On the CEO's Bookshelf: Megaworld's Kevin Tan Shares His Quarantine Reads

IMAGE Artu Nepomuceno and Instagram / @kevintan_

After what feels like years in quarantine, everyone’s been brushing up on their reading habits and going through the “to-read” piles in the corner. Megaworld CEO Kevin Tan is no exception.

The businessman’s been keeping busy during quarantine with a stack of business books that have sparked our interest. From media giants like Robert Iger to political icons like Lee Kuan Yew, Tan’s reading list gives us a look into what goes into the mind of real leaders, including Tan himself.

Here are the books he’s read, and what you should too:

1| Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark


This biography follows how Jack Ma, once a teacher, built one of China’s most enduring companies in just 15 years. A modern day Rockefeller, Ma reshaped e-commerce, e-payments, and the global economy.

2| The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google by Scott Galloway

New York University professor Scott Galaway deep dives into the fabric of the four most influential companies in the world—Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google—and asks the fundamental questions about their success: How did they infiltrate our lives? And can anyone challenge them?

3| Onward: How Starbucks Fought for its Life without Losing its Soul by Howard Schultz

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In Onward, president and chairman of Starbucks Howard Schultz takes center stage as the book covers how the company managed to recreate itself without sacrificing its purpose.

4| The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone

Jeff Bezos made his fortune pursuing the riskiest venture known to man: setting up the Everything store. The unfathomable success of Amazon is a testament to the pure drive of Bezos, who is now the world’s richest man.

5| Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek


An insightful book on leadership, Simon Sinek analyzes the success factor of some of the brightest contemporary leaders of our time, like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright brothers. The book explores the framework of how leaders think, act, and communicate.

6| Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know About the People We Don’t Know by Malcolm Gladwell

While not necessarily a business book, Talking to Strangers challenges readers to rewire the way they think by understanding that people are more complex than they appear. The book dives into history, psychology, and social issues, asking important questions that others have ignored.

7| The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company by Robert Iger


The autobiography we’ve been waiting for, The Ride of a Lifetime gives us a look into the mind of one of the most innovative CEOs of the century. Iger made Disney, already a giant, into an even greater phenomenon, all while inspiring the hearts of millions.

8| From Third World to First: The Singapore Story by Lee Kuan Yew

Written by the Singaporean titan himself, the book follows Singapore’s tale of transformation from colony to regional leader. Lee was a controversial figure in office and in retirement. In his book, Lee speaks frankly on the views that gained him criticism and praise yet still managed to create Singapore into the city it is now.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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