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Author Talks

A series of interviews with authors of books on business and beyond

Author Talks features insightful conversations with authors on crucial management topics including leading through a crisis, unleashing innovation, achieving work-life balance, fine-tuning communication skills, coping with organizational culture shifts, and more. For this month’s best-selling business books prepared exclusively for McKinsey Publishing by NPD and a collection of books by McKinsey authors, visit McKinsey on Books.

Leadership & Organization | CEO Excellence | Personal Development | Communication | Sustainability | Innovative Thinking | Talent, Culture, & Change Management | History | Finance & Economics

Featured

Interview

Author Talks: Tomorrow’s capitalist is socially conscious

– Fortune Media’s Alan Murray says stakeholder capitalism is here to stay.
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Leadership & Organization

Interview

Author Talks: It’s time to pass the baton

– To solve decades-old issues, former presidential adviser David Gergen says we need fresh leadership—so he wrote a playbook to guide the next generation of problem-solvers.
Interview

Author Talks: Don’t spoil the fun

– Even in difficult times, says Catherine Price, fun should be a priority, not an afterthought.
Interview

Author Talks: Why your boss may indeed be a psychopath

– Brian Klaas, who spoke to some of the world’s most corrupt people, says we need to rethink the way we select our leaders.
Interview

Author Talks: Forge your power

– Deepa Purushothaman pays homage to the women of color who cracked open corporate America and prepares the next generation to take their turn.
Interview

Author Talks: Building consumer trust with Google’s Neil Hoyne

– Without effective leadership and a clear strategy, software can only solve so much.
Interview

Author Talks: What separates the best CEOs from the rest?

– Three McKinsey senior partners looked across more than 20 years’ worth of data on 7,800 CEOs from 3,500 public companies across 70 countries and 24 industries to identify the mindsets that helped top chief executives deliver extraordinary impact.
Interview

Author Talks: Indra Nooyi on leadership, life, and crafting a better future

– The trailblazing former CEO of PepsiCo discusses the events that shaped her life and offers a blueprint for work–family conundrums.
Interview

Author Talks: Power, for all

– Having power can lead to hubris and self-focus. But it doesn’t have to. By understanding power, we can use it constructively.
Interview

Author Talks: Michael Useem on leading with an edge

– How can leaders gain an elusive edge over competitors in a world turned upside down? Michael Useem draws lessons from ten executives to build a road map for mastering leadership.
Interview

Author Talks: Dambisa Moyo on how boards can work better

– In her new book, Dambisa Moyo explores the role of corporate boards in the 21st century and how they need to adapt to greater demands.
Interview

Author Talks: Somebody tell a joke

– Two Stanford faculty members explain why we need more humor at work.
Interview

Author Talks: Hubert Joly on unleashing human magic

– The former chairman and CEO of Best Buy describes the leadership principles required to thrive in capitalism’s next era.
Interview

Author Talks: David Fubini on hidden truths for CEOs

– In his new book, David Fubini provides a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to be a superior leader.

Personal Development

Interview

Author Talks: Actor Terry Crews wants you to open up

– The Brooklyn Nine-Nine actor and former NFL player tackles the issue of toxic masculinity and explores how “tough guys” can find strength in vulnerability.
Interview

Author Talks: How to conquer fear, prepare for death, and embrace your power

– Personal-development coach Tareq Azim discusses how his life experiences shaped his training philosophy to help NFL greats overcome fears, achieve emotional and mental resilience, and gain physical strength.
Interview

Author Talks: Melody Wilding on turning sensitivity into a superpower

– In her new book, Melody Wilding explores the intersection of high sensitivity and high achievement at work.
Interview

Author Talks: Kristin Neff on harnessing fierce self-compassion

– Kristin Neff discusses how women can balance tender self-acceptance with fierce action to claim their power—in the workplace and beyond.
Interview

Author Talks: Shankar Vedantam on the power and paradox of self-deception

– The host of Hidden Brain on NPR discusses the lies we all tell ourselves and the role they play in easing everyday life.
Interview

Author Talks: Nicolai Tillisch on how to frame ambition (and not let it frame you)

– Years of coaching leaders led to an ah-ha moment: ambition can undermine even the most successful people. The challenge is more complex than work–life balance.
Interview

Author Talks: Poet Maggie Smith on loss, creativity, and change

– In her latest book, Maggie Smith writes about new beginnings as opportunities for transformation.

Communication

Interview

Author Talks: “If you don’t understand … how are you going to help?”

– List-based marketing can go in one ear and out the other for consumers, which is why one Fortune 500 adviser says the best branding combines empathy, connectedness, and good storytelling.
Interview

Author Talks: One billion more

– The global population is fast approaching the eight billion mark. A former Department of Defense consultant says not to panic.
Interview

Author Talks: The great American demographic shift

– Positive trends in immigration and fertility mean Black, Latinx, and other minority groups are on track to collectively account for more than 50 percent of the country’s population.
Interview

Author Talks: Why shouldn’t we all just get along?

– Populace cofounder Todd Rose explains how conformity biases and our individual desires to fit in with the group can lead us all down the wrong path.
Interview

Author Talks: Open season for intelligence gathering

– Open-source intelligence means spying isn’t just for governments anymore—anyone with an online connection can gather troves of information.
Interview

Author Talks: How to handle your work jerk

– Half of the battle against toxic behavior is identifying your own inner jerk.
Interview

Author Talks: Attributes—not skills—determine whether you ‘cut it’ or not

– Retired Navy SEAL commander Rich Diviney explains why we react to stressors the way we do and how to achieve optimal performance.
Interview

Author Talks: Where are the women who are missing from the workforce?

– Amid the pandemic, working mothers have had to downshift their careers to care for their children full time. Reshma Saujani says now is the time to change this dual burden.
Interview

Author Talks: All along the S-curve

– Nurture individual growth and team development within your company.
Interview

Author Talks: Don’t call it diverse

– Workplace inclusion efforts can undermine inclusivity by labeling people who are not white, cisgender, or male as “diverse.” Ruchika Tulshyan urges businesses to recenter on the experiences of women of color.
Interview

Author Talks: The made-up words that make our world

– Walking through an empty office. Moving out of a childhood home. Struggling to write something original. Experiences like these often lack the perfect word, so John Koenig spent more than a decade writing his own dictionary.
Interview

Author Talks: Food and inequality in America

– Inequality starts on the dinner plate.
Interview

Author Talks: How to interrupt bias in the workplace

– Companies spend billions of dollars annually on diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, but the results are few. Using basic tools to interrupt bias can help.
Interview

Author Talks: Beyond collaboration overload

– “Collaboration overload” is a major source of stress, burnout, and exhaustion at work. A new book describes how to collaborate better, thus improving work performance and even well-being.
Interview

Author Talks: What happens to Americans when they lose their jobs?

– A new book shines a light on race, class, and American values and how jobs serve as a bedrock of people’s lives and drive powerful social-justice movements.
Interview

Author Talks: Vanessa Bohns on our hidden potential to persuade

– Social psychologist Vanessa Bohns discusses why failing to recognize our ability to influence can lead us to miss opportunities or misuse power.
Interview

Author Talks: Karin M. Reed on virtual meetings

– In her new book, Karin M. Reed dives into our sudden shift to virtual meetings—and how to make the most of them.
Interview

Author Talks: Susan McPherson on building meaningful relationships—in business and in life

– In a new book, Susan McPherson offers a road map to unlocking a more meaningful life and enduring relationships.
Interview

Author Talks: Denise Woods on the power of voice

– In her new book, voice and dialect coach Denise Woods offers tools to help readers articulate clearly, become powerful public speakers, and gain confidence in any situation.
Interview

Author Talks: Fred Dust on making conversations count

– In his new book, designer Fred Dust offers a blueprint for having more productive, deliberate, and purposeful conversations.

McKinsey on Books

Explore this month’s best-selling business books prepared exclusively for McKinsey Publishing by NPD, and a collection of books by McKinsey authors on the management issues that matter, from leadership and talent to digital transformation, corporate finance, and more.

Sustainability

Interview

Author Talks: An epic legal battle for clean water in Appalachia

– For two decades, the water in the taps of a West Virginia community didn’t look, smell, or taste right. Was it the root of the community’s health problems? One lawyer thought so.
Interview

Author Talks: The human side of climate change

– Simon Mundy traveled to six continents to discuss the myriad challenges of climate change with individuals, communities, and societies grappling with it.
Interview

Author Talks: Giulio Boccaletti on the relationship between society and water

– Do you want to understand human civilization? Look to the most elemental substance on earth: water.
Interview

Author Talks: Can OKRs solve our planet’s climate crisis?

– Fueled by a powerful tool called Objectives and Key Results—OKRs—John Doerr’s new book offers an actionable global plan to cut greenhouse-gas emissions, before it’s too late.
Interview

Author Talks: There is no vaccine for climate change

– What’s the most important thing we can do to address climate change? Talk about it.
Interview

Author Talks: Paul Polman on business as a force for good

– Climate change and inequality are threatening our very existence. For a better future, business must step up.

Innovative Thinking

Interview

Author Talks: Hacking into humanity

– In the next decade, Amy Webb predicts that synthetic biology will be as common as artificial intelligence.
Interview

Author Talks: The making of a modern fairy tale

– Seasoned comic artist Tom Gauld discusses his first foray into children’s books, the importance of bedtime rituals, and how his daughters inspired the making of a fairy tale.
Interview

Author Talks: The forces working against innovation and how to overcome them

– How do you get people to agree to new ideas? The key is in overcoming four frictions.
Interview

Author Talks: How spiritual health fosters human resilience

– Are science and spirituality really at odds?
Interview

Author Talks: Azeem Azhar on closing the exponential gap

– Technology is evolving fast. Can society keep up?
Interview

Author Talks: Parag Khanna on the forces creating a new geography of opportunity

– Parag Khanna provides a vision of the next phase of human civilization—one that is both mobile and sustainable.
Interview

Author Talks: April Rinne on finding calm and meaning in a world of flux

– When change is the only constant, a mindset shift can keep you grounded.
Interview

Author Talks: Gillian Tett on looking at the world like an anthropologist

– Gillian Tett, the Financial Times markets and finance columnist and US managing editor, presents a radically different strategy for making sense of the business world today: anthropology.
Interview

Author Talks: Angus Fletcher on the power of literature

– In a new book, Angus Fletcher examines literary inventions through the ages to show how writers have created technical breakthroughs.
Interview

Author Talks: Josh Linkner on how everyday people can become everyday innovators

– In his new book, Josh Linkner offers a practical guide for turning ordinary ideas into extraordinary results.

Talent, Culture, & Change Management

Interview

Author Talks: A tale of two Americas

– Tom Vozzo spent 26 years as a top executive before pivoting to a nonprofit that rehabilitates gang members. The philosophies that help them reenter society, he says, would help corporate America too.
Interview

Author Talks: Get on the performance curve

– By taking pause to assess our default responses, Dr. Laura Watkins says we can take new problem-solving avenues that build our capacity to handle change and complexity.
Interview

Author Talks: How to gain a competitive edge with organizational culture

– James Heskett examined leading companies around the world and found that organizational culture makes employees more loyal, more productive, and more creative.
Interview

Author Talks: Why burnout is an epidemic—and what to do about it

– To solve the burnout epidemic, organizations need to look beyond traditional wellness perks.
Interview

Author Talks: David McCloskey explores the world of espionage

– In a conversation about his debut novel, a former CIA analyst and McKinsey alumnus discusses his writing process, his work experiences, and an infamous hot dog machine.
Interview

Author Talks: Ella Bell Smith on why race and class are wedges between women

– Addressing gender alone won’t help women rise to the top.
Interview

Author Talks: Tsedal Neeley on why remote work is here to stay—and how to get it right

– In a new book, Tsedal Neeley details how organizations can build and lead a culture of trust and inclusivity in a remote-work environment.
Interview

Author Talks: Deanna Mulligan on smart skill building

– The former chair and CEO of Guardian Insurance offers a theory of change for those hiring, retaining, and retraining the next generation of tech-savvy employees.
Interview

Author Talks: Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini on ‘humanocracy’

– Bureaucracy actually served us well in the past. But the nature of work has changed, and management needs to change too.
Interview

Author Talks: Sandra J. Sucher on the power of trust

– Trust is the most powerful force underlying the success of every business—but it can be shattered in an instant.

History

Interview

Author Talks: A forgotten chapter in the history of TV

– Four women—each an independent visionary—carved their own paths in popular culture and changed the way the world watches TV today.
Interview

Author Talks: The history of Black cinema in America

– The journalist whose article served as the basis for the movie The Butler explores the past 100 years of Black movies in the United States.
Interview

Author Talks: Jeffrey E. Garten on the meeting that transformed the global economy

– In August 1971, a secret meeting at Camp David transformed the global monetary system—and here’s what it means today and for the future.
Interview

Author Talks: Michelle Duster on the legacy of Ida B. Wells

– In a new book, Michelle Duster celebrates the life of Ida B. Wells, a journalist, suffragist, and antilynching crusader—and Duster’s great-grandmother.
Article

Author Talks: Mia Bay on traveling Black

– In a new book, Mia Bay explores when, how, and why racial restrictions took shape and what it was like to live with them.
Interview

Author Talks: McKinsey Global Institute’s Peter Gumbel on searching for identity

– In his new book, Peter Gumbel grapples with the complexity of belonging in an increasingly global world.

Finance & Economics

Interview

Author Talks: Dorothy A. Brown on the whiteness of wealth

– In her new book, the Emory University law professor explains why US tax policy disadvantages Black Americans—and how to make the system more equitable.
Interview

Author Talks: Gottfried Leibbrandt on why cash may be a thing of the past

– The digital revolution in payments is under way. What does that mean for how we think about payments and the way that money moves?
Interview

Author Talks: Saadia Madsbjerg on making money moral

– In their new book, Judith Rodin and Saadia Madsbjerg offer a road map to making the financial market a force for good.
Interview

Author Talks: Gregory B. Fairchild on the next frontier in racial equality

– In his new book, Gregory Fairchild shows the power of treating underserved communities as emerging markets.
Interview

Author Talks: Richard N. Haass on making sense of a complex world

– In his latest book, Richard N. Haass explores how our globalized and interconnected world works and why we should be paying attention to it.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank, first and foremost, the authors featured in our Author Talks series for their expert insights. And we want to acknowledge the many direct contributors who offered vital energy and expertise to the development, editing, copy editing, fact checking, design, production, and dissemination of Author Talks

Series Editor
Eleni Kostopoulos

Series Producer
Charlie Matthes

Within McKinsey Global Publishing, thanks to Julia Arnous, Mike Borruso, Elana Brown, Vanessa Burke, Heather Byer, Andrew Cha, Nancy Cohn, Victor Cuevas, Roger Draper, Nicole Esquerre, Tom Fleming, Torea Frey, Roberta Fusaro, Paromita Ghosh, Mona Hamouly, Gwyn Herbein, Lauren Holmes, Drew Holzfeind, Justine Jablonska, Steve Lackey, Simon London, Julie Macias, LaShon Malone, Philip Mathew, Janet Michaud, Pamela Norton, Kathleen O’Leary, Katrina Parker, Kanika Punwani, Lucia Rahilly, Charmaine Rice, Dana Sand, Astrid Sandoval, Katie Shearer, Myron Shurgan, Venetia Simcock, Sneha Vats, Mark Staples, Barbara Tierney, Sarah Thuerk, Nathan Wilson, and Belinda Yu.