10 Beloved Books of Successful Millionaires
If you are what you read, then the books that the super-rich have on their bookshelves should be of interest to all of us. From entrepreneurs and media tycoons, to international superstars and the President himself, here are 10 books that should be required reading for anyone looking to improve their lives.
1. Mark Cuban — The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
A billionaire entrepreneur and a star of the hit series Shark Tank, Mark Cuban loves this book so much, he named his yacht after it. The author, Ayn Rand, is a polarizing figure in politics, and her books and life views are often adopted by both right-wing and libertarian politicians. Her basic philosophy revolves around the power of the individual, with the pursuit of happiness being the moral purpose of life.
The Fountainhead, first published in 1943, offered the world Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. The story, which centers on a young architect who battles against conventional standards, has become a classic of modern literature. Speaking of the book to C-Span, Cuban said, "You know it's funny because I'll pick it up when I need motivation, but then if I read too far, I get too much motivation and I get too jittery so I have to put it down."
If a book can continue to give a multibillionaire goose bumps, it has to be worth a read.
2. Jeff Bezos — The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos has a net worth of over $73 billion. So, it's perhaps a little surprising that his favorite book, Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day, revolves around the life of a servant. In this case, that servant is an English butler called Stevens, who narrates the novel.
Set in postwar England, the elderly butler must come to terms with some pivotal issues from his past, whilst maintaining his stoic and "correct" behavior. In 1993, the book was turned into a beautiful film featuring Sir Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson.
Speaking about the book, Bezos said, "You can't help but come away and think, I just spent 10 hours living an alternate life and I learned something about life and about regret." Awarded the Man Booker Prize for Fiction in 1989, The Remains of the Day was included in The Guardian's "Books You Can't Live Without" list.
3. Mark Zuckerberg — The Aeneid by Virgil
Written between 28 and 19 BC, The Aeneid recounts the legendary story of Aeneas, a Trojan who traveled to Italy and became an ancestor of the Romans. From his journey from Troy, to the Trojan War, the funeral games, and a vision of the underworld, The Aeneid is widely regarded as a classic of Italian literature. What's more, the entire book is actually a poem, consisting of 9,896 lines in dactylic hexameter.
So how did Mark Zuckerberg, a young tech-savvy entrepreneur who created the social media climate we now live in, come to read the book? He was introduced to it while studying Latin in high school, and says the book "knows no boundaries in time and greatness." He is also known to quote lines from The Aeneid in Facebook meetings.
4. Oprah Winfrey — To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
If you ever needed an excuse to read this masterpiece of American literature, knowing it's Oprah Winfrey's favorite book is a doozy. Set in Alabama during the Depression, "To Kill a Mockingbird" covers three years in the life of Scout Finch, an eight-year-old girl, her brother Jem, and their father Atticus, a defense lawyer. Atticus is called upon to defend Tom Robinson, a young black man accused of raping a white woman.
Told through Scout's eyes, it's a compassionate and moving story of kindness, cruelty, and the roots of human behavior. "I remember reading this book and then going to class and not being able to shut up about it," Oprah told The Baltimore Sun. "I read it in eighth or ninth grade, and I was trying to push the book off on other kids. So it makes sense to me that now I have a book club, because I have been doing that since probably this book."
5. Elon Musk — The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov
The founder and CEO of Space Exploration Technologies Corp is bringing the ideas of the future into the present day, with award-winning electric cars and whole-home solar power. To discover that his favorite book series comes from noted science fiction author Isaac Asimov hardly raises an eyebrow.
The The Foundation Trilogy series revolves around mathematician Hari Seldon, who has spent his whole life developing a branch of mathematics known as psychohistory. Using the laws of mass action, the science is able to predict the future on a grand scale. Unfortunately, it predicts the fall of the Galactic Empire, and a dark age lasting 30,000 years before the second great empire arises.
Musk says, "The lessons of history would suggest that civilizations move in cycles … there could be some series of events that cause technology levels to decline." The book series has had a profound effect on the way Musk thinks about the world.
6. Bill Gates — The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Set in the 1950s, The Catcher in the Rye is narrated by a 16-year-old boy named Holden Caulfield, who is undergoing treatment in a mental institution. He recounts the tale of two days in his life when all this "madman stuff" happened to him. But there is a deeper meaning here, as we see him battle with issues around growing up, and avoiding the pressures of adulthood.
"It's my favorite book," said Gates. "It acknowledges that young people are a little confused, but can be smart, and see things that adults don't."
7. Michael Bloomberg — The Honourable Schoolboy by John Le Carré
John Le Carré is a highly-regarded author of espionage novels, and has written such classics as The Spy Who Came in From the Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and The Constant Gardener. However, it his one of his lesser known works that captured the imagination of Bloomberg.
The Honourable Schoolboy tells the story of George Smiley, who must reconstruct an intelligence service and run a successful offensive espionage operation. It is the second novel in an omnibus featuring Smiley, and in 1983 it was adapted for a BBC Radio production featuring Martin Jarvis.
"It's 600 pages, it's mostly description, there is almost nothing that happens. But it's fascinating," said Bloomberg. Reading 600 pages of fascinating nothingness? Sounds like fun.
8. Richard Branson — Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege 1942–1943 by Antony Beevor
Founder of the highly successful Virgin brand, Richard Branson includes Peter Pan, Wild Swans, and Swallows and Amazons in his list of favorite books. As such, a book about World War II's most harrowing battle seems a little out of place in that company.
The year is August 1942, and Hitler's huge Sixth Army reached the city that bore Stalin's name. Over the five months that followed, the battle for the ruins of the city cost more than a million lives. More than just a pure account of the battle, Stalingrad: The Fateful Siege 1942–1943 recounts the personal experiences of soldiers on both sides, and includes tales of interrogation, desertion, and execution.
9. Beyoncé — What Will It Take to Make a Woman President? by Marianne Schnall
There aren't many people in America, or the world, who don't know of Beyoncé. The multi-Grammy winning singer and actress has amassed millions from her albums, concerts, perfume lines, clothing, and films.
Schnall penned What Will It Take to Make a Woman President? after a question was brought up by her 8-year-old daughter: "Why haven't we ever had a woman president?" It was a question she did not know how to answer, and so she set about asking the likes of Sheryl Sandberg, Maya Angelou, Gloria Steinem, Nancy Pelosi, Nicholas Kristof, and Melissa Etheridge.
"It's a collection of interviews and essays by great women," says Beyoncé. "They will inspire you to become a better leader."
10. President Trump — The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
Love him or hate him, he's the 45th President of the Unites States, and a very wealthy man. Some say that he's not much of a reader these days, but he has stated that this book had a profound effect on him and his business empire.
The international best seller by Norman Vincent Peale speaks of faith, spirituality, and the power of the mind to drive you forward. Via simple, prayerful exercises that you do daily, you can eliminate all the negative thoughts that prevent you from achieving the happiness and success you deserve.
President Trump read The Power of Positive Thinking when he was billions of dollars in debt, and it turned his life around. "My father was friends with Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, and I had read his famous book, The Power of Positive Thinking," said Trump. "I refused to be sucked into negative thinking on any level, even when the indications weren't great. That was a good lesson because I emerged on a very victorious level." Victorious indeed, considering he is now the most powerful man in the world.
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