What Do CEOs Read? The Best Books, Blogs, and More

There are many speculations about the number of books CEOs read each year. Some sources say four to five books a month, while others say they only read one a month. Bill Gates told a reputable news source that he reads approximately 50 books annually. This piece will answer the question, “What do CEOs read?” and provide insight into why they make those choices.  

How Many Books Do CEOs Read?

Numerous extensive studies have been performed over the years about the number of books human beings read, including CEOs. The truth is that each CEO reads the number of books needed to gain the necessary insight.

Research statistics showed a link between higher-income people and the number of books read. Individuals who earn more than $80,000 annually tend to read more books each year than other groups do. That information doesn’t substantiate the claim that reading books makes people wealthy, but it shows that overall reading interest increases with income.    

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Why Do CEOs Read So Much?

Many CEOs read more than 10 books a year, and they do so for a variety of reasons. These are the most common reasons CEOs read many books and materials:

To Stay Updated on Success Strategies

CEOs don’t stop being successful when they reach the top. They must continue growing and learning new business strategies to continue to flourish. Therefore, many CEOs read books written by other successful individuals.

They learn new ideas, concepts, and techniques that can help them take their businesses to new heights. An excellent example of a book a CEO might read is “1,000 CEOs” by Andrew Davidson. It’s about building leadership skills and can help anyone from a manager to a business owner or top exec. 

To Stay Motivated

Reading is an excellent way to stay abreast of new innovative processes and continue to grow, and many CEOs read to broaden their horizons. “Operational Excellence for Successful CEOs” by Noel Cardona is an excellent pick for people who’ve already reached the top. A CEO might read it before launching a new venture or embed a fresh new perspective into his or her mind. 

To Help Solve Problems

Problem-solving is a constant challenge that arises for CEOs. Thus, they might read books that will fortify their problem-solving skills. “The Lean CEO: Leading the Way To World-Class Excellence” by Jacob Stoller is a great way to go. The book focuses on honing leaders, developing effective strategies, solving problems, and creating an organization that continues to strive for excellence. 

To Further Their Learning

Some CEOs never get enough knowledge and continuously do everything they can to expand their wisdom and insight. Therefore, they may grab a book to learn something they haven’t yet mastered to become more well-rounded in their field.

To Keep Their Reading Skills Fresh

The act of reading books has an array of benefits that come along with it. For example, it stimulates the brain, expands vocabulary and knowledge, and naturally enhances writing abilities. 

To Enjoy Themselves

Not all CEOs read to learn; sometimes, they read to entertain themselves. Therefore, many of them prefer reading fiction such as Sci-Fi, comedy, romance, and adventure.

What Publications Do CEOs Read?

So what do CEOs read? Quite a few magazines are designed for people of their status. CEO Magazine is the most obvious one. It’s a monthly publication that provides business tips, news, and lifestyle information for CEOs, executives, and leaders. 

Forbes is another popular publication for CEOs. This publication solely focuses on all levels of business, and executives can find a wealth of helpful information about technology, business, investing, leadership, and survival. 

Wall Street Journal is still an excellent and resourceful publication for CEOs to this date. The magazine has the latest information on the stock market, politics, recent news, technology, etc. It’s still one of the leading sources of information for all levels of business executives, including CEOs. 

Do CEOs Read Fiction?

CEOs read a broad range of books to absorb the mental stimulation they need to thrive and flourish as leaders and imaginative human beings. Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, and Warren Buffet recommended over 100 of their favorite fiction books for people to read.

They also stated that reading fiction helps them expand their imaginations and develop the comfort they need to be alone. These are some of the books they suggested individuals read:

“Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger

Catcher in the Rye” is an all-time favorite for many people, including Bill Gates. It’s about a young person who explores humanity and evaluates the phoniness he perceives in people. The book gives readers insight into world views and human interactions. 

“Wild Swans” by Jung Chang

Richard Branson is the CEO of Virgin Records, and he enjoys a book called “Wild Swans” by Jung Chang. It’s a non-fiction book about Chinese women and their lifestyles when growing up. The book covers marital traditions, women’s statuses, and the cultural revolutions during former eras.

It gives the reader a glimpse of the lifestyles and cultural conditions of people outside the US and helps them understand the differences. It could be an excellent resource for someone who heads a multinational company. 

“The Remains of the Day” by Kazuo Ishiguro

Amazon’s founder, Jeff Bezos, enjoys a book titled “The Remains of the Day” by Kazuo Ishiguro. The book is about a British butler who takes a road trip and then reminisces about various aspects of his life. Bezos said the book is a fantastic tool to teach about life choices and regrets.  

“The Art of Happiness” by Dalai Lama

LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner recommends reading “The Art of Happiness” by Dalai Lama. The book takes the readers on an eye-opening journey of meditation and stories to find their way to happiness. CEOs can use it to balance themselves during these challenging times.  

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams

Tesla’s founder, Elon Musk, is a fan of the science fiction genre. He enjoys reading “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams. It’s a highly entertaining book about traveling through the galaxies. What readers love most about it is its thought-provoking nature, but some people compare its comedic elements to the old Monty Python episodes. 

“Ordinary Grace” by William Kent Krueger

Carl Bass, Autodesk CEO, likes to read “Ordinary Grace” by William Kent Krueger. It’s a fictional book about a character’s journey from childhood to adulthood and the gathering of wisdom during that journey.

Reading a book like this can help people empathize with hard times and struggles, even if they haven’t experienced them personally. Developing empathy is something that can strengthen business relationships as well as personal ones.  

What Do CEOs Read Online?

What do CEOs read? They don’t just read books and publications. They also have a myriad of online resources they go to. These are some of the top online sites that CEOs frequent:

Their Own and Competitor Websites

CEOs spend a lot of time on their own companies’ websites and those of the competition. It makes sense because a leader needs to know what’s going on with his or her company to stay ahead.

You’d be surprised how many leaders have never seen their company websites and never explored what’s happening in the rest of the business world. The ones who check their competitors and take notes on their business’s evolution always manage to stay 10 steps ahead of the market. 


Twitter is another popular platform that CEOs frequent. Not only do they participate daily, but they also follow other business owners and stay up to date with those people’s contributions to the world. Tesla’s leader, Elon Musk, formerly considered pursuing the social media giant and changing its platform.

The site started in 2006 to give everyday people a chance to speak their minds and update their lives in only a few characters. It evolved over the years into a platform for many celebrities, CEOs, and prominent personalities to keep their followers and fans informed. The site is a beautiful tool for leaders to stay abreast of current political views and worldly events. 


Forrester is another famous site CEOS are likely to frequent. It’s a resource where one can study current global marketing and technology trends. Everyone from sales executives to B2B marketing executives to top-level CEOs can get used to it, and many do. 


EDGAR is another tool a CEO would be likely to use. It’s a research tool for those who want to gather financial information about their business or other entities. It can help leaders to develop competitive strategies to help them catapult their success to brand-new heights and levels. 

The mystery to the question, “What do CEOs read?” is now solved. You should know where CEOs go as well as the importance of reading books as a business person, owner, or CEO. You can take the information from above and delve into those resources to add insight and knowledge to your journey. You’ll also know where you can get updates and information on the CEOs you would like to follow. 

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About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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