Best Business Books: John W. Rogers Jr.'s Picks
Succeeding Against the Odds by John H. Johnson with Lerone Bennett Jr. (1989)
The memoir of John Johnson, who rose from modest beginnings to found Negro Digest, Ebony, and Jetand earned plaudits for "inventing" the black consumer market
Why it's a must-read: "He was one of the greatest entrepreneurs of all time. He started up a business with a loan from his mother on the home furniturejust $500. That's unbelievable. To learn how he had the ingenuity to start from scratch and build that business one brick at a time, day by day, with no financing, well, for someone who's a young entrepreneur like me, it was a wonderful book. It gives you inspiration that you can find the focus and the passion to build something sustainable in this country."
The Path to Power (The Years of Lyndon Johnson, Volume 1) by Robert A. Caro (1982)
The first in a four-volume series about Lyndon Johnson, from his first congressional campaign to the presidency
Why it's a must-read: "We have everybody in the leadership at our firm read it. It reminds me how important perseverance is. Johnson used hard work and ingenuity to accomplish things no one ever dreamed he'd be able to accomplish. I remember vividly him being worn down and in pain, forcing himself to knock on one more door when he was running for Congress because he so desperately wanted to win. Caro also had such vivid portraits of the way LBJ was able to create relationships with people who would be able to help him with his own career. So much of business success is relationships with people who can open up a door for you sometimes, who can give you advice and counsel and mentorships when you need it. It's almost a how-to book for me about how to cultivate relationships."