4 min read

A CEO’s Reading List

The books that Boston’s top tech CEOs use to help build their companies

At Underscore VC, we host monthly Core Community dinners, bringing together leaders in the Boston tech community to share their thoughts, experiences and challenges with each other.

This past month, one of the groups we brought together were CEOs from many of Boston’s top tech companies. Not only was this a great opportunity for many of these attendees to reconnect with their peers, but also to spend some time personally reflecting, and sharing what has really worked in helping them lead their companies.

Throughout the discussion over dinner we covered a variety of topics, from where does an operations leader fall in the organizational structure to tips on how to instill your company’s culture in each hire you make. However, throughout all these discussion points, the group continually was referencing and recommending books.

So we took notes, and have put together the CEO’s Reading List — a glimpse into the resources Boston’s best CEOs use to better run their company.


Geoff Smart & Randy Street

Hiring, especially in the early days, is key to creating a sustainable and successful company. Many of the CEOs in the room had gone through this process and learned important lessons the hard way. This book provides some insight into best practices and things to avoid when growing your team.





Good to Great

Jim Collins

Every CEO in the room is looking to the next enduring tech company in Boston. In Good to Great, Jim Collins dives into the attributes that separate good companies from great companies and how to make the leap from being just successful to actually enduring and impactful.




Work Rules!

Lazlo Block

One of the main topics of discussion over dinner was talent, and how to attract and retain it. Work Rules highlight’s Google’s approach to creating and sustaining a culture of top talent and happy employees.





The One Thing

Gary Keller

A constant struggle for many CEOs in the room was balancing all of the different needs of them as CEO. The One Thing tackles how to ensure that you are actually providing value in your day to day, not just putting out fires.





Death by Meeting

Patrick Lencioni

Everyone in the room groaned when the topic of meetings came up. Everyone feels that they are in too many meetings to be able to be productive day to day. Death by Meeting looks to solve that, by giving a blueprint on how to cut out the frustration that comes from a meeting-heavy culture.





Honorable Mention

Netflix Culture Presentation


While it’s not a book, many of the CEOs found the Netflix culture presentation to be a great model to build their companies off of. It covers everything from the guiding principles of the company down to their vacation policy (or lack thereof), and ties together many of the topics that each of the books above address.

These are just a few pieces that contributed to the success of many of the CEO in the room, but what else is out there?

Share your thoughts in the comments below as to the books, articles, or videos that have helped you along your journey as an entrepreneur.

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