We have books on the brain, with the recent release of the Financial Times–McKinsey Business Book of the Year long list.
(See coverage of last year’s winner, Bad Blood, on our blog, and check back December 3, when the 2019 award is given.) There’s inspiration aplenty in the selections, which offer compelling insights on topics crucial to business today. But we also wanted to see what CEOs and other business leaders are keeping on their shelves or tucking into their suitcases—consider it food for thought in picking your next read. Read on for selections from leaders at Novartis, PayPal, Walmart, and more.
Doug McMillon, CEO, Walmart
- The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness—Michelle Alexander (New Press, 2010, nonfiction)
- Them: Why We Hate Each Other—and How to Heal—Ben Sasse (St. Martin’s Press, 2018, nonfiction)
- The Sixth Man: A Memoir—Andre Iguodala (Blue Rider Press, June 2019, nonfiction)
- Become an Accelerator Leader: Accelerate Yourself, Others, and Your Organization to Maximize Impact—Alvin Rohrs (Gatekeeper Press, May 2019, nonfiction)
Meg Whitman, CEO, Quibi
Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, executive chairman, LEGO Brand Group
- The End of the End of the Earth—Jonathan Franzen (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018, nonfiction)
- Let Love Have the Last Word: A Memoir—Common (Atria Books, May 2019, nonfiction)
- Men in My Situation—Per Petterson (Forlaget Oktober, 2018, fiction)
- Wholehearted Leadership—Morten Mortensen (MM Holding, April 2019, nonfiction)
- A Little Book about Love—Frederik Dessau (Gyldendal Forlag, 1996, nonfiction)
Jonathan Franzen is one of the great authors of our times. His latest is a nonfiction collection that, among other things, argues for reading and writing essays (in contrast to reading quick messages, social media, and brief news stories).
Salman Khan, founder and CEO, Khan Academy
Jacqui Canney, chief people officer, WPP
- Becoming—Michelle Obama (Crown, 2018, nonfiction)
- Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change—Beth Comstock, with Tahl Raz (Currency, 2018, nonfiction)
- Leaders: Myth and Reality—Stanley McChrystal, Jeff Eggers, and Jason Mangone (Portfolio Penguin, 2018, nonfiction)
Andrew Penn, CEO and managing director, Telstra Corporation
I found Architects of Intelligence incredibly interesting and helpful in understanding AI and its potential, where we are in the development cycle and different perspectives on the good and evil of it.
Dan Schulman, president and CEO, PayPal
- People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent—Joseph E. Stiglitz (W. W. Norton, April 2019, nonfiction)
- The Accidental Admiral: A Sailor Takes Command at NATO—James Stavridis (Naval Institute Press, 2014, nonfiction)
- Lexicon—Max Barry (Penguin Books, 2013, fiction)
- The New Rules of War: Victory in the Age of Durable Disorder—Sean McFate (William Morrow, January 2019, nonfiction)
Strive Masiyiwa, founder, executive chairman, Econet
Joerg Reinhardt, PhD, chairman, Novartis
Beth Comstock, former vice chair, General Electric; author, Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change
Jesper Jos Olsson, group CEO and founding partner, White Peak Real Estate
Richard Plepler, founder, RLP & Company; former chairman and CEO, HBO
Sarah Friar, CEO, Nextdoor
- Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis—Jared Diamond (Little, Brown and Company, May 2019, nonfiction)
- Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do—Jennifer L. Eberhardt (Viking, March 2019, nonfiction)
- Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World's Greatest Nuclear Disaster—Adam Higginbotham (Simon & Schuster, February 2019, nonfiction)
- Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland—Patrick Radden Keefe (Doubleday, February 2019, nonfiction)
I try to read 52 books a year, so the issue is what to choose!
Kevin Sneader, global managing partner, McKinsey & Company