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Written by Ru Jupp

99 Book Recommendations from Business Leaders 2023

99 Book Recommendations from Business Leaders 2023

A round up of the top book recommendations by the individuals interviewed by Princedale in 2023

In this ever shifting world, the company of a good book can’t be understated, whether it’s for comfort, knowledge or pure escapism. I've had the privilege of interviewing a wide spectrum of executive leaders across luxury, retail, travel, consumer goods, and other industries globally, and I've always made it a point to ask them for their top two book recommendations.

I ask everyone we interview for the two books they would recommend to everyone, regardless of whether they fall into the category of business, self improvement, or a good old novel. 

Asking questions which seemingly have nothing to do with one’s qualifications, experience or job role worthiness may appear at first glance to be at odds with Princedale’s rigorous interviewing process, however, I see it as integral.

Discovering character, nuance, passions and interests is key to me - I believe strongly that this is core to my role as a headhunter and why my clients retain me on such important leadership hires. I don’t simply look at how people perform on paper, I delve into who they really are as a person, allowing us to place in a role and team the person who will genuinely be the best fit. And I believe you can learn a lot about someone by the books they read - and how they react to the question.

Here is a précis of the 99 books recommended in 2023.


Business recommendations

First up is the business category - an obvious choice considering I am interviewing people for C-Suite, SVP and VP roles in some of the world’s most successful brands. Interesting (and perhaps refreshing) that so many of the individuals I interview do not recommend business books at all. 

There are some real gems on this list though, many of which I have read myself. 

  • Blue Ocean Strategy by Renée Mauborgne & W. Chan Kim
  • Creativity Inc by Ed Catmull
  • Future Luxe: What's Ahead for the Business of Luxury by Erwan Rambourg
  • Good to Great by Jim Collins
  • Hard Things about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz
  • High Output Management by Andrew S. Grove
  • Humanocracy - Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them by Gary Hamel & Michele Zanini
  • In Search of Excellence by Peters and Waterman
  • Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
  • Leadership and Management: Team of Teams by Stanley McChrystal
  • Messy Middle by Scott Belsky
  • Positioning: The Battle for Your Mind by Al Ries and Jack Trout
  • Quiet Leadership by David Rock
  • Radical Candor by Kim Scott
  • Rise of the Data Cloud by Frank Slootman
  • Start with Why by Simon Sinek
  • The 10 Day MBA by Steven Silbiger
  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick M. Lencioni
  • The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
  • The Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto
  • Zero to One by Peter Thiel


Autobiography recommendations

Autobiographies can be incredibly inspiring and motivating, giving us real insight into how our heroes, or just people of interest, got to where they are today, often from difficult beginnings. This is the slimmest category in our round up, but I will certainly be diving into a couple of these recommendations. 

  • Any Human Heart by William Boyd
  • As I Walked Out One Midsummer's Morning by Laurie Lee
  • Harvests of Joy: How the Good Life Became Great Business by Robert Mondavi
  • I Forgot to Die by Khalil Rafati
  • Imagine it Forward. Courage, Creativity and the Power of Change by Beth Comstock
  • Racing Through The Dark by David Millar
  • The Salt Path by Raynor Winn


Non fiction recommendations

Non fiction is a broad church and the recommendations in this category certainly reflect that, covering everything from feminism to history, robotics to psychology. 

  • Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty
  • Country of my Skull by Antjie Krog
  • Crossing the Chasm by Geoffrey A. Moore
  • Curious by Iain Leslie
  • Getting There by Gillian Zoe Segal
  • How To Argue With A Racist by Adam Rutherford
  • Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez
  • Leadership and Management: Team of Teams by Stanley McChrystal
  • Life 3.0 by Max Tegmark
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius Antonius
  • Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  • Rise of the Data Cloud by Frank Slootman
  • Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari
  • Save the Cat by Blake Snyde
  • The Art of Possibility by Benjamin Zander & Rosamund Stone Zander
  • The Globotics Upheaval: Globalization, Robotics, and the Future of Work by Richard Baldwin
  • The Histories by Herodotus
  • The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological forces that will shape our future by Kevin Kelly
  • The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
  • The Value of Everything by Mariana Mazzucato
  • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
  • Turtles All the Way Down by John Green


Self improvement recommendations

The individuals I appoint with clients tend to be committed to their self improvement - being the best they can and always learning. Unsurprising then, that there are a number of self improvement titles on our list. Covering mindfulness, self development in business, and habit forming, and featuring the delightful Marie Kondo as well as Dale Carnegie’s absolute classic “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, these recommendations are a wonderful insight into the areas of life that these leaders prioritise. 

  • A Manager's Guide to Self-Development by Mike Pedler
  • Atlas of the Heart by Brene Brown
  • Atomic Habit by James Clear
  • Black box thinking by Matthew Syed
  • Black box thinking by Matthew Syed
  • Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice by Matthew Syed
  • Do Hard Things by Steve Magness
  • Happy Mind, Happy Life: 10 Simple Ways to Feel Great Every Day by Doctor Chatterjee
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  • Mindfulness in Plain English by Gunaratana
  • Originals by Adam Grant
  • The 100 year life by Lynda Gratton
  • The 4 Disciples of Execution by Chris McChesney
  • The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor
  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo
  • The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod
  • The Second Mountain by David Brooks
  • Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke
  • Trust Yourself by Melody Wilding
  • What Got You Here Won't Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith
  • Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson
  • Work Smarter, Live Better by Cyril Peupion


Fiction recommendations

Reading to better oneself or to improve in business is important, but reading for pure pleasure will always have a place in my heart. The fiction category is rich with treasures ranging from classics such as Ernest Hemingway and Richard Bach to Madeline Miller’s modern reimagining of Greek mythology. 

  • A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
  • A Little Life by Hanya Yanagihara
  • Adventure: The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • Beware of Pity by Stefan Zweig
  • Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
  • Circe by Madeline Miller
  • Exit West by Mohsin Hamid
  • For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway
  • Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
  • Of Human Bondage by W. Somerset Maugham
  • Old Man & the Sea by Ernest Hemingway
  • Our Iceberg is Melting by John Kotter
  • Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
  • Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
  • The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse by Charlie Macksey
  • The Dice Man by Luke Rhinehart
  • The Dutch House: A Novel by Ann Patchett
  • The girl of the sea of Cortez by Peter Benchley
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by JR Tolkein
  • The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  • The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields
  • These is My Words by Nancy Turner
  • Trust by Hernan Diaz
  •  I, Robot by Isaac Asimov


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