Despite the glut of business best sellers touting 10 step guides for high performance, innovation, and wooing investors top business leaders tend toward more esoteric and literary reading.
- Apple CEO Steve Jobs amassed an extensive collection of books by William Blake the mad 18th Century poet and artist.
- Phil Knight at Nike collects works on Asian history, art, and poetry.
- Michael Milken's library is devoted to biographies, plays, novels, and papers on Galileo (link).
An article in today's New York Times explores the literary interests and book collections of a number of CEOs and business leaders. It may prompt you to expand your reading list…
It was the empty library room and its floor-to-ceiling ladder that made Shelly Lazarus, the chairwoman and chief executive of Ogilvy & Mather, fall in love with her house in the Berkshires, which was built in 1740. “When my husband and I moved in, we said, ‘We’re never going to fill this room,’ and just last week I realized we needed to build an addition to the library. Once I’ve read a book I keep it. It becomes a part of me.
“As head of a global company, everything attracts me as a reader, books about different cultures, countries, problems. I read for pleasure and to find other perspectives on how to think or solve a problem, like Jerome Groopman’s ‘How Doctors Think’; John Cornwall’s autobiography, ‘Seminary Boy’; ‘The Wife,’ a novel by Meg Wolitzer; and before that, ‘Team of Rivals.’
“David Ogilvy said advertising is a great field, anything prepares you for it,” she said. “That gives me license to read everything.”
Business: C.E.O. Libraries Reveal Keys to Success
The New York Times
By HARRIET RUBIN
Published: July 21, 2007