You are here

Nine Business Books to Read in 2016


Nine Business Books to Read in 2016

Reading recommendations from alumni entrepreneurs.
A woman uses the late afternoon sun to read while sitting on the High Line park in New York
Reuters/Lucas Jackson

What is the best business book you have read? Stanford GSB alumni share their top picks:

The Filter Bubble

By Eli Pariser

Susan Akbarpour (MBA ’11), founder and CEO of Mavatar

The Hard Thing About Hard Things

By Ben Horowitz

“Unless you’ve done it, you just don’t have enough empathy around what it means to build a company. You have the least number of people to talk to but you need it the most. The decisions are not black and white. There is so much gray.”

Dennis Yang (MBA ’02), CEO at Udemy

The Everything Store

By Brad Stone

“I loved it as entrepreneur therapy. It’s helpful to look at a company that has become so successful and peer behind the curtain to see how much adversity even Amazon had to deal with in the beginning when they were getting the business off the ground. I find that reading about the struggles of other entrepreneurs has a way of helping me keep seemingly very similar challenges of my own in perspective.”

Jonathan Beekman (MBA ’09), founder and CEO of Man Crates

First Things First

By Stephen R. Covey

“Being a CEO requires goal setting and prioritization. Most startups die from indigestion, not starvation. I do an exercise every week with a friend of mine. At 8:30 every Sunday we go through our ‘first things first’ things for the week. We put it on a spreadsheet and we are accountable to each other. Each week we check in to see how we did against our previous week’s goals and set new goals for the following week. In addition to work, I pick one or two things to do with my wife and my kids that will be special. I’ve been doing this for six years. Setting aside time in your calendar to stop, reflect, and plan is really important.”

Josh Becker (JD/MBA ’98), CEO of Lex Machina

The Power of Now

By Eckhart Tolle

Ai Chloe Chien (MBA ’13), cofounder and COO of Homemade Cooking

Value Proposition Design

By Alexander Osterwalder

Ai Chloe Chien (MBA ’13), cofounder and COO of Homemade Cooking

High Output Management

By Andrew S. Grove

Tony Xu (MBA ’13), cofounder and CEO of DoorDash

Zero to One

By Peter Thiel

Tony Xu (MBA ’13), cofounder and CEO of DoorDash

Losing My Virginity

By Richard Branson

Emrecan Dogan (MBA ’10), founder and CEO of ScoreBeyond

For media inquiries, visit the Newsroom.
Explore More


A complex machine of "ideas" is attached to a brain | iStock/mustafahacalaki
March 2, 2016

Baba Shiv: Failure is the Mother of Innovation

Startups may embrace the “fail-fast” mantra, but many leaders are risk-adverse.


Couple kisses in front of a heart-shaped sculpture | Reuters/Shaun Best
February 9, 2016

Business of Love: Three Dating App Founders Talk Trends in Online Matchmaking

Love is serious business. These entrepreneurs explain why.


Students brainstorming | Tim Griffiths Photography
January 19, 2016

How Design Thinking Improves the Creative Process

How entrepreneurs can take a big idea to a real-world product.