I asked the members of our Intentional Reading Panel what books had made the greatest impact on them. Here’s my response to that question.
The Bible is the book that I’ve been reading the longest and read the most, in fact, just about every day. It’s still my primary source of inspiration and guidance.
When I was about 19, I signed up for the Walter J. Black Classics Club. I still have many of the books that they sent me, but two are books that I go back to regularly.
One is Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. I prefer the Modern Library edition with translation and introduction by Gregory Hays. As part of putting together the responses to this question from the panel members, I saw Mike Figliuolo’s recommendation of The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday. Mike inspired me to order the book and read it, and I found it’s helped me get more value from the Meditations.
The other classic that I still go back to is Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography. It’s an inspiring story about one of the most fascinating people in history, but one chapter has claimed my attention for decades. It’s the one titled “The Arduous Task of Arriving at Moral Perfection.” I wasn’t after “moral perfection,” but Franklin inspired a lifelong habit.
Franklin kept daily records of his activities and performance and he inspired me to do the same. In some form or another, I’ve tracked my own conduct and performance for more than fifty years.
I started in business when I got out of the Marines in 1968. Not long afterward, I discovered two books which I think of as two parts of the same book. They are Peter Drucker’s Effective Executive and his Managing for Results.
The books were written at about the same time. The Effective Executive is about managing yourself. Managing for Results is about managing your organization. Taken together, they have been a source of wisdom and insight for me for almost fifty years.
That’s my answer to the question, “What books made the greatest impact on your business and life. Here are links to the answers of other panel members,
What books have shaped your life?