One of the world’s most valuable companies, Apple will always remain Steve Job’s baby, but it is Tim Cook who doubled the company’s profit and revenue in less than 10 years. Cook joined Apple in 1998 as Sr. VP and became Apple’s CEO in 2011, increasing its market value from $348 billion to $1.9 trillion.
The first Fortune 500 CEO to openly come out as gay, Cook is also a part of the board of directors of Nike, Inc, and National Football Foundation. Well-known for his distinctive leadership style, Cook is a man of few words and one-word emails. Speaking to Washington Post on his reading habits, Cook said:
“I tend to like nonfiction and particularly reading about people and how they lived and how they fought, and what motivated them and their philosophy and so forth.”
Presenting a brief descriptive list of Cook’s all-time favorite books:
Competing Against Time by George Jr. Stalk
It is a milestone business book emphasizing the critical role of time in business success. Anchored in meticulous research spanning over 10 years, the authors demonstrate how companies like Ford, Wal-Mart, Mitsubishi, Citicorp, Harley-Davidson, etc. have used time-based strategies to amplify their businesses and take over competition.
Cook is so profoundly affected by the book he hands it out to his new hires and colleagues. This book becomes extremely relevant in the current pandemic era and can provide guidance to business leaders striving to achieve swift business response to fast shifting consumer behavior.
Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon by Larry Tye
Robert F. Kennedy was an icon like no other. True definition of a progressive knight of the modern era, Kennedy is remembered by history as a champion of the poor and a racial healer. The book presents a powerful and perceptive picture of the different facets of Kennedy’s personality, a romantic visionary, a cynical White House insider and a bare-knuckle operative. In this well-researched book, the author destroys popular myths to present an authentic and holistic portrait of the ionic liberal.
Mohandas K. Gandhi, Autobiography: The Story of My Experiments With Truth by Mahatma Gandhi
A fascinating and complex character, Gandhi was a brilliant leader and guide to millions of people. Gandhi says that this book is his attempt to describe the science of Satyagraha, and the power of Ahimsa or non-violence. It is an enlightening and enriching tale of a leader that mobilized a diverse nation and fought for the rights of the deprived. A powerful book of courage and inspiration that one cannot ignore.
March (Trilogy) by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
“My hope is that everyone reads this, and I would love to see the day that it is required reading in every school.” – Tim Cook
A collectible, the March trilogy is a black and white graphic novel trilogy about the Civil Rights movement. It is an autobiographical account of civil rights leader and US Congressman John Lewis, lettered and illustrated by Nate Powell. It offers historical lessons in a novel way and ideas remain extremely relevant even today.
Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley’s Bill Campbell by Eric Schmidt, Jonathan Rosenberg & Alan Eagle
“Trillion Dollar Coach has captured his tireless spirit so future generations can learn from one our industry’s greatest leaders.” –Tim Cook
Bill Campbell played a crucial role in the rise and growth of several companies like Apple, Google, and Intuit. The book expounds on Campbell’s coaching principles with real life examples. It is no less than a roadmap for futuristic leaders who strive to build better performing and quicker moving teams, cultures, and companies.