Books and Other Writings That Have Influenced Me

Several months ago, I came across an article that listed Jeff Bezos’s habit of keeping a list of books and writings that have influenced him. The book, In the Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, is at the top of his list and a copy is given to every new employee at Amazon. I decided to start such a list myself and shared it with the participants of the book club, “The Inclusive Leader,” I facilitate on a Sunday afternoon once a month in Atlanta. Every book I now pick up I wonder whether I will add it to this list.

On first glance, this list is diverse: it has fiction and non-fiction; essays and poetry; representation from outside the United States; white/black/brown authors; nineteenth, twentieth and the twenty-first centuries; business books, philosophy, history and comics/graphic novels. The List, however, misses some key identities: it’s missing the voices of women. It’s missing voices from the LGBTQ community. I could go on. I have, as a result, also started to diversify my reading selections and would appreciate your recommendations to fill in the gaps on this List. What do you recommend? What books and writings have influenced you as a person and professional today?

Note: The list is presented in alphabetical order by the author’s last name.

    • Creativity Inc., Ed Catmull
    • We Were Eight Years in Power, Ta-Nehisi Coates
    • Good to Great, Jim Collins
    • The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
    • Gandhi’s Autobiography, M. Gandhi
    • Being Mortal, Atul Gawande
    • The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness, Edward Hallowell
    • Finding the Heart of the Child – Essays by Hallowell and Thompson
    • The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
    • Poems, Pablo Neruda
    • Horace’s Compromise by Ted Sizer
    • Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson
    • Becoming Steve Jobs, Brent Schendler and Rick Tetzeli
    • “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience,” Thoreau
    • Walden, Thoreau
    • Calvin & Hobbes, Bill Watterson
    • Lincoln’s Greatest Speech, Ronald White, Jr.

4 thoughts on “Books and Other Writings That Have Influenced Me

  1. Americanah, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
    Exit West, Mohsin Hamid
    The Leavers, Lisa Ko
    Stay with Me, Ayobami Adebayo
    What is the What, Dave Eggers
    The Argonauts, Maggie Nelson
    Anything by Zadie Smith! Her nonfiction is really great too!
    XO Jessica


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