18 Biographies of the Most Successful People in Business by Fortune.com

18 Biographies of the Most Successful People in Business

Books in list (19)

Title: Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

In this candid and riveting memoir, for the first time ever, Nike founder and board chairman Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands. Young, searching, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed fifty dollars from his father and launched a company with one simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost running shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the trunk of his Plymouth Valiant, Knight grossed eight thousand dollars that first year, 1963. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In this age of start-ups, Knight’s Nike is the gold standard, and its swoosh is more than a logo. A symbol of grace and greatness, it’s one of the few icons instantly recognized in every corner of the world. But Knight, the man behind the swoosh, has always been a mystery. Now, in a memoir that’s surprising, humble, unfiltered, funny, and beautifully crafted, he tells his story at last. It all begins with a classic crossroads moment. Twenty-four years old, backpacking through Asia and Europe and Africa, wrestling with life’s Great Questions, Knight decides the unconventional path is the only one for him. Rather than work for a big corporation, he will create something all his own, something new, dynamic, different. Knight details the many terrifying risks he encountered along the way, the crushing setbacks, the ruthless competitors, the countless doubters and haters and hostile bankers—as well as his many thrilling triumphs and narrow escapes. Above all, he recalls the foundational relationships that formed the heart and soul of Nike, with his former track coach, the irascible and charismatic Bill Bowerman, and with his first employees, a ragtag group of misfits and savants who quickly became a band of swoosh-crazed brothers.
Author(s): Phil Knight
ISBN 13: 9781501135910
Pages: 400
This book is in (12) other book lists, learn more.

Title: Personal History

Author(s): Katharine Graham
ISBN 13: 9780394585857

Title: The Snowball: Warren Buffett and the Business of Life

Warren Buffett is one of the most respected men in the world. But the legendary Omaha investor has never written a memoir or offered a glimpse into his intensely private life. Here, at last, he gives unprecedented access to this work, opinions, struggles, triumphs, follies, and wisdom. Buffett gave thousand of hours of his own time as well as complete access to his wife, children, friends and business associates - and his files. The result is a the fullest exploration of his philosophy of life we will ever have. Here are the principles and ideas that made Buffett wealth, enriched the lives of those who adopted them and created the most fascinating American success story of our time.

Author(s): Alice Schroeder
ISBN 13: 9780553805093
Pages: 976

Title: Benjamin Franklin: An American Life

Author(s): Walter Isaacson
ISBN 13: 9780684807614

Title: Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

John D. Rockefeller, Sr.--history's first billionaire and the patriarch of America's most famous dynasty--is an icon whose true nature has eluded three generations of historians. Now Ron Chernow, the National Book Award-winning biographer of the Morgan and Warburg banking families, gives us a history of the mogul "etched with uncommon objectivity and literary grace . . . as detailed, balanced, and psychologically insightful a portrait of the tycoon as we may ever have" (Kirkus Reviews). Titan is the first full-length biography based on unrestricted access to Rockefeller's exceptionally rich trove of papers. A landmark publication full of startling revelations, the book will indelibly alter our image of this most enigmatic capitalist.
Born the son of a flamboyant, bigamous snake-oil salesman and a pious, straitlaced mother, Rockefeller rose from rustic origins to become the world's richest man by creating America's most powerful and feared monopoly, Standard Oil. Branded "the Octopus" by legions of muckrakers, the trust refined and marketed nearly 90 percent of the oil produced in America.
Rockefeller was likely the most controversial businessman in our nation's history. Critics charged that his empire was built on unscrupulous tactics: grand-scale collusion with the railroads, predatory pricing, industrial espionage, and wholesale bribery of political officials. The titan spent more than thirty years dodging investigations until Teddy Roosevelt and his trustbusters embarked on a marathon crusade to bring Standard Oil to bay.
While providing abundant new evidence of Rockefeller's misdeeds, Chernow discards the stereotype of the cold-blooded monster to sketch an unforgettably human portrait of a quirky, eccentric original. A devout Baptist and temperance advocate, Rockefeller gave money more generously--his chosen philanthropies included the Rockefeller Foundation, the University of Chicago, and what is today Rockefeller University--than anyone before him. Titan presents a finely nuanced portrait of a fascinating, complex man, synthesizing his public and private lives and disclosing numerous family scandals, tragedies, and misfortunes that have never before come to light.
John D. Rockefeller's story captures a pivotal moment in American history, documenting the dramatic post-Civil War shift from small business to the rise of giant corporations that irrevocably transformed the nation. With cameos by Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst, Jay Gould, William Vanderbilt, Ida Tarbell, Andrew Carnegie, Carl Jung, J. Pierpont Morgan, William James, Henry Clay Frick, Mark Twain, and Will Rogers, Titan turns Rockefeller's life into a vivid tapestry of American society in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It is Ron Chernow's signal triumph that he narrates this monumental saga with all the sweep, drama, and insight that this giant subject deserves. From the Hardcover edition.

Author(s): Ron Chernow
ISBN 13: 9781400077304
Pages: 832
This book is in (7) other book lists, learn more.

Title: Carnegie

Author(s): Peter Krass
ISBN 13: 9780471386308

Title: Morgan : American Financier

Author(s): Jean Strouse
ISBN 13: 9780375501661

Title: The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy

Celebrated historian David Nasaw brings to life the story of Joseph Patrick Kennedy, in this, the first and only biography based on unrestricted and exclusive access to the Joseph P. Kennedy papers


Joseph Patrick Kennedy—whose life spanned the First World War, the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, the Second World War, and the Cold War—was the patriarch of America’s greatest political dynasty. The father of President John F. Kennedy and senators Robert and Edward Kennedy, “Joe” Kennedy was an indomitable and elusive figure whose dreams of advancement for his nine children were matched only by his extraordinary personal ambition and shrewd financial skills. Trained as a banker, Kennedy was also a Hollywood mogul, a stock exchange savant, a shipyard manager, the founding chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and ambassador to London during the Battle of Britain. Though his incredible life encompasses the very heart of the American century, Joseph Kennedy has remained shrouded in rumor and prejudice for decades.


Drawing on never-before-published material from archives on three continents, David Nasaw—the renowned biographer of Andrew Carnegie and William Randolph Hearst—unearths a man far more complicated than the popular portrait. Was Kennedy an appeaser and isolationist, an anti-Semite and Nazi sympathizer, a stock swindler, a bootlegger, and a colleague of mobsters? Did he push his second son into politics and then buy his elections for him? Why did he have his daughter Rosemary lobotomized? Why did he oppose the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the Korean War, and American assistance to the French in Vietnam? What was his relationship to J. Edgar Hoover and his FBI? How did he influence his son’s politics and policies in the White House? In this groundbreaking biography Nasaw ignores the tired old answers surrounding Kennedy, starting from scratch to discover the truth behind this misunderstood man.


Though far from a saint, Joseph Kennedy in many ways exemplifies the best in American political, economic, and social life. His rags-to-riches story is one of exclusion and quiet discrimination overcome by entrepreneurship, ingenuity, and unshakable endurance. Kennedy’s story deserves to be told in full, with no holds barred, and Nasaw’s magnificent The Patriarch is the first book to do so.

2013 Mark Lynton History Prize Finalist
2013 Pulitzer Prize for Biography Finalist
One of the New York Times Book Review's Top 10 Books of 2012

Author(s): David Nasaw
ISBN 13: 9781594203763
Pages: 896

Title: Sam Walton and Wal-Mart

Meet a genuine American folk hero cut from the homespun cloth of America's heartland: Sam Walton, who parlayed a single dime store in a hardscrabble cotton town into Wal-Mart, the largest retailer in the world. Combine the pluck and luck of Horatio Alger, the wit of Will Rogers, the promotional verve of P. T. Barnum, and the charm of Professor Harold Hill and you'll discover the powerful personality of Sam Walton. An undisputed Captain of Commerce, Sam never lost the common touch--he reveled in it. Here, finally, Sam Walton tells his extraordinary story in his own inimitable words, sharing a revealing perspective on the elements of his success. Genuinely modest, but always sure of his ambitions and achievements, Sam shares his thinking in a candid, straight-from-the-shoulder style. Sam Walton: Made in America is peppered with his philosophy of life and practical business advice, including:. Competition: I've always had a passion to compete. Our story proves that spirited competition is good for business. Partnership: Individuals don't win; teams do. Wal-Mart is just a spectacular example of what happens when people find a way to work together--where almost four hundred thousand people have come together as a group like this, with a real feeling of partnership, and have been able, for the most part, to put the needs of their individual egos behind the needs of their team. Money: Success has always had its price and I learned that lesson the hard way when Forbes named me the so-called "richest man in America." The next thing we knew all these reporters and photographers arrived, I guess to take pictures of me diving into a swimming pool full of money they imagined I had, or to watch me light big fat cigars with hundred-dollar bills while the hootchy-kootchy girls danced by the lake. Celebrity: I'm not sure I ever really figured out this celebrity business. Why in the world, for example, would I get an invitation to Elizabeth Taylor's wedding out in Hollywood? Why
Author(s): Sam Walton
ISBN 13: 9780385468473
Pages: 288

Title: Jack

The CEO of General Electric looks back on his distinguished career with the corporation and shares his personal philosophy of business and innovative managerial style. (Business & Finance)
Author(s): Jack Welch;John A. Byrne
ISBN 13: 9780446528382
Pages: 479
This book is in (2) other book lists, learn more.

Title: The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon

The definitive story of Amazon.com, one of the most successful companies in the world, and of its driven, brilliant founder, Jeff Bezos. Amazon.com started off delivering books through the mail. But its visionary founder, Jeff Bezos, wasn't content with being a bookseller. He wanted Amazon to become the everything store, offering limitless selection and seductive convenience at disruptively low prices. To do so, he developed a corporate culture of relentless ambition and secrecy that's never been cracked.
Author(s): Brad Stone
ISBN 13: 9780316219266
Pages: 392
This book is in (2) other book lists, learn more.

Title: Wild Ride

"Traces the story of Uber's rapid growth from its murky origins to its plans for expansion into radically different industries.
Author(s): Adam Lashinsky
ISBN 13: 9780735211391
Pages: 228

Title: A Triumph of Genius

This major business biography of Polaroid and its founder and inventor Edwin Land, covers how the company grew from the initial Polavision prototypes during World War II, to the 1980s landmark patent infringement trial against Kodak that ...
Author(s): Ronald K. Fierstein
ISBN 13: 9781627227698
Pages: 644

Title: Bloomberg

Author(s): Michael Bloomberg, Matthew Winkler
ISBN 13: 9780471155454

Title: Make Trouble

INSTANT NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER “Richards offers practical advice and inspiration for aspiring leaders everywhere.”—Hillary Rodham Clinton “An enthralling memoir.” —Booklist (starred review) To Make Change, You Have to Make ...
Author(s): Cecile Richards
ISBN 13: 9781501187599
Pages: 304

Title: The House of Dimon: How JP Morgan's Jamie Dimon Rose to the Top of the Financial World

Praise for The House of Dimon

"Without the profanity and showmanship, Jamie, within the world of business, reminds me most of George S. Patton, America's premier WWll battlefield general. Both read history, prepared meticulously, and led from the front—innovatively and instinctively. Both were confrontational. When asked what unit they had served in during the war, most members of the Third Army responded proudly and simply, 'I was with Patton.' Perhaps one day those at JPMorgan will say the same."
Wick Simmons, former CEO of Nasdaq and Prudential Securities

"If you care about what it takes to be a successful CEO in the most complicated market ever, you will want to read The House of Dimon. Patricia Crisafulli has captured the growth and development of one of the most outstanding CEOs of our time."
Frank Zarb, Managing Director, Hellman & Friedman LLC

"The House of Dimon is a great read, allowing you to observe Dimon's actual strategic actions. He's a leader who doesn't obsess over predicting the future but sets his organization on its toes ready to move in any direction when a problem or opportunity arises. For readers interested in real leadership, it's an action thriller. Dimon walks the talk doing the right thing even when it hurts in the short term."
William J. White, retired chairman and CEO, Bell & Howell Company; Professor, Engineering and Applied Science, Northwestern University

"Crisafulli has accomplished a major feat: gleaning the lessons-to-be-learned from the life thus far of Jamie Dimon, a man of extraordinary talent, rock-solid philosophy of life, and boundless energy, as well as capturing the essence of many of the financial industry's key personalities, explaining in layman's terms the financial instruments, environment, and events of the last two decades. She has done it all in a fast-paced page-turner. The book illustrates principles we'd all benefit from living by. I wish all my business associates and students read this book."
Warren L. Batts, Adjunct Professor of Strategic Management, University of Chicago School of Business; former CEO of Tupperware Corp., Premark International, Mead Corp., and Triangle Corp.

"The subtitle of this book could easily be 'How Do You Fit All Jamie Dimon's Accomplishments in One Book' Jamie is an inspiration to all who have the privilege of knowing him or working with him."
Harvey Mackay, author of the New York Times #1 bestseller Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive

Author(s): Patricia Crisafulli
ISBN 13: 9780470412961
Pages: 256

Title: Personal History

Author(s): Katharine Graham
ISBN 13: 9780394585857


Read full article:
18 Biographies of the Most Successful People in Business by Fortune.com

Next book list: The 35 Best Books of 2020 to Add to Your Reading List ASAP by Goodhousekeeping.com >>