Leadership Hall Of Fame: The Best Business Autobiographies

Many entrepreneurs and leaders come and go without passing on what made them great. But there have been others who decided to pick up a pen, sit at a typewriter, or dictate into a recorder. While we have featured many business books this year in our Leadership Hall Of Fame, we have avoided biographies. Well, here is a list of those remarkable businessmen and women who decided to tell their life's story and impart their wisdom, from Ash to Welch.

Mary Kay: Miracles HappenMary Kay: Miracles Happen
by Mary Kay Ash

Mary Kay Ash, founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics: The woman behind the hugely successful cosmetics company talks about her life, her work, and how to sell.

Let My People Go SurfingLet My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman
by Yvon Chouinard

The bohemian executive, and founder of Patagonia, talks about creating the company, making profit responsibly, and creating an enjoyable company culture.

Direct from DellDirect from Dell: Strategies that Revolutionized an Industry
by Michael Dell and Catherine Fredman

A look at how Dell grew the small PC company into an industry powerhouse.

IacoccaIacocca: An Autobiography
by Lee Iacocca with William Novak

The legendary car exec on growing up during WWII, starting at the car company, and the success he created there.

Confessions of an Advertising ManConfessions of an Advertising Man
by David Ogilvy

The famous ad man on how he got into the advertising business and the moves he made there.

The HP WayThe HP Way: How Bill Hewlett and I Built Our Company
by David Packard

The cofounder of Hewlett Packard answers these questions and more: How was the company founded? How was it named? And how did he help create a company that promotes creativity?

Body and SoulBody and Soul: Profits with Principles, the Amazing Success Story of Anita Roddick & the Body Shop
by Anita Roddick

The founder of The Body Shop tells readers how she created her business and how she instilled it with social responsibility.

Pour Your Heart into ItPour Your Heart into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time
by Howard Schultz and Dori Jones Yang

The coffee king looks at how he joined the company, decided on a new direction, and implemented the bold expansion.

Sam Walton, Made in AmericaSam Walton, Made in America: My Story
by Sam Walton and John Huey

The retail giant relates how he grew the company, until he'd conquered the world.

Father, Son & Co.Father, Son & Co.: My Life at IBM and Beyond
by Thomas J. Watson and Peter Petre

Here's the President of IBM on the global company's history, growth, and strategies.

JackJack: Straight from the Gut
by Jack Welch and John A. Byrne

The revered executive shares the story of how he started at GE, and how he shaped it into the behemoth it has become.

Read more from Leadership Hall of Fame.

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4 Comments

  • Abdelhamid Morsy

    Great list, and I'm not sure if it qualifies, but Louis Gerstner's "Who Says Elephants Can't Dance" is one of the best autobiographies I've read (again, not sure if I can really call it that, it was a book he wrote about the biggest achievement in his life, and probably one the biggest achievements in modern day business)

  • bibstha

    You are also missing 'A better india a better world' by N. R. Narayana Murthy. That is a great tip for how to do business the ethical way.

  • Michael Scott

    Great list but you're missing one. Richard Branson's Losing My Virginity: How I Survived, Had Fun, and Made a Fortune Doing Business My Way is a page turner and must read for any risk taking business leader.

  • Bette Boomer

    We agree that true leadership includes mentoring - passing on hard lessons learned like these "hall of famers" - these are all great reads not just for baby boomers, but our next gens!