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10 Business Books You Didn't Know Were Written By a Ghostwriter


Morgan Crockett

Ghostwriting has become a booming industry for writers. This sector of writers has written some of the most famous business books that millions of readers have consumed.

black and white photo of ghostwriter writing business book

Ghostwriting has become a booming industry for writers. Several business articles have noted the increased demand for their services. However, ghostwriting isn’t a new phenomenon. In fact, this sector of writers has written some of the famous business books millions of readers have consumed. 

The following are 10 business books you didn’t know were written by a ghostwriter.

1. The Art of the Deal, Donald J. Trump [The Trump Organization]

The Art of the Deal donald trump book cover ghostwriter

Before Donald J Trump became President of the United States, he thrived in New York and real estate. In 1987, Trump and the Trump Organization shared his business secrets with the world and published The Art of the Deal

The initial data states that the book sold between 150k to 184k copies. By 2001, it sold 1.1M copies. After reading the book, little doubt exists that the business stories and expertise come from the mind of The Donald. However, Tony Schwartz helped him put them on paper among the chapters and stories that make up the businessman turned people’s man.

2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey [Franklin Covey]

the 7 habits of highly effective people stephen covey book cover ghostwriter

Stephen Covey has sold over 25M books, and The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is among them. Some statistics suggest that the book sold 40M copies as it celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2020.

The book outlines seven principles individuals should adhere to for solving professional and personal problems. Categorized as a business book, it continues touching people's lives from all walks of life, regardless of age or life stage. 

Ken Shelton receives an acknowledgment in the credits. Shelton has also had a hand in writing and editing other books, such as Managing People Is Like Herding Cats and Old Dogs.

3. Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki [Rich Dad Company]

rich dad poor dad robert kiyosaki book cover ghostwriter

Robert Kiyosaki is the mastermind behind Rich Dad, Poor Dad, and Sharon L. Lechter co-wrote it with him. The self-help finance book has become an interesting case study. It has a ghostwriter, and Kiyosaki self-published it in 1997 before the mainstream publishing market picked it up.

In 2019, estimates showed that the book had sold 32 million copies. Kiyosaki used the book’s popularity to create a series for adults, women, and kids.   

4. Jack: Straight from the Gut, Jack Welch [General Electric]

jack straight from the gut jack welch book cover ghostwriter

Published in 2001, the book Jack: Straight from the Gut shot to the New York Times bestseller list and remained there for 26 consecutive weeks. It remains a must-read among business executives, owners, and up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Even professional athletes and coaches have read it.

John A. Byrne helped Welch bring his business stories to life for the world to appreciate. Welch oversaw General Electric from 1981 to 2001 as the company’s stock valuation skyrocketed.

The book has sold 10M copies.

5. Iacocca: An Autobiography, William Novak [Chrysler]

iacocca autobiography lee book cover ghostwriter

Iacocca, an Autobiography is another business book that remains a must-read in the business world. Moreover, its popularity has spilled over into the sports world and classrooms. William Novak worked with Iacocca to share his business strategies that breathed new life into Chrysler. 

Readers share that the book teaches them about the auto industry, government loan bailouts, and the dynamics between labor and management.  

Published in 1984, it has sold over one million copies and probably led to his second book, Where Have All the Leaders Gone?

6. The Pursuit of Happyness, Chris Gardner [Gardner Rich LLC]

the pursuit of happyness chris gardner book cover ghostwriter

Chris Gardner enshrined the most trying times of his life in his book The Pursuit of Happyness. The read probably became more famous after Will Smith portrayed him in the movie of the same name. Smith helped audiences visualize the words, and Quincy Troupe helped Gardner put them on paper.

Gardner shares how he went from sleeping in San Francisco homeless shelters with his son to working his way up to a successful career in finance.

Published in 2006, the memoir spent several weeks on the New York Times bestselling list.

7. Made in America, Sam Walton [Walmart]

made in america sam walton book cover ghostwriter

It’s no secret that the American entrepreneurial spirit and rebellious attitude come from its founding roots. Maybe that’s why business books like Made in America, Sam Walton, become hits. As Walmart continues to thrive in all economic climates, the story of how Walton founded it touched the hearts and minds of readers.

Released in 1992, the book inspired and taught consumers business lessons in working between Main Street and Wall Street. John Huey worked with Walton to tell the story. Plus, the book contains anecdotes and interviews with family members and friends.

8. Onward, Howard Schultz [Starbucks]

onward howard schultz book cover ghostwriter

In some parts of the country, the population can’t walk a few blocks without crossing a Starbucks. Howard Schultz is the visionary behind the gourmet coffee chain that disrupted coffee consumption. He tells about the trial and tribulations in the book Onward, How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul.

Like the other books on this list, Schultz shares how he helped his company stay afloat during economic upheaval. He guided Starbucks during the economic uncertainty of 2008. Plus, Schultz ensured that the brand stayed on message despite changes in the social climate too.

To recount the journey, Joanne Gordon put pen to paper.

9. The Power of Many, Meg Whitman [Ebay]

the power of many meg whitman ebay book cover ghostwriter

During her decade at the helm of eBay, Meg Whitman transformed it from a tiny start-up into a nearly $8 billion global powerhouse, revolutionizing the way goods are bought and sold online. Fortune magazine twice named her the Most Powerful Woman in Business.

The ghostwriter, Joan O'C. Hamilton, helped her tell the dramatic story in The Power of Many.

10. The 360 Degree Leader, John C. Maxwell [Maxwell Leadership]

the 360 degree leader john c maxwell book cover ghostwriter

As you have seen, the business book category contains sub-categories, including autobiography and self-help. The 360 Degree Leader targets middle managers, who answer to executives and lead team members.

Dr. John C. Maxwell is the mind behind the book, and Charlie Wetzel is the ghostwriter. The book has sold over 1M copies.

Not sure if you should hire a ghostwriter to pen the next great American business book? Remember that ghostwriters wrote some of the most famous business books that have stood the test of time. Our list demonstrates the versatility of ghostwriters and their abilities to deliver best sellers. 

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