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What are well-known leaders’ favourite reads?

Many South Africans have taken advantage of the flurry of public holidays and have taken a well-earned break. In view of this, we have decided to “keep things light.” Instead of providing links to a recent business report, or recommended reads in the area of management, we have listed some of the favourite reads of well-known world leaders (current and past) and well-known entrepreneurs and business leaders:

President Donald Trump

  • The Bible – the Bible is considered one of the best-selling books of all time.
  • “The Art of the Deal”- you’ve guessed it, the book was written by Donald J Trump and ghost writer (Tony Schwartz). Over one million copies have been sold. Schwartz voiced his concerns on “Good morning America,” about Trump’s impulsiveness and self-centredness, reasons that Schwartz believe made him an unsuitable candidate for the Oval Office.

Bill Gates
Microsoft founder, Bill Gates is an avid reader. He always reads for an hour before bedtime.

  • “Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialisation,” by Vaclav Smil.
    An interesting, but perhaps not a surprising choice, bearing in mind that Gates is still the world’s wealthiest individual and a legendary philanthropist. The book addresses the question of how much further should the affluent world push its material consumption.

Richard Branson
High school dropout and billionaire entrepreneur, Richard Branson is dyslexic. He cites his dyslexia as “his greatest strength.” The key to his success, focusing on what he’s good at and delegating things he’s not good at.

  • “Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela.”

Julius Malema

  • “Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela.”
    Commander-in-Chief of the Economic Freedom Fighters, Malema read Madiba’s autobiography when he was in his late teens and the President of Cosas. He returns to the book whenever he seeks wisdom.

Nelson Mandela
Global icon, the late Nelson Mandela cited the complete works of Shakespeare as his favourite book. This is a very interesting choice, given pressures to de-colonise education and the move to remove many of the so-called classics from school syllabi in South Africa.

Elon Musk

  • “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,” by Douglas Adams.
    Musk’s favourite read is no surprise, given the fact that Musk pushes boundaries and is fascinated by space. South African born, Elon Musk, founder of Tesla Motors and SpaceX.  One would expect him to enjoy a book about Arthur Dent being plucked off the planet earth, by his friend Fred Prefect, seconds before the earth is demolished.

Mark Zuckerberg

  • “Why Nations Fail,” by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson.
    The authors argue that extractive governments use the powers of the select few to enforce, whereas inclusive governments create open markets. Zuckerberg, the founder for Facebook tries to read at least one book every two weeks. He has an extensive list of “must reads.”

David Cameron

  • “Why Nations Fail,” by Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson.
    One cannot, but wonder whether the book influenced former British Prime Minister, David Cameron’s thinking around Brexit. In 2016, Amazon sold 180 e-books for every 100 hard cover books.

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