The business book billionaire Bill Gates wants you to read right now

Report by Kathleen Elkins

Self-made billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates doesn’t recommend many business books.

“In my experience, it is rare to find one that really captures what it’s like to build and operate an organization or that has tips you could really put into practice,” he writes on his blog, GatesNotes.

But there’s a new business book that, unlike most others, is actually worth your time, he says: “The Ride of a Lifetime” by former Disney CEO Robert Iger. Gates has already suggested the 2019 memoir to a handful of friends and colleagues, including current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Iger, who took over Disney in 2005 and retired in 2020, “does a great job explaining what it is like to be a CEO,” writes Gates. He’s “able to take you inside the workings of a massive media company and show how he thought about building on its strengths and shoring up its weaknesses.”

Even if you don’t have any interest in the business world, it’s entertaining and worthwhile, he adds. “I think anyone would enjoy this book, whether they’re looking for business insights or just want a good read by a humble guy who rose up the corporate ladder to successfully run one of the biggest companies in the world.”

While Gates praises it as “one of the best business books I’ve read in several years,” it’s not his No. 1. His all-time favorite remains “Business Adventures” by John Brooks. “Whenever someone asks me to recommend one book on business, that’s the one I suggest most often,” Gates says. 

A lot has changed in the business world since the 1960s, when the book was originally published, but the fundamentals of building a strong organization have not, says Gates. Brooks’ insights are just as relevant today.

This article was first published on CNBC Make It and is republished with its permission.

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