6 autobiographies from the most brilliant minds in business


No novice can survive business without a mentor, and who better to mentor you than the moguls of business themselves? There are many biographies that speak of the extraordinary achievements of extraordinary people, but there are very few stories out there that have been voiced by the geniuses themselves. We’ve picked out six of the most inspiring ones for you to get the most ‘experience’ out of. Enjoy!

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Direct from Dell

Author: Michael Dell, Founder of Dell Inc.

What started out in the modest headquarters of the University of Texas’ dorm-room went on to become the sixth largest company in Texas. Direct from Dell chronicles the story of this company which sprouted with less than $1000 as an initial investment, in the words of its founder. Michael Dell shares insights on his management strategies and sheds light on the surprising benefits of starting out on low capital. He warns business novices of competition that can arise around unexpected corners, and how you can – how he did – beat that competition and use it to your advantage. This is a truly inspiring read, especially for college dropouts (for he was one) who’re out to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams.

The HP way: How Bill Hewlett and I built our company

Author: David Packard, Co-founder of Hewlett-Packard

David Packard has narrated this journey with the same personal touch that HP has run its customer-oriented business with. HP’s tale is one of foresight, innovation, and perseverance as the duo made their way from a one-car garage to a leading IT company. The best thing this book has to offer to entrepreneurs, other than brimming inspiration, is HP’s unique management strategies which were way ahead of their time and hence unrivalled. The book takes the reader through strategies such as walk-around management, quality cycles, and flexitime, which, among others, came to be known as the ‘HP way’; and it cannot get better than this because it’s in the words of the mastermind himself.

Shoe Dog

Author: Phil Knight, Co-founder of Nike, Inc.

Before the publication of this memoir, the Co-founder of this iconic brand was somewhat of a mysterious businessman. Through this book, which was the first and only account of his tale, Phil Knight wonderfully opens the door not only to his business strides, but also to his personality. Narrated in his wry humour, Shoe Dog is the incredible journey that was marked by setbacks, triumphs, the power of misfits, and of course, the passion for sport. This book is a huge source of motivation for anyone looking to build a business from scratch, for Nike was born with no more than $50 dollars in the pocket of an aspiring 20-year-old.

Miracles Happen

Author: Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Inc.

Mary Kay Ash started her cosmetics company at the ripe age of 45 and at a time when patriarchy was still the unquestioned way of the society. These two facts alone are reason enough to be inspired, so one can imagine the awe-filled journey this memoir takes the reader on. Miracles Happen begins from her early days, touching upon the experiences that helped shaped Ash’s principles – the solid foundation on which she built her unwavering business. Through this book, she provides a vivid inside story of the making of Mary Kay Cosmetics, starting from the incident that impelled it. The experiences contained within this book are that which have the potential to chisel a true leader.

Bloomberg by Bloomberg

Author: Michael R Bloomberg, Co-founder of Bloomberg L.P

Here’s the story of a gutsy, loud-spoken, and surefooted man that, like a charging bull, entered the entrepreneurial ecosystem when fired by his employer. Bloomberg’s unabated personality marks the theme of this book from which one can find valuable advice on how to start a business and, more importantly, keep it running in unfavourable conditions. Bloomberg, who took the financial industry by storm and plastered his name over Wall Street, is a businessman whose journey and insights one simply must not miss, as this book is as relevant as business lessons can get.

Iacocca: An autobiography

Authors: Lee Iacocca, former CEO of Chrysler Corporation, and William Novak

This is the story of the famed engineer behind the Ford Mustang and Pinto cars. The book chronicles Iacocca’s journey starting from his childhood experiences and the dismissal from Ford to the challenges of saving Chrysler Corporation from bankruptcy. There are many lessons to learn from this book because the way this businessman found his way around rejection and financial let-downs to spearhead a drowning corporation towards success is indeed remarkable – a feat that has made him one of the best CEO’s the business world has witnessed.

The lessons that one can learn from these personalities will be relevant no matter the changes in the age and face of business. In their own way, they each teach the fundamental lesson that an entrepreneur cannot do without – how to stand unwavering in face of adversities and, therefore, how to survive.