Here's How Many Books the Average CEO Reads Yearly — And What They're Reading


Row of slanted books on a shelf

Kayla Heisler
Kayla Heisler1.16k
June 15, 2024 at 10:35PM UTC
What does it take to be number one? A recent survey by Fast Company suggests that the answer could be a well-lined bookshelf. In fact, the average number of books read by a CEO is 60 books per year, or five books each month.
What I know for sure is that reading opens you up,” says Oprah, “It exposes you and gives you access to anything your mind can hold. What I love most about reading—It gives you the ability to reach higher ground.”
Warren Buffett is another confirmed bibliophile who reportedly reads an astounding average of 500 pages each day! Buffett attributes his success partly to his voracious reading habit and encourages others to incorporate reading into their daily routine, saying: "Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest." 
If you're feeling inspired to hit up your local library, here are 10 books suggested by CEOs:
1. ”The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing” by Benjamin Graham

This is the number one book that Warren Buffett recommends reading. Buffett picked up this book when he was nineteen, and he credits it with giving him the tools that led him to become a successful investor.
2. ”The Design of Everyday Things” by Don Norman
Former Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer lists this book that melds psychology with design as one of the most impressive she has read.
3. “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger
I never considered myself to have much in common with Bill Gates, but it turns out we share the same favorite book! Like myself, The Catcher in the Rye has been his favorite book since he first read it at age thirteen.
4. “The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
AT&T CEO Randall L. Stephenson calls the part crime novel and part spiritual drama his favorite book in Scouting Magazine.
5. "The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership" by Bill Walsh, Steve Jamison and Craig Walsh
Drew Houston latched onto Bill Walsh’s coaching philosophy when he founded Dropbox. “If we take care of our inner scorecard, the outer scorecard will take care of itself," says Houston.
6. “The Aeneid” by Virgil
Mark Zuckerberg’s fondness for this Greek epic is so great, Facebook staff members report that he has quoted lines from the book at product meetings. One of his favorite lines: “fortune favors the bold.”
7. “Bossypants” by Tina Fey
Sheryl Sandberg has named Bossypants one of the best books she’s read, calling it hilarious as well as important.
8. “The Road to Character” by David Brooks
Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi credits The Road to Character with sparking a conversation about the importance of inner character with her two young daughters.
9. “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor
Melanie Whelan says,“SoulCycle is and always has been an inherently positive experience and one of the things Achor’s book validated for us is that a meaningful commitment to employee well-being is a huge part of why we’re successful.”
10. “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking” by Malcolm Gladwell
Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson recognizes this work that examines the strengths and weaknesses of the adaptive unconscious with teaching her to rely on her business instincts.

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