Monday, December 6, 2021

    Best Financial Books of 2015

    Must read

    Babatunde Akinsola
    Babatunde Akinsola is aNaija247news' Southwest editor. He's based in Lagos and writes on the Yoruba Nation political issues, news and investigative reports

    What do former Bank of England Governor Mervyn King, Abby Joseph Cohen of Goldman Sachs, and Central Bank of Chile President Rodrigo Vergara all have in common?
    They reckon former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s memoir of battling the financial crisis, The Courage to Act, was one of the best books they read in 2015.

    Another top choice among the world’s biggest names in finance and economics was Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction by Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner. Eurasia Group founder Ian Bremmer, Deutsche Bank Chief U.S. Economist Joe LaVorgna, and Citigroup Vice Chairman Peter Orszag were among those giving it a thumbs-up.

    These are some of the most popular choices in the annual survey of book recommendations compiled by Bloomberg. Among the 50 contributors are former U.S. Treasury secretaries Lawrence Summers and John Snow, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, HSBC Chief Executive Officer Stuart Gulliver, Ellevate Network Chair Sallie Krawcheck, and hedge fund titan Jim Chanos.


    Timothy Adams

    Chief executive officer, Institute of International Finance

    Rise of the Robots

    Rise of the Robots

    By Martin Ford

    “For nonfiction, I tip my hat to Martin Ford’s Rise of the Robots, which is vacuuming up accolades and is recommended reading for IIF staff. Ford’s analysis, in a somewhat crowded field of similar books, offers a sobering assessment of how technology (robotics, machine learning, AI, etc.) is reshaping labor markets, the composition of growth, and the distribution of income and wealth, and calls for enlightened political and policy leadership to address coming, accelerating disruptions and dislocations.”

    The Buried Giant

    By Kazuo Ishiguro

    “In the fiction category, I thought Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant cleverly used the invasion and forced assimilation of the Saxons into post-Roman Britain as a timeless insight into the costly suffering and folly of hate-fueled vengeance and barbaric violence that often accompany clashes of civilizations.”

    t Anat R. Admati

    George G.C. Parker Professor of Finance and Economics, Stanford Graduate School of Business

    Swimming With Sharks

    Swimming With Sharks: My Journey Into the World of the Bankers

    By Joris Luyendijk

    “The fascinating account of many interviews conducted by investigative journalist Joris Luyendijk with people in the financial system in London. As he explores the jobs, practices, attitudes, and experiences of this tribe, Luyendijk is sympathetic to many individuals, but he becomes alarmed, horrified, and infuriated when he realizes that this system has ‘an empty cockpit.’ Nobody, including the policymakers who set and enforce the rules, cares enough, or is accountable, if their collective actions endanger and harm society. His final plea for attention to the issues is spot on and must be heard: ‘Ignorance, denial, or apathy is simply not an option when it comes to a problem of this magnitude and urgency.’”

    Other People's Money

    Other People’s Money: The Real Business of Finance

    By John Kay

    “The theme of broken governance and accountability is echoed in economist John Kay’s Other People’s Money: The Real Business of Finance, which provides an accessible exposé of the complex and layered modern financial system and the failure of laws and regulations to protect the public. Whether his specific proposals are the best approach, policy won’t change unless many more people recognize the issues and demand better. Lack of political will remains the biggest challenge.”

    t A. Scott Anderson

    Chief executive officer, Zions Bank

    In This Together

    In This Together

    By Ann Romney

    “Most business schools and management pundits would not have this book on their list of prescribed reading, but I would. I brought Ann in to speak to a group of business leaders in Boise, Idaho, and passed out her book as a guide to tackling difficult business issues. Over the last several years, banking has been hit with growing regulatory burdens, costly compliance issues, and mandatory increases in capital requirements, all in an environment of relatively weak loan growth and shrinking margins. The results have been lower earnings and weaker return on assets, return on equity, and efficiency ratios. The questions in boardrooms and executive management discussions follow the line ‘How do we successfully deal with these challenges?’ Ann Romney’s book, In This Together, gives a very personal answer: We do it together. We do it with faith. We do it by creating value for those we serve (in my case customers and communities) and those we are accountable to (shareholders). Ann’s book is a personal and touching story of faith, love, and determination in facing adversities, and the transformative power for good that can come out of such challenges.”

    What Do You Do With An Idea?

    What Do You Do With an Idea?

    By Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mae Besom

    “While written for children, the message is one for business executives who want to encourage creativity and innovation in their companies, and who see the need to endorse and embrace disruptive ideas and technologies to achieve business success. What Do You Do With an Idea? is a simple, lovely, easy read about a child and his idea, and what he does with it. For me, it was a delightful tale of the power of believing in one’s self, confident in one’s ability, and unafraid of new ideas and new ways of doing business. The take-away for me in reading this book to my grandchildren is that encouraging creativity and innovation in the workplace, having the courage to try a new path, and facilitating new ways of thinking are keys in developing and empowering employees and taking your business to new heights. The prize, as the book says on its last page, is that ‘what you do with an idea—you change the world.’”

    t Dominic Barton

    Global managing director, McKinsey

    History's People

    History’s People: Personalities and the Past

    By Margaret MacMillan

    “In her latest book, MacMillan, the noted historian, profiles a personal selection of historical figures who have stood out to her in terms of changing the course of history (not all necessarily for the good)—from great leaders (e.g., FDR and Bismarck) to chroniclers and observers (e.g., Victor Klemperer, a survivor of the Holocaust, and Ursula Graham Bower, a pioneering anthropologist from the 1940s).”

    Silk Roads

    The Silk Roads

    By Peter Frankopan

    “Frankopan’s history of the Silk Road is a wide-ranging and incisive history of a region that has been and will be incredibly important, economically and culturally, for the world. The ‘re-rise’ of Asia and China’s One Belt, One Road initiative make this an especially timely account.”

    t Matthew Barzun

    U.S. ambassador to the United Kingdom

    How Music Works

    How Music Works

    By David Byrne

    “During the Depression, the legendary oral historian and field recorder Alan Lomax, with his father, John, visited a Texas plantation to record the song Stagolee. They explained that President Roosevelt had sent them to capture the best of America for posterity. The singer, they found, would only oblige if he could sing something else first. But what came out was not really a song at all. It was a protest in simple verse about how poorly he and fellow sharecroppers were treated. He ended his song saying, ‘Now Mr. President, you just don’t know how bad they are treating us poor folks down here in Texas.’ The scene is one of many taken from David Byrne’s panoramic and fascinating How Music Works. The story drives home a key point in the book that new technology dramatically expanded audiences and changed music forever. It’s an interesting parallel for diplomacy as we update our outreach to be better heard.”

    t Ian Bremmer

    Founder, Eurasia Group


    Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction

    By Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner

    “Philip Tetlock’s Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction is a common-sense guide to thinking about decision-making and the future by a man who knows this terrain like no one else.”

    Ghost Fleet

    Ghost Fleet

    By P.W. Singer and August Cole

    Ghost Fleet by Peter Singer and August Cole is a wild ride—and one of the most thought-provoking works of science fiction I’ve ever read. Marc Goodman’s Future Crimes: Everything Is Connected, Everything Is Vulnerable, and What We Can Do About It brings this story back into the present and offers a hopeful view about how, to paraphrase Bill Clinton, there is nothing wrong with the digital world that can’t be fixed by what’s right with the digital world.”

    The New Tsar

    The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin

    By Steven Lee Myers

    “With The New Tsar: The Rise and Reign of Vladimir Putin, Steven Lee Myers offers a compelling account of how Vladimir Putin became Vladimir Putin. Peter Pomerantsev’s Nothing Is True and Everything Is Possible: The Surreal Heart of the New Russia opens a vivid window on how Putin and those around him have shaped thought across his country.”

    t James Chanos

    Founder, Kynikos Associates

    Silk Road

    The Silk Road: A New History

    By Valerie Hansen

    “After sitting in on a remarkable lecture by Valerie Hansen on ‘The Year 1000’ at my recent college reunion, I read her recently published The Silk Road: A New History. It’s a well-documented, broad historical sweep of this famous trade route—but with some surprising findings. The ‘Silk Road’ was not really one major route, but a series of smaller, loosely connected trade paths. And Samarkand, not Xi’an (or Venice), was probably the most important city on the Road. Another observation was that more paper was traded than silk, and that gift giving for diplomatic reasons was of extreme importance. As China prepares its new ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative, this is a serious work of scholarship to put it in historical perspective.”

    A World Lit Only by Fire

    A World Lit Only by Fire

    By William Manchester

    “After traveling with Hansen on the Silk Road, I went back and reread a wonderful account of a time of great change following the Fall of Constantinople in 1453 (which effectively cut off the East from the West): William Manchester’s A World Lit Only by Fire. It is still my favorite account of how the West left the late Middle Ages behind for the glories (and tragedies) of the Renaissance, Reformation, and Age of Exploration. Read it if you haven’t!”

    t Abby Joseph Cohen

    Senior U.S. investment strategist, Goldman Sachs

    The Courage to Act

    The Courage to Act

    By Ben Bernanke

    “Required reading. Period.”

    The Witches: Salem, 1692

    The Witches: Salem, 1692

    By Stacy Schiff

    “Thoroughly researched and written in a compelling style. This book explores the dangerous mix of ignorance, fear, and arrogant community leaders. The resulting hysteria, mayhem, and murder is a 17th century lesson for today.”

    A Beautiful Question

    A Beautiful Question: Finding Nature’s Deep Design

    By Frank Wilczek

    “Terrific window into science and its role in nature, art, and the human experience. Wilczek, a Nobel Prize winner for his work in quantum physics, has prepared an accessible, thoughtful, and beautifully illustrated volume.”

    t Vítor Constâncio

    Vice president, European Central Bank

    Economics Rules

    Economics Rules

    By Dani Rodrik

    Economic Rules by Dani Rodrik is a good attempt to defend economics, not as a grand science of universal valid laws and a single ideal model, but as an art to choose from a set of models the one most appropriate for the given practical problem.”

    Between Debt and the Devil

    Between Debt and the Devil

    By Adair Turner

    “A challenging but relentlessly logical book about the flaws of the system that led us to the Great Recession: excess finance, excessive indebtedness. He adds to the literature that explains why more and more finance is not always good. The proposed cure requires going beyond the present financial regulatory reform. A bold and thought provoking book.”

    t Angus Deaton

    Nobel Prize winner for economics; professor, Princeton University


    Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic

    By Sam Quinones

    Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic, by Sam Quinones, is as fast-paced and compelling as any thriller, and tells the parallel stories of two murderous epidemics, one of illegal black-tar heroin from Mexico and one of legal opioid prescription painkillers. If we are going to destroy ourselves, this is how it might happen.”

    Call Me Debbie

    Call Me Debbie: True Confessions of a Down-to-Earth Diva

    By Deborah Voigt

    “The incredible story of one of the greatest sopranos of our age, who was addicted to ‘food, alcohol, and men.’ Who could black out, wake up the next morning in detox, and in the evening sing and interpret a role that those of us who heard her would remember for a lifetime.”

    t Esther Dyson

    Venture capitalist whose investments have included Facebook, Evernote, LinkedIn, and Square



    By Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir

    “To explain scarcity to rich people, talk about time (or power outlets), not money. This book outlines, lucidly and with scientific precision and cited experiments, why people tend to behave ‘stupidly’ when they are short of resources, with some suggestions of what to do about it. It made me learn, and taught me to think differently about things I already knew.”

    t Barry Eichengreen

    Professor of economics and political science, University of California, Berkeley

    Why Did Europe Conquer The World

    Why Did Europe Conquer the World?

    By Philip T. Hoffman

    “Big-picture economic history at its best. Hoffman’s answer: chronic military conflict that gave European leaders incentives to harness widely known gunpowder technologies more effectively than leaders in other parts of the world. Also a good reminder of what economic history brings to today’s economic and political table.”

    Barbarian Days

    Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life

    By William Finnegan

    “An entertaining, thought-provoking memoir that effectively evokes a special time and place. Recommended especially for people who grew up in California in the 1950s and 1960s and attended the University of California, Santa Cruz (like me), but also for non-surfers (like me).”

    t Mohamed El-Erian

    Chief economic adviser, Allianz; Bloomberg contributor

    Unfinished Business

    Unfinished Business

    By Anne-Marie Slaughter

    “My two picks this year speak to issues that are yet to gain sufficient traction among company and government leaders, and yet they are key to the well-being of current and future generations. Notwithstanding growing awareness of the forgone opportunities, and despite a broad-based willingness to do more to achieve greater gender equality and develop human capital, society is yet to fully unleash the productive power of its people—especially women but also men. In Unfinished Business, Anne-Marie Slaughter discusses the binding constraints, and what can be done to lift them. She does so in a wonderfully engaging and accessible fashion, bringing to life critical issues for future inclusive prosperity.

    Rise of the Robots

    Rise of the Robots

    By Martin Ford

    “In Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, Martin Ford documents the transformational and disruptive nature of the latest phase of automation. Because of sophisticated machine learning and enormous advances in big data, machines will be replacing a notably larger scale and scope of labor activities, raising fundamental issues for companies, government, and society at large. Whether you agree or not with the policy prescriptions put forward by these two well-written books, and quite a few will likely disagree, they are important reads for those wishing to better understand and influence the future.”

    t Tom Farley

    President, NYSE Group

    The Conservative Heart

    The Conservative Heart

    By Arthur Brooks

    The Conservative Heart offers a powerful vision for helping the less fortunate in our country, a noble pursuit regardless of your political leanings. Brooks skillfully reconciles the liberal appeals for equality and social justice with a conservative economic vision that eschews traditional redistribution models while lifting millions out of poverty through practical policy.”

    t Diana Farrell

    President and chief executive officer, JPMorgan Chase Institute

    The Shape of the New

    The Shape of the New: Four Big Ideas and How They Made the Modern World

    By Montgomery and Daniel Chirot

    “This is a gem of a book in that it has the audacity to paint in big strokes to portray a great intellectual history that puts our often competing, current belief systems into their 18th and 19th century contexts. In light of the increasingly perplexing news headlines, this type of bold context setting is a real gift.”

    The Tsar of Love and Techno

    The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories

    By Anthony Marra

    “One of my favorite novels of the past few years was Marra’s A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, so returning this year to this author with a fabulous collection of stories that skillfully interconnects characters and recurring themes. Truly beautiful and elegant fiction that shows that we have yet to fully learn all we can learn from the Soviet and post-Soviet regimes, and fiction may be the best way to do so.”

    Between the World and Me

    Between the World and Me

    By Ta-Nehisi Coates

    “Like his article ‘The Case for Reparations,’ Coates is forcing a new and sometimes painful conversation about what we have and have not achieved so far in our ongoing quest for ‘a more perfect union.’ I am especially glad to have read the book directly, as the media attention and headline treatment the work has mostly received does not do full justice to the more personal and nuanced way he is trying to change the conversation.”

    t Niall Ferguson

    Professor of history, Harvard University

    Shadow Cold War

    Shadow Cold War: The Sino-Soviet Competition for the Third World

    By Jeremy Friedman

    “I have been immensely impressed by Jeremy Friedman’s debut, Shadow Cold War: The Sino-Soviet Competition for the Third World. This is a formidable work of historical scholarship which sheds dazzling new light on the global rivalry between the Chinese and the Russians. Not many people can range as far and wide as Friedman: Chile, China, Germany, Mozambique, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, and South Africa—not to mention the United States. On top of the erudition, Friedman is a punchy writer. You will find yourselves thinking differently about the present as well as the past.”

    The Buried Giant

    The Buried Giant

    By Kazuo Ishiguro

    “The best new work of fiction I have read this year was Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant. Ishiguro is a genius. Months after reading it, I am still thinking about his wonderfully realized elderly couple, stumbling their way through a foggy, magical-realist medieval England.”

    t Jason Furman

    Chairman of the U.S. Council of Economic Advisers

    Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff

    Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff

    By Arthur M. Okun

    “First choice: The best economics book I read this year was my predecessor Arthur Okun’s Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff, which was reissued 40 years after its initial release. Rereading it, one appreciates that Okun’s argument is considerably more subtle than the title it is often reduced to. Instead it describes the clash between the political realm in which citizens are (intended to be) equal and the economic realm in which they are not, and the careful balance that we need to strike to ensure that the market outcomes are both efficient and fair.”

    Economics Rules

    Economics Rules

    By Dani Rodrik

    “Second choice: Any knee-jerk supporter or critic of economics should read Dani Rodrik’s Economics Rules, which argues that economics offers a collection of models that are internally coherent because of the discipline of mathematics or empirics but whose external validity depends on the particular circumstances. If you prefer grand unifying theories, try The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu—in which two laws of cosmic sociology are set against a vastly superior alien civilization in a battle for the future of the earth and humanity in a hard science fiction novel reminiscent of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation series.”

    t Daniel Fuss

    Vice chairman, Loomis Sayles

    The Cost of Courage

    By Charles Kaiser

    “It is the true story of three young adults and their parents in Paris during World War II. The three young adults are serving in the French Resistance. It comments on the family’s tremendous courage and the heavy cost they wound up bearing.”

    The Limits of Partnership

    The Limits of Partnership: U.S.-Russian Relations in the Twenty-First Century

    By Angela E. Stent

    “In view of current discussions, etc., with Russia in regard to the Middle East, this book is quite helpful.”

    t Jonathan Golub

    Chief U.S. market strategist, RBC Capital Markets

    Dealing With China

    Dealing With China

    By Henry M. Paulson

    “Hank Paulson’s extensive access to Chinese officials as CEO of Goldman Sachs and U.S. Treasury secretary shows the challenges China faces.”

    t Lynn Good

    Chief executive officer, Duke Energy

    The Wright Brothers

    The Wright Brothers

    By David McCullough

    “I’m always a big fan of David McCullough and his historical writing, but this book especially resonates with me. McCullough quotes Wilbur Wright as saying, “If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” Being an Ohio native, I credit my parents for instilling in me a strong work ethic, sense of responsibility, and openness to possibility. I’m thoroughly enjoying the story of these men pushing boundaries—both in Ohio and in North Carolina.”

    t Robert Greifeld

    Chief executive officer, Nasdaq


    Kerouac: A Biography

    By Ann Charters

    “‘Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road…’ Jack Kerouac’s words and vision of the open spaces of America provide essential life lessons and remain inspirational mantras of optimism. What’s past informs our future. And our ambitions, guide our direction—constantly looking forward in the direction of opportunity.”

    t Mindy Grossman

    Chief executive officer, HSN Inc.

    Give and Take

    Give and Take

    By Adam Grant

    “I love to read, and I’m kind of voracious. If you looked at my book list, it’s schizophrenic. … [This book] was so meaningful to me. I was determined to meet him, so I met his literary agent and I knew he was going to be in Orlando. I met him and got to know him, and I just got a galley copy of his new book, Originals.”

    t Stuart Gulliver

    Group chief executive, HSBC Holdings

    Hiroshima Nagasaki

    Hiroshima Nagasaki: The Real Story of the Atomic Bombings and Their Aftermath

    By Paul Ham

    “I visited Hiroshima in August a week after the 70th anniversary of the dropping of the nuclear weapon (I was posted to Japan twice in the 1980s and 1990s). This gives a wider, deeper, and more far-reaching account of events which influenced the decision to drop the bomb, the choice of targets, and the impact on ordinary Japanese than many mainstream Western histories record. It is well written and passionate.”

    t Angel Gurría

    Secretary-general, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development

    This Changes Everything

    This Changes Everything

    By Naomi Klein

    “A very interesting and provocative analysis containing powerful arguments on the need to act now to address climate change. Even if you don’t agree with all the perceptions and conclusions, there is definitely valuable inspiration in this book for those of us convinced that we are on a collision course with nature and that governments need to start taking action to put us on a pathway to zero net greenhouse emissions in the second half of this century.”

    An Officer and a Spy

    An Officer and a Spy

    By Robert Harris

    “A very well-researched book on the notorious Dreyfus affair. But perhaps most important, an insight into the France of those days that can help us better understand the France of today.”



    By Andrew Mango

    “The second Ataturk biography I have read this year after Ataturk by Argentinian writer and diplomat Jorge Blanco Villalta. Reading inspired by and inspirational for many trips to Turkey and to Ataturk’s mausoleum in Ankara. A seminal work on the building of modern Turkey, but also a towering example of how a leader’s vision and perseverance can lead a country into modernity.”

    t Andy Haldane

    Chief economist and executive director of monetary analysis and statistics, Bank of England

    Rise of the Robots

    Rise of the Robots

    By Martin Ford

    “We are in an era of technological optimism but sociological pessimism. Martin Ford’s Rise of the Robots captures why these shifts are related and what challenges this might pose to our conventional economic and social infrastructures.”

    t Colm Kelleher

    President of institutional securities and CEO, Morgan Stanley International



    By Laurent Binet

    “It’s a fascinating story of the assassination of the principal architect of the Final Solution—cleverly telling the story of all the protagonists, including the assassins. Weaving fact and fiction together, the book brings to life a tale for the ages.”

    t Mervyn King

    Former governor, Bank of England

    The Maisky Diaries

    The Maisky Diaries

    Edited by Gabriel Gorodetsky

    “Diaries of those who were close to, and not the principals themselves are often of most interest because they combine careful observation and intriguing gossip. Maisky, as the Soviet ambassador in London in the 1930s, does not disappoint.”

    The Courage to Act

    The Courage to Act

    By Ben Bernanke

    “A clear and complete account of the experiences of the Federal Reserve chairman during the worst financial crisis in history. From personal experience, I know that Ben Bernanke has the patience of Job. His account of the crisis explains why he needed it.”

    t Sallie Krawcheck

    Chair of Ellevate Network and Wall Street veteran

    A Little Life

    A Little Life: A Novel

    By Hanya Yanagihara

    “I’m reading it now. It’s a smartly written book, the smartest I’ve read in a long while. I can only read it in small chunks because it’s so affecting.”

    t Joe LaVorgna

    Chief U.S. economist, Deutsche Bank


    Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction

    By Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner

    “It shows that you can get information from a lot of different sources. Knowledge is all around us and it doesn’t have to come from the experts.”

    t Alex Lebenthal

    Co-chief executive officer, Lebenthal Holdings

    The Power of Being Yourself

    The Power of Being Yourself

    By Joe Plumeri

    “Joe has had an amazing career from president of Smith Barney to chairman and CEO of Willis Insurance. Joe’s book tells his life story and is one of the most inspirational, heartwarming, sad, and wonderful books I’ve read. Joe has had an amazing life, built great companies, and lives every day with passion. His energy jumps out from every page.”

    Primates of Park Avenue

    Primates of Park Avenue

    By Wednesday Martin

    “This is a delicious tale of life as a privileged mother on the Upper East Side, as told from one of those moms who just happens to be an anthropologist and writes from that perspective. I read the book for two reasons: I live on the Upper East Side myself so know that world and the women who dominate it well, and I wrote a novel focusing on that subject myself, The Recessionistas, so I always am keen to read any other book to compare notes.”

    t Terry Lundgren

    Chief executive officer, Macy’s

    How Google Works

    How Google Works

    By Eric Schmidt and Jonathan Rosenberg

    “I have this stack of books, and honestly I’ve got to get to this stack and choose from among them. The book I started reading and put down was How Google Works by Eric Schmidt. I was fascinated by the first five or so chapters, but I had to put it down.”

    t Mike Mayo

    Veteran Wall Street analyst at CLSA

    Creativity, Inc.

    Creativity, Inc.

    By Ed Catmull

    “The book Creativity, Inc. is this generation’s In Search of Excellence. This story of Pixar’s success with animated movies transcends Hollywood. It encourages managers to remember what is important (‘the story is king’), to use frank peer review (establishing a ‘braintrust’), and to incorporate failure as part of the process (it is OK to be wrong, but be wrong ‘quickly’).”

    Being Mortal

    Being Mortal

    By Atul Gawande

    “In my role as a bank analyst, I often see managers using the wrong scorecard to judge their own performance. The book Being Mortal by Harvard surgeon and New Yorker staff writer Atul Gawande tells us that we are using the wrong scorecard when it comes to choosing the best care for our sickest and oldest—longevity vs. quality of life. This error impacts decisions regarding society, our families, and ourselves, especially as more of us are responsible for aging parents. I took the book off my physician wife’s nightstand, but it reads like a gripping novel, especially when Gawande’s views get put to the ultimate test when he is forced to deal with serious illness in his own family.”

    t Benjamin Netanyahu

    Prime minister of Israel

    World Order

    World Order

    By Henry Kissinger

    “Kissinger’s grasp of modern history and the rigor of his thought give statesmen an indispensable map to navigate through the convulsions of our times.”

    Exponential Organizations

    Exponential Organizations

    By Salim Ismail with Michael S. Malone and Yuri Van Geest

    “How the harnessing of technology and crowdsourcing can spark exceptionally rapid growth.”

    t Ewald Nowotny

    Member of the European Central Bank’s governing council

    The Courage to Act

    The Courage to Act

    By Ben Bernanke

    “Liked the ‘personal touch’ in Ben Bernanke’s The Courage to Act.”

    Lords of Finance

    Lords of Finance

    By Liaquat Ahamed

    “I found Liaquat Ahamed’s 2009 account Lords of Finance, about the 1930s Great Depression, a good antidote ‘against central bank arrogance.’”

    t Jim O’Neill

    Member of the U.K. government; former chief economist, Goldman Sachs


    Immortal: The Approved Biography of George Best

    By Duncan Hamilton

    Immortal: The Approved Biography of George Best, written by Duncan Hamilton in 2013, for me is the most gripping of any book I have read about the legend that was George Best, as well as that beautiful era of Sir Matt Busby, Denis Law, Bobby Charlton and co. at Manchester United.”

    t Peter Orszag

    Vice chairman of corporate and investment banking and chairman of the financial strategy and solutions group, Citigroup; Bloomberg View columnist


    Superforecasting: The Art and Science of Prediction

    By Philip E. Tetlock and Dan Gardner

    “Prediction is unavoidable; the only question is whether we do it well or poorly. The book highlights the techniques and attributes of superforecasters—that is, those whose predictions have been demonstrated to be remarkably accurate—in a manner that’s both rigorous and readable. The lessons are directly relevant to business, finance, government, and politics.”

    t Peter Praet

    Executive board member and chief economist, European Central Bank

    The Century Trilogy

    The Century Trilogy (Fall of Giants, Winter of the World, Edge of Eternity)

    By Ken Follett

    “The reason for this choice is my admiration for the ability of the author to draw the reader into dramas of ever-increasing engagement. The characters and events are brilliantly described and inextricably entangled—an ‘art of complexity’ that I, as a policymaker, find fascinating.”

    t Kasper Rorsted

    Chief executive officer, Henkel

    American Icon

    American Icon

    By Bryce G. Hoffman

    American Icon, which is the story of how Ford got saved, and the way that other car manufacturers used their P&L and went bust. Ford, through a cultural change and the balance sheet, actually saved the company and was one of the few that went through the great crisis in 2008 to 2010 without public support or state support and came out great. It’s a fantastic book about how they went back to the roots of the company.”

    t Hans Jörg Schelling

    Finance minister of Austria

    Political Order and Political Decay

    Political Order and Political Decay: From the Industrial Revolution to the Globalization of Democracy

    By Francis Fukuyama

    “Fukuyama asks what makes political systems successful. His pragmatic answer, not entirely surprising for me as an entrepreneur [Schelling used to manage one of Austria’s biggest furniture/home design chains – Ed.]: What’s key is the people that are working in politics and administration, and the framework you give them.”

    t Howard Schultz

    Chief executive officer, Starbucks

    Just Mercy

    Just Mercy

    By Bryan Stevenson

    “Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy is perhaps one of the most powerful and important stories of our time. I have learned a great deal from this man in just a few short months of knowing him, and I believe more Americans need to hear his story as we, as a nation, try to make sense of the horrific and tragic issues affecting so many communities today—particularly for those young people of color who have been left out of the economy and continue to face barriers to opportunity that are rooted in inequality, prejudice, and injustice. With every passing page of this book, I learned that there is a powerful story of struggle, fortitude, and triumph waiting to be told—stories that prove we need to create more opportunities for youth who face hardship and lack of a clear pathway to a future.”

    The Road to Character

    The Road to Character

    By David Brooks

    “Through his book The Road to Character, David Brooks has encouraged me and thousands of others to reflect further and more deeply on our priorities and aspirations, through the lens of humility and moral depth. David’s insights, wit, and deep curiosity are all applied to a fantastic journey of learning from the lives of some of the greatest leaders and thinkers of our time.”

    t Ruchir Sharma

    Head of emerging markets, Morgan Stanley Investment Management


    Skyfaring: A Journey With a Pilot

    By Mark Vanhoenacker

    “I am one of the many people who see flying as part of the job and not a joy, so it was really refreshing to read Mark Vanhoenacker’s book, Skyfaring: A Journey With a Pilot. Vanhoenacker flies Boeing 747s, in which many of us spend an inordinate amount of time, and he has an eye for the kind of detail frequent fliers will have thought about but never quite articulated to themselves. This pilot can write, and shows us how to enjoy the world from 30,000 feet.”

    Napoleon: A Life

    Napoleon: A Life

    By Andrew Roberts

    “Andrew Roberts’s Napoleon: A Life parses the fascinating legacy of a controversial imperialist who to this day is lionized in France, while often viewed as a despot in Britain. Roberts, who is British, manages to stifle national bias, cut through the myths, and paint a convincingly nuanced portrait of this extraordinary historical figure.”

    t Torsten Slok

    Chief international economist, Deutsche Bank

    Collapse and Revival

    Collapse and Revival: Understanding Global Recessions and Recoveries

    By M. Ayhan Kose and Marco Terrones

    “The book describes the broad characteristics of recessions and recoveries. Understanding what drives an economy into and out of a recession is critical for investors across all asset classes.”

    t John Snow

    Chairman, Cerberus Capital Management; former U.S. Treasury secretary

    The Great Escape

    The Great Escape

    By Angus Deaton

    The Great Escape by Angus Deaton, the Scotsman who got this year’s Nobel Prize in economics, is an extremely thoughtful overview of economic development and what goes into it. In ways the book is a stirring tale of the long march since the Industrial Revolution out of generalized poverty to the much more prosperous world we know today, with close attention to the relationship between rising prosperity and generally improved health conditions. Well-written by a superb economist with great command of analysis and data. I recommend it highly.”

    How Not To Be Wrong

    How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking

    By Jordan Ellenberg

    “Another book I read earlier this year that I would also recommend is How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking by Jordan Ellenberg, a well-known and noted mathematician who is currently a professor at the University of Wisconsin. It’s a real tour de force, giving both the general reader and even professionals an easy-to-read, lively discussion of using the power of math to solve problems and improve people’s understanding of complex phenomenon. It’s a splendid primer of math and its uses by a gifted writer on the subject.”

    t Martin Sorrell

    Chief executive officer, WPP

    A Technique For Producing Ideas

    A Technique for Producing Ideas

    By James Webb Young

    “In these days of short-term focus, this enduring classic highlights the importance of creativity in building businesses for the long term, and the simplicity of the process of creating and formulating ideas.”

    Dealing With China

    Dealing With China

    By Henry M. Paulson

    “Paulson’s insights into the rise of China are always illuminating. Over time he will assume Kissinger’s mantle as the go-to Western expert on the opportunities and challenges of the People’s Republic.”

    Crippled America

    Crippled America

    By Donald Trump

    “So that we all know what we may be letting ourselves in for.”

    t John Studzinski

    Senior managing director, Blackstone

    Just Mercy

    Just Mercy

    By Bryan Stevenson

    “Cutting-edge story with profound insights with substance and clarity into the American criminal justice status quo—reflecting the awkward imbalance between poverty and justice—told by a legal mind turned perceptive pen who in a short period of time is regarded as the anchor of courage, passion, and the protection and preservation of human dignity today. A compelling, powerful story with a frightening timeliness for 2015 America.”

    t Lawrence Summers

    Economist; former U.S. Treasury secretary

    Universal Man

    Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes

    By Richard Davenport-Hines

    “It portrays the most important economist of the 20th century in all his extraordinary uniqueness. His likeness does not exist today.”

    t Diane Swonk

    Chief economist, Mesirow Financial

    Dead Wake

    Dead Wake

    By Erik Larson

    “The true story was chilling in revealing the other side of terrorism and why the Germans were willing to risk their lives to take down civilian targets such as the Lusitania. Not as chilling as what we face now, but a step in that direction. It also made all too clear how we can know and not know an attack is coming and still not act fast enough.”

    The Girl on the Train

    The Girl on the Train

    By Paula Hawkins

    “It reminds us all of how much we see what we want to see, but too often miss reality in doing so.”

    t Tidjane Thiam

    Chief executive officer, Credit Suisse

    Do No Harm

    Do No Harm

    By Henry Marsh

    “With amazing candor but also real passion, Henry Marsh describes his art, neurosurgery, in a truly riveting way. The book delivers very effectively a message of compassion and love. It is a must-read for all those who work under pressure and face difficult decisions every day.”

    The Wandering Falcon

    The Wandering Falcon

    By Jamil Ahmad

    “A very interesting book about the life of the tribes at the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan, written by a retired Pakistani customs official. I found it full of insights on a part of the world that I have always wished to be able to understand better.”

    t Whitney Tilson

    Founder, Kase Capital Management

    Elon Musk

    Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future

    By Ashlee Vance

    “Musk rivals Jobs in the same way this book rivals Isaacson’s classic.”

    t Lord Jonathan Adair Turner

    Chairman, governing board, Institute for New Economic Thinking


    Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind

    By Yuval Noah Harari

    “A book of huge intellectual reach, full of insights about human nature and institutions, which makes us think deeply about where we have come from and where we are going.”



    By Michel Houellebecq

    “Ever the intellectual provocateur, Houellebecq’s story of a France under Islamic government, with some intellectuals embracing the benefits (to men) of patriarchy, achieves Houellebecq’s intent of unsettling the reader.”

    t Rodrigo Vergara

    President, Central Bank of Chile

    The Courage to Act

    The Courage to Act

    By Ben Bernanke

    “An excellent book of description and analysis of the 2007-09 global financial crisis, the worst since the Great Depression in the ’30s. Ben Bernanke was the chair of the Federal Reserve from 2006 to 2014, which is why he lived and faced that crisis. Once the crisis started, his studies on the Great Depression allowed him to avoid mistakes made back then and to implement a series of stimulus policies that helped the North American economy come out of a particularly difficult economic period, even if they remain a source of controversy.”

    t Gertjan Vlieghe

    Member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee

    The Second Machine Age

    The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies

    By Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee

    “It taught me about the breathtaking acceleration in technological progress that has taken place very recently in some key areas, and made me think about whether the sheer scale and pace of it means that its economic effects might be different from historical episodes of rapid technological progress.”

    t Björn Wahlroos

    Chairman of the board, Sampo Group and Nordea

    End of Discussion

    End of Discussion

    By Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson

    “I probably should recommend Tim Geithner’s or Ben Bernanke’s memoirs, both of which are eminently readable, but I still go for Mary Katharine Ham and Guy Benson’s End of Discussion. It is a timely warning, rich in examples, of how latter-day PC and manufactured outrage shuts down debate and biases political choice.”

    t Jens Weidmann

    President, Deutsche Bundesbank

    Memories of a Marriage

    Memories of a Marriage

    By Louis Begley

    “I found myself captivated by Louis Begley’s novel with its up-close study of upper-class life on the U.S. East Coast and its richly drawn characters. A gripping book, not so much about marriage as about life itself, fate, love, and growing old.”

    t Ed Yardeni

    President and chief investment strategist, Yardeni Research

    The Courage to Act

    The Courage to Act

    By Ben Bernanke

    “Ben Bernanke has written a very useful memoir of his action-packed career at the Fed. There are no footnotes or references to any economic literature. In other words, it’s well written. It’s also a fast read since it reviews so many events and personalities that were very well covered by the press, particularly during the financial crisis of 2008 and the subsequent so-called Great Recession. ¶ “Bernanke’s narrative contains no significant surprises and offers a fairly conventional retelling of his experiences in a meticulously chronological order. While he was clearly annoyed by several members of Congress, he takes only a few innocuous shots at some other policymakers. ¶ “Of course, there were and remain lots of controversies about monetary policy during the Bernanke years. Bernanke reiterates that much of the housing bubble of the previous decade was inflated by a global savings glut. He does concede that the Fed didn’t appreciate the magnitude of the problem or spend sufficient time assessing what to do if it burst. When it did so, the Fed was suddenly forced to play whack-a-mole with the financial system as crises popped up at an increasing pace from Bear Stearns to Fannie and Freddie, Lehman, and AIG. I can’t imagine that anyone else could have done a better job at whacking the moles than Bernanke. ¶ “Some critics claim that if the Fed actually showed some courage to act, Lehman might have been saved. Bernanke adamantly disagrees. In any case, if I wrote a biography of Bernanke, I would title it The Great Moderator. Moderating the business cycle has been Bernanke’s goal throughout his career. Unfortunately, in his book, Bernanke never reflects on the possibility that moderating the business cycle might actually make a capitalist system more prone to Great Recessions.”

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