Every Executive Should Have a Kindle

I think that every executive should have a Kindle. I don't think the Kindle is a complete solution to meeting the information needs of an executive but I think it can be extremely useful. There are currently 200,000 books available for the Kindle. With it's ability to download books over the Sprint EVDO network the Kindle provides quick access to the books that are not available on the Internet. When I talk about availability on the Internet I am not talking about the ability to purchase a paper copy online but the ability to read the full text online.

Full blog post at Nonstopbooks


I'm an executive, and I can tell you this isn't practical. Just another portable device to tote around. I was so happy when smart phones came out because then I didn't have to carry around my paper planner, my work cell, and my personal cell. So if someone can turn a Kindle into a phone, calendar and Crackberry I might buy it.

When I travel I have the blackberry, the laptop, and another suitcase to lug around. I am not going to fish around for another device.

What I want to read is not available on a Kindle. If I am on the plane or have some time to read business related content it is most commonly not publically available - often internally generated content. I can read them on my laptop, or more frequently I will have them printed and spiral bound (or my EA will have them printed and bound to be more correct) and I will stick it in a pocket of my laptop bag so I can grab it as I stow things on the plane.

If I am reading for leisure I prefer a paper book for similar reasons.

I can't use a kindle on the plane all the time due to the restrictions on electronic devices, but I can always read something printed. I can make notes on the printed pages, and highlight important text. I can pass the printed, marked-up document along to others for their review or to the author for changes.

I don't spend a great deal of time reading Business Week, or Forbes or any periodicals like that. I do use an alerting service from Factiva that gives me articles that match selections I have made about company names, or SIC codes. Something the Kindle does not offer. I also have available truncated books through GetAbstract, a fee based service that has condensed versions of business books - although I seldom use this as I find it is not focused enough on my specific niche, and not as timely as it could be.

The Kindle might be a good idea for a B-school student or perhaps an entry level employee or early career experienced hire, but for management and C-suite staff it is, in my opinion, impractical.

>>but for management and C-suite staff it is, in my opinion, impractical.

It is C-suite staff that is most likely going to be dealing with the "big picture". These are the people that you want actively reading lots of things. And they want to be reading more than just business books. History, foreign relations, economics, etc....

To have access to 200,000 books in your hotel room for the equivalent weight of one hardback book does not seem like such a bad trade off.

For the big money executives, the ones making millions per year, I don't think they just just have a Kindle I think they should have a personal librarian. (Of course, personal librarians are hard to carry around)

If you are in the C-suites you have already read that sort of thing. I don't want them brushing up on The Art of War in the cab, I want them to already know everything they need to know about strategy and best practices before they get to that level.

The big money executives do have their own librarians. Where I work there are >200 people who are in our knowledge branch. If the top man wants information on anything he has it within hours if not minutes.

>> I don't want them brushing up on The Art of War in the cab,

New books on new topics come out everyday. Credit market is melting down and a commentator on CNBC mentions a book that forewarned of the problem and gives guidance on what to do afterward. If the book is one of the 200,000 books available for the Kindle the executive can be looking at it in 2 minutes.

>>I want them to already know everything they need to know about strategy and best practices before they get to that level.

Awful naive to think a person needs to know everything they need to know. Of course, there is a base level compentancy that is needed but beyond that a good leader is always going to be seeking new information. Nowhere did I suggest that the executive just reread Sun_Tzu. My implication was that they would be reading new material relevant to current events.

The first sentence of last comment should read: Awful naive to think a person already knows everything they need to know.

If you used your name, or a pseudonym and created an account you would have been able to edit that after you posted.

The more you know...

If you think CFOs, CEOs, CTOs et al are getting guidance from books mentioned on CNBC you are way ouy in left field.

IBD perhaps, something in one of the industry journals, but CNBC -nope.

N.B I do read IBD, but I get it for free.

What a moronic statement. There is no way that an executive would be reading a book mentioned on CNBC? Please!

The president elect is reading Team of Rivals and that book could have been mentioned on any channel, CNBC included.

Executive Reading List at Fool.com

Company executives read too, you know. We recently asked a number of them to share a recent favorite book with us. You'll find their recommendations and comments below. If any of these books is a must-have for your personal library, just click on the title that follows every quote. Our pals at Amazon.com will be more than happy to ship the book to you. You'll also find more information about the books and reviews by using the same links.

broadcast.com Co-Founder & Chairman Mark Cuban
"The Innovator's Dilemma. Everybody who's on the Internet has to read that book. It's my Bible. It's about disruptive technologies and how companies adapt to them. You know, we talk about new media versus old media and how people respond to them. Every company has something that can disrupt them just like Amazon disrupted Barnes and Noble, just like eToys disrupted Toys "R" Us. Every company's got their disruption points, and everybody's got their disruption opportunities where you get to change the rules in businesses you can enter, and The Innovator's Dilemma just talks about companies and their experiences where they've handled them successfully and not so successfully. Everybody is somebody's potential target and somebody's potential disruptee, and The Innovator's Dilemma talks a lot about those things. I just thought that was a brilliant book."

Here is a real CEO recommending a book. Big shock it is available on the Kindle.

Which books are marketing executives reading?

1. Good to Great
2. Positioning
3. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
4. Competitive Strategy
5. The World is Flat
6. Innovator's Dilemma
7. How to Win Friends and Influence People
8. Art of War
9. One Minute Manager
10. Marketing Management by Kotler

>>Just another portable device to tote around.

If a traveling executive takes one book along to read they can just replace that with a Kindle. Then they have their book to read plus access to all the additional content.

There are no batteries in the book, and I can read a book during take off and landing and below 10K feet unlike a kindle.

The executives I am talking about do not fly commercial.

If you are an executive at a company that flies you around on a private aircraft then you certainly don't have time to read things on a Kindle.

So a CEO that has a private jet would not be reading any of the 200,000 books that are available on the Kindle? Sound buzzer. Wrong!

Quote from an article: READING IS ONE OF THE GREAT JOYS of life, but in the life of a busy executive, time for pleasure reading is hard to find. When each of the four executives interviewed for this column was asked how he or she found time to read, unvaryingly the first response was "in the airport" or "on an airplane." But these executives love reading and make time for it when they can.

This blurb is not even talking about business or work related reading. It is talking about pleasure reading. If executives are finding time to pleasure read on the jet I am sure they have some time in their life to read on of the 200,000 books available for the Kindle.

All of the executives interviewed were using a Kindle, indeed they were. The FAA regulations do not apply to General Aviation and they can use a Kindle from the time the leave the house and drive to the airport - actually using it while driving is encouraged - until the time they get to the hotel. They don't have to worry about FAA regulations about portable electronic devices ( fly safe, or 14 CFR 91) because we all know executives don't have to play by the same rules as the little people that fly commercial.

I think there should be some government program to provide executives with Kindles as it is obvious they are a necessity and our nation will collapse if they cannot read recreationally the 200, 000 books available on the Kindle every free waking minute.

I don't know why I bother to respond to anonymous posters, you never know to which pinhead you are responding. I think I shall stop responding to anonymous stupidity.

Excellent job cutting and pasting, perhaps the Kindle has an HTML manual and you could learn the blockquote function.

Your battery argument is lame. The Kindle last more than a week on one charge. Cell phones have batteries but we use them. Of course Mdoniel has ditched cell phones for two cans and a string.

I am not opposed to the Kindle, I just don't find it would be something I would find useful.

The battery argument is a valid argument. I do have a Blackberry, and I carry a cable to charge it, two cables actually. I have a USB cable that I can connect to my laptop - which of course requires that the laptop be on, and a mains charger. Charging a Kindle would just be one more proprietery charger I would have to carry.

If you want a Kindle get one, heck get two, I hold a mutual fund that holds AMZN - live it up. Just because I don't want one does not mean you can't have one. This is not an argument to be won, it is not one or the other. I just agreed that the Kindle is not something I see most executives using, I think there is a different market for it. Obviously someone wants it as it is on backorder.

I concur with mdoneil again.

I travel with executives to conferences A LOT, and this just won't be the case, especially since we work for a company that deals with very specialized proprietary engineering information. We must have our research on our laptops, because we integrate that research directly into design work, which would be impossible with a Kindle. Plus, my company would never pay that much money for anything e-book related. We are desperately trying to trim costs, and we're already having a tough time justifying Blackberries.

Maybe it would work for executives who have a more general business function, like accounting or finance.

>>If I am on the plane or have some time to read business related content it is most commonly not publically available - often internally generated content.

You can send your content to read on the Kindle. With a SD card in the Kindle you can carry tens of thousands of pages of internally generated content. If you want to highlight and mark up you are going to want to use paper. But the ability to have access to so much text without have to read off of an LCD screen is nice.

I can't send internally created files to a Kindle, because last time I checked it couldn't convert AutoCad and Helix drawings to Kindle format. The point is, we can't do design work or complex math on a kindle, nor would I want to design mechanical parts on a screen that small.

>AutoCad and Helix

Who said anything about AutoCad and Helix? We are talking about reading text.

Some other things Kindle cannot do:
1) Babysit children
2) Make cheeseburgers
3) Negotiate contracts with pirates

Which is beside the point of having a device that gives ready access to 200,000 books and internally created text.

Ok, I'm going to agree that the Kindle is a good thing. But trying to get one now is almost impossible! The latest thing I've read about is buying refurbished Kindles since the new ones are so far back ordered. However, I do know of someone who was able to get a refurbished Kindle through this site, if anyone is still trying to get one:


“Crisis of Abundance” Makes Executives’ Reading List

#9 on the list is: Crisis of Abundance: Rethinking How We Pay for Health Care by Arnold Kling

Why would an executive read this book? Maybe because health care cost are a major expense for employers and a CEO might want to be involved in the public policy debate because it directly impacts her company.

Executives read. Having a Kindle allows you to get a book in two minutes. The book just mentioned is available for the Kindle. It was on an executive reading list so there is a reason an executive would be reading it.

As Mdoniel said, executives are very busy. To have access to a book quickly is an advantage a leader should have.

Hence in the wise leader's plans, considerations of
advantage and of disadvantage will be blended together. -Sun Tzu

A Kindle user cannot get a book in two minutes when on an aircraft as transmitting devices are not allowed and insofar as the Kindle uses the Sprint EVDO network getting a new book while on the plane would be verboten.

Truthfully I doubt many executives would be reading King's book. They would benefit more from reading the reports their actuaries and HR staff compile. Perhaps the consultants and HR staff would benefit from King's book, but frankly I doubt many executives are reading it. Spending that much time on something that does not offer any specific information about paying for healthcare for their employees - information specific to the company, not broad generalizations, does not provide a reasonable return on the time invested.

I do see the Kindle as being very valuable for certain persons. Physicians who would like to access the PDR for new drugs, or to reference dosing for different sized patients. I can see it being used by aircraft or automobile mechanics to reference the latest service bulletins, firefighters and first responders to identify hazardous chemical placards and chemical information that is updated periodically. Police officers to check state statutes that are updated from time to time. Those are all great uses for the kindle that I see, and of course some people will want to read recreationally. I just don't see someone with a cluster of electronic devices adding this one as well.