Alan Murray

CEO, Fortune Media

“I read (skim) a lot of books, but two stand out for me this year.”

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need
by Bill Gates

Unlike so many of the books on this topic, this is not a screed, but rather a very practical analysis of what needs to happen between now and 2050 in order to make the UN goal of net-zero emissions by then. It’s an optimistic book—Gates believes the goal is achievable—but grounded in economic reality.

The Road Less Traveled: The Secret Battle to End the Great War, 1916–1917
by Philip Zelikow

History is usually an attempt to explain why things happen, but this fascinating book is the story of something that didn’t happen. Through careful review of the historical record, Zelikow chronicles efforts to bring World War I to a negotiated end in 1916—and spare the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of people. The conditions were in place for this effort to succeed—but it didn’t. A book you can’t put down. Hard to believe the world came so close to avoiding two more years of unnecessary and tragic bloodshed.

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It takes a village to curate amazing lists from this rather busy group of leaders from all over the world. We would like to thank Kris Coratti, Chantal De Soto, Rimjhim Dey, Melanie Newman, Joellen Perry, and Jayne Rosefield for their help.

Within McKinsey Global Publishing, Eleni Kostopoulos led the effort to make this year’s list come alive, with collaboration and support from Mike Borruso, Nancy Cohn, Victor Cuevas, Torea Frey, Mary Halpin, Drew Holzfeind, Kathleen O'Leary, LaShon Malone, Philip Mathew, Janet Michaud, Kanika Punwani, Sarah Thuerk, Duane Tomaszewski, Petra Vincent, and Nathan Wilson.

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