James Manyika

Senior Partner, McKinsey

“I seem to be reading histories in various forms. I’d like to go with my eclectic five; there is some method to this madness.”

Mirrors: Stories of Almost Everyone
by Eduardo Galeano

History like you have never read it in hundreds of vignettes from the vantage point of everyone else.

Stony the Road: Reconstruction, White Supremacy, and the Rise of Jim Crow
by Henry Louis Gates Jr

A reminder of how history can repeat itself if we let it.

Circe: A Novel
by Madeline Miller

An epic retold, with gods, mortals, and all and an indomitable woman at the center of it all.

The Old Drift: A Novel
by Namwali Serpell

Genre-defying historical, sociopolitical sci-fi romp of a novel that transported me home.

Go Ahead in the Rain: Notes to A Tribe Called Quest
by Hanif Abdurraqib

From the golden era, this is a story, love letters, and sounds for now by a remarkably inventive writer and poet.

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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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