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CEO Reads: Top 10 Reads for Entrepreneurs and Business Nerds

Jane Cowell

16 December, 2021

Distressed looking lego mini figure office worker at desk

Entrepreneurs it is time to return yourself to the library!

Sick of trying to work from home? Maybe feeling isolated? Need a productive working space? Or a space for a team meeting or presentation? There are new coworking spaces with access to free wifi, photocopying and scanning services, and small meeting rooms are available at Diamond Valley Library, Ivanhoe Library and Cultural Hub (which also boasts a beautiful café), and Mill Park Library.


While 2021 has not been the year we all hoped for and budding entrepreneurs may have parked some of their ideas, 2022 is around the corner with an optimistic outlook as the world gets a better handle on the pandemic. 


Over the holiday season this Top 10 selection of business books may challenge your thinking about that new business idea.  Ordered based on ratings on Goodreads these are all available for you from the library.


10: A world without email : reimagining work in the age of overload

Newport, Cal (2021)

We all check our emails obsessively even though we know we shouldn’t. Emails were designed to be asynchronous but too many people expect instant replies and we have all been the recipient of the Friday afternoon email blast as our colleagues empty their own email boxes. Newport gives us a guide to change this damaging culture in work and business and may just help you when setting up a new business.


9: The Key Man

Clark, Simon (2021)

What an insane story and a great summer read. Simon Clark and Will Louch expose Arif Navqi who cheated investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars. Both Obama and Bill Gates were amongst his victims. Compared to other tales of massively fraudulently businessmen, Arif’s is relatively unknown but no less riveting.



8: An ugly truth : inside Facebook's battle for domination

Frenkel, Sheera (2021)

You have to wonder if Facebook renamed itself to Meta just so history doesn’t immediately associate them to the stings like this. It won’t work. If you want to be up to date on how much the company has abused its power, read this.  Also do not be another Facebook with your big idea.


7: Amazon unbound : Jeff Bezos and the invention of a global empire

Stone, Brad (2021)

Brad’s earlier book on Amazon, “The Everything Store”, was a huge bestseller in 2013. A lot has happened in the last eight years and that’s the subject of this book. It covers all the major events in detail with an often positive lens but Brad doesn't avoid the difficult questions.  Jeff Bezo is an amazing entrepreneur and we can all learn from his approach.


6: Working backwards : insights, stories, and secrets from inside Amazon

Bryar, Colin (2021)

What’s great is Colin Bryar and Bill Carr both have over 20 years of Amazon experience. They break down the culture and the principles which have led to the company’s huge success. It’s an overwhelmingly positive book because of the history of the authors but one which has many practical lessons for entrepreneurs.


5: The world for sale : money, power and the traders who barter the Earth's resources

Blas, Javier (2020)

Commodities are big business but the average person doesn’t understand how the physical trade works. The people who control the trade of chemicals like cobalt, bauxite, and alumina have far more power than the ordinary person can dream of. They can choose to support or topple national governments.  A challenging read.


4: This is how they tell me the world ends : the cyber-weapons arms race

Perlroth, Nicole (2021)

The dark side of the explosion of the importance of technology. Businesses of any scale are going to need to start paying greater attention to security as the wars of the future will be held online. A reminder to anyone in the SaaS world to make sure their code has no loopholes even in Minimal Viable Product mode.  Important realisation for us all really no matter the size of your business.


3: Four thousand weeks : time management for mortals

Burkeman, Oliver (2021)

Burkeman aims this book at people obsessed with productivity. He reminds them the average human only has 4,000 weeks. Do you want to spend it crossing off meaningless tasks from your to-do list? For entrepreneurs, it makes you think about your mission rather than just short-term thinking and to focus on what will make a difference.


2: Think again : the power of knowing what you don't know

Grant, Adam M. (2021)

Adam Grant appears to have the Midas touch with yet another bestseller. His core argument here is you should always challenge why you think the way you do. He uses famous examples from history to illustrate how people didn’t have the right answer the first time around but adapted to achieve success.


1: How to avoid a climate disaster : the solutions we have and the breakthroughs we need

Gates, Bill (2021)

I know, a book on climate change at number 1 but if you are surprised you have not been paying attention. Rather than just telling everyone to consume less, Gates accepts the developing world needs the energy to lift people out of poverty. He wants the businesses of the world to focus on clean energy instead.  Entrepreneurs get ready, set and go to start your thinking around clean energy solutions.  There is definitely a global market for it.


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