13 Must-Read Books for CEOs in 2024

Read to learn the 13 must-read books for CEOs, founders, and executives who are looking to sharpen their skills.

Sourcing must-read novels can be daunting, especially if you don’t have a genre or specific title in mind. Luckily, we’ve taken the time to round up 13 incredible books for CEOs (chief executive officers), founders, entrepreneurs, and executives that will help you shift your mindset and level up as a leader. 

13 books for CEOs 

1The Art of the One-on-One Meeting by Fellow.app

The Art of the One-on-One Meeting is an excellent read for anyone who is looking to master one-on-one meetings. If you’re eager to strengthen communication with your direct reports and run effective meetings that yield results, this e-book is for you. This free guide details the purpose of one-on-ones and why great managers have them, best practices on how to set up your one-on-ones for success, templates and questions that will boost productivity, secret skills that will make your one-on-ones more effective, tips and tricks for providing feedback, and what to avoid during one-on-one meetings.

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2Remote Engineering Management: Managing an Engineering Team in a Remote-First World by Alexandra Sunderland 

Remote Engineering Management by Alexandra Sunderland is your go-to guide for successfully managing a remote engineering team. Whether you’re an experienced engineering manager or just getting started, you’ll learn why copying in-office practices for remote teams doesn’t work, the communication issues that may be happening behind the scenes, and how to make every aspect of remote work better for your team. 

From helping you learn how to remove new remote-specific biases from your interview process to helping you understand what the team really thinks about those daily status update meetings, this book will be your guide for creating the best, most inclusive version of your engineering team so you can conquer managing and working remotely. 

3The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene

Known as the novel that People magazine proclaimed “beguiling” and “fascinating,” this novel is excellent if you’re looking for an intriguing and informative read. In this novel, author Robert Greene has distilled thousands of years of the history of power into 48 key learnings. Drawing from the philosophies of Machiavelli, Sun Tzu, and Carl Von Clausewitz, as well as from the lives of figures ranging from Henry Kissinger to P.T. Barnum, Greene teaches the need for prudence, the value of confidence, and so much more in The 48 Laws of Power

Whether you’re looking for an in-depth read or are simply eager to learn the rules of the game, The 48 Laws of Power teaches many key learnings that are important for CEOs and founders to understand. 

4No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram by Sarah Frier

In this novel, author Sarah Frier draws on insights from the founders of Instagram, as well as employees, executives, and competitors like Anna Wintour of Vogue, Kris Jenner of the Kardashian-Jenner empire, and a variety of renowned influencers to demonstrate how Instagram has won over our hearts and stood the test of time. Frier explores how Instagram changed the way we eat, travel, and communicate, all while staying true to its core values.

Fortune describes No Filter as “the most enrapturing book about Silicon Valley drama since Hatching Twitter,” while The New York Times says it “pairs phenomenal in-depth reporting with explosive storytelling that gets to the heart of how Instagram has shaped our lives, whether you use the app or not.”

5The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger 

This #1 New York Times Bestseller was crafted by Time’s 2019 businessperson of the year, the Executive Chairman at the Walt Disney Company, Robert Iger. In this memoir, Robert Iger shares the ideas and values he embraced during his 15 years as CEO at Disney while reinventing one of the world’s most loved brands. Iger dives into the lessons he learned while running Disney and leading its more than 220,000 employees, and he explores the principles that are necessary for true leadership, including optimism, courage, decisiveness, and fairness. 

The Ride of a Lifetime is an excellent novel for CEOs who are looking to step up their leadership game. Posing an unmatched opportunity to learn from one of the world’s most notable CEOs, this memoir is also excellent for anyone who is looking to learn about an iconic brand from an insider. 

6Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Two systems drive the way we think and make choices: One is fast, intuitive, and emotional, and the other is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. In this novel, author Daniel Kahneman examines how both systems function within the mind, exposing the extraordinary capabilities as well as the biases of fast thinking and the uncanny influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and our choices. 

Thinking, Fast and Slow is a ground-breaking book that teaches us how the mind works while offering practical and enlightening insights into how choices are made in both business and our personal lives. This novel is great for anyone who’s interested in gaining a more in-depth understanding of their thought processes and how they influence everyday life.

7The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter by Michael D. Watkins

The First 90 Days is an excellent resource for individuals who are transitioning into a management or leadership role. In this novel, you’ll learn how to secure critical early wins, which is a crucial first step in establishing yourself in a new role. Each chapter includes checklists, practical tools, and self-assessments that will help you stay on track during your transition. 

8Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight 

In this memoir, Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as a start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, recognizable brands. Shoe Dog details the many risks and major setbacks that stood between Knight and his dream, along with his early wins, teaching readers how the power of a shared passion for sport and a unified mission propelled the company forward. 

9The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals by Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, and Jim Huling

The 4 Disciplines of Execution by best-selling author Sean Covey and the Franklin Covey organization was based on their work with hundreds of thousands of employees and large companies. In this novel, the team of contributors unveils the essential disciplines proven to help businesses and individuals realize their most important goals. 

10The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win by Maria Konnikova

The Biggest Bluff by Maria Konnikova explains that “bad cards will come our way but keeping our focus on how we play them and not on the outcome will keep us moving through many a dark patch, until the luck once again breaks our way.” The book is an excellent novel that takes readers on an incredible journey of invaluable lessons. 

11Leadershift: The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace by John C. Maxwell 

Created by internationally recognized leadership expert John C. Maxwell, this novel dives into “the 11 shifts you should make over the course of your career to keep innovating, improving, and influencing others to the highest levels of success in today’s unprecedented business climate.” By the time you finish reading Leadershift, you will have changed your thought process to act and lead in a way that helps you sustain success in a climate that never remains the same. You’ll be even more nimble and ready to adapt than ever before! 

12The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail by Clayton M. Christensen

The Innovator’s Dilemma is a bestselling novel on disruptive innovation by renowned author Clayton M. Christensen. Known to many as one of the most influential business books of all time, this novel has led many to compare Clayton M. Christensen to some of the world’s best-known thought leaders, like Steve Jobs and Malcolm Gladwell. This novel will take you on a harrowing journey from success to failure, teaching readers how even the most outstanding companies that do everything right can lose market leadership. 

This novel is excellent if you’re a CEO or founder who thrives on innovation. The Innovator’s Dilemma will teach you how and when to abandon traditional business practices so your company doesn’t get pushed aside at the height of innovation. 

13A Promised Land by Barack Obama

A Promised Land by Barack Obama is a great novel if you’re looking for an inspiring read. In this novel, former President Obama takes you on a journey from childhood to stardom. Obama tells the story of being a young man in search of his identity to becoming the leader of the free world. In this novel, you’ll learn about Barack’s earliest political aspirations all the way to becoming the first African American to hold the nation’s highest office. 

Parting advice

Have you found a book on coaching, leadership, or mindset management that looks interesting? It’s time to get reading! This selection of books for CEOs appeals to a variety of preferences, and each poses an excellent learning opportunity. Not only is reading a great way to develop new skills and level up as a leader, but it can also be a fantastic source of inspiration!

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About the author

Hannah Ross

Hannah is an experienced content creator and digital strategist with a demonstrated history of working with startups, small business owners, and large organizations. Presently, Hannah serves as the Founder at Flamingo Social where she strives to create impactful organic content marketing strategies that help founders tell inspiring stories.

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