Book review: The diary of a CEO by Steven Bartlett

Posted in News & Press  ·  27th January 2024

Steven Bartlett’s “The Diary of a CEO” offers a candid and insightful look into the mind of one of the UK’s most successful young entrepreneurs. Known for founding Social Chain, Bartlett’s journey from a university dropout to a multi-millionaire CEO is both inspiring and instructive. Here’s a detailed review of “The Diary of a CEO” and its relevance in today’s dynamic business environment.

An overview of The diary of a CEO

“The diary of a CEO” is based on Bartlett’s popular podcast of the same name. The book dives deep into the lessons he has learned throughout his entrepreneurial journey, sharing personal stories, business insights, and practical advice. Bartlett’s narrative is raw and honest, making it a relatable read for aspiring entrepreneurs and business professionals.

Key themes in The diary of a CEO

  1. Authenticity and vulnerability: Bartlett emphasises the importance of being true to oneself and showing vulnerability as a leader. He shares personal struggles and failures, highlighting that authenticity can build trust and foster stronger connections.
  2. Resilience and perseverance: The book underscores the need for resilience in the face of adversity. Bartlett’s journey is a testament to the power of perseverance and the ability to bounce back from setbacks.
  3. Innovative thinking: Bartlett encourages thinking outside the box and embracing innovation. His success with Social Chain was built on unconventional strategies and creative problem-solving.
  4. Leadership and culture: The importance of building a strong company culture and being a compassionate leader is a recurring theme. Bartlett discusses how culture impacts performance and employee satisfaction.

Relevance in today’s World

“The diary of a CEO” is highly relevant in the current business landscape for several reasons:

  1. Changing leadership dynamics: Modern leadership increasingly values authenticity, empathy, and transparency. Bartlett’s approach to leadership aligns with these evolving dynamics, making his insights particularly pertinent.
  2. Startup and tech industry insights: As a successful entrepreneur in the tech and social media space, Bartlett provides valuable insights into these rapidly changing industries. His experiences are especially relevant for startups and tech entrepreneurs.
  3. Mental health awareness: Bartlett’s openness about his mental health struggles resonates in a time when mental health awareness is gaining prominence. His narrative encourages entrepreneurs to prioritise their well-being.
  4. Adaptability and innovation: In a world that demands constant adaptation, Bartlett’s emphasis on innovative thinking and flexibility is crucial. His strategies for staying ahead of the curve offer valuable lessons for businesses of all sizes.

Critique of The diary of a CEO

While “The diary of a CEO” offers many valuable insights, it is not without its criticisms:

  1. Focus on personal experience: The book heavily relies on Bartlett’s personal experiences, which may not be universally applicable. Readers looking for a more diverse range of examples might find this limiting.
  2. Narrative style: Bartlett’s conversational and informal writing style may not appeal to everyone. Some readers might prefer a more structured and formal approach to business advice.
  3. Idealistic views: Bartlett’s success story, while inspiring, may come across as overly idealistic. The challenges and nuances of building a business might be underrepresented.

Practical applications

Despite these critiques, “The Diary of a CEO” offers practical advice that can be applied effectively:

  1. Embrace vulnerability: Be open and honest about your challenges and failures. This builds trust and fosters a more authentic workplace culture.
  2. Innovate continuously: Encourage creative thinking and be willing to experiment with new ideas. Adaptability is key to staying competitive in today’s market.
  3. Prioritise mental Health: Take care of your mental well-being and create a supportive environment for your team. Recognise the importance of balance and self-care.
  4. Build a strong Culture: Focus on developing a positive and inclusive company culture. Invest in your employees and foster a sense of community and purpose.

Recommended reading and resources

To complement your understanding of the themes in “The Diary of a CEO,” here are some additional books and resources:

  • “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek: Explores the importance of purpose and how it drives successful leadership.
  • “The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers” by Ben Horowitz: Offers practical advice on facing the toughest challenges in business.
  • “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t” by Simon Sinek: Discusses the role of leadership in fostering a supportive and successful team culture.


“The diary of a CEO” by Steven Bartlett provides a refreshing and relatable perspective on entrepreneurship and leadership. Its emphasis on authenticity, resilience, and innovation makes it a valuable read for anyone looking to navigate the complexities of the modern business world. While the book’s personal focus and narrative style may not appeal to everyone, the core lessons it offers are universally relevant and impactful.

At Bright Futures Experience, we believe in the power of authentic leadership and continuous learning. For more insights on entrepreneurship and effective business strategies, visit our website today!


Back to blog home