I did something different this year at Davos. After nearly all my 35+ interviews I conducted over 3 days at the World Economic Forum this year, I asked just about every CEO, each leader, to name one of their favorite books along with the world or business leader whom they admire the very most.
I personally admire each of these intervieweesfor various reasons. I think we can all learn something from them, and I thought this might be a good beginning. Check out the list. I've put asterisks by the books I myself haven't read but will now, upon these recommendations.
Thanks for wanting to learn alongside me.
Muhtar Kent, CEO, Coca Cola
Book: "Ascent of Money" by Niall Ferguson
"I love books on economic observations. This is one of the best."
Leader: "President Barack Obama. He's accomplished something amazing by becoming president. Young people need to know that it's all about the odds, how you face them, deal with them, and overcome them."
Bob Diamond, CEO, Barclays
Book: "Brownat 10"** by Anthony Seldon. "About Gordon Brown's years at 10 Downing. The most turbulent in post-war history."
Leader: President Bill Clinton
"He's a passionate citizen of the U.S. but more importantly, a passionate citizen of the world."
Rich Gelfond, CEO, IMAX
Book: **"Life" by Keith Richards. "The guy's had an incredibly eclectic and interesting life that no one else has *ever* lived."
Leader: Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple. "He's the modern day Thomas Edison when it comes to innovation and business judgement."
Stanley Fischer, Head of Israel's Central Bank
Book: **"To the End of the Land" by David Grossman
"Fascinating and riveting."
Leader: Israeli President Shimon Peres
"He's done everything, been involved in the entire history of Israel... so many achievements you can't enumerate."
Kareem Massimov, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan
Book: "I'm reading too many to pick one!"
Leader: Singaporean statesman Lee Kuan Yew
"He can make anything happen."
Mike Splinter, CEO, Applied Materials
Book: "The Truth About Leadership" by James Kouzes and Barry Posner.
Leader:Mike McCarthy, Head coach of the Super Bowl- bound Green Bay Packers. "He led an injury-ridden group to the top of the football world against the odds. The first NFC 6th seeded team to make the super bowl. Returning glory to tittle town USA."
Sir Martin Sorrell, Chairman and CEO, WPP
Book: **"Sorrell & Son" by Warwick Deeping
"My father's parents came from Russia but because of anti-semitism, my grandfather had to change the family name. He chose 'Sorrell' after this book because it was so good."
Leader: President John F. Kennedy
"He made the greatest impression on me."
Shai Agassi, CEO, Better Place
Book: "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand
Leader: Bill Gates, founder, Microsoft. "He's showing there's a role for private enterprise in tackling social problems. He's carrying on the legacy of the Rockefellers and the Carnegie Mellons."
Adam Lashinsky, Sr. Managing Editor, Fortune
Book: "To the End of the Land" (see Stanley Fischer)
"It's about a woman who walks the length of Israel while thinking and worrying that her son will die while serving in the military. It's intense."
Leader: Mark Zuckerberg, Founder, Facebook
Tom Donahue, President, CEO of the U.S Chamber of Commerce
Book: "Decision Points" by President George W. Bush
"You realize the massive number of decisons this president had to make, and then you see that President Obama and future presidents will have even *more* decisions to make. It's all-consuming."
Leader: Mexican PresidentFelipe Calderon
"One of the most courageous presidents in the world. The U.S. must provide more help to him and Mexico NOW."
Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO, Nissan-Renault
Book: "The Reader" by Bernhard Schlink
"My son gave it to me and I love it."
Leader: still thinking, there are many
Ken Powell, CEO, General Mills
Book: "Anything by Jonathan Franzen. 'Freedom', 'The Corrections'...He's just a tremendous author."
Leader: Josette Sheeran, Head of the World Food Program.
"She's figuring out how to feed a billion people, how to make the money go farther, and she's pulling it off. Impressive."
Howard Lutnick, Chairman and CEO, Cantor Fitzgerald and BGC Partners
Book: **"The Tender Bar" by JR Moehringer
"It's an uplifting story in a place and manor you'd never expect."
Leader: John Chambers, CEO, Cisco."He drove the building of the internet, through acquisition and consolidation. He delivered the infrastructure we now take for granted along with building, for a time, the most valuable company on earth."
Bill McDermott, Co-CEO, SAP
Book: **"Leadership" by John Wooden
"He was so much more than just a sports figure."
Leader: President Barack Obama
"He was dealt a tough hand and done a good job with it."
Luis Moreno, President, Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
Book: **"100 Years of Solitude" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
"It's the best description of the many contrasts in Latin America."
Leader: President Bill Clinton
"One of the most amazing figures ever."
Richard Edelman, Edelman and Company
Book: "George Washington" by Ron Chernow. "It's about an imperfect man who was still incredibly good at distilling information and making decisions.
Leader: Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo. "She's doing an amazing job of transforming the company, she's a great manager. Full disclosure: She's a client!"
Alan Murray, Sr. Managing Editor of The Wall Street Journal
Book: "This Time It's Different" by Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart. "It's a great assessment of the financial crisis."
Leader: Alan Mulally, President and CEO, Ford Motor Company
"He's making it happen every day. Getting it done."
Alan Salzman, VantagePoint Ventures
Book: "The Power of Many" by Meg Whitman
Leader: The current Chinese leadership. "They're committed to and understanding that Clean Tech is the Industrial Revolution of the 21st century.
Joe Jiminez, CEO, Novartis
Book: "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell. "It's about people who stand out and do what it takes to stand out."
Leader: Abraham Lincoln. "He had unique leadership skills. He had humility but also relentless will."
Duncan Niederauer, CEO, NYSE-Euronext
Book: Any Robert Frost poetry book
Leader: Hu Jintao, People's Republic of China. "The Chinese are managing challenges very well."
Jim Quigley, CEO, Deloitte & Touche
Book: "Made in America" by Andrew Liveris. "Liveris' leadership in pushing for manufacturing resurgence in the U.S. is admirable."