The Books Top Executives Are Reading in 2019
What keeps the global executives going? It has to be books! And if selected properly, these can inspire and motivate you in the race ahead to drive innovation and make a lasting change.
What CEOs and other business leaders are currently keeping on their shelves or tucking into their suitcases — consider it food for thought in picking your next read.
According to high-minded management consultancy, McKinsey, these are the selections from leaders at Novartis, PayPal, Walmart, and more.
Walmart CEO Doug McMillon’s reads include “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness” by Michelle Alexander, “Them: Why We Hate Each Other-and How to Heal” by Ben Sasse (St. Martin’s Press, 2018, non-fiction), “The Sixth Man: A Memoir” by Andre Iguodala (Blue Rider Press, June 2019, non-fiction), “Become an Accelerator Leader: Accelerate Yourself, Others, and Your Organization to Maximize Impact” by Alvin Rohrs (Gatekeeper Press, May 2019, non-fiction).
Quibi CEO Meg Whitman’s list includes “Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man’s Fight for Justice” by Bill Browder (Simon & Schuster, 2015, non-fiction), “The Pioneers: The Heroic Story of the Settlers Who Brought the American Ideal West” by David McCullough (Simon & Schuster, May 2019, non-fiction), “The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World” by Melinda Gates (Flatiron Books, April 2019, non-fiction).
Andrew Penn, CEO and managing director, Telstra Corporation, has “Architects of Intelligence: The Truth about AI from the People Building It” by Martin Ford (Packt Publishing, 2018, non-fiction), “Death of a River Guide” by Richard Flanagan (Grove Press, reprint edition, 2002, fiction), “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet” by David Mitchell (Random House, 2010, fiction) on his bookshelf.
Dan Schulman, president and CEO, PayPal, is currently reading “People, Power, and Profits: Progressive Capitalism for an Age of Discontent” by Joseph E. Stiglitz (W. W. Norton, April 2019, non-fiction), “The Accidental Admiral: A Sailor Takes Command at NATO” by James Stavridis (Naval Institute Press, 2014, non-fiction); “Lexicon” by Max Barry (Penguin Books, 2013, fiction), The New Rules of War: Victory in the Age of Durable Disorder” by Sean McFate (William Morrow, January 2019, non-fiction).
Strive Masiyiwa, founder-Executive Chairman, Econet’s list has “The Resilience Dividend: Being Strong in a World Where Things Go Wrong” by Judith Rodin (PublicAffairs, 2014, non-fiction), “The Other Story: A Fireside Chat with African Achievers” by Judy Dlamini (February 2019, non-fiction), “Africa at Work” by Acha Leke et al. (2012, non-fiction).
Joerg Reinhardt, PhD, chairman, Novartis has read “Has the West Lost It? A Provocation” by Kishore Mahbubani (Penguin, April 2019, non-fiction).
Sarah Friar, CEO, Nextdoor’s list has “Upheaval: Turning Points for Nations in Crisis” by Jared Diamond (Little, Brown and Company, May 2019, non-fiction), “Biased: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do” by Jennifer L. Eberhardt (Viking, March 2019, non-fiction), “Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster” by Adam Higginbotham (Simon & Schuster, February 2019, non-fiction), “Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland” by Patrick Radden Keefe (Doubleday, February 2019, non-fiction).
Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, executive chairman, LEGO Brand Group’s reading includes “The End of the End of the Earth” by Jonathan Franzen (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2018, non-fiction), “Let Love Have the Last Word: A Memoir” by Common (Atria Books, May 2019, non-fiction), “Men in My Situation” by Per Petterson (Forlaget Oktober, 2018, fiction), “Wholehearted Leadership” by Morten Mortensen (MM Holding, April 2019, non-fiction), “A Little Book about Love” by Frederik Dessau (Gyldendal Forlag, 1996, non-fiction).
Salman Khan, founder and CEO, Khan Academy’s list of books has “Breakfast of Champions” by Kurt Vonnegut (Delacorte Press/Seymour Lawrence, 1973, fiction), “The Upanishads”, translated by Eknath Easwaran (Nilgiri Press, second edition, 2007, non-fiction), and “A Short History of Byzantium” by John Julius Norwich (Vintage, 1998, non-fiction).
Jacqui Canney, chief people officer, WPP, is engrossed in “Becoming” by Michelle Obama (Crown, 2018, non-fiction), “Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change” by Beth Comstock, with Tahl Raz (Currency, 2018, non-fiction), “Leaders: Myth and Reality” by Stanley McChrystal, Jeff Eggers, and Jason Mangone (Portfolio Penguin, 2018, non-fiction), “The Icarus Deception: How High Will You Fly?” by Seth Godin (Portfolio Penguin, 2012, non-fiction), and “The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine” by Michael Lewis (W. W. Norton, 2010, non-fiction).
Beth Comstock, former vice chair, General Electric’s list has “The Overstory” by Richard Powers (W.W. Norton, 2018, fiction), “The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate-Discoveries from a Secret World” by Peter Wohlleben (Greystone Books, 2016, non-fiction), “Leaves of Grass: The First (1855) Edition” by Walt Whitman (Penguin Classics, 1961, non-fiction).
Jesper Jos Olsson, group CEO and founding partner, White Peak Real Estate’s list of books includes “Serotonin” by Michel Houellebecq (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, November 2019, fiction), “The Uninhabitable Earth: Life after Warming” by David Wallace-Wells (Tim Duggan Books, February 2019, non-fiction), and “Aniara: An Epic Science Fiction Poem” by Harry Martinson (1956, fiction).
Richard Plepler, founder, RLP & Company; former chairman and CEO, HBO’s list has “Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century” by George Packer (Alfred A. Knopf, May 2019, non-fiction), “The Back Channel: A Memoir of American Diplomacy and the Case for Its Renewal” by William J. Burns (Random House, March 2019, non-fiction), and “Fleishman is in Trouble” by Taffy Brodesser-Akner (Random House, June 2019, fiction).
Kevin Sneader, global managing partner, McKinsey & Company’s list of books comprises “The New Silk Roads: The Present and Future of the World” by Peter Frankopan (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2018, non-fiction), “Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster” by Adam Higginbotham (Simon & Schuster, February 2019, non-fiction), “Lords of the Desert: Britain’s Struggle with America to Dominate the Middle East” by James Barr (Simon & Schuster UK, 2018, non-fiction), and “A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order” by Richard Haass (Penguin Press, 2017, non-fiction).