5 Books Every CEO Must Read

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Continuous development and forward movement are the foundation of a successful person. We offer you a selection of books, after reading which, you will learn how to make the right decisions and solve the problems that every leader meets.

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The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Ben Horowitz ’88 talks straight about the challenges of building a business

Ben Horowitz, cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz and one of Silicon Valley’s most respected and experienced entrepreneurs, offers essential advice on building and running a startup—practical wisdom for managing the toughest problems business school doesn’t cover, based on his popular ben’s blog.

While many people talk about how great it is to start a business, very few are honest about how difficult it is to run one. Ben Horowitz analyzes the problems that confront leaders every day, sharing the insights he’s gained developing, managing, selling, buying, investing in, and supervising technology companies. A lifelong rap fanatic, he amplifies business lessons with lyrics from his favorite songs, telling it straight about everything from firing friends to poaching competitors, cultivating and sustaining a CEO mentality to knowing the right time to cash in.

Filled with his trademark humor and straight talk, The Hard Thing About Hard Things is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures, drawing from Horowitz’s personal and often humbling experiences.

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 The Ideal Executive by Ichak Kalderon Adizes

 Why You Cannot be One and what to Do about it : a New Paradigm for Management.

Dr. Adizes’ premise, developed in this book, is that the ideal leader, manager, or executive-ideal in the sense that he can fulfill by himself all the roles necessary for the long-and short-term effectiveness and efficiency of an organization-does not and cannot exist. And that is the problem with contemporary management literature: it presents what the executive should do, (because that is what the organization needs) even though no one can do it.

All the books and textbooks that try to teach us to be perfect managers, leaders, or executives are based on the erroneous assumption that such a goal is possible. This book explains why it is not. We are all barking up the wrong tree, spending millions of dollars to train and develop executives based on faulty logic.

This book is the first in a series of three. In this volume, Dr. Adizes presents a paradigm shift in management thinking: If no one can be the ideal executive that organizations need, what should be done to avoid mismanagement? How do we compose a complementary team? How do we structure the company correctly? How do we harness conflict that necessarily will emerge within a team composed of diverse styles?

This book is a must for all managers and leaders of industry or not-for-profit organizations. It is based on 30 years of successful application of principles presented in this book in 48 countries, in companies from start-ups to the largest on the earth.

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

His work is cited by the world’s best-known thought leaders, from Steve Jobs to Malcolm Gladwell. In this classic bestseller, innovation expert Clayton Christensen shows how even the most outstanding companies can do everything right—yet still lose market leadership. Read this international bestseller to avoid a similar fate.

Clay Christensen—who authored the award-winning Harvard Business Review article “How Will You Measure Your Life?”—explains why most companies miss out on new waves of innovation. No matter the industry, he says a successful company with established products WILL get pushed aside unless managers know how and when to abandon traditional business practices. Offering both successes and failures from leading companies as a guide, The Innovator’s Dilemma gives you a set of rules for capitalizing on the phenomenon of disruptive innovation.

Sharp, cogent, provocative, and one of the most influential business books of all time—The Innovator’s Dilemma is the book no manager or entrepreneur should be without.

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Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel 

If you want to build a better future, you must believe in secrets.

The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One , legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.

Zero to One presents at once an optimistic view of the future of progress in America and a new way of thinking about innovation: it starts by learning to ask the questions that lead you to find value in unexpected places.

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 Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by Jim Collins

Built to Last, the defining management study of the nineties, showed how great companies triumph over time and how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the verybeginning.

But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice. The findings include:

  • Level 5 Leaders: The research team was shocked to discover the type of leadership required to achieve greatness.
  • The Hedgehog Concept (Simplicity within the Three Circles): To go from good to great requires transcending the curse of competence.
  • A Culture of Discipline: When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great results. Technology Accelerators: Good-to-great companies think differently about the role of technology.
  • The Flywheel and the Doom Loop: Those who launch radical change programs and wrenching restructurings will almost certainly fail to make the leap.

“Some of the key concepts discerned in the study,” comments Jim Collins, “fly in the face of our modern business culture and will, quite frankly, upset some people.”

Perhaps, but who can afford to ignore these findings?

Books always accompany every successful person, because it is a fortune of knowledge and experience that will allow you to inspire new ideas and to avoid mistakes made by someone else. We are convinced that this list will become an occasion to replenish your library. In order to reinforce this knowledge and to find partners or clients, we recommend you the Kyiv Outsourcing Forum 2018 – a conference for CEO and top management of IT outsourcing companies from Ukraine, Europe and the United States.