Thought Leadership

Top Four Must-Read Fiction Books For Leaders

Being an entrepreneur is synonymous with continuous learning, and reading remains one of the best ways to gain knowledge daily. From Elon Musk to Mark Zuckerburg, it is a tried and tested method that provides insights into new strategies and approaches to improve your performance and help develop better habits.


Studies suggest that highly successful people are invariably voracious readers–and are lifelong learners. While business books are essential, fictional books offer as many benefits, if not more, relating to life lessons in a way that the reader can quickly draw upon with ease.


Here Are The Top 4 Fiction Books That Are A Must-read For Entrepreneurs:

  1. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Summary: A Children’s book, The Giving Tree, narrates the story of a boy and a tree which is possibly one of the few children’s fables that does not have a happy ending. The story begins with a boy climbing a tree, swinging from her branches, and devouring her apples. As time passes, the boy forgets about the tree. Later, the boy, who is now a young man, returns and asks her for money. Not having any to offer, the tree is happy to give him her fruits to sell. She is likewise delighted to provide him with her branches and later her trunk until there is nothing left to give but an old stump, which the older man proceeds to sit on.


Lesson: Entrepreneurs sometimes fail to establish the boundaries necessary to replenish themselves and continue exerting, leading to a tree with nothing left to give.


2. Something Happened by Joseph Heller

Summary: While success often feels exhilarating, it doesn’t always equate to personal fulfilment in life. This satirical novel centres on a character who has everything but happiness. Set in 1960s Manhattan, the story is a satire of the so-called ‘American Dream.’ Bob Slocum is a promising executive with an attractive wife, three children, a lovely house, and as many mistresses as his heart desires. His life is settled, and society demands he be happy – or at least pretend. However, the pretence becomes more complex as Slocum’s discontent grows into an overwhelming sense of desolation, frustration and fear. The message is so powerful that Harvard Business School professors recommend students to read the book before taking their class.


Lesson: The great tragedy of the modern world may be the contrast between the increasing causes of human unhappiness and our crushing inability to address those causes before it’s too late.


3. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Summary: The story revolves around an Andalusian Shepherd boy, Santiago, who gets the same dream about treasures lying in the Egyptian Pyramids. He embarks on his journey to find the treasure crossing the Mediterranean and Sahara to accomplish his legend, his purpose in life. The book describes this journey and the various encounters he experiences while following his dream. Santiago meets many people throughout the trip and endures several difficulties, which ultimately helps him learn and grow.


Lesson: A good leader, along with converting himself into gold, helps his team unlock their potential and convert them into gold as well.


4. Dune by Frank Herbert

Summary: The story revolves around Paul Atreides, the eldest son of a feudal lord in an era where people travel and battles other planets. Paul ends up on a desert planet and befriends the natives of the planets, the Fremen, who teach him their ways and eventually help them control the plane, thereby controlling melange, aka ‘spice’, a valuable substance that is key to space travel.


Lesson: This novel demonstrates the importance of strategic partnerships that help propel individuals into new arenas through their connections and industry understandings. Every leader needs to find the Fremen who can help them break into critical enterprises and verticals to further their cause.


Conclusively, as Warren Buffet said, “Read 500 pages…every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.”  It’s a simple task whose benefits will last a lifetime.