Today, India has come a long way in its start-up story. From just 350 in 2014 to a world’s startup hub. And if we look at 2024 and beyond, Ashish Bhatia, Founder and CEO, India Accelerator, is optimistic about the next five years, seeing them as the era of exciting possibilities. "It is a time where startups can grow like never before, bring in fresh ideas, and bounce back from challenges stronger than ever," says Bhatia.
Looking at this positive growth trajectory, it is also crucial for entrepreneurs to seek guidance from accomplished individuals is natural, and one way to gain insight is by examining their reading habits. Delving into the books they choose offers invaluable benefits, providing a chance to learn from their experiences. One should know that successful people often credit continuous learning for their achievements, making their reading material a treasure trove of knowledge and insights. Additionally, exploring the reading lists of achievers exposes readers to diverse perspectives and can spark new interests.
Furthermore, reading what successful individuals read can be a source of inspiration and motivation. Many draw strength from the books they consume, finding encouragement to pursue ambitious goals. Moreover, recommended material often covers topics crucial for professional development, offering strategies applicable to leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovation. Engaging with such content not only enhances skills but also fosters networking opportunities, as shared interests create connections.
If one should ask - What is common among all the billionaires? The answer is that they are expert readers and doers. Doers in a sense that they leverage their learning and impart in their real life.
So now, let’s dive into these 4 Books that are highly recommended by billionaires:
Poor Charlie’s Almanack
Charlie Munger is the author of Poor Charlie's Almanack and also the vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and Warren Buffett's longtime business partner. Speaking of the book, this book which amalgamates speeches, essays, and wisdom. As quite the writer himself, Charlie brings an unparalleled experience in the world of business and this book serves as the testament of this business worthiness. His book is recommended by the likes of Bill Gates, Daniel Ek, Drew Houston and 3 other billionaires.
Poor Charlie’s Almanack covers a wide range of topics which includes investments, business strategies, psychology, and the overall life philosophy. Here, Munger has also emphasized the importance of multidisciplinary thinking and how crucial it is to learn from one’s mistakes; a offers practical advice on decision-making, investing principles, and how to live a successful and fulfilling life.
“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time — none, zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren reads — and at how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I’m a book with a couple of legs sticking out.” - Charles Munger, Poor Charlie’s Almanack
Another thought-provoking book is Sapiens written by Yuval Noah Harari. Through his book, he focuses on the exploration of the most intriguing history of Homo sapiens; right from the emergence of our species in Africa to the present day that we are living in. In this book, we can see how Harari examines some of the key aspects in human development, which involves the cognitive revolution, the agricultural revolution, and the scientific revolution; thereby offering an in-depth analysis of how these events shaped human societies and cultures. The recommenders of this book include Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Daniel Ek, and 8 other billionaires.
Sapiens delves into some of the informative topics such as the rise of agriculture, the formation of complex societies, the spread of religion and ideology, and the impact of technological advancements in the current times. He has also further discussed the future trajectory of humanity. The main consideration has been kept upon the potential consequences of our actions on the planet. It is indeed a compelling narrative of human history which certainly challenges readers to rethink their outlook towards our human species and also the blue dot that we call the Earth.
“Culture tends to argue that it forbids only that which is unnatural. But from a biological perspective, nothing is unnatural. Whatever is possible is by definition also natural. A truly unnatural behaviour, one that goes against the laws of nature, simply cannot exist, so it would need no prohibition.” - Yuval Noah Harari, Sapiens
The Hard Thing About Hard Things
The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz is a candid and insightful book that provides practical advice for navigating the challenges of building and leading a successful business. Horowitz, who himself is a seasoned entrepreneur and venture capitalist, shares his personal experiences and lessons learned from his time as CEO of various startups.
The book delves into the often messy and unpredictable realities of entrepreneurship, addressing topics such as managing difficult decisions, dealing with failure, building a strong company culture, and leading through uncertainty. Horowitz offers actionable strategies for overcoming common obstacles faced by business leaders, including how to handle layoffs, manage interpersonal conflicts, and maintain morale during tough times. One of the key themes of the book is the importance of resilience and perseverance in the face of adversity. Horowitz encourages entrepreneurs to embrace the inevitable challenges and setbacks that come with building a business, emphasizing the value of grit and determination in achieving long-term success.
The Hard Thing About Hard Things is praised for its honesty and authenticity, offering valuable insights into the realities of entrepreneurship that are often overlooked in other business books. It serves as a valuable resource for entrepreneurs and business leaders grappling with the tough decisions and uncertainties inherent in building and scaling a company. This book is highly recommended by Keith Rabois, Larry Page, Peter Thiel and 4 other billionaires.
“Great CEOs face the pain. They deal with the sleepless nights, the cold sweats, and what my friend the great Alfred Chuang (legendary cofounder and CEO of BEA Systems) calls “the torture.” Whenever I meet a successful CEO, I ask them how they did it. Mediocre CEOs point to their brilliant strategic moves or their intuitive business sense or a variety of other self-congratulatory explanations. The great CEOs tend to be remarkably consistent in their answers. They all say, “I didn’t quit.” - Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things
Principles by Ray Dalio is a comprehensive guide to life and work based on the author's own experiences as the founder of one of the world's largest hedge funds, Bridgewater Associates. The book outlines Dalio's principles for decision-making and success, both in business and in personal life. Dalio advocates for a transparent and systematic approach to decision-making, grounded in a set of core principles that guide behavior and actions. He emphasizes the importance of radical truthfulness and radical transparency in fostering an environment where people can openly discuss ideas, give and receive feedback, and make better decisions collectively.
Principles is praised for its practical advice and actionable insights, as well as its emphasis on the importance of continuous learning and adaptation. It offers readers a framework for making better decisions, building stronger relationships, and ultimately living a more fulfilling and successful life. This book is really appreciated and recommended by leaders like Drew Houston, Dustin Moskovitz, Howard Marks and 7 other billionaires.
“Imagine that in order to have a great life you have to cross a dangerous jungle. You can stay safe where you are and have an ordinary life, or you can risk crossing the jungle to have a terrific life. How would you approach that choice? Take a moment to think about it because it is the sort of choice that, in one form or another, we all have to make.” - Ray Dalio, Principles
DISCLAIMER: While it's important to draw inspiration and insights from successful people, it is also crucial to remember that everyone's journey is unique. What works for one person may not necessarily work for another. So, while reading what successful people read can be beneficial, it's also essential to maintain your own curiosity, critical thinking, and individuality in your reading choices.