Notes for CEOs: Suggested Reading List 2023

These pages are my efforts to open source everything that I have gathered about being a CEO.


Why have I curated this reading list? I have now done the Founder-CEO role for over 16 years across 3 startups, including the venture-backed route. I was just 23 when I became a CEO, and therefore learnt stuff the hard way: mistakes, wrong-turns, failures, frustrations and all of that.

Along the way, I have had a chance to meet 280+ CEOs (of all types, including the very large publicly-listed companies) — had coaches, read the many of the books & blogs, and learnt through experience. Each theme below has my top 3 picks & few other recommendations. In doing so, I have had to drop out many other good books to keep the list tidy (apologies to their authors)

  • Theme 3:  Personal growth as a CEO

    Are you as a CEO growing as the company is evolving? It doesn’t just happen automatically, so think about actively investing and focussing on this through conscious effort. Most CEOs I spoke with end up having a coach for a period and also spend a lot of time with mentors & often even those with contrarian views to themselves.

  • Top 3 Books:

    Trillion Dollar Coach about Bill Campbell

    CEO Excellence: 6 Mindsets compiled by McKinsey

    The Great CEO within by Matt Mochary

  • Other useful reading:

These are the ones that consistently come up in recommendations and suggestions by CEOs. As I hear more suggestions, I will keep adding. Feel free to ping me with other suggestions:

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Useful list of reading for any CEO to hone their craft via @AneeshVarma

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