If you want to read something inspiring over the coming weekend, either for personal edification or professional growth reasons, then consider reaching out for one of the captivating Business Leader biographies listed (and dealt with briefly) in this post. Attainable through a Charter Double Play subscription, these fascinating insight-accounts into the lives of both the historical & contemporary movers & shakers of the commercial world dispense with a number of experiential life lessons that can benefit just about anyone who chances to delve a little bit deeply inside their pages.
Understanding Biographies Critically
Biographies are not just compelling narratives designed to replace the fictions that normally inundate best-sellers lists – they attempt to make us cognizant of some of the deep structural truths that pervade through our society at every socially-consequential level, and equip us with first-hand accounts of some of the successful ways of overcoming their associated challenges and (yes) momentary triumphs.
They constitute those decisive reports that can be considered as both archival texts which vividly describe the cultural zeitgeists that their subjects were born into, and psychological manuscripts that bear testament to how genius (in a mundane and empirically verifiable sense) is oftentimes neurotically cultivated.
Biographies, in addition, are not conventional storytelling devices with an overarching plot semblance. In many instances, they defy (and on occasion defiantly squash) predictable storylines with their intense outpouring of raw & deeply-affecting realism – and mischievously nonconforming tropes.
Learning to Unlearn…
They teach us, in short, of the folly that is inherent in adhering to strict mental categories, in always (by way of a default conception) believing the rich to be cruel & the poor to be oppressed, in finding easy comfort in the notion that stepmothers are inherently scheming and biological parents are the sole well-wishers of their children, and in thinking that tyrants are essentially evil (and somehow different from the rest of the species).
The life-stories of Business Leaders, in particular, are full of potent exemplars of de-familiarizing prose that ultimately leave their discerning readers struggling to differentiate between reality and fiction, and left wondering if both are really the same thing.
A popular adage much touted inside the literary world goes something like this: If everyone were to pen the intimate details of their life truthfully, everyone would win a Pulitzer. In my opinion, all well-written biographies, that deal with their subject matter candidly, are certainly deserving of one – irrespective of their sales volume.
Top 10 Business Leader Accounts You NEED to Get Your Hands On
As a business mentor, I always make it a point to formally request my session attendees to order the following biographical works in hard copy prints – since paper always proves to be more inviting to the informal ‘scribbling’ and ‘jotting down’ process that normally accompanies all text-based deep learning ventures.
And that is exactly what I would advise you to do if you’ve just about decided that you need these publications on your coffee table by the day’s end.
- Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. (Ron Chernow – 2004)
When business leaders, hailing from both the national and global stages, are ever to be discussed, there will always be good chances that the mention of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. will not lag too far behind in the list of entrepreneurs that definitively reshaped the corporate world. Chernow’s masterful wording technique brings the complete life history of the world’s richest man (by aggregate historical measures) into full relief, and does a mesmerizing job of demystifying the mythical hue that always seemed to surround his subject (and which continues to inform many limiting caricatures of Rockefeller Senior as they exist in contemporary pop-culture).
- Alexander Hamilton (Ron Chernow – 2005)
Another one of Chernow’s bestselling biographical masterpieces, the life story of one of America’s most discussed and historically consequential founding fathers is a treat to read for any history buff, or sociologist interested in analyzing firsthand how the past influences the present. Briefly put, Alexander Hamilton presents, in many ways, an entirely different account of the controversial drafter of the Federalist Papers – by making him rise above (through insightful commentary and argument) the more aristocratically-tuned figure painted traditionally by historians. Hamilton’s unending legacy, in terms of the American Financial and Banking system, is also discussed in detail in this riveting and highly informative read.
- The People’s Tycoon: Henry Ford and the American Century (Steven Watts – 2006)
Watt’s treatment of Henry Ford does away with much of the hagiographical work written by other historians on the said 20th century ‘people’s tycoon – by focusing more on the contradictions inherent to his nature that ultimately gave rise to his most prolific & enduring legacies. From Ford’s hugely consequential decision (in pop-cultural terms) to mass-produce the first popularly affordable vehicle, to his often-vicious anti-Semitic rhetoric (which was confusingly at odds with his treatment of African American workers fleeing oppression in the Jim Crow years), and his rise from the farms of Michigan to the global heights of the Ford Motor Company, this biographical manuscript seems to has it all.
- Caesar: Life of a Colossus (Adrian Goldsworthy – 2008)
One of the more recent installments on the life story of one of the most reputable military leaders and statesmen to have ever lived, Caesar’s biography (as recounted by Goldsworthy) presents a man of astonishing contradictions and complexities. Not many historical works dealing first century BC Rome provide the commercial context in which Caesar crafted his meticulously won legacy, with this being an interesting subject discussed in this publication. A monopolist like no other, the telling of Caesar’s entrenchment as the sole economic purveyor of Rome can provide important hints with regard to what ‘not to do’ in today’s volatile business climate.
- Buffet: The Making of an American Capitalist (Roger Lowenstein – 2008)
Lowenstein’s definitive biography of Buffet is considered by many as the ‘gold standard’ on which to judge the acclaimed American entrepreneur and investor’s life journey – and against which the subjective takes of other historians should prudently be analyzed. This biography introduces Buffet in a highly endearing manner, and in addition to providing exhaustive details about the intricacies of everyday life, does a remarkable job in making him even more relatable to the investing novice than he already is!
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