A Good Read

Dec. 21, 2004
Book choices illuminate the varied interests of CEOs.

Looking for a book to enjoy on your next trip or extended international flight? Respondents to the IndustryWeek CEO Survey demonstrated a broad range of interests from best sellers to adventure, to how-to, to the Bible, to a classic blast from the past when asked, "What is the best book you have read in the last year?" The most popular author was Stephen Ambrose, known for his works on military history, especially World War II, with two of his works listed as the best book read in the last year: Undaunted Courage (1996, Simon & Schuster), the story of the Lewis and Clark expedition from Wheeling, W.Va., to the Pacific mouth of the Columbia River in Oregon from 1803 to 1806. Citizen Soldiers (1997, Simon & Schuster), which combines accounts of combat veterans from all sides of the war to tell the story of the ordinary men who fought in World War II from the day after D-Day through the end of the war. The book receiving the most mentions was Into Thin Air (1997, Villard Books) by Jon Krakauer, the story of the struggle, courage, and tragedy of a 1996 assault on Mt. Everest. Other books with multiple mentions included: Angela's Ashes (1996, Scribner) by Frank McCourt, the story of a young Irish boy growing up in poverty in the U.S. and Ireland. The book-on-tape version comes highly recommended. Read by the author, his accent and delivery bring the story to life. Leading Change (1996, Harvard Business School Press) by John P. Kotter, contends that strategies for change in corporations fail because these changes don't alter behavior. Other works mentioned include: If Aristotle Ran General Motors (1997, Henry Holt & Co. Inc.) by Tom Morris; Memos From the Chairman (1996, Workman Publishing Co.) by Alan C. Greenberg; The Leadership Engine (1997, HarperBusiness) by Noel Tichy; A World Lit Only by Fire (1992, Little Brown and Co.) by William Manchester; The Commanding Heights (1998, Simon & Schuster) by Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw; Tuesdays With Morrie (1997, Doubleday) by Mitch Albom; CEO Logic (1998, Career Press) by C. Ray Johnson; Business as a Calling (1996, Free Press) by Michael Novak; Reworking Success: New Communities of the Millennium (1997, New Society Pub.) by Robert Theobald. The Global Manufacturing Vanguard (1998, John Wiley & Sons) by Micheline Maynard; Leading People (1996, Viking Press) by Robert H. Rosen; The Profit Zone (1998, Times Books) by Adrian J. Slywotzky; The Eleventh Commandment (1998, HarperCollins) by Jeffrey Archer; Gods and Generals (1996, Ballantine Books) by Jeff Shaara; A Walk in the Woods (1998, Broadway Books) by Bill Bryson; The Street Lawyer (1998, Doubleday) by John Grisham; The Heart Aroused (1994, Currency/Doubleday) by David Whyte; Lincoln on Leadership (1993, Warner Books) by Donald T. Phillips; and The Lord of the Rings (1965, Houghton Mifflin Co.) by J.R.R. Tolkien.

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