7 books that inspired Jack Dorsey

2016-06-25

Jack Dorsey, the CEO and co-founder of Twitter and Square, had his hands full this year running two publicly traded companies.

While growing as a leader, Jack focused on pushing his limits and his favorite books offer direct insights into this process. Business Insider has collected the most favorite books of Jack over on a Product Hunt Q&A from last year and his personal Twitter account.

 

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu

In the Product Hunt Q&A, Dorsey said that his most prized possession is a copy of “Tao Te Ching” a friend gave him. The book features 81 poems that reflect on the Tao, which is the force behind everything in the universe. Other themes explored are self-mastery through humility.

 

The Score Takes Care of Itself: My Philosophy of Leadership

Jack regularly recommends “The Score Takes Care of Itself” to entrepreneurs around Silicon Valley. It’s a guide to leadership by the late Bill Walsh, one of the greatest coaches in the history of the National Football League. Walsh became head coach of the San Francisco 49ers in 1978, a time when they were the laughing stock of the league; over the next 10 years, the 49ers became a dynasty with four Super Bowl titles. In his book, he explains the importance of creating a culture of high performance through personal encouragement and praise for exceptional work.

 

Between the World and Me

Ta-Nehisi Coates’ writing on American civil liberties exploded into the mainstream last year when “Between the World and Me” became a No. 1 bestseller and National Book Award winner. The book is striking for both its commentary on American life as well as its meditation on what it takes to grow from a boy into a man.

 

The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom

Mexican writer Don Miguel Ruiz calls “The Four Agreements” a guide to inner peace based on ancient Mexican native spiritual teachings. It’s sold over five million copies in the US since it was published in 1997. The book derives its name from the following precepts: Be Impeccable With Your Word; Don’t Take Anything Personally; Don’t Make Assumptions and Always Do Your Best.

 

The Old Man and The Sea

Ernest Hemingway’s 1953 novella is a simple, concise story of an old man spending the day catching a massive marlin only to have it picked apart by sharks by the time he reaches shore. It offers a meditation on what drives us and why, and how we deal with the transient nature of accomplishment and happiness.

 

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

All Square employees get a copy of “The Checklist Manifesto” on their first day of work. In this 2009 book, surgeon and writer Atul Gawande argues that there are mistakes of ignorance and mistakes of ineptitude, and the latter category is most prevalent in the modern world. He believes clearly written guides and checklists are required for completing complex tasks to the best of your ability. Gawande came to this conclusion when he and his team developed a safe surgery checklist that became a huge success around the world.

 

The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali

“The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali” is a common book to find in the Square library. Yoga in the Western world is largely secular, but this Hindu book from the year 400 is a guide that not only teaches you how to perform yoga exercises but how to use those motions and breathing patterns to connect with God.