. How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams

How to fail at almost everything and still win big book cover

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big is equal parts amusing and profound. In this book, Dilbert comic creator Scott Adams traces his career, paying special attention to the flops, setbacks, and disappointments. By focusing on failure, Adams explains how he was able to transform losses into lessons and eventual opportunities. The author’s signature wry sense of humor elevates the underdog narrative beyond motivational fluff and into actionable advice.

While telling his own tale, Adams drops tidbits such as:

  • Goals are for losers. Systems are for winners.
  • The most important metric is to track your personal energy.
  • Conquer shyness by being a huge phony (in a good way.)

While this book is structured more like a self-help guide than a traditional biography, it is full of personal anecdotes that provide a much more rounded picture of the famous cartoonist.

Notable Quote: “Failure always brings something valuable with it. I don’t let it leave until I extract that value.”

Read ​​ How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big .

7. The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder

The snowball book cover

The Snowball provides a personal portrait of the Oracle of Omaha. In this exclusive biography, Warren Buffet allows Alice Schroeder and the readers intimate access into his inner life by way of years of one-on-one interviews with the author. The book reveals previously non-public details about Buffet’s childhood, career, and relationships, and sheds light on the investor’s inner-drivers, values, and areas of personal growth. The Snowball shows Warren Buffet’s human side and gives extra context to the magnate’s extraordinary accomplishments.

Notable Quote: “Intensity is the price of excellence.”

Read The Snowball .

8. Pappyland: A Story of Family, Fine Bourbon, and the Things That Last by Wright Thompson

Pappyland book cover

Pappyland is a tale of familial entrepreneurial duty and legacy preservation. The book tells the tale of Julian Van Winkle III’s battle to save his father and grandfather’s lifework and the reputation of the family whiskey business. The work chronicles Van Winkle’s early struggles to keep the business afloat in leaner years to the eventual rise to several-hundred-dollar-a-bottle prestige, and the resulting need for innovation and reinvention that stayed true to the company’s roots. Few entrepreneur biographies touch so heavily on themes of family devotion and obligation, making Pappyland a moving and relatable read as well as a practical business study.

Notable Quote: “That’s the work of adulthood. Sorting out the good and bad within.”

Read Pappyland .

9. The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger

The Ride of a Lifetime book cover

The Ride of a Lifetime is a self-penned profile of Disney executive Robert Iger. The book recounts Iger’s rise from entry-level employee at ABC to head of the most powerful media company in the world. Iger reflects on the industry changes that he saw and had a hand in during his long and lucrative career, and highlights the keys to his professional success. While the book is not strictly a memoir, Iger structures this guide with personal details that give context to his business behaviors. The Ride of a Lifetime provides a direct look at the philosophies of the man behind the mouse.

Notable Quote: “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.”

Read The Ride of a Lifetime .

10. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs Official Biography

Walter Isaacson’s official profile on Steve Jobs ranks as one of the best biographies of business leaders. Drawing on over 40 interviews with Jobs and hundreds more with family and friends, colleagues, and rivals, Isaccson weaves a thrilling account of the icon’s life. The result is a comprehensive collection of life events that shaped the subject told from multiple perspectives. From childhood to college, inventions and product launches, collaborations and clashes, career setbacks and redemptions, and roller-coaster relationships, Steve Jobs paints an appropriately complex portrait of a larger than life figure with undeniable human flaws.

Notable Quote: “One way to remember who you are is to remember who your heroes are.”

Read Steve Jobs .

11. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance

Elon musk book cover

Ashlee Vance’s Elon Musk is a profile of a monumental current businessman. This biography retells Musk’s extraordinary story of overcoming childhood adversity in South Africa only to become one of the most influential figures in Silicon Valley and modern industry. The book touches on Musk’s early pursuits in PayPal, the founding of Tesla, as well as the eventual decision to set sights on space and enter the aerospace frontier. The book is an exploration of Musk’s character and vision, charting his life through his innovations and ideas.

Notable Quote: “Good ideas are always crazy until they’re not.”

Read Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future .

12. Sam Walton: Made In America by Sam Walton

Made in america book cover

Sam Walton: Made in America is the story of Walmart and the man who made Walmart the behemoth that it is today. This autobiography reveals how Walton grew a single dime store into a retail giant. The book explores how Walton built his foundations, structured his business, grew the company, bounced back from missteps, and kept control over his mission even as his empire expanded around the country and the world. Sam Walton: Made in America is a book about big business world ambition paired with small-town values, and is a distinctly American tale of commercial success and the achievement of a distinct vision.

Notable Quote: “Great ideas come from everywhere if you just listen and look for them. You never know who’s going to have a great idea.”

Read Sam Walton: Made In America .

13. Empire State of Mind: How Jay Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office by Zack O’Malley Greenburg

Empire state of mind book cover

Empire State of Mind is a love letter to Jay Z’s business acumen. This biography recounts the rapper’s meteoric rise from ghettos to boardrooms. The book highlights some of the key points in Carter’s career, including the inception of Roc-a-Fella records, marriage to Beyoncé, birth of Roc Nation, and expansion into the streetwear, alcohol, and streaming spaces. Viewing Jay-Z as a businessman above all and hailing his hustler mindset, Empire State of Mind spins a tale of entrepreneurship, self-creation, and re-invention.

Notable Quote: “One of the main reasons for this success is Jay-Z’s ability to build and leverage his personal brand. As much as Martha Stewart or Oprah, he has turned himself into a lifestyle.”

Read Empire State of Mind .

14. Authentic: A Memoir by the Founder of Vans by Paul Van Doren

Authentic book cover

Authenti c is one of the final projects of Vans founder Paul Van Doren. The memoir tells the tale of how a high school dropout went on to helm one of the most beloved shoewear brands in the world. This autobiographical account charts Van Doren’s journey of working in a rubber factory as a teenager to creating the renowned skateboard shoe company, to preserving the legacy throughout the decades. The book examines the decisions that made the foundations of the empire and the elements that rocketed the company to fame. The story also deals with the personal and professional obstacles that threatened and informed the work. Authentic is a parable for following passions and staying true to style and vision even in the face of change.

Notable Quote: “What I’ve accomplished comes down to one thing: my knack for identifying and then solving problems. What I do better than anything else is cut out distractions. If a system isn’t working efficiently, I can see where it’s jammed, eliminate the problem, and find a way to keep everything moving forward.”

Read Authentic: A Memoir by the Founder of Vans .

15. Believe IT: How to Go from Underestimated to Unstoppable by Jamie Kern Lima

Believe It book cover

Believe IT tells the life story of Jamie Kern Lima, founder of IT Cosmetics and waitress-turned-entrepreneur who overcame the odds to build a company worth a billion dollars and to become the first female CEO of a L’Oreal brand. The book lays out defining events such as Lima learning of her adoption in early adulthood, and shows how the authors’ life hardships prepared her to face the adversity of a beauty industry that constantly told her she would not succeed. Believe IT is part manifesto and part memoir, and full-throttle motivational read.

Notable Quote: “How we react to times of uncertainty, and whether we make decisions based in love or fear, can change the course of our life. Champions aren’t made when the game is easy. In any area of life.”

Read Believe It: How to Go from Underestimated to Unstoppable .

16. The Widow Clicquot: The Story of a Champagne Empire and the Woman Who Ruled It by Tilar J Mazzeo

The widow Clicquot book cover

The Widow Clicquot is a historical business biography, and is one of the most fascinating business biographies about women. The book tells the tale of Barbe-Nicole Clicquot Ponsardin, a businesswoman who gained control of her family’s business and revolutionized champagne. The biography describes how Clicquot Ponsardin turned misfortune into fortune and made a mark on the world at a time when opportunities for women were limited. The Widow Clicquot is an empowerment message and fascinating historical story wrapped into one riveting account.

Notable Quote: “Widowed at the age of twenty-seven, with no formal business training and no firsthand experience, Barbe-Nicole transformed a well-funded but struggling and small-time family wine brokerage into arguably the most important champagne house of the nineteenth century in just over a decade.”

Read The Widow Clicquot .

17. Losing My Virginity: How I’ve Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way by Richard Branson

Losing my virginity book cover

Losing My Virginity is billionaire entrepreneur Richard Branson’s first autobiography. The book pinpoints the most essential events and influences in Branson’s life. As most business biographies do, the work starts with the executive’s upbringing and moves through his life chronologically. Branson’s many adventures include professional forays into the music and airline industries, as well as personal exploits such as trying to circle the globe in a hot air balloon. Alongside his colorful stories, the businessman shares his personal and professional philosophies, chiefly the belief of working hard yet having passions and wins beyond work. Losing My Virginity advocates for living a full and rounded life and taking control in both personal and business spheres.

Notable Quote: “I can honestly say that I have never gone into any business purely to make money. If that is the sole motive then I believe you are better off not doing it. A business has to be involving, it has to be fun, and it has to exercise your creative instincts.”

Read Losing My Virginity .

18. Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark

Alibaba the house that jack ma built book cover

Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built is a striking profile of the founder of one of the most expansive eCommerce companies in China and the world at large. The book highlights Ma’s humble beginnings as an English teacher as well as his late start to the world of entrepreneurship, and explores how the businessman rapidly climbed from running a company out of an apartment to securing a record-setting multi-billion dollar IPO. Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built provides a comprehensive history of Jack Ma’s life and professional journey and Alibaba’s evolution.

Notable Quote: “Today is brutal, tomorrow is more brutal, but the day after tomorrow is beautiful. However, the majority of people will die tomorrow night.”

Read Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built .

Founders, CEOs, and industry leaders are so often mythologized and painted as larger-than-life, that it can be easy to forget that these figures are humans with backstories and deeply personal lives. Business biographies provide perspective and additional insight into the motivations and influences of these legends and help flesh out more fully-formed profiles of these grand personas. These memoirs also portray the history of major companies and can paint fuller portraits of organizations’ origins and growth. By reading biographies on business leaders, professionals can be more mindful and in-control of their own work aspirations.

For more reading recommendations, check out this list of books on leadership or these business books by women .

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FAQ: Business biographies

Here are answers to common questions about business biographies.

What are business biographies?

Business biographies are narrative nonfiction works that follow the lives of industry leaders and chart the launch and growth of important organizations. These books often draw from interviews and mix facts and history with philosophy.

What are the best business biographies?

The best business biographies include Shoe Dog by Phil Knight, The Snowball by Alice Schroeder, and Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson.

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Author: Angela Robinson

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best business biography books

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Angela has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and worked as a community manager with Yelp to plan events for businesses.

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100 Best Business Biography Books of All Time

We've researched and ranked the best business biography books in the world, based on recommendations from world experts, sales data, and millions of reader ratings. Learn more

best business biography books

A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

Phil Knight | 5.00

best business biography books

Bill Gates This memoir, by the co-founder of Nike, is a refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like: messy, precarious, and riddled with mistakes. I’ve met Knight a few times over the years. He’s super nice, but he’s also quiet and difficult to get to know. Here Knight opens up in a way few CEOs are willing to do. I don’t think Knight sets out to teach the reader... (Source)

Warren Buffett The best book I read last year. Phil is... a gifted storyteller. (Source)

Andre Agassi I've known Phil Knight since I was a kid, but I didn't really know him until I opened this beautiful, startling, intimate book. And the same goes for Nike. I've worn the gear with pride, but I didn't realize the remarkable saga of innovation and survival and triumph that stood behind every swoosh. Candid, funny, suspenseful, literary - this is a memoir for people who love sport, but above all... (Source)

See more recommendations for this book...

best business biography books

Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Ashlee Vance | 4.76

best business biography books

Richard Branson Elon Musk is a man after my own heart: a risk taker undaunted by setbacks and ever driven to ensure a bright future for humanity. Ashlee Vance's stellar biography captures Musk's remarkable life story and irrepressible spirit. (Source)

Casey Neistat I'm fascinated by Elon Musk, I own a Tesla, I read Ashlee Vance's biography on Elon Musk. I think he's a very interesting charachter. (Source)

Roxana Bitoleanu A business book I would definitely choose the biography of Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance, because of Elon's strong, even extreme ambition to radically change the world, which I find very inspiring. (Source)

best business biography books

Walter Isaacson | 4.73

best business biography books

Elon Musk Quite interesting. (Source)

Bill Gates [On Bill Gates's reading list in 2012.] (Source)

Gary Vaynerchuk I've read 3 business books in my life. If you call [this book] a business book. (Source)

best business biography books

The Everything Store

Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

Brad Stone | 4.70

best business biography books

Doug McMillon [I read and give this book because] you need to understand what you’re up against. (Source)

Santiago Basulto I love to read biographies and stories of companies. Hatching Twitter is a really good book, and if you’re into that sort of books, bios of Steve Jobs (by Isaacson) or Jeff Bezos are great too. (Source)

Tracy DiNunzio It's a great book and especially for people starting out. (Source)

best business biography books

Made in America

Sam Walton, John Huey | 4.59

"Here is an extraordinary success story about a man whose empire was built not with smoke and mirrors, but with good old-fashioned elbow grease." (Detroit Free Press)

best business biography books

Jeff Bezos Expounds on the principles of discount retailing and discusses his core values of frugality and a bias for action—a willingness to try a lot of things and make many mistakes. Bezos included both in Amazon’s corporate values. (Source)

best business biography books

Rob "Crypto Bobby" Paone @tmac604 Read it earlier this summer, a great book 👍 and also hilarious to compare to current corporate excess ala WeWork (Source)

best business biography books

Life and Work

Ray Dalio | 4.58

best business biography books

Mark Cuban The book I wish I had as a young entrepreneur. (Source)

Tony Robbins I found it to be truly extraordinary. Every page is full of so many principles of distinction and insights—and I love how Ray incorporates his history and his life in such an elegant way. (Source)

Bill Gates Ray Dalio has provided me with invaluable guidance and insights that are now available to you in Principles. (Source)

best business biography books

The Ride of a Lifetime

Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company

Robert Iger | 4.56

best business biography books

Brian Chesky Bob's book is great and he's an excellent CEO. (Source)

Brené Brown I expected a book written by the person who has led Disney for decades to be defined by both gripping storytelling and deep leadership wisdom. [The author] delivers, and then some! [This book] is leadership gold—you won’t forget the stories or the lessons. (Source)

Karlie Kloss [Karlie Kloss] says [this book] really inspired her to become a better boss. (Source)

best business biography books

The Art of the Deal

Donald J. Trump, Tony Schwartz | 4.48

best business biography books

Jim Hanson You already had Trump officials testifythey disagreed w/ @realDonaldTrump Interesting thing about executive power The executive has the power Not the advisers Here's a good book on it https://t.co/KGlUpucCNI Time for the acquittal https://t.co/xICCPPuvM5 (Source)

Marc M. Lalonde The easiest way to Clean Up my Friends List is to post this... I love this book! | Let's get to know each other a little. I'll start... Here's MY Story: https://t.co/o8gIl1TxR7 #AskLalonde #marcmlalonde #wealthy #inspiration https://t.co/6ULSKHiIj3 (Source)

Secret Agent Number Six The failing George W. Washington and his dad George H.W. Washington were fake Presidents. They did not think of The Constitution before I did.They stole all of my ideas for it from "The Art of the Deal" which you should read right now because its the best book ever. No collution! (Source)

best business biography books

The Outsiders

Eight Unconventional CEOs and Their Radically Rational Blueprint for Success

William N. Thorndike | 4.47

best business biography books

Warren Buffett In his 2012 shareholder letter, Buffett praises The Outsiders as "an outstanding book about CEOs who excelled at capital allocation." Berkshire Hathaway plays a major role in the book. One chapter is on director Tom Murphy, who Buffett says is "overall the best business manager I've ever met." (Source)

best business biography books

Michael Dell Thorndike explores the importance of thoughtful capital allocation through the stories of eight successful CEOs. A good read for any business leader but especially those willing to chart their own course (Source)

Mason Hawkins The Outsiders is a must-read for leaders—and aspiring leaders—striving to become exceptional CEOs, and for investors interested in partnering with exceptional stewards of corporate capital. (Source)

best business biography books

The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

Ben Horowitz | 4.45

best business biography books

Larry Page Ben's book is a great read - with uncomfortable truths about entrepreneurship and how to lead to a company. It's also an inspiring story of a business rebirth through sheer willpower. (Source)

Mark Zuckerberg Ben's experience and expertise make him one of the most important leaders not just in Silicon Valley but also in the global knowledge economy. For anyone interested in building, growing or leading a great company, this book is an incredibly valuable resource - and a funny and insightful read. (Source)

Dustin Moskovitz [Dustin Moskovitz recommended this book during a Stanford lecture.] (Source)

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best business biography books

The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

Ron Chernow | 4.41

best business biography books

Ryan Holiday A biography has to be really good to make read you all 800 pages. To me, this was one of those books. Since reading it earlier this year, I’ve since found out it is the favorite book of a lot of people I respect. I think something about the quality of the writing and the empathic understanding of the writer that the main lessons you would take away from someone like Rockefeller would not be... (Source)

best business biography books

Adam Townsend @Sociopathlete Great book (Source)

best business biography books

Anas Alhajji @Morg2006 Yep, I already have it. great book. (Source)

best business biography books

The Millionaire Next Door

The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy

Ph.D. Stanley, Thomas J., Ph.D.; Danko, William D. | 4.39

best business biography books

Dave Collum @cullenroche You ever read "Millionaire Next Door"? You just described parts of it. Great book, IMO. (Source)

best business biography books

The Intelligent Investor

The Classic Text on Value Investing

Benjamin Graham | 4.39

best business biography books

Warren Buffett To invest successfully over a lifetime does not require a stratospheric IQ, unusual business insights, or inside information. What's needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions and the ability to keep emotions from corroding that framework. This book precisely and clearly prescribes the proper framework. You must provide the emotional discipline. (Source)

Kevin Rose The foundation for investing. A lot of people have used this as their guide to getting into investment, basic strategies. Actually Warren Buffett cites this as the book that got him into investing and he says that principles he learned here helped him to become a great investor. Highly recommend this book. It’s a great way understand what’s going on and how to evaluate different companies out... (Source)

best business biography books

John Kay The idea is that you look at the underlying value of the company’s activities instead of relying on market gossip. (Source)

best business biography books

The Snowball

Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

Alice Schroeder | 4.37

best business biography books

Marvin Liao My list would be (besides the ones I mentioned in answer to the previous question) both business & Fiction/Sci-Fi and ones I personally found helpful to myself. The business books explain just exactly how business, work & investing are in reality & how to think properly & differentiate yourself. On the non-business side, a mix of History & classic fiction to understand people, philosophy to make... (Source)

John Kay It’s on the list, firstly, because Buffet is the most successful investor in history. (Source)

Chude Jideonwo It's been so long, and I've been so busy that I haven't been able to recommend a book. I am sorry! I have read so many fantastic ones though, no matter how busy I have been. And I am soooooo excited to recommend this one. I love Warren Buffett ... https://t.co/ML0pM3G29k https://t.co/6yhfhT8WF5 (Source)

best business biography books

Creativity, Inc.

Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace | 4.33

best business biography books

Mark Zuckerberg This book is written by the founder of Pixar and is about his experience building a culture that fosters creativity. His theory is that people are fundamentally creative, but many forces stand in the way of people being able to do their best work. I love reading first-hand accounts about how people build great companies like Pixar and nurture innovation and creativity. This should be inspiring to... (Source)

Timothy Ferriss No matter your circumstances, storytelling and creativity are two 'meta-skills' that can take your business and life to the next level. Ed is a master. (Source)

Ezra Klein An amazing, amazing book. (Source)

best business biography books

Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Sheryl Sandberg | 4.33

Mark Zuckerberg For the past five years, I've sat at a desk next to Sheryl and I've learned something from her almost every day. She has a remarkable intelligence that can cut through complex processes and find solutions to the hardest problems. Lean In combines Sheryl's ability to synthesize information with her understanding of how to get the best out of people. The book is smart and honest and funny. Her... (Source)

Oprah Winfrey Honest and brave... The new manifesto for women in the workplace. (Source)

Richard Branson If you loved Sheryl Sandberg's incredible TED talk on why we have too few women leaders, or simply believe as I do that we need equality in the boardroom, then this book is for you. As Facebook's COO, Sheryl Sandberg has first-hand experience of why having more women in leadership roles is good for business as well as society. Lean In is essential reading for anyone interested in righting the... (Source)

best business biography books

High Output Management

Andrew S. Grove | 4.33

best business biography books

Mark Zuckerberg [Andy’s] book played a big role in shaping my management style. (Source)

best business biography books

Ben Horowitz Andy Grove, who built himself from nothing to run Intel, stopped what he was doing to teach us his magic. And not through some ghostwriter either — Andy wrote this book himself. What an incredible gift. (Source)

Drew Houston The best book on management ever written. (Source)

best business biography books

Poor Charlie's Almanack

The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger

Peter D. Kaufman, Ed Wexler, Warren E. Buffett, Charles T. Munger | 4.32

best business biography books

Warren Buffett From 1733 to 1758, Ben Franklin dispensed useful and timeless advice through Poor Richard's Almanack. Among the virtues extolled were thrift, duty, hard work, and simplicity. Subsequently, two centuries went by during which Ben's thoughts on these subjects were regarded as the last word. Then Charlie Munger stepped forth. (Source)

Bill Gates [On Bill Gates's reading list in 2011.] (Source)

Naval Ravikant I always recommend [this book] as my top business book. (Source)

best business biography books

A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice

Bill Browder | 4.28

best business biography books

Eric Ries This reads like a thriller, but is an urgent and important story about the dangers of Putin’s Russia and the events leading to the Magnitsky Act. (Source)

Anand Sanwal @geoffreysbatt @patrick_oshag 2/ Reminded a bit of the story of @Billbrowder as told in the remarkable book Red Notice which chronicles his investments in Russia very early before everyone saw the opportunity (Source)

Jonathan Kay Am reading @Billbrowder's amazing book Red Notice. Did not know incredible story of Bill's dad, who got his @Princeton math PhD at age 20. Like many Jews of era, suffered massive discrimination, stigmatized because of his own dad's communism. Then Eleanor Roosevelt saves the day https://t.co/Bp5PFiIxm1 (Source)

best business biography books

Delivering Happiness

A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

Tony Hsieh | 4.27

best business biography books

Chip Conley [The author] is a wise guy. Sincerely. He’s one of the wisest and most thoughtful business leaders of the modern age. (Source)

Adam Johnston Inspiring case study into building brand and customer service. (Source)

best business biography books

Julie Rice [At SoulCycle] we’re all big fans of [this book]. (Source)

best business biography books

The Power Broker

Robert Moses and the Fall of New York

Robert A. Caro | 4.27

best business biography books

Barack Obama He may have the country’s finest experts at his fingertips, but it still doesn’t hurt to read up on environmental and economic issues. (Source)

Ryan Holiday It took me 15 days to read all 1,165 pages of this monstrosity that chronicles the rise of Robert Moses. I was 20 years old. It was one of the most magnificent books I’ve ever read. Moses built just about every other major modern construction project in New York City. The public couldn’t stop him, the mayor couldn’t stop him, the governor couldn’t stop him, and only once could the President of... (Source)

Ben Greenman Well, if you look at a picture of a place, you can normally get a sense of what it’s like. But hopefully what books do, or what thinking does, is to show you what that place is like underneath. The Power Broker is the definitive history of how, in modern America, cities get built, power gets thrown around, neighbourhoods are overpowered by developers and politicians. It’s gigantic and it’s a... (Source)

best business biography books

This is Going to Hurt

Secret Diaries of a Junior Doctor

Adam Kay | 4.23

best business biography books

Quinn Cummings @lorapenza You might love @amateuradam's book. (Source)

best business biography books

The Epic Quest for Oil, Money, and Power

Daniel Yergin | 4.21

best business biography books

Chris Goodall A wonderfully readable history of the development of the oil age. (Source)

best business biography books

Losing My Virginity

The Autobiography

Richard Branson | 4.20

best business biography books

Yaro Starak Richard Branson, another guy with his second bio came out just recently, sort of like the part II of his life, the next 20 years. I grabbed that because his bio… I should actually go back and answer your first and second question about biggest impact and “Losing My Virginity” by Richard Branson was a huge one back in the late 90s for me, more about big thinking. The guy is crazy and I would never... (Source)

Holger Seim When it comes to biographies I particularly like Losing My Virginity. (Source)

Robin Sharma I encourage you to read his autobiography “Losing My Virginity” as well as his book “Business Stripped Bare” if you haven’t gone through them yet. Uber-inspiring. For people who want to become Remarkable Entrepreneurs – and express their absolute best. (Source)

best business biography books

My Lucky Life in and Out of Show Business

Dick Van Dyke | 4.20

best business biography books

The Wealth of Nations

Adam Smith | 4.19

best business biography books

Elon Musk Adam Smith FTW obv. (Source)

Barack Obama Obama, unsurprisingly, appears to be more drawn to stories sympathetic to the working classes than is McCain. Obama cites John Steinbeck’s “In Dubious Battle,” about a labor dispute; Robert Caro’s “Power Broker,” about Robert Moses; and Studs Terkel’s “Working.” But he also includes Adam Smith’s “Wealth of Nations” and “Theory of Moral Sentiments” on his list. (Source)

Neil deGrasse Tyson Which books should be read by every single intelligent person on planet? [...] The Wealth of Nations (Smith) [to learn that capitalism is an economy of greed, a force of nature unto itself]. If you read all of the above works you will glean profound insight into most of what has driven the history of the western world. (Source)

best business biography books

Hit Refresh

Satya Nadella, Greg Shaw, Jill Tracie Nichols | 4.18

best business biography books

Bill Gates With every new technology, there are challenges. How do we help people whose jobs are replaced by AI agents and robots? Will users trust their AI agent with all their information? If an agent could advise you on your work style, would you want it to? That is what makes books like Hit Refresh so valuable. Satya has charted a course for making the most of the opportunities created by technology... (Source)

Aviers Lim I would recommend biographies of Elon Musk and Satya Nadella. (Source)

best business biography books

The 1-Page Marketing Plan

Get New Customers, Make More Money, And Stand out From The Crowd

Allan Dib | 4.16

best business biography books

The Elon Musk Blog Series

Wait But Why

Tim Urban | 4.15

best business biography books

Setting the Table

The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business

Danny Meyer | 4.15

best business biography books

Chip Conley One of the best books on hospitality ever written. (Source)

Noah Kagan A few months ago, I was drinking a Noah’s Mill whiskey (cute) with my good buddy Brian Balfour and talking about life... During the conversation, we got on the topic of books that changed our lives. I want to share them with you. I judge a book's success if a year later I'm still using at least 1 thing from the book. (Source)

Julie Rice We did a lot of reading [this book] at SoulCycle. (Source)

best business biography books

One Up On Wall Street

How to Use What You Already Know to Make Money in the Market

Peter Lynch, John Rothchild | 4.15

best business biography books

Patrick Swalls Read this if you want to learn more about the stock market. (Source)

best business biography books

Cable Cowboy

John Malone and the Rise of the Modern Cable Business

Mark Robichaux | 4.15

The Reckoning

David Halberstam | 4.14

best business biography books

David J Lynch This one sort of speaks to something I’ve long been interested in. We get this general education in schools that follows the basic themes of presidents and wars and that kind of thing and then there’s this alternative history of finance and economics, and Lords of Finance impressed me because it gives you that alternative history, particularly through the inter-war years from the end of World War... (Source)

How to Win at the Sport of Business

If I Can Do It, You Can Do It

Mark Cuban | 4.13

best business biography books

Jason Khalipa I like it because it gets me fired up. (Source)

best business biography books

An Autobiography

Lee Iacocca, William Novak | 4.13

best business biography books

Ramit Sethi Every few years for the last 20 years, Ramit has read Iacocca: An Autobiography by Lee Iacocca and William Novak. (Source)

Shankar Sharma Reading the Iacocca autobio at age 21, was absolutely transformational. Taught me more than an MBA degree. The second book that did something similar at that age for me, was "The Mind of The Strategist" by Kenichi Ohmae. Such great business wisdom in these books. RIP Lee https://t.co/PCpkRiKwUV (Source)

best business biography books

Grinding It Out

The Making of McDonald's

Ray Kroc, Robert Anderson | 4.13

best business biography books

Aj Joshi @brianadgey Great book 👍🏼 very inspiring (Source)

best business biography books

The First Tycoon

The Epic Life of Cornelius Vanderbilt

T.J. Stiles | 4.12

best business biography books

Josh Sternberg @mhbergen @nitashatiku “If [Cornelius Vanderbilt] had been able to sell all his assets at full market value at the moment of his death he would have taken one out of every 20 dollars in circulation.” From great book on Vanderbilt https://t.co/7SljC6fmbG (Source)

best business biography books

Skunk Works

A Personal Memoir of My Years at Lockheed

Ben R. Rich, Leo Janos | 4.12

best business biography books

Chris Anderson @elidourado @pmarcas_likes What broke was our risk tolerance. The "Skunkworks" book is a great insider story of that. The day that the financial auditors outnumbered the engineers was the day the innovation died: https://t.co/ncrsulEZyC (Source)

best business biography books

Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire

James Wallace and Jim Erickson | 4.12

best business biography books

Trillion Dollar Coach

The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell

Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg, Alan Eagle | 4.12

best business biography books

Sheryl Sandberg Bill shared his wisdom generously, expecting nothing back but the joy he got from teaching others. I was privileged to have him as my coach for several years. Many times since then, when asked for advice by others, I think of Bill and try to live up to the example he set. (Source)

Tim Cook Bill's passion for innovation and teamwork was a gift to Apple and the world. Trillion Dollar Coach has captured his tireless spirit so future generations can learn from one of our industry's greatest leaders. (Source)

Sundar Pichai Whenever I saw Bill, he gave me great perspective about what really matters. At the end of the day, it's the people in your life. Bill had such strong principles around community and how to bring people together. We used those principles - detailed in Trillion Dollar Coach - to form the foundation of Google's leadership training, so all of our leaders can continue to learn from Bill. (Source)

best business biography books

How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul

Howard Schultz, Joanne Gordon | 4.12

Ron Conway Story of his return to Starbucks, and the success of the company in a tumlutuous economic time in history. (Source)

best business biography books

In the Plex

How Google Thinks, Works, and Shapes Our Lives

Steven Levy | 4.11

best business biography books

Bill Slawski In The Plex is a great introduction to Google, and the many who work there. I knew many by the patents they file, so it was good to learn more about them as people. Some good insights to some algorithms in the book, too. https://t.co/TVz7GsD8nX (Source)

Alan Pierce I’m currently reading “In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes Our Life" and am excited on gaining more insight into how google is changing the world and hopefully to get some valuable understanding I can use to maximize business decisions and read future trends while assessing investment opportunities for my company, ABM Investments. (Source)

best business biography books

Straight from the Gut

Jack Welch and John A. Byrn | 4.11

best business biography books

Warren Buffett In his 2001 shareholder letter, Buffett gleefully endorses Jack: Straight from the Gut, a business memoir of longtime GE executive Jack Welch, whom Buffett describes as (Source)

Tudor Mihailescu In every industry, there would be many relevant books but nothing would replace being in touch with the customers and people in own organisation. It’s a vast of space to recommend books, but I would suggest that learning how proven entrepreneurs or managers have done this as a good start (read about Jake Welch – Straight from the Gut, Steve Jobs, Shoe Dog – Phil Knight or Elon Musk) – admittedly,... (Source)

Annika Falkengren I read Jack Welch’s book back in 2003 and it was at the time a great source of inspiration. There were a couple of things that got stuck in my mind and in some cases changed my mind: that there are no shortcuts, that facts always must be faced no matter how brutal and that losing or failing had a value as long as your learn from them. His thoughts on how crucial the soft values are, inspired me a... (Source)

best business biography books

What It Takes

Lessons in the Pursuit of Excellence

Stephen A. Schwarzman | 4.11

best business biography books

Eric Schmidt Reveals how [the author] has achieved the rarest kind of leverage in multiple fields. (Source)

Norman Ornstein What it Takes remains the best book written about American politics and politicians. i reread every few years. Want to know about Biden? Read it! https://t.co/ZlLwbRqADa (Source)

best business biography books

Trailblazer

The Power of Business as the Greatest Platform for Change

Marc Benioff, Monica Langley | 4.11

best business biography books

Bill Gross I've been waiting "im"patiently for @Benioff 's new book to come out. It just came out on Kindle 10 minutes ago. It's terrific. Such a powerful, simple, but important lesson and message, "Values create Value!" I'll be sharing more highlights as I read further.. https://t.co/KAgrFs31fC (Source)

Jim Cramer I love this book and have already used it as the basis for several @MadMoneyOnCNBC segments and a talk to young entrepreneurs !!! https://t.co/fLYtdYAMxC (Source)

Natalie Petouhoff Trailblazer: @salesforce Founder and co-CEO Marc Benioff’s Inspiring New Book Shows How Business is the Greatest Platform for Change @Benioff https://t.co/lcIQbvG1Qo https://t.co/TKCiIpK6ZB (Source)

best business biography books

The House of Morgan

An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance

Ron Chernow | 4.11

best business biography books

Made in Japan

Akio Morita and Sony

Akio Morita, Edwin M. Reingold, Mitsuko Shimomura | 4.11

Bill Graham Presents

My Life Inside Rock And Out

Bill Graham, Robert Greenfield | 4.11

James Murphy Bill Graham Presents My Life Inside Rock and Out because I think it’s very important for young people to understand the history of the concert business before trying to jump into it. You need to have a clear understanding of where it’s been to know where it’s going and how you can help take it there. (Source)

best business biography books

Built from Scratch

How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew The Home Depot from Nothing to $30 Billion

Bernie Marcus, Arthur Blank, Bob Andelman | 4.10

When a friend told Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank that, "You've just been hit in the ass by a golden horseshoe," they thought he was crazy. After all, both had just been fired. What the friend, Ken Langone, meant was that they now had the opportunity to create the kind of wide-open warehouse store that would help spark a consumer revolution through low prices, excellent customer service, and wide availability of products.

Built from Scratch is the story of how two incredibly determined and creative people-and their associates-built a business from nothing to 761...

Built from Scratch is the story of how two incredibly determined and creative people-and their associates-built a business from nothing to 761 stores and $30 billion in sales in a mere twenty years.

Built from Scratch tells many colorful stories associated with The Home Depot's founding and meteoric rise; shows that a company can be a tough, growth-oriented competitor and still maintain a high sense of responsibility to the community; and provides great lessons useful to people in any business, from start-ups to the Fortune 500.

Great Stories

A Company with a Conscience

Great Lessons

Bernie Marcus is a cofounder of The Home Depot and currently serves as chairman of the board. From the company's inception until 1997, he served as CEO. With his wife, Billie Marcus, he founded the Marcus Developmental Resource Center, which provides support services for mentally impaired children and their parents. He sits on many boards of directors, including the New York Stock Exchange, and participates in many civic organizations, including the City of Hope, a cancer research center.

Arthur Blank is a cofounder of The Home Depot and is the company's president and CEO. He serves on the board of trustees of several organizations, including the North Carolina Outward Bound School, the Carter Center, Emory University, and the National Conference of Christians and Jews. He was inducted into the Babson College Academy of Distinguished Entrepreneurs and was honored by the City of Hope for his fund-raising leadership.

Bob Andelman lives with his wife and daughter in St. Petersburg, Florida, and has collaborated on many bestselling business books, including Mean Business and The Profit Zone .

best business biography books

Frank Blake Very meaningful to me, not only because it’s the story of the founding of the Home Depot, but also because of my start as the CEO of Home Depot. (Source)

best business biography books

Rich Dad Poor Dad

What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money - That The Poor And Middle Class Do Not!

Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter C.P.A | 4.10

best business biography books

Will Smith [Will Smith mentioned sharing this book with his son.] (Source)

best business biography books

The Man Who Solved the Market

How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution

Gregory Zuckerman | 4.10

best business biography books

Abhishek Kar @Singh7575 ~The man who solved the market Nice book and interesting insights from Jim's life. Read it last month. Happy reading👍 (Source)

Andy Sum I finished reading a book! Pretty interesting biography and background on some of the emotions involved in quantatative trading. Worth reading. https://t.co/doi843dcGN (Source)

Steve Burns The new book on Jim Simons is in my top 5 favorite trading books of all time ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ It is already the #19 best seller in Amazon nonfiction The Man Who Solved the Market: How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution Kindle Edition by Gregory Zuckerman https://t.co/FAZFigNNXy https://t.co/Jjz38Qpdnu (Source)

best business biography books

Let My People Go Surfing

The Education of a Reluctant Businessman--Including 10 More Years of Business Unusual

Yvon Chouinard, Naomi Klein | 4.10

best business biography books

Alastair Humphreys @SecondS37175185 A fantastic book. (Source)

best business biography books

Paul Kedrosky @dpfishman Yes, fantastic book by incredible human. (Source)

Holger Seim When it comes to biographies I particularly like Let My People Go Surfing. (Source)

best business biography books

Shark Tales

How I Turned $1,000 into a Billion Dollar Business

Barbara Corcoran, Bruce Littlefield | 4.09

best business biography books

Trust Me, I'm Lying

Confessions of a Media Manipulator

Ryan Holiday | 4.09

Timothy Ferriss Ryan is part Machiavelli, part Ogilvy, and all results. From American Apparel to the quiet campaigns he's run but not taken credit for, this whiz kid is the secret weapon you've never heard of. (Source)

Dov Charney Behind my reputation as a marketing genius there is Ryan Holiday, whom I consult often and who has done more for my business than just about anyone. (Source)

Tucker Max The strategies Ryan created to exploit blogs drove sales of millions of my books and made me an internationally known name. The reason I am standing here while other celebrities were destroyed or became parodies of themselves is because of his insider knowledge. (Source)

best business biography books

Jack Welch, Suzy Welch | 4.09

best business biography books

Living Proof

Onyx Moonshine's Journey to Revive the American Spirit

Adam von Gootkin | 4.09

Capital Gaines

Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff

Chip Gaines | 4.09

best business biography books

The Unbeatable Legend in Business World

All About Microsoft and How it Became The Most successful enterprise on The Earth!

Rahul Doshi | 4.09

best business biography books

Liar's Poker

Rising Through the Wreckage on Wall Street

Michael Lewis | 4.09

With the eye and ear of a born storyteller, Michael Lewis shows us how things really worked on Wall Street....

With the eye and ear of a born storyteller, Michael Lewis shows us how things really worked on Wall Street. In the Salomon training program a roomful of aspirants is stunned speechless by the vitriolic profanity of the Human Piranha; out on the trading floor, bond traders throw telephones at the heads of underlings and Salomon chairman Gutfreund challenges his chief trader to a hand of liar's poker for one million dollars; around the world in London, Tokyo, and New York, bright young men like Michael Lewis, connected by telephones and computer terminals, swap gross jokes and find retail buyers for the staggering debt of individual companies or whole countries.

The bond traders, wearing greed and ambition and badges of honor, might well have swaggered straight from the pages of Bonfire of the Vanities . But for all thier outrageous behavior, they were in fact presiding over enormous changes in the world economy. Lewis's job, simply described, was to transfer money, in the form of bonds, from those outside America who saved to those inside America who consumed. In doing so, he generated tens of millions of dollars for Salomon Brothers, and earned for himself a ringside seat on the greatest financial spectacle of the decade: the leveraging of America.

best business biography books

John Lanchester It’s still a wonderfully entertaining book: An absolutely hilarious, very, very dark, vivid account of how Michael Lewis came out of Princeton and, with basically no qualifications, got a job in the bond trading department of Salomon Brothers (Source)

Audrey Russo Question: What books would you recommend to young people interested in your career path? Answer: Anything by Peter Senge. The Hard Thing About Hard Things – Ben Horowitz Once you are Lucky, Twice you are good – Sara Lacey Revolutionary Wealth – Alvin Toffler Black Swan – Taleb Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change, by Ellen Pao. Creative Class – Richard Florida Creativity Inc. by Ed... (Source)

best business biography books

How the Internet Happened

From Netscape to the iPhone

Brian McCullough | 4.08

best business biography books

Reminiscences of a Stock Operator

The Classic Novel Based on the Life of Legendary Stock Market Speculator Jesse Livermore

Lefevre Edwin, Price Tim | 4.08

best business biography books

Steve Burns "By far, the best investing book is Reminiscences Of A Stock Operator. Everything in that book is true about how markets work, how human nature works, the mistakes people make, the greed that they have, the ways they get themselves in trouble." - Gundlach https://t.co/asuBsN0BvM (Source)

Alykhan Satchu My all time favorite Book https://t.co/UxwPMlAcXU (Source)

Joshua M. Brown Each new generation of traders gets inspired by this book but I have come to love it as more of a cautionary tale. and FYI, this is the better book for that context: https://t.co/116lNciXCF https://t.co/mEYn2ZAqPI (Source)

The Big Payback

The History of the Business of Hip-Hop

Dan Charnas | 4.08

best business biography books

Lords of Finance

The Bankers Who Broke the World

Liaquat Ahamed | 4.07

best business biography books

Barry Ritholtz It covers a 50-year period from before World War I and leading up to World War II. Even if you’re not interested in finance, it’s a great read. (Source)

David J Lynch Lords of Finance gives you that alternative history, particularly through the inter-war years from the end of World War I into the Great Depression. (Source)

best business biography books

Pour Your Heart Into It

Highbridge | 4.07

Yaro Starak There were also more traditional books or businesses I read about, like the biography of Starbucks. It’s really more the biography of the CEO, Howard Schultz, a lot about him growing the Starbucks brand. Since I spent a lot of time writing in Starbucks cafés, that was an important company to me. (Source)

Jilliene Helman I really, really like company biographies. They're just kind of the style of book that I've gotten really into. [...] I've read the Starbucks CEO book. (Source)

best business biography books

The Unauthorized Autobiography

J.T. Owens | 4.07

best business biography books

Barrel-Aged Stout and Selling Out

Goose Island, Anheuser-Busch, and How Craft Beer Became Big Business

Josh Noel | 4.07

best business biography books

Heroes of the Computer Revolution

Steven Levy | 4.06

best business biography books

American Gun

A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms

Chris Kyle, William Doyle | 4.06

best business biography books

How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big

Kind of the Story of My Life

Scott Adams | 4.06

Timothy Ferriss Scott has an incredible approach to 'career planning' that's as effective as it is unusual. He’s beaten all the odds and can help you do the same. (Source)

Gennady Batrakov [One of the] few books that made a great deal of impact on my life. (Source)

best business biography books

The Birth of Loud

Leo Fender, Les Paul, and the Guitar-Pioneering Rivalry That Shaped Rock 'n' Roll

Ian S. Port | 4.06

best business biography books

Confessions of an Advertising Man

David Ogilvy, Sir Alan Parker | 4.06

best business biography books

Rory Sutherland @GuruAnaerobic Love it. His best book. (Source)

Ronn Torossian Considering the overlap of similarities between PR and advertising, it is vital to learn from such legends as Ogilvy. His concepts, tactics, and techniques and are a must-read for not only those in marketing and PR but business in general. (Source)

Ola Olusoga For business, I've read Influence by Robert Cialdini 3 times, and Traction by Gabriel Weinberg twice, so if number of times read indicates favor, then those are it. There are a whole bunch of others, like The Personal MBA by Josh Kaufman, Confession of an Advertising Man by David Ogilvy, The 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss, and Running Lean by Ash Maurya, that I've also enjoyed and recommend to... (Source)

best business biography books

Andrew Carnegie

David Nasaw | 4.06

Charles T. Munger The definitive biography of an industrial genius, philanthropist, and enigma. At the meeting in May of this year, Munger also mentioned the Mellon Brothers as people to study. (Source)

best business biography books

Where Wizards Stay Up Late

The Origins Of The Internet

Katie Hafner | 4.05

At last, Hafner and Lyon have written a well-researched story of the origins of the Internet substantiated by extensive interviews with its creators who delve into many interesting details such as the controversy surrounding the adoption of our now beloved "@" sign as the separator of usernames and machine addresses. Essential reading for anyone interested in the past...

At last, Hafner and Lyon have written a well-researched story of the origins of the Internet substantiated by extensive interviews with its creators who delve into many interesting details such as the controversy surrounding the adoption of our now beloved "@" sign as the separator of usernames and machine addresses. Essential reading for anyone interested in the past -- and the future -- of the Net specifically, and telecommunications generally.

best business biography books

Lev Grossman If you want to go all the way back, Janet Abbate’s Inventing The Internet really takes it all the way back to the Eisenhower administration and the very beginnings of electronic computers. (Source)

best business biography books

Every Tool's a Hammer

Life is What You Make It

Adam Savage | 4.05

best business biography books

Scott Smith When @Alchemister5 and I decided to open @dnpeek, he gave me this book that @donttrythis wrote. I personally love hammers Jason. ;) https://t.co/ZabTx6JxGX (Source)

best business biography books

Learning to Breathe Fire

The Rise of CrossFit and the Primal Future of Fitness

J.C. Herz | 4.04

best business biography books

Lead from the Outside

How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change

Stacey Abrams | 4.04

best business biography books

Wild Company

The Untold Story of Banana Republic

Mel Ziegler, Patricia Ziegler | 4.04

best business biography books

Against the Odds

James Dyson | 4.04

best business biography books

Console Wars

Sega, Nintendo, and the Battle that Defined a Generation

Blake J. Harris | 4.04

best business biography books

The King of Oil

The Secret Lives of Marc Rich

Daniel Ammann | 4.03

best business biography books

This Is Not a T-Shirt

A Brand, a Culture, a Community--A Life in Streetwear

Bobby Hundreds | 4.03

Gary Vaynerchuk Simply put, Bobby Hundreds is a social beast. He knows how to tell a story, where to tell that story, and he's great at bringing people together. He's also crazy dedicated to his work and has the laser-focused attention to detail needed to not only build an everlasting globally relevant brand, but any successful business. (Source)

Jessica Alba Building a brand is about identifying and fulfilling a need in a way that no one else can. It takes vision, dedication, and attention to detail. The Hundreds is a prime example of what it looks like when you've combined all these elements along with tapping into a culture and community. This is Not a T-Shirt guides you through methods and tools you can apply to get you one step closer to... (Source)

Tony Hawk This is Not a T-Shirt tracks the history of surf and skate culture and their relationship to streetwear—from the Zephyr skate team of the 1970s to brands like Stüssy, Supreme, BAPE, and, of course, The Hundreds, which has managed to stay relevant for more than fifteen years in a fickle market. This book is an insider's guide to the prevailing trends in youth culture of the last few decades that... (Source)

best business biography books

Sell It Like Serhant

How to Sell More, Earn More, and Become the Ultimate Sales Machine

Ryan Serhant | 4.03

best business biography books

Climate of Hope

How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet

Michael Bloomberg, Carl Pope | 4.03

best business biography books

iWoz: Computer Geek to Cult Icon

How I Invented the Personal Computer, Co-Founded Apple, and Had Fun Doing It

Steve Wozniak, Gina Smith | 4.03

best business biography books

The Genius Behind Apple's Greatest Products

Leander Kahney | 4.03

best business biography books

Bitcoin Billionaires

A True Story of Genius, Betrayal, and Redemption

Ben Mezrich | 4.03

best business biography books

Kim Dotcom The Winklevoss brothers mailed me this awesome must-read book #bitcoinbillionaires with a really nice personal note. Thank you @winklevoss and @tylerwinklevoss. Facebook was stolen from you but what you’ve created since then is even more impressive. Crypto is the future. https://t.co/iAkfU1Dm65 (Source)

Bill Lee Thank you @tylerwinklevoss @winklevoss for sending me the must read @benmezrich book with the nice signed note. You guys are ushering in the crypto revolution and have captured lightning in a bottle again. #respect #BitcoinBillionaires https://t.co/QNaJLkQPJa (Source)

best business biography books

Negro with a Hat

The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey

Colin Grant | 4.03

best business biography books

The Facebook Effect

The Inside Story of the Company That is Connecting the World

David Kirkpatrick | 4.03

Craig Pearce If you read to maintain motivation and be entertained, I recommend a few books that in addition to telling great stories, also contain lessons and learnings. You won’t gain many step-by-step type lessons from these books but you will come away realizing that not all startups, regardless of what stage they are in, are as well polished as they make you think. You will realize that they make... (Source)

Angela Pham The Facebook Effect by David Kirkpatrick made me a fan of Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg years ago. I didn’t hesitate to take my current role at Facebook because I feel so strongly about their integrity and leadership, no matter the negative sentiments and media narratives the company has endured recently. (Source)

best business biography books

The Attention Merchants

The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads

Tim Wu | 4.02

best business biography books

Yuval Noah Harari A very insightful book that surveys the history of modern information technology and its political implications, from the age of print and radio to the era of Google and Facebook. It gives the context of the current battle to control human attention. (Source)

Marvin Liao I tend to jump from book to book and may switch if I am interested in some new topic. This is a pleasure for me (which I also do benefit work wise from too). It’s quite a random list because I have eclectic interests (or just scatterbrained most likely) on tech business, AI, general global economy, geopolitics, rising Biotech economy & history. I'm basically 15% to 50% into all these books. (Source)

Rafat Ali Have to say @superwuster is best business writer there is. Just finished Master Switch , now reading “Attention Merchants”, the best history-in-context-with-rigor-and-intellectual-analysis writer/explainer there is. If I ever write a book, want to write it like Tim Wu. (Source)

best business biography books

Kevin Freiberg | 4.02

best business biography books

The House That Jack Ma Built

Duncan Clark | 4.02

Tim Draper Duncan Clark gets into the heart and soul of Alibaba and its founder, Jack Ma, who deftly maneuvered through the discontinuities and barriers in China to create one of the greatest companies in the world. China has thrived under the leadership of Jack Ma. This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the present China and the heartbeat of a great entrepreneur. (Source)

Ken Wilcox This book provides excellent insight into the world of Jack Ma, perhaps the most famous of the leaders of the new economy in China. Duncan Clark is a real China 'Old Hand', unique in his knowledge of the Jack Ma generation. This book is definitely on the short list for those who wish to understand the Chinese economy today. (Source)

Erik Cheong I am a big fan of Jack Ma, I have 4 different books talking about Jack. He is a top entrepreneur & visionaire, who started out as a modest English teacher and built Alibaba into one of the world’s largest companies, an e-commerce empire on which hundreds of millions of Chinese consumers depend on. I am impressed about how he overcame his humble origins and early failures to achieve massive... (Source)

Paul Allen | 4.02

best business biography books

An Invisible Thread

The True Story of an 11-Year-Old Panhandler, a Busy Sales Executive, and an Unlikely Meeting with Destiny

Laura Schroff | 4.01

best business biography books

LeBron, Inc.

The Making of a Billion-Dollar Athlete

Brian Windhorst | 4.01

best business biography books

My Years with General Motors

Alfred Sloan | 4.01

best business biography books

Ben Horowitz My Years at GM by Alfred Sloan was very interesting particularly on scale issues. (Source)

Bogdan Iordache If you have to read just one business book to understand the global corporate world we live in today, I think this is it. And I think Bill Gates said this first. Alfred P. Sloan was the CEO of General Motors in its early beginnings, and he went through all the stages of the growth, going bust, growth and then consolidation of the beginning (when some companies were creating mechanical horses - no... (Source)

The Virgin Way

Everything I Know About Leadership

Richard Branson | 4.01

Madalina Uceanu I would recommend any biographies of business people, but definitely I would have on the list any of Richard Branson's books. That should cover a better business and mentality understanding. (Source)

best business biography books

Harley Earl, the Rise of General Motors, and the Glory Days of Detroit

William Knoedelseder | 4.00

best business biography books

The Maverick and His Machine

Thomas Watson, Sr. and the Making of IBM

Kevin Maney | 4.00

best business biography books

Just for Fun

The Story of an Accidental Revolutionary

Linus Torvalds, David Diamond | 4.00

best business biography books

Death of the Territories

Expansion, Betrayal and the War that Changed Pro Wrestling Forever

Tim Hornbaker | 4.00

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The Best Business Memoirs Of All Time

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Former Chrysler Chairman Lee Iacocca doing a TV commercial for his cars. (Photo by Ted Thai/The LIFE ... [+] Picture Collection via Getty Images/Getty Images)

If you’re looking for inspiration and actionable insights from the successes and challenges of great entrepreneurs and executives, each book on this list tells an eye-opening story in the words of the person who was its catalyst.

This gives every title, some of which are recently published, some of which are classic, essential value for anyone planning, managing, or growing or a business. Or an empire.

Some Stories: Lessons from the Edge of Business and Sport   by Yvon Chouinard

Some Stories by Yvon Chouinard (Patagonia)

You would expect that the charmed life of Yvon Chouinard–climber, environmentalist and founder of Patagonia–to be so distinct from the rest of us that it would naturally offer inspiration and wisdom when in print.  Some Stories , which was released earlier this year, certainly offers plenty of that, but the thoughts and the example set by Chouinard may also upset the equilibrium of any reader who has become stuck in their work or in how they spend their days.  It's a n essential read and a worthy successor to Chouinard’s previous work, the well-known Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman .

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Yes is the Answer! What is the Question?   by Cameron Mitchell

Cameron Mitchell Restaurants has been in business for more than 25 years with some 60 restaurants in its portfolio and employs somewhere north of 5,000 people.  Yes is the Answer! What is the Question?   takes you on a ride with Mitchell from his early days as a runaway and small-time drug dealer to where he and his company are today. Along the way, he spells out his belief in “culture first” and in support for employees as the company’s North Star.

My Father's Business: The Small-Town Values That Built Dollar General into a Billion-Dollar Company , by Cal Turner, Jr. with  Rob Simbeck

My Father's Business by Cal Turner Jr. (Center Street)

The Dollar General of today is a publicly-traded company with 15,000 stores across America. Few realize that it’s a multi-generational business whose roots go back to the Depression. That’s when author Cal Turner, Jr.’s grandfather started buying and liquidating bankrupt, small-town general stores one by one. Taking us from there to today, Turner reveals the often-stressful dynamics of family involvement in a business, his own need to evolve his leadership style along the way, and the unique realities involved in becoming a prominent, publicly traded firm.

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (Scribner)

Ask any aspiring or established entrepreneur, including Bill Gates, and they'll have Shoe Dog somewhere on their list of favorite business books.  In his memoir, Phil Knight details how he went from selling sneakers out of the trunk of his car to building Nike, which would become one of the most globally recognized brands. The memoir by the creator of Nike not only follows the history of his career and company but offers valuable startup lessons, including the difference between being a manager and being a leader and how company culture can make or break your company.

The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade   by Thomas Lynch

The Undertaking by Thomas Lynch (W. W. Norton & Company)

Thomas Lynch is principal of a family-owned funeral home in Milford, Michigan. He’s also a National Book Award finalist and a poet of renown. Combining his gorgeous prose style with a unique, emotion-laden subject makes  The Undertaking , which also spawned a PBS special, an extraordinary read about a business niche that is rarely discussed in the general business press.  

Growing a Business   by Paul Hawken

Growing a Business by Paul Hawken (Simon & Schuster)

This may be the most flat-out encouraging business memoir you’ll ever read (and re-read; it’s worth more than one time through)—particularly if you’re in the early days of building a company.   Paul Hawken takes you step-by-step through his founding of Smith & Hawken Tool Company: from the beginnings, when he had to shoot his own catalog photos (because there was no money to hire a pro) through the company’s ultimate, runaway success on a national level.

Hawken discusses the nitty-gritty of making payroll, the near-impossibility of getting a loan when you actually need it, and why too much  capital, as opposed to too little, is the bigger danger for a company that’s just getting started.  

Personal History by Katharine Graham

Personal History by Katharine Graham (Vintage)

You can watch Meryl Streep play Katharine Graham onscreen or you go straight to the source and read her autobiography. When  Graham became president of The Washington Post , it was just a small family-owned newspaper. By the early ‘70s she would become CEO and one of the first women to lead a major U.S. paper. In addition to publishing the Pentagon Papers, she supported investigations into the Watergate scandal, which of course lead to the resignation of President Nixon. By the time Graham stepped down as CEO in 1991, The Washington Post would grow into a media conglomerate with newspaper, magazine, television and cable businesses. But Graham's autobiography is about so much more than her career. The trailblazer is brutally honest about her life as a dutiful daughter and wife to Phil Graham, who suffered from depression and ultimately committed suicide. The following decades would usher in more first-female CEOs of major companies, including Meg Whitman of Hewlett-Packard and Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo.

Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey by Carly Fiorina

Rising to the Challenge by Carly Fiorina (Sentinel)

Speaking of the first wave of women to lead major corporations, Carly Fiorina becme the first woman to lead a company listed in the Dow Jones Industrial Average when she became CEO and president of Hewlett Packard in 1999. Her first memoir, the bestselling  Tough Choices , tracks her journey from the secretary for a small real estate office to the leader of a major Fortune 50 company—but it wasn't a smooth ride to the top. She had to deal with a storm of criticism that her male peers never had to face. Fiorina took the helm at HP during dotcom bubble of the '90s yet managed to steer the company toward a period of revenue growth and innovation. Her more recent memoir,  Rising to the Challenge ,  packs more insights and takeaways for other women aiming to reach their fullest potential. It also explores aspects of her life beyond  HP, giving the reader a deeper look into her life as a philanthropist, women's rights advocate and political activist. 

Setting the Table  by Danny Meyer

Settting the Table by Danny Meyer (Harper Perennial)

Setting the Table is both a business memoir and one of the best treatises ever written on customer service, or what Danny Meyer prefers to call “hospitality.”  The s ubjects that Meyer, the founder of the Union Square Hospitality Group and a restaurateur renowned in New York (and internationally via Shake Shack, a development that postdates this book), touches on range from the very personal (what it took for his marriage to survive the death of their twin infants) to the nuts-and-bolts practical to the soaringly inspirational.   While an obvious must-read for those in the restaurant business, it’s equally essential for anyone who’s aspiring to improve their interactions with and treatment of customers.

Iacocca: An Autobiography   by Lee Iacocca

Iacocca by Lee Iacocca (Random House)

Lee Iacocca had at least two great acts: First, he led the Ford Motor Company and then swept in an era of great innovation for Chrysler in the 1980s. In addition to saving the auto giant, he was also credited for rebuilding Ellis Island. The autobiography of arguably one of the best executives of the 20th century also touches on his life as a philanthropist and activist. While Iacocca   was the bestselling business book of both 1984 and 1985, his leadership lessons still ring true today. M ake a trilogy out of it and pick up Talking Straight , in which he lists his ten rules for good management, and, his last book, Where Have All the Leaders Gone?  in which he outlines tough questions leaders must address to help restore America.

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

There has never been another entrepreneurial/political/diplomatic/inventing/publishing career like Ben Franklin’s, and there’s no other business autobiography like this one.   You’ll want to read it both for the extraordinary life it describes and for Franklin’s sometimes bluntly practical tips for getting ahead (one key to his ascension in the printing business was to forgo drinking at lunch, even though this made him an outcast among his fellow printshop workers, whom he describes as “beer guzzlers").

In one particularly telling moment in  The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin ,  he sets up an elaborate roadmap for how, with daily effort, he'll cure himself of all his vices and replace them with virtues.   Unfortunately, one of these intended virtues is “humility,” which Franklin ultimately gives up on achieving. Why? Because even if achieved, he calculates, he would then be proud of his newfound humility.

Instead, he settles for the appearance of humility. His strategy for achieving this is brilliant and served him throughout the rest of his public life, including his famous stint as ambassador to France: “I made it a rule to forbear all direct contradiction to the sentiments of others, and all positive assertion of my own,” as well as “the use of every word or expression in the language that imported a fixed opinion, such as  certainly ,  undoubtedly , etc., and I adopted, instead of them, I  conceive , I  apprehend , or I  imagine  a thing to be so or so, or it so  appears  to me at  present. ”  

Micah Solomon

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You are currently viewing 15 Best Business Biographies of All Time

Business biographies offer a unique glimpse into the lives and minds of some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and leaders. They can teach us lessons about leadership, business, and life, and they can inspire us to achieve our own goals.

In this blog post, I’ve compiled a list of the 15 best business biographies of all time. These books are well-written, informative, and inspiring. They’ll give you a new perspective on business and help you to become a better leader and entrepreneur.

This page contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase using links on this page, we may earn a commission.

1. Shoe Dog , by Phil Knight

A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

best business biography books

Published in 2016 by Scribner.

In this candid and inspiring memoir, Knight tells the story of how he built Nike from a small shoe company to a global powerhouse. He shares his insights on business, leadership, and the importance of perseverance.

2. The Ride of a Lifetime , by Robert Iger

Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company

best business biography books

Published in 2019 by Random House.

This memoir by the former CEO of Disney tells the story of his life and career, as well as the challenges and triumphs of his leadership at Disney. Iger shares his insights on business, leadership, and the importance of creativity.

3. Bad Blood , by John Carreyrou

Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup

best business biography books

Published in 2018 by Knopf.

This Pulitzer Prize-winning book tells the story of Theranos, a once-promising startup that was exposed as a fraud. Carreyrou provides a gripping account of the rise and fall of Theranos and the hubris of its founder, Elizabeth Holmes.

4. Elon Musk , by Walter Isaacson

best business biography books

Published in 2023 by Simon & Schuster

This authorized biography provides a comprehensive and intimate look at the life and career of one of the world’s most fascinating and controversial entrepreneurs. Isaacson interviewed Musk extensively and gained access to his closest friends and family. The book explores Musk’s early childhood, his business ventures, and his ambitious plans for the future. It is a must-read for anyone interested in Musk, entrepreneurship, or the future of technology.

5. The Hard Thing About Hard Things , by Ben Horowitz

Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

best business biography books

Published in 2014 by Harper Business

The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz is part biography, part management guide, and part self-help book. It is based on Horowitz’s personal experiences as a computer science student, software engineer, cofounder, CEO, and investor in technology companies.

6. Zero to One , by Peter Thiel

Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future, by Peter Thiel & Blake Masters

best business biography books

Published in 2014 by Crown Currency

This book by the co-founder of PayPal and Palantir Technologies provides a contrarian perspective on business and startups. Thiel argues that the best way to succeed is to build a monopoly by creating something new and valuable.

7. Titan ,  by Ron Chernow

The Life of John D. Rockefeller Sr.

best business biography books

Published in 1998 by Random House

This Pulitzer Prize-winning biography tells the story of John D. Rockefeller, the richest man in American history. Chernow provides a comprehensive and insightful look at Rockefeller’s life, business career, and philanthropy.

8. Steve Jobs , by Walter Isaacson

best business biography books

Published in 2011 by Simon & Schuster

This Pulitzer Prize-winning biography is the definitive account of one of the most innovative and influential entrepreneurs of all time. Isaacson interviewed Jobs extensively over the course of two years, and the book provides a fascinating look at his life, career, and philosophy.

9. The Everything Store , by Brad Stone

Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

best business biography books

Published in 2013 by Little, Brown and Company.

This well-researched and engaging biography tells the story of Amazon’s rise to dominance. Stone examines Bezos’s unique business acumen and his relentless drive to succeed.

10. The Snowball , by Alice Schroeder

Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

best business biography books

Published in 2008 by Bantam

This biography tells the story of Warren Buffett, one of the most successful investors of all time. Schroeder provides a fascinating look at Buffett’s investment philosophy and his approach to life.

11. Sam Walton: Made in America , by Sam Walton with John Huey

best business biography books

Published in 1992 by Bantam

This memoir by the founder of Walmart tells the story of how he built his company from a single five-and-dime store into the world’s largest retailer. Walton shares his insights on business, leadership, and the importance of customer service.

12. Hard Drive , by James Wallace and Jim Erickson

Bill Gates and the Making of the Microsoft Empire

best business biography books

Published in 1992 by Harper Collins

This biography tells the story of Bill Gates and his rise to power at Microsoft. Wallace and Abramson examine Gates’s business acumen and his ruthless drive to succeed.

13. The Innovators , by Walter Isaacson

How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution

best business biography books

Published in 2015 by Simon & Schuster

This book tells the story of the people who created the digital revolution, including Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Tim O’Reilly, and Larry Page, and Sergey Brin. Isaacson examines their lives and careers and the impact they have had on the world.

14. The Man Who Solved the Market , by Gregory Zuckerman

How Jim Simons Launched the Quant Revolution

best business biography books

Published in 2019 by Portfolio Penguin

This biography tells the story of Jim Simons, a brilliant mathematician who founded one of the most successful hedge funds in the world. Zuckerman provides a fascinating look at Simons’s life and career, as well as the world of quantitative investing.

15. Losing My Virginity , by Richard Branson

How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way

best business biography books

Published in 1998 by Crown Currency

Losing My Virginity is a 1998 autobiography by British businessman Richard Branson. This book chronicles Branson’s early life and his rise to success as the founder of the Virgin Group, a multinational conglomerate that now includes over 400 companies in a wide range of industries, including aviation, music, retail, and telecommunications.

Check out our other Business & Economics recommendations:

7 Books That Will Revolutionize Your Approach to Innovation

10 Essential Books for Aspiring Marketers

9 Best Management Books to Help You Become a Better Leader

16 Essential Entrepreneurship Books for Success

9 Must-Read Economics Books

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It’s officially summer, so Fortune put together a reading list for those of us who can’t just sit idly by the pool with a mindless beach read.

With the help of Term Sheet readers, we compiled a list of some of the best business biographies of all time. These timeless reads are entertaining and deeply personal as they detail the lives of business magnates, tech titans, and media powerhouses.

Now, onto your suggestions:

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

A Bill Gates (and Term Sheet reader) favorite, Shoe Dog offers an inside look at how Phil Knight built his startup Nike into the global brand it is today.

Personal History by Katharine Graham

You’ve seen the movie, now read the book. Katharine Graham is the woman who led the Washington Post through the scandals of the Pentagon Papers and Watergate. This one has it all — courage, candor, and dignity.

The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life by Alice Schroeder

This is a personally revealing and complete biography of the man known everywhere as “The Oracle of Omaha.” Warren Buffett is one of the most respected businesspeople of our time, but his life has been a mix of strengths and frailties. As revealed in this book, Buffett’s legacy will not be his ranking on the scorecard of wealth — it will be his principles and ideas.

Related: The Best Business Books of All Time

THE ORIGINALS

Benjamin Franklin by Walter Isaacson

You may already know that Franklin was a writer, inventor, media baron, scientist, diplomat, and business strategist, but this is a look into how this country’s ultimate founder helped define America’s national identity.

Titan by Ron Chernow

John D. Rockefeller has been referred to as “the Jekyll-and-Hyde of American capitalism.” He was a ruthless business magnate while also being a major philanthropist. This one is a business staple.

Carnegie by Peter Krass

One of the major figures in American history, Andrew Carnegie was a businessman who made his fortune in the steel industry and ultimately gave most of it away. He used his wealth to ascend the world’s political stage, influencing the presidencies of Grover Cleveland, William McKinley, and Theodore Roosevelt. In this compelling biography, Peter Krass reconstructs the complicated life of the titan who came to power in America’s Gilded Age.

Morgan, American Financier by Jean Strouse

For decades, J. Pierpont Morgan served as America’s unofficial central banker. He was the force behind mammoths like General Electric , U.S. Steel, and vast railroad empires. Since his death, he has remained a mysterious figure — both celebrated as a hero of industrial progress and also vilified as a rapacious robber baron.

The Patriarch by David Nasaw

This biography examines the life of Joseph P. Kennedy, the founder of the 20th century’s most famous political dynasty. It tracks the path of a man who participated in the major events of his times — the booms and busts, the Depression and the New Deal, two world wars, a cold war, and the birth of the New Frontier.

THE SELF-MADE

Sam Walton, Made in America by Sam Walton/John Huey

Over the course of his life, Sam Walton built one of the world’s largest and most powerful corporations from scratch. This is the story of a small-town folk hero who revolutionized retail distribution and changed the game as we know it. Hard to believe that was once a single store in a tiny town is now a behemoth with revenue to the tune of $500 billion.

I Love Capitalism! by Ken Langone

The life of Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone is a perfect portrayal of the American Dream. He recounts how a poor boy from Long Island became one of the most successful businessmen in America. In this memoir, Langone walks readers through how he struggled to get an education, broke into Wall Street, and scrambled for an MBA.

Jack, Straight From the Gut by Jack Welch

Under Jack Welch’s leadership, General Electric reinvented itself several times over by integrating new and innovative practices into its many lines of business. This book recounts his career and the style of management that helped to make GE one of the most successful companies of the last century.

THE TECH TITANS

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and The Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

It is mind-boggling to think Amazon started out as an online bookstore. That wasn’t nearly enough for its wildly ambitious founder, Jeff Bezos. This is an in-depth account of how Bezos’ large bets forever transformed the retail industry.

Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance

I personally like this book because it delves into the psyche of one of the most innovative (albeit unusual) entrepreneurs of our time. Vance gives readers an exclusive look into SpaceX , Tesla, and SolarCity, while also giving us a better understanding of Elon Musk’s mind.

Wild Ride by Adam Lashinsky

Fortune’s Adam Lashinsky wrote about Travis Kalanick, one of the most polarizing figures in Silicon Valley. Lashinsky takes readers on quite a ride as he meticulously details Uber’s meteoric rise — and its jaw-dropping plunge into controversy.

THE DISRUPTORS

A Triumph of Genius: Edwin Land, Polaroid, and the Kodak Patent War by Ronald K. Fierstein

This biography delves into the life of Edwin Land, the breakthrough inventor of the Polaroid. At the time of his death, he stood third on the list of most prolific inventors, behind only Thomas Edison and one of Edison’s colleagues. It’s a compelling look at the man behind one of the most important legal battles over intellectual property of our time — Polaroid versus Kodak.

Bloomberg by Bloomberg by Michael Bloomberg

Brash, aggressive, and supremely self-confident, Michael Bloomberg has been hailed as the new standard for what it takes to win in the Information Age. His specialized media approach — including manipulable online data feeds, a global newswire, and extensive magazine and broadcast outlets — have turned the business of business news upside down.

THE LEADERS

Make Trouble: Standing Up, Speaking Out, and Finding the Courage to Lead by Cecile Richards

Planned Parenthood Federation of America President Cecile Richards has been an activist since she was taken to the principal’s office in seventh grade for wearing an armband in protest of the Vietnam War. She had a remarkable childhood in conservative Texas, where her civil rights attorney father and activist mother taught their kids to be troublemakers. In the Richards household, the “dinner table was never for eating—it was for sorting precinct lists.”

The House of Dimon by Patricia Crisafulli

In a candid look at Wall Street’s top banker, former business journalist Patricia Crisafulli goes behind the scenes to recount the critical events that have shaped Dimon’s career. He managed to survive one of the most difficult and most tumultuous periods in Wall Street history. This story reveals how he did it and explores what lies ahead.

PS: I also asked Twitter for more biography suggestions — you can find them here .

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10 Must-Read Inspiring Biographies of Business Leaders Take a page from the book of the lives of these famous entrepreneurs.

By Lindsay LaVine Feb 13, 2013

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Starting a business from the ground up can be at times lonely, stressful and all-consuming. Take a break and read the advice from successful entrepreneurs who've mastered the fields of technology, fashion, retail, real estate and more.

These men and women have been in your shoes and lived to tell the tale. Read on to find inspiration in their trials and triumphs.

best business biography books

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs (Simon & Schuster , 2011) By Walter Isaacson

What began in Steve Jobs' parents' garage in the 1970s laid the groundwork for revolutionary innovation in technology. From personal computers to animated films, how we listen to and purchase music, use our phones and even read books, Jobs left his indelible print on how we communicate, entertain and live. Based on more than 40 interviews with Jobs himself and hundreds more with those who knew him, this no-limits, warts-and-all biography sheds light on a complicated man and his vision for how technology could be.

Inspirational Quote: "Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart." -- Steve Jobs

Related: Remembering Steve Jobs: One Year Later

best business biography books

Losing My Virginity by Richard Branson

Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way (Crown Business, 2011) By Richard Branson

Don't be intimidated by the more than 600 pages in this entertaining autobiography. In Losing My Virginity, Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, shares how his early experiences shaped his later business ventures. When he met with "experts" who advised he not enter an already crowded field, Branson followed his gut, with his trademark slogan, "Oh, screw it. Let's do it." Part memoir, part business guide for entrepreneurs, Branson's belief that customer service reigns supreme is a theme throughout his businesses, from airlines to mobile and beyond.

Inspirational Quote: "Most 'necessary evils' are far more evil than necessary." --Richard Branson

Related: Richard Branson on Entrepreneurial Determination

best business biography books

Built from Scratch by Arthur Blank and Bernie Marcus

Built from Scratch: How a Couple of Regular Guys Grew the Home Depot from Nothing to $30 Billion (Crown Business, 1999) By Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank, with Bob Andelman

In 1978, Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank were executives who'd just heard the two words that strike fear in the hearts of employees everywhere: You're fired. Their perspective changed, however, when a friend told them they'd "been kicked in the a** with a golden horseshoe." The firings, in fact, were a blessing in disguise. Built from Scratch is the inside story of how two determined executives constructed the Home Depot empire from the ground up.

Inspirational Quote: "You want a formula for success? Take two Jews who have just been fired, add an Irishman who just walked away from a bankruptcy and an Italian running a no-name investment banking firm." -- Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank

best business biography books

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hseih

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose (Business Plus Hachette Book Group, 2010) By Tony Hsieh

Tony Hsieh's entrepreneurial spirit emerged when he was just nine years old and launched his first business -- a worm farm. When that didn't pan out, he moved on, undeterred, to businesses ranging from publishing a newsletter and selling it to classmates and running garage sales, all before high school. In 1998, at age 24, he sold his company LinkExchange, an online banner advertising program, to Microsoft for $265 million. He joined Zappos shortly after and helped create a company culture that infuses the science of happiness into its business model. That vision statement, to deliver happiness to the world, has drawn new and repeat customers to the site.

Inspirational Quote: "We wanted to run our own business, and be in control of our own destiny. We had no idea where it would lead us, but wherever it was, we knew it had to be better than feeling bored and unfulfilled. We were ready for an adventure." -- Tony Hsieh

best business biography books

By Invitation Only by Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson

By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop (Penguin Group, 2012) By Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson

Fashionistas, rejoice! The co-founders of Gilt Group, the first invite-only online trunk show brought excitement to thousands of savvy shoppers and brought the thrill of a daily sample sale to the masses when it started in 2007. What began as a friendship at Harvard Business School over a shared love of fashion blossomed into a business reportedly valued at over $1 billion. With chapters ranging from how to hire an effective team to dealing with the recession, By Invitation Only shares the inspiring true story of one of the most successful startups of the past decade.

Inspirational Quote: "On that first day we sensed something revolutionary was happening: people were genuinely excited about Gilt. We had created a website that could potentially change the rules of retail, for both shoppers and brands." -- Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson

best business biography books

Idea Man by Paul Allen

Idea Man: A Memoir by the Co-Founder of Microsoft (Penguin Group, 2011) By Paul Allen

In 1974 at 21 years old, Paul Allen teamed up with childhood friend Bill Gates to create programming language for the first personal computer. They worked together since their teens on professional programming jobs, but believed they were the ones who could write the code that, at the time, engineers didn't believe was possible. The famously private Allen opens up about the founding of Microsoft, as well as his adventures after he stepped down from the company he helped create (advances in space travel and brain mapping, to name a few).

Inspirational Quote: "Any crusade requires optimism and the ambition to aim high." -- Paul Allen

best business biography books

Wild Company by Mel and Patricia Ziegler

Wild Company: The Untold Story of Banana Republic (Simon & Schuster, 2012) By Mel and Patricia Ziegler

When Mel and Patricia Ziegler met (in the newsroom of the San Francisco Chronicle) they wanted to travel the world, but as a young writer and artist they lacked the money or means to do so. Wild Company tells the story of how the pair, armed with creativity and passion (but no business training), built an empire from military surplus clothing finds plucked from their travels to create Banana Republic.

Inspirational Quote: "The only asset we had was our own oblivion. That would keep us blissfully ignorant of the bewildering and arbitrary impediments that would entangle us until we became so embroiled that quitting was no longer a possibility." -- Mel Ziegler

best business biography books

Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie

Start Something That Matters (Spiegel & Grau, 2011) By Blake Mycoskie

In 2006, Blake Mycoskie traveled to Argentina to take some time off from his fourth startup and explore the culture of another country. What he found was a great need among children's charities for shoes. Mycoskie knew he had to help, and the idea for TOMS shoes was born. The concept for the company is simple: Sell a pair of shoes today, give a pair of shoes to a child in need tomorrow. Mycoskie shares with readers lessons learned while creating TOMS, how to develop and tell your company's story, and how to be resourceful without having resources.

Inspirational Quote: "You don't have to have a lot of money, a complicated business plan, or a great deal of experience to start something." -- Blake Mycoskie

best business biography books

Shark Tales by Barbara Corcoran with Bruce Littlefield

Shark Tales: How I Turned $1,000 Into a Billion Dollar Business (Penguin Group, 2011) By Barbara Corcoran with Bruce Littlefield

Before becoming one of the Sharks on ABC's Shark Tank, Barbara Corcoran held 22 jobs by the age of 23. It was number 23, a small real estate company that would eventually lead her to founding the Corcoran Group, a $6 billion dollar company. Combining lessons learned from her childhood in New Jersey among nine brothers and sisters with lessons from the cut throat world of New York real estate, Corcoran offers entrepreneurs valuable advice for starting their own business. Inspirational Quote: "The story of my billion-dollar business starts like this: I borrowed $1,000 from a friend." -- Barbara Corcoran

best business biography books

The Martha Rules by Martha Stewart

The Martha Rules (Rodale, 2005) By Martha Stewart

The Martha Rules consists of ten rules and a roadmap for entrepreneurs to create their own successful businesses. The book started as a project to help fellow inmates during her incarceration in a federal prison in 2004. The Martha Rules examine the importance of passion, quality, growth and taking risks. The first chapter, for example, is devoted to finding your passion and developing a business. Later chapters tout the importance of continued learning, innovation, and surrounding yourself with the right people.

Inspirational Quote: "Build your business success around something that you love -- something that is inherently and endlessly interesting to you." -- Martha Stewart

Lindsay LaVine is a Chicago-based freelance writer who has worked for NBC and CNN.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

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11 Biographies That Will Teach You More Than Any Business Book

Sometimes a 360-degree portrait of a real-life person beats general principles for business insight..

11 Biographies That Will Teach You More Than Any Business Book

Say you're looking for expert guidance on how to advance your career or build a better business. Where do you turn? There are, of course, millions of books  offering advice and abstract principles on every aspect of business. But even after reading them, you may be left thinking, "That all sounds well and good, but what does that actually look like in practice?"

The place to turn, according to one entrepreneur, is biographies. On Twitter recently, founder and CTO Colin Landforce confessed that he's traded in general advice for deeper dives into the lives of past innovators . "I stopped reading business books a while ago. I'm reading history and biographies instead," he tweeted. 

Looking for titles to add to his to-read queue, Landforce asked his 20,000-plus followers to suggest great biographies and memoirs. More than 100 ideas poured in. Landforce helpfully sorted through the suggestions to weed out repetitions and self-promoters, coming up with a final tally of 43 recommendations. The full list is here or, to get you started, here are a handful of the most promising. 

1. The Tycoons by Charles R. Morris

A group biography of four Gilded Age men who created the modern American economy (for better and for worse): Andrew Carnegie, John D. Rockefeller, Jay Gould, and J.P. Morgan. 

2. The Innovators by Walter Isaacson  

The Innovators is celebrated biographer Walter Isaacson's deep dive into the history of the digital revolution, tracing the origins of the internet from its beginnings with Ada Lovelace to the contributions of contemporary visionaries like Tim Berners-Lee and Larry Page. 

3. The Fish That Ate the Whale by Rich Cohen 

This book has nothing to do with fish or whales but is instead "the fascinating untold tale of Samuel Zemurray, the self-made banana mogul who went from penniless roadside banana peddler to kingmaker and capitalist revolutionary," according to Amazon. Booklist insists "it is nearly impossible to put the book down."

4. American Prometheus by Kai Bird and Martin J. Sherwin

This Pulitzer Prize-winning biography traces the life of physicist Robert Oppenheimer from his early career to his work on the Manhattan Project developing the atom bomb to his later misgivings about the impact of his life's work upon the world. 

5. The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro  

Another Pulitzer Prize winner, this biography of New York politician and "master builder" Robert Moses  garnered ecstatic reviews. The Sunday Times called it "simply one of the best nonfiction books in English of the past 40 years." Focused not just on the man but also on the city he remade, the book is "surely the greatest book ever written about a city," according to legendary journalist David Halberstam. 

6. The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger 

Best-selling author Brené Brown had this to say about the former Disney CEO's memoir : "I expected a book written by the person who has led Disney for decades to be defined by both gripping storytelling and deep leadership wisdom. Bob Iger delivers, and then some! The Ride of a Lifetime is leadership gold."

7. The Box by Marc Levinson

A biography of a technology rather than a person, this book by economist Marc Levinson unravels how the rise of container shipping quietly remade our economy and fueled the rise of globalization. 

8. Grinding It Out by Ray Kroc 

 In Grinding It Out , the McDonald's founder explains how he revolutionized the restaurant business at the not-so-tender age of 52 while also opening up about his personal life and philosophy. 

9. Tap Dancing to Work by Carol J. Loomis

This collection of writings from a journalist and longtime friend of Warren Buffett 's charts the rise of Berkshire Hathaway and attempts to explain what about Buffett's character and approach led him to become one of the world's most successful investors. 

10. The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore

Actually a historical novel about the battle between Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and Nikola Tesla to electrify America, The Last Days of Night was Mark Zuckerberg's pick for his top summer book. Read it for entertainment value as much as historical and business insight. 

11. The Man Who Solved the Market by Gregory Zuckerman

This biography that reads like a page-turner tells "the unbelievable story of a secretive mathematician who pioneered the era of the algorithm--and made $23 billion doing it," according to Amazon. 

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13 Best Business Biographies That Will Show You the Struggles of World’s Biggest Entrepreneurs

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Fools learn from experience. I prefer to learn from the experience of others – it’s what Otto von Bismarck used to say . And what other better way to do that than by reading the biographies of those you admire?

Some of the most popular entrepreneurs admitted that they attribute their success to reading memoirs of the people they admire. Here’s a list of the  best business biographies recommended by them (is there something missing, any book that we absolutely-definitely-must add to this list? let us know !). There’s also one entrepreneur biography – or more – sprinkled in there, as well, so have a blast!

Oh, but before that, did you know we have a really good weekly newsletter where we write about things that make us better business people, better entrepreneurs, better professionals. So go HERE and see an example and subscribe!

Best Business Biographies: Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

1. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

Elon Musk mentioned in multiple interviews that he learned a lot from reading biographies. Well, same thing is true regarding his biography. Published by Ashlee Vance in 2015, it’s a must-read for everyone who wants to shoot for the stars the same way he does.

“ Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future ” serves a great lesson on the sacrifices you’ll need to make when you have ambitious, almost impossible plans, and nobody believes in you.

Richard Branson , the founder of Virgin Group, recommended this book, saying that “ Elon Musk is a man after my own heart: a risk taker undaunted by setbacks and ever driven to ensure a bright future for humanity. Ashlee Vance’s stellar biography captures Musk’s remarkable life story and irrepressible spirit. “.

Best Business Biographies:

2. The Everything Store

Another fascinating biography, if you want to read all about how Jeff Bezos and Amazon conquered the world. Even though Jeff’s wife gave it a 1-star review on Amazon, you can still draw lots of lessons from it, especially about management, leadership and inovation.

Written by Brad Stone after he conducted tens, perhaps even hundreds of interviews with Amazon employees, Jeff’s former colleagues and family members, this is the most comprehensive book you’ll find about how Amazon became the everything store.

Best Business Biographies: Duncan Clark - Alibaba, The House That Jack Ma Built

3. Alibaba – The House That Jack Ma Built

And speaking of Amazon… If you want to know more about its main competitor, how Jack Ma built the giant empire we now know as Alibaba, read this biography published last year by Duncan Clark.

Jack managed to get past China’s political obstacles and turned Alibaba into one of the biggest companies in the world.

This is what Sir Martin Sorrell , CEO of WPP, had to say about this book: “ Anybody who thinks the Chinese just copy or steal technology from the West should read this book and think again. Jack Ma is part Bill Gates, part Steve Jobs, part Larry Page, part Sergey Brin, and part Mark Zuckerberg, all rolled into one “.

Best Business Biographies: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

4. Steve Jobs

This book probably needs no introduction, as I’m confident it’s the most popular biography from this list. Based on more than 40 interviews conducted by Walter Isaacson over 2 years with Steve Jobs , as well as hundreds of interviews with his family members, friends, colleagues and so on.

Jobs cooperated for this book and encouraged the people he knew to speak honestly, saying that: “ I’ve done a lot of things I’m not proud of, such as getting my girlfriends pregnant when I was 23 and the way I handled that, but I don’t have any skeletons in my closet that can’t be allowed out. ”

Best Business Biographies: Creativity, Inc. Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration - Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace

5. Creativity, Inc

And since we mentioned Steve Jobs, here’s another book that might interest you: Creativity, Inc. is the story of Pixar Animation and its co-founder, Ed Catmull . If you want to learn great lessons on leadership and management, check it out.

Mark Zuckerberg is one of the CEOs who read and recommend this book.

Best Business Biographies: Lee Iacocca - An Autobiography

6. Iacocca: An Autobiography

In his podcast with Tim Ferriss , Ramit Sethi mentioned that he read Iacocca: An Autobiography every few years for the last 20 years.

Lee Iacocca’s best selling autobiography was originally published in 1984 and follows his career in the auto industry, first with Ford, and afterward with the Chrysler Corporation. Iaccoca’s considered an American legend, a businessman who turned around Chrysler when the company was facing a crucial point.

Best Business Biographies: Jay-Z Empire State of Mind

7. Empire State of Mind: How Jay Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office

“I’m not a businessman – I’m a business, man.” – This book follows Jay Z and how he climbed from the ill famed streets of Brooklyn, where he spent his childhood, to the heights of the business world.

Ryan Holiday recommended this biography, saying that: “ This is a biography that also functions as a business book. It shows how Jay applied hustling techniques to the music business and eventually built his empire “.

Best Business Biographies: Phil Knight - Shoe Dog

8. Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

This is probably one of the best biographies published in the recent years. Shoe Dog follows Phil Knight’s memories, from the times when he was just a young boy, lost and with no idea what to do with his life, until he built the giant sports brand that we know today as Nike.

Bill Gates wrote on his blog about this book: “ […] is a refreshingly honest reminder of what the path to business success really looks like: messy, precarious, and riddled with mistakes. I’ve met Knight a few times over the years. He’s super nice, but he’s also quiet and difficult to get to know. Here Knight opens up in a way few CEOs are willing to do. I don’t think Knight sets out to teach the reader anything. Instead, he accomplishes something better. He tells his story as honestly as he can. It’s an amazing tale. ”

Best Business Biographies: Titan, The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

9. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller

This is one huge biography, with more than 800 pages filled with the life and story of John D. Rockefeller. Considered to be the Jekyll-and-Hyde of American capitalism, Rockefeller “ was known as both a rapacious robber baron, whose Standard Oil Company rode roughshod over an industry, and a philanthropist who donated money lavishly to universities and medical centers “.

Best Business Biographies: Poor Charlie's Almanack - Charlie Munger

10. Poor Charlie’s Almanack: The Wit and Wisdom of Charles T. Munger

This book is recommended by Warren Buffett , who co-founded Berkshire Hathaway together with Charlie Munger. It’s a collection of his speeches and talks.

Best Business Biographies: Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman Adventures of a Curious Character - Richard P. Feynman

11. Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!

I’ve been bumping into this book for a long time, as it’s one of the most recommended books by entrepreneurs. Filled with stories and memories of Richard Feynman, winner of the Nobel Prize for physics, who was always questioning the status-quo and testing assumptions. In this book he recalls all the experiences he conducted, but also his pranks and adventures (even the ones he pulled in the years he was working on the Manhattan Project).

Google’s co-founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin , are among the fans of this book. Noah Kagan , founder of Sumo, even said that he if you ever meet him in person, he always has an extra copy, “ because it’s just that amazing “.

I have to agree – I finished it recently, after a few nights of reading Feynman’s adventures until 4 AM (yes, it’s just that addictive!).

Best Business Biographies: The Snowball - Warren Buffet and the Business of Life - Alice Schroeder

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

We couldn’t mention Charlie Munger without bringing up his partner’s biography. Lots of books were written about Warren Buffett , the “Oracle of Omaha”, but this was written with his cooperation and is considered to be the best.

Best Business Biographies: Richard Branson - Losing My Virginity

13. Losing My Virginity

And last but not least: the autobiography of the famous entrepreneur Richard Branson . If you want to find out more about how he built the business empire Virgin Group, this is a good place for you to start.

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best business biography books

Financial Times

Best business books

All the books longlisted for the Financial Times Business Book of the Year Award

  • Short listed
  • Long listed

The Man Who Knew by Sebastian Mallaby

The Man Who Knew

Elon Musk by Walter Isaacson

Empire Of Pain

The Man Who Solved the Market by Gregory Zuckerman

The Man Who Solved the Market

Reset by Ellen Pao

The Match King

The Snowball by Alice Schroeder

The Snowball

The Age of Turbulence by Alan Greenspan

The Age of Turbulence

Blood and Oil by Bradley Hope, Justin Scheck

Blood and Oil

Flash Crash by Liam Vaughan

Flash Crash

Make, Think, Imagine by John Browne

Make, Think, Imagine

Damaged Goods by Oliver Shah

Damaged Goods

Who is Michael Ovitz? by Michael Ovitz

Who is Michael Ovitz?

Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella, Greg Shaw, Jill Tracie Nichols

Hit Refresh

Brazillionaires by Alex Cuadros

Brazillionaires

The Profiteers by Sally Denton

The Profiteers

Sons of Wichita by Daniel Schulman

Sons of Wichita

The Innovators by Walter Isaacson

The Innovators

Car Guys vs Bean Counters by Bob Lutz

Car Guys vs Bean Counters

No Angel by Tom Bower

Myself and Other More Important Matters

The 21 most captivating biographies of all time

When you buy through our links, Business Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more

  • Biographies illuminate pivotal times and people in history. 
  • The biography books on this list are heavily researched and fascinating stories.
  • Want more books? Check out the best classics , historical fiction books , and new releases.

Insider Today

For centuries, books have allowed readers to be whisked away to magical lands, romantic beaches, and historical events. Biographies take readers through time to a single, remarkable life memorialized in gripping, dramatic, or emotional stories. They give us the rare opportunity to understand our heroes — or even just someone we would never otherwise know. 

To create this list, I chose biographies that were highly researched, entertainingly written, and offer a fully encompassing lens of a person whose story is important to know in 2021. 

The 21 best biographies of all time:

The biography of a beloved supreme court justice.

best business biography books

"Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg" by Irin Carmon and Shana Knizhnik, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $16.25

Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a Supreme Court Justice and feminist icon who spent her life fighting for gender equality and civil rights in the legal system. This is an inspirational biography that follows her triumphs and struggles, dissents, and quotes, packaged with chapters titled after Notorious B.I.G. tracks — a nod to the many memes memorializing Ginsburg as an iconic dissident. 

The startlingly true biography of a previously unknown woman

best business biography books

"The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" by Rebecca Skloot, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $8.06

Henrietta was a poor tobacco farmer, whose "immortal" cells have been used to develop the polio vaccine, study cancer, and even test the effects of an atomic bomb — despite being taken from her without her knowledge or consent. This biography traverses the unethical experiments on African Americans, the devastation of Henrietta Lacks' family, and the multimillion-dollar industry launched by the cells of a woman who lies somewhere in an unmarked grave.

The poignant biography of an atomic bomb survivor

best business biography books

"A Song for Nagasaki: The Story of Takashi Nagai: Scientist, Convert, and Survivor of the Atomic Bomb" by Paul Glynn, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $16.51

Takashi Nagai was a survivor of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945. A renowned scientist and spiritual man, Nagai continued to live in his ruined city after the attack, suffering from leukemia while physically and spiritually helping his community heal. Takashi Nagai's life was dedicated to selfless service and his story is a deeply moving one of suffering, forgiveness, and survival.

The highly researched biography of Malcolm X

best business biography books

"The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X" by Les Payne and Tamara Payne, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $18.99

Written by the investigative journalist Les Payne and finished by his daughter after his passing, Malcolm X's biography "The Dead are Arising" was written and researched over 30 years. This National Book Award and Pulitzer-winning biography uses vignettes to create an accurate, detailed, and gripping portrayal of the revolutionary minister and famous human rights activist. 

The remarkable biography of an Indigenous war leader

best business biography books

"The Journey of Crazy Horse: A Lakota History" by Joseph M. Marshall III, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $14.99 

Crazy Horse was a legendary Lakota war leader, most famous for his role in the Battle of the Little Bighorn where Indigenous people defeated Custer's cavalry. A descendant of Crazy Horse's community, Joseph M. Marshall III drew from research and oral traditions that have rarely been shared but offer a powerful and culturally rich story of this acclaimed Lakota hero.

The captivating biography about the cofounder of Apple

best business biography books

"Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $16.75

Steve Jobs is a cofounder of Apple whose inventiveness reimagined technology and creativity in the 21st century. Water Issacson draws from 40 interviews with Steve Jobs, as well as interviews with over 100 of his family members and friends to create an encompassing and fascinating portrait of such an influential man.

The shocking biography of a woman committed to an insane asylum

best business biography books

"The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear" by Kate Moore, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $22.49

This biography is about Elizabeth Packard, a woman who was committed to an asylum in 1860 by her husband for being an outspoken woman and wife. Her story illuminates the conditions inside the hospital and the sinister ways of caretakers, an unfortunately true history that reflects the abuses suffered by many women of the time.

The defining biography of a formerly enslaved man

best business biography books

"Barracoon: The Story of the Last "Black Cargo" by Zora Neale Hurston, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $12.79

50 years after the Atlantic slave trade was outlawed in the United States, Cudjo Lewis was captured, enslaved, and transported to the US. In 1931, the author spent three months with Cudjo learning the details of his life beginning in Africa, crossing the Middle Passage, and his years enslaved before the Civil War. This biography offers a first-hand account of this unspoken piece of painful history.

The biography of a famous Mexican painter

best business biography books

"Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo" by Hayden Herrera, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $24.89

Filled with a wealth of her life experiences, this biography of Frida Kahlo conveys her intelligence, strength, and artistry in a cohesive timeline. The book spans her childhood during the Mexican Revolution, the terrible accident that changed her life, and her passionate relationships, all while intertwining her paintings and their histories through her story.

The exciting biography of Susan Sontag

best business biography books

"Sontag: Her Life and Work" by Benjamin Moser, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $20.24

Susan Sontag was a 20th-century writer, essayist, and cultural icon with a dark reputation. Drawing on hundreds of interviews, archived works, and photographs, this biography extends across Sontag's entire life while reading like an emotional and exciting literary drama.

The biography that inspired a hit musical

best business biography books

"Alexander Hamilton" by Ron Chernow, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $11.04

The inspiration for the similarly titled Broadway musical, this comprehensive biography of Founding Father Alexander Hamilton aims to tell the story of his decisions, sacrifice, and patriotism that led to many political and economic effects we still see today. In this history, readers encounter Hamilton's childhood friends, his highly public affair, and his dreams of American prosperity. 

The award-winning biography of an artistically influential man

best business biography books

"The New Negro: The Life of Alain Locke" by Jeffrey C Stewart, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $25.71

Alain Locke was a writer, artist, and theorist who is known as a leader of the Harlem Renaissance. Outlining his personal and private life, Alain Locke's biography is a blooming image of his art, his influences, and the far-reaching ways he promoted African American artistic and literary creations.

The remarkable biography of Ida B. Wells

best business biography books

"Ida: A Sword Among Lions" by Paula J. Giddings, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $15.99

This award-winning biography of Ida B. Wells is adored for its ability to celebrate Ida's crusade of activism and simultaneously highlight the racially driven abuses legally suffered by Black women in America during her lifetime. Ida traveled the country, exposing and opposing lynchings by reporting on the horrific acts and telling the stories of victims' communities and families. 

The tumultuous biography that radiates queer hope

best business biography books

"The Mayor of Castro Street: The Life and Times of Harvey Milk" by Randy Shilts, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $11.80

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay elected official in California who was assassinated after 11 months in office. Harvey's inspirational biography is set against the rise of LGBTQIA+ activism in the 1970s, telling not only Harvey Milk's story but that of hope and perseverance in the queer community. 

The biography of a determined young woman

best business biography books

"Obachan: A Young Girl's Struggle for Freedom in Twentieth-Century Japan" by Tani Hanes, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $9.99

Written by her granddaughter, this biography of Mitsuko Hanamura is an amazing journey of an extraordinary and strong young woman. In 1929, Mitsuko was sent away to live with relatives at 13 and, at 15, forced into labor to help her family pay their debts. Determined to gain an education as well as her independence, Mitsuko's story is inspirational and emotional as she perseveres against abuse. 

The biography of an undocumented mother

best business biography books

"The Death and Life of Aida Hernandez: A Border Story" by Aaron Bobrow-Strain, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $18.40

Born in Mexico and growing up undocumented in Arizona, Aida Hernandez was a teen mother who dreamed of moving to New York. After being deported and separated from her child, Aida found herself back in Mexico, fighting to return to the United States and reunite with her son. This suspenseful biography follows Aida through immigration courts and detention centers on her determined journey that illuminates the flaws of the United States' immigration and justice systems.

The astounding biography of an inspiring woman

best business biography books

"The Black Rose: The Dramatic Story of Madam C.J. Walker, America's First Black Female Millionaire" by Tananarive Due, available on Amazon for $19

Madam C.J. Walker is most well-known as the first Black female millionaire, though she was also a philanthropist, entrepreneur, and born to former slaves in Louisiana. Researched and outlined by famous writer Alex Haley before his death, the book was written by author Tananarive Due, who brings Haley's work to life in this fascinating biography of an outstanding American pioneer.

A biography of the long-buried memories of a Hiroshima survivor

best business biography books

"Surviving Hiroshima: A Young Woman's Story" by Anthony Drago and Douglas Wellman, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $15.59

When Kaleria Palichikoff was a child, her family fled Russia for the safety of Japan until the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima when she was 22 years old. Struggling to survive in the wake of unimaginable devastation, Kaleria set out to help victims and treat the effects of radiation. As one of the few English-speaking survivors, Kaleria was interviewed extensively by the US Army and was finally able to make a new life for herself in America after the war.

A shocking biography of survival during World War II

best business biography books

"Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival" by Laura Hillenbrand, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $8.69

During World War II, Louis Zamperini was a lieutenant bombardier who crashed into the Pacific Ocean in 1943. Struggling to stay alive, Zamperini pulled himself to a life raft where he would face great trials of starvation, sharks, and enemy aircraft. This biography creates an image of Louis from boyhood to his military service and depicts a historical account of atrocities during World War II.  

The comprehensive biography of an infamous leader

best business biography books

"Mao: The Unknown Story" by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $15.39

Mao was a Chinese leader, a founder of the People's Republic of China, and a nearly 30-year chairman of the Chinese Communist Party until his death in 1976. Known as a highly controversial figure who would stop at very little in his plight to rule the world, the author spent nearly 10 years painstakingly researching and uncovering the painful truths surrounding his political rule.

The emotional biography of a Syrian refugee

best business biography books

"A Hope More Powerful Than the Sea: One Refugee's Incredible Story of Love, Loss, and Survival" by Melissa Fleming, available on Amazon and Bookshop from $15.33

When Syrian refugee Doaa met Bassem, they decided to flee Egypt for Europe, becoming two of thousands seeking refuge and making the dangerous journey across the Mediterranean. After four days at sea, their ship was attacked and sank, leaving Doaa struggling to survive with two small children clinging to her and only a small inflation device around her wrist. This is an emotional biography about Doaa's strength and her dangerous and deadly journey towards freedom.

best business biography books

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  10. The Best 26 Business Biography Books

    The best 26 Business Biography books. Behind every successful business is a compelling story. Dive into the lives and journeys of business leaders and entrepreneurs with this captivating book list. From iconic figures like Steve Jobs to lesser-known visionaries, these biographies provide invaluable insights into the challenges, triumphs, and ...

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    10. 'Elon Musk' by Ashlee Vance. This business biography, written by Ashlee Vance, is about such an accomplished entrepreneur that it covers three of the most well-known brands in the world. "Elon Musk," a book about the businessman of the same name, will inspire and motivate any startup founder who feels their idea is crazy.

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    The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life. We couldn't mention Charlie Munger without bringing up his partner's biography. Lots of books were written about Warren Buffett, the "Oracle of Omaha", but this was written with his cooperation and is considered to be the best. 13. Losing My Virginity.

  16. Amazon Best Sellers: Best Business Biographies & History

    1 offer from $14.99. #21. Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. Ron Chernow. 3,534. Kindle Edition. 1 offer from $14.99. #22. The Dumb Money: The GameStop Short Squeeze and the Ragtag Group of Amateur Traders That Brought Wall Street to Its Knees (Previously Published as The Antisocial Network)

  17. Biography (list)

    Best business books. All the books longlisted for the Financial Times Business Book of the Year Award. Search for a book title or author. ... Biography. Winner 2016. The Man Who Knew. Sebastian Mallaby. Shortlist 2023. Elon Musk. Walter Isaacson. Shortlist 2021. Empire Of Pain. Patrick Radden Keefe.

  18. 20 Best-Selling Business Biography Books of All Time

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    1 offer from $15.74. #11. The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York. Robert A. Caro. 2,160. Audible Audiobook. 11 offers from $47.25. #12. Astor: The Rise and Fall of an American Fortune.

  20. The 29 Best Business Books in 2023, According to Goodreads

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  21. The 21 Best Biography Books of All Time

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  22. 20 Best New Business Biography Books To Read In 2024

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  23. 10 Leadership Books to Grow Your Professional Life: Our 2024 Guide

    10 top leadership books worth reading Consider reading one or more of these books to learn great leadership lessons. This diverse list includes authors from many professions, including a former television host and political speechwriter, a presidential historian, and a Harvard business professor and management consultant. 1.

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