Leader’s library: 10 books recommended by local business leaders

At the end of 2023, the Corridor Business Journal asked 250 business and community leaders, “what was the best book you read this year? Why?”

From business advice to pure entertainment, here you will find 10 books recommended by some of the Corridor’s most influential leaders. Visit your local library to start reading.

book cover10x is Easier than 2x

By Dan Sullivan and Benjamin Hardy

“This book shows us how to think bigger and not do what is comfortable.” –Greg McLaughlin, founder of Business & Financial Strategies



book cover of ambassador of hopeAmbassador of Hope

By Andre Norman

“This was the best book I read in 2023, because it was about redemption, forgiveness, and inspiring others through your journey.” –LaNisha Cassell, executive director of the African American Museum of Iowa



book coverHorsemen of the Esophagus: Competitive Eating and the Big Fat American Dream

By Jason Fagone

“I am fascinated and greatly amused by the sport, spectacle, and international phenomenon of competitive eating.” –Alex Taylor, managing director of the Iowa Startup Accelerator at NewBoCo

If Life is a Game, These are the Rules

By Cherie Carter-Scott

“There has to be a nugget in there for everyone.” –Randall Rings, chief legal officer at TrueNorth 



You Could Make This Place Beautiful: A Memoir

By Maggie Smith

“I have never read a book written in this way. I don’t even know how to describe it but it instantly captivated me and moved me in a way that I have never been moved before. For any woman picking her life back up after a tumultuous breakup or divorce, this one is for you.” –Candice Luter, owner and lead designer of Candice Luter Art + Interiors

A Swim in a Pond in the Rain: In Which Four Russians Give a Master Class on Writing

by George Saunders

“I loved this book because it was an exploration of four great Russian short stories, and how the authors evoke feeling and reaction from readers. I love thinking about the craft of creating an experience for others – even when they’re just reading about it.” –Amy Kristof-Brown, dean of Henry B. Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa

book coverBlack Fortunes: The Story of the First Six African Americans Who Escaped Slavery and Became Millionaires

By Shomari Wills

“This book was a reminder that you don’t know where you’re going unless you know where you’ve been.” –Tasha Lard, owner and co-founder of JD Beauty Supply and Black Professionals of Johnson County & Linn County

From Battlefield to Boardroom: Winning Management Strategies for Today’s Global Business

By Dennis Laurie

“I have always been fascinated with history and war strategies. This book ties those historical battles to winning business strategies providing some insight of how our military leaders think.” –Dan Baxter, director of real estate development at Ryan Companies US, Inc.

book cover of the white albumThe White Album

By Joan Didion

“This book’s themes and observations of society moving through conflict and tension are still resonant. Yet, history tells us we’re often hurtling through disruptive, difficult times. I appreciate that there’s always humanity and art and revelatory expression to be found in our persistent struggle to evolve.” –Andre Perry, executive director of Hancher Auditorium and The Office of Performing Arts and Engagement at the University of Iowa

The Creative Act: A Way of Being

By Rick Rubin

“I have always thought of myself as a creator, and Rick Rubin’s words helped me understand myself better.” –Steve Shriver, founder and CEO of Eco Lips, Inc.



This list was compiled through a questionnaire sent to local leaders who were featured in the Corridor Business Journal’s Corridor Leaders 250 magazine, which features 250 business and community leaders in the Iowa Corridor.