Best Business Books: Hector Ruiz's Picks
Hector Ruiz, chairman and CEO, Advanced Micro Devices
A Message to Garcia by Elbert Hubbard (1899)
Written by the editor of the magazine Philistine, this short essay is a simple tale of an American soldier quietly doing his duty during the Spanish-American War, finding a way, against heavy odds, to deliver a message to a leader of the Cuban insurgents.
Why it's a must-read: "This is truly one of the most inspirational books I have ever read. It tells the story of a soldier who meets a challenge head-on and accomplishes his mission. The book exemplifies the values of initiative and perseverance and encourages readers to continually stay positive and focused. Don't blink. Keep fighting. I often share these same messages with my employees."
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap ... and Others Don't by Jim Collins (2001)
Management consultant Collins and a team of researchers examined company data from over 1,400 firms, whittling the list down to 11including Fannie Mae, Gillette, and Wells Fargothat have substantially improved their performance, growing from just "good" to "great."
Why it's a must-read: "This is an essential read for anyone in a leadership position within an organization. Through extensive research, Collins discovers that truly great companies focus first on getting the right peoplepeople with strong discipline and resolvein the right positions in the company. Discipline and focus are two values I strive to achieve daily."
The Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid: Eradicating Poverty Through Profits by C. K. Prahalad (2005)
A management consultant reveals business opportunities in the immense market at the bottom of the developing world, where the poor, as a group, have significant buying power.
Why it's a must-read: "We have a responsibility to help those in need, but to have a lasting effect we must enable people to stand on their own. This book opened my mind to thinking about new ways to apply technology to transform poverty on a global scale. It was one of the inspirations behind AMD's launching 50x15, an initiative that aims to enable 50 percent of the world's population with affordable Internet access by 2015. This book exemplifies how businesses can simultaneously do gooderadicating povertyand do well."
Lance Armstrong's personal coach outlines what he considers the five essential aspects of lifefitness, nutrition, relationships, career, and health.
Why it's a must-read: "AMD has been a longtime technology sponsor of Lance Armstrong, and it was through this relationship that I became acquainted with Chris Carmichael. In his book, Chris has done an excellent job of explaining how good health is closely linked to personal and professional success. Chris's lessons are as important for leaders to understand as any management strategy book I've read."
Dilbert by Scott Adams (ongoing)
The longtime comic strip about the life of a downtrodden, micromanaged office worker
Why it's a must-read: "There is so much humor in the workplace, and I greatly admire Adams's take on corporate culture."