Executive Reads: Three Books That Build Character

If there’s one thing people in executive positions use to reference their success on a consistent basis, it’s books. Whether they build an enterprise or personal character, there’s wisdom in pages that make reading an essential part of the YP lifestyle. Let these three reads serve as an inspiration…

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
I read this book over the Christmas holidays. The story of Louis Zamperini is an inspiration and lesson in survival and continuing in the face of adversity. Louis lived an extraordinary life and by all accounts has used up nine or ten lives. Louis was a high-school phenom in the mile and competed at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. During the WW2 he was a Norgen Bomb sight operator in the US Airforce flying in B-24 Liberators during the war in the Pacific. He saw plenty of battle and survived a crash in the Pacific that left him and two others adrift in the Pacific ocean for 47 days on a raft. They survived barely on a diet of shark/sea birds and scant supply of water only to be captured by the Japanese where he spent two years in a concentration camp. While I can draw no parallel to Louis in my own life, I do draw inspiration from his story in business. Being an entrepreneur is a roller-coaster ride, and you need to stay steady, and persist. Some days you can’t see the finish line, but you have to have the tenacity and determination to go for it.

As chosen by Steve Hulford

Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
One of the most clever, satirical and downright funny books ever written. Joseph Heller’s insight into the humour and tragedy of the absurdity of our world is second to none. Our hero, Yossarian, takes us through a world beset from all sides by bureaucratic absurdity centred around the circular reasoning of the no-win situation. I love to revisit this 20th century classic if only to remind myself of the humour found in our humanity. Required reading for anybody who has ever considered starting his or her own business…especially in a government regulated industry.

As chosen by Dimitri van Kampen

It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be by Paul Ardin
Part optimist, realist and inspirer, Paul Ardin marries profound messages and quotes with thought provoking photos and symbolism. Whenever I’m having a bad day, am stuck with a problem or just need to feel inspired, I take a flip through his book and there’s always something in it to spark off an idea, vision or smile.

As chosen by Brady Dahmer

Photo courtesy Etsy