Melinda Gates: An Icon of Tech and Feminism

Big Ideas in Business and Tech

January 20, 2020
Even the most successful entrepreneurs had to start somewhere. When it comes to groundbreaking technology, the people who became leading business executives often began as lone visionaries with nothing but an idea. Now that they’re global industry leaders, many of them have shared their amazing stories in memoirs. These tales of heartbreak and triumph will bring you along on the roller-coaster of success, all the while showing you the secrets of how business greats transformed their dreams into reality. Whether you’re an aspiring startup mogul or a small business hopeful, read on to find your next great inspiration!

Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark
Jack Ma's origins may have been humble, but his ambition and vision were world-class. Today, his online retail company, Alibaba, enjoys an 80% market share in China. Ma’s got big plans for the rest of the world, too, planning to provide everything from goods to entertainment to every country on Earth. Learn how he channeled his unique focus into one of the most successful companies in history.

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh
Happiness is a new pair of shoes...and a good boss! Narrating his own memoir about running Zappos, Tony Hsieh delivers his philosophy of fun, upbeat personal fulfillment through business to a world that needs to enjoy work more. Prepare for lots of wild tales of startup culture in this highly entertaining book!

Empire State of Mind: How Jay-Z Went from Street Corner to Corner Office by Zack O'Malley Greenburg
Jay-Z’s influence in pop culture is far broader than most people realize. Not only is he an artist, he also owns clothing lines, perfume lines, a basketball team, and a media business empire that rivals anything else in the entertainment industry. Listen and learn how he went from the street to the boardroom.

The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone
Jeff Bezos doesn’t need much introduction. Amazon needs even less. But not everyone knows about the ambition and business strategy that turned an online bookseller into the internet’s most successful general store. Not only does this audiobook describe rare details of Jeff Bezos’s life, it also reveals the secrets of how Amazon became one of the most valuable companies on the globe.

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman—Including 10 More Years of Business Unusual by Yvon Chouinard
Patagonia is notorious for its environmental consciousness. Its founder, Yvon Chouinard, lives his truth in the great outdoors, running a company that he guides with his values. You don’t have to be an ecologist to love this book’s vibrant soul! Outdoorsy people will love this book as much as aspiring businesspeople who want to change the world with their convictions.

Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul by Howard Schultz with Joanne Gordon
It’s not enough to just make a profit. If your company isn’t people-oriented, then it’s not succeeding. Howard Schultz will tell you that Starbucks works because it’s more than just a money-making machine. Find out how he returned to his old job as CEO during the depths of the economic recession, determined to build something bigger than a cafe chain.

Permission to Screw Up: How I Learned to Lead by Doing (Almost) Everything Wrong by Kristen Hadeed
Student Maid was a great idea, but Kristen Hadeed was an inexperienced CEO. Years after she struggled to become the world-class business executive she is today, Hadeed has realized that all those early mistakes were what honed her most valuable skills. Follow her journey of personal development as she messes up again and again, learning all along. She’s living proof that success is the result of failure—lots and lots of failure!

Anna Gooding-Call is a librarian and writer. She contributes to Book Riot and ForeWord Reviews.

Featured Article: 20 Work Goals for 2020

This year has us thinking about the different ways we can improve our professional selves all year round. So, we're sharing our favorite listens that make it easy for you to push beyond resolutions and keep up the good work over - across areas like personal growth, leadership, communication and collaboration and innovation. Being a better employee starts with building a better you. Reap high rewards in the office by focusing on the personal development goals you’re already making, starting with ways to get organized, stay in shape, manage your budget, and more.

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