A quick way to find guidance in business is through the recommendations of people who are in leadership positions. It's for that reason that chief executive officers (CEOs) often publish a personal reading list of books, so their employees have an idea of their sources of inspiration that inform their thinking as well as their extracurricular interests. Here are the best books that CEOs are recommending and why.
Nokia: Risto Siilasmaa
Risto Siilasmaa, the CEO of Nokia, is a notable success story, both as an innovator in technology and as a corporate head. After taking the reins at Nokia in 2012, he managed a complete turnaround in the company's fortunes, primarily through first selling Nokia's handset business to Microsoft Corporation, and then through the strategic acquisition of the major French telecommunications company Alcatel-Lucent. During his tenure, the company's stock, once dangerously close to being delisted, has more than doubled in price. Siilasmaa has also been a key individual in helping the Finnish government develop and implement data security measures, and institute a strategy for combating cyber-crimes.
"Superintelligence" by Nick Bostrom
Bostrom’s book lays the scientific groundwork for understanding humanity’s future. In this decidedly intellectual work, he puts forth the capabilities and complexities of the human brain, laying out why it places mankind in a dominant position among species; then he explores the concept of artificial intelligence (AI), explaining how powerful this new "superintelligence" could become and its potential implications for the human race.
"Who Gets What – and Why" by Alvin E. Roth
Alvin Roth explores the matching markets space, a type of market in which buyers and sellers must choose one another. Roth, a globally recognized and celebrated expert in the field, explains the factors at play in such markets and reveals that price is not the singular determining factor of "Who Gets What – and Why." The book further lays out the matching markets hidden throughout daily life, and shares with readers how a good match can be recognized and how they can make wiser and more confident decisions. Siilasmaa undoubtedly deals with matching markets, and gaining a better understanding of such markets from a leading expert will likely help him guide Nokia in attracting and retaining customers.
"Cryptonomicon" by Neal Stephenson
The one book on Siilasmaa's list is this fantasy offering from Neal Stephenson. The novel relates two parallel stories, one about an elite group of code-breakers in World War II, and another set in the present day, about two grandchildren of members of the group trying to track down a previously unknown – and rumored to be unbreakable – Nazi code. The book's subject matter resonates with current issues surrounding data liberty, computer surveillance and cyber security.
"Global Energy Interconnection" by Zhenya Liu
Since 2002, Professor Zhenya Liu has served as president, chairman and the senior engineer of China's State Grid Corporation. This book, as its title indicates, is focused on the subject of the interconnection of global energy, and is based on Professor Liu's decades of experience in the development of energy and smart grid technology both in China and throughout the world. It attempts to offer concrete solutions for the development of cleaner, more efficient and sustainable energy. The book likely appeals to Siilasmaa both because of his interest in technology in general and in China's economy in particular.
"Mulan" by Li Jian
"Mulan" is a famous folk tale, originally rendered as a poem, set in the days of China's Northern Dynasty about a legendary female warrior. The story touches on fundamental Chinese cultural values of honor and familial loyalty as it relates how a young girl disguises herself as a man and valiantly fights in the Chinese army for 12 years. Apparently Siilasmaa, who read this classic work in Mandarin, is interested in China's literature as well as its economy. Of course, a better understanding of the land is helpful to any chief executive of a multi-national company in a world where China is not merely a key emerging market economy, but rapidly becoming a predominant global economic force.
JPMorgan Chase: Jamie Dimon
Jamie Dimon has held a variety of positions in the financial services industry, including chairman and CEO of Bank One Corporation. In 2004, Bank One merged with JPMorgan Chase & Company (NYSE: JPM), and Dimon became president and chief operating officer of the new entity, which retained the name JPMorgan Chase. In 2005, Dimon became the CEO and president of JPMorgan Chase, and the following year, he became chairman of the board. He continued to lead JPMorgan Chase to increased growth and revenue, despite the subprime mortgage crisis of 2007-2009. He serves on the board of directors for Harvard Business School and Catalyst, on the board of trustees of the New York University School of Medicine, and is a member of The Business Council. His two literary picks both deal with politics, society and conservatism.
"The Conservative Heart: How to Build a Fairer, Happier, and More Prosperous America" by Arthur C. Brooks
Focusing on family values, “The Conservative Heart" discusses on how Americans can move forward from an economic slump and bequeath a better legacy and a better country for their children. For a man at the helm of a company that can change the lives of many people, and who survived the pitfalls of the 2007-2009 economic recession, this book holds a special message. Dimon has already taken some lessons to heart, and on July 12, 2016, announced that he was going to increase the minimum wage for 18,000 lower-tier JP Morgan Chase employees.
"Ronald Reagan" by Jacob Weisberg
In this book, Weisberg paints a picture of a man determined to bring his country out of a recession, while at the same time standing his ground against the Soviet Union; a president who, while often uncompromising, would negotiate if necessary. Presidential biographies are a frequent choice for CEOs, and Reagan's legacy in particular might inspire a CEO in the financial industry.
Autodesk Inc.: Carl Bass
In-between working at several executive positions prior to assuming the roles of president and CEO at Autodesk Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK), Bass co-founded two other companies – a graphics firm named Ithaca Software and a construction project management service named Buzzsaw – both of which were eventually acquired by Autodesk. Bass, who earned a bachelor's degree in mathematics at Cornell University, is recognized as a major thought leader in the development of 3-D design software. As CEO of Autodesk, he has guided the company in developing new software programs beyond its core AutoCAD product through research and development (R&D) and by acquiring other technology companies.
"The Emerald Mile: The Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon" by Kevin Fedarko
"The Emerald Mile" recounts the true story of the alleged fastest boat ride in history, down the entire length of the Colorado River during a massive flood in 1983. In the middle of flooding that threatened to culminate in a catastrophic dam failure, river guide Kenton Grua and two friends set out in a small, wooden dory just 15 miles downstream from the threatened Glen Canyon Dam, with the goal of setting the all-time speed record for a boat traveling the length of the Grand Canyon. Grua's idea was to take advantage of the flood conditions to propel the boat at speeds that would otherwise have been impossible to attain. "The Emerald Mile" turns in a nail-biting adventure story, sandwiched between tidbits about the history and significance of the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River and the Glen Canyon Dam.
"Ordinary Grace" by William Kent Krueger
Winner of the 2014 Edgar Award for the best novel, William Kent Krueger's "Ordinary Grace" is the story of a young teenager, Frank Drum. Set in the summer of 1961, the novel recounts, from the perspective of Frank looking back 40 years later, how he was suddenly and rudely ushered into an adult world filled with a labyrinth of secrets, betrayal and murder. Krueger unfolds a classically poignant coming-of-age story whose themes are the high price of wisdom and the continuing grace of God. Bass has revealed in interviews that he is a man who reflects on spiritual matters and who recalls moments in his own life when he was called upon to grow up and accept responsibilities that he hadn't foreseen.
"Out Stealing Horses: A Novel" by Per Petterson
Apparently Bass likes novels in which the narrator recounts events that took place in the distant past. Like "Ordinary Grace," "Out Stealing Horses" is a novel that opens with the main character, now an old man, recalling a fateful summer from his youth. The novel winds through the German occupation of Norway in World War II, the accidental shooting death of a twin, a son's relationship with his father, and the intertwined history of two friends and families over the span of half a century.
"Fundamentals of Brake Press Tooling" by Ben Rapien
Essentially a textbook manual, but written to be understandable by novices in the field, Rapien's book aims to offer a basic understanding of press brake tooling, which is the process of bending sheet or plate materials, such as sheet metal. The author clearly has an engineering background, so Bass may consider him a kindred spirit. The information presented in the book is delivered in the form of real-world examples that illustrate the various parameters that have to be factored into the process, including determining machine requirements and making blank size calculations.
Africa.com: Teresa Clarke
After becoming the first black woman to attain the title of managing director of investment banking for Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS), Teresa Clarke went out on her own to found the website Africa.com, which provides travel services and other information about all of the 50-plus countries that make up the African continent. She is also the chief financial advisor of Plebys International LLC. Her reading list is especially diverse, befitting someone who holds three different degrees from Harvard University: a B.A. in economics from the College, an MBA from the Business School and an LL.B from the Law School.
"The Fortunes of Africa: A 5000-Year History of Wealth, Greed, and Endeavor" by Martin Meredith
Martin Meredith's book is nothing less than epic in its scope, reviewing 5,000 years of African history. A longtime foreign correspondent, Meredith traces the myriad collection of adventurers, fortune hunters and conquerors who have come and gone from the vast African continent over the centuries. The book is filled with interesting historical data, and perhaps even more interesting stories of individual characters who left their mark on Africa: missionaries, gold miners, warlords and slave traders.
"Enter Helen: The Invention of Helen Gurley Brown and the Rise of the Modern Single Woman by Brooke Hauser"
As a virtual poster child of the modern, successful woman, Clarke probably has no difficulty in seeing the roots of her life's journey in this book that tells the story of Helen Gurley Brown, the iconic editor of Cosmopolitan magazine and a driving force in redefining the American femininity. Brooke Hauser presents a definitive history of the small-town girl who became the toast of New York while transforming the genre of women's magazines from a source of recipes and home redecorating tips to to dating, sex and career advice. Hauser chronicles not only the story of Cosmo's editor but the rapidly changing times in which she rose to fame.
"Between the World and Me" by Ta-Nehisi Coates
A New York Times Bestseller and a National Book and NAACP Image Award Winner, "Between the World and Me" takes the form of a letter by the author, Ta-Nehisi Coates, to his teenage son. Coates relates his own experiences with discovering his identity as a black man in America through things as varied as his college experiences at Howard University to Civil War battlefields – a blend of historic and personal past, as well as present, designed to help his son in moving forward in the future.
"The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future" by Kevin Kelly
Kevin Kelly offers a tour of the 12 technological mandates he believes will modify the world over the next three decades. The book offers a map of the future, revealing how technological changes on the horizon, such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence, will vastly revamp the way people work and live. It lays out specific coming trends, where they overlap and how they interconnect.
McKinsey & Company: Dominic Barton
Since 2009, Dominic Barton has been the CEO of McKinsey & Company, often considered the premier management consulting and recruitment firm. Outside of McKinsey, Barton serves as the chair of the Canadian Minister of Finance's Advisory Council on Economic Growth, a trustee of the Brookings institution and an adjunct professor at Tsinghua University. Barton's reading list reflects his unique upbringing and background: He was born in Africa, studied in North America, worked in Asia and then moved to London to take on the role of CEO.
"The Black Prince of Florence: The Spectacular Life and Treacherous World of Alessandro de Medici" by Catherine Fletcher
This book tells the real-life story of Alessandro de Medici, the illegitimate son of a duke. Through Machiavellian maneuvering and political deal-making, he ruled Florence within a year of his arrival to the Italian city. But his spectacular ascent ended quickly, with his murder by a family member. Beyond the entertainment factor, this book reveals what extraordinary outcomes are possible during periods of political turmoil (de Medici came to Florence when the city was being roiled by rival factions fighting for power) – and how instability creates opportunity for the bold and prepared.
"The European Identity: Historical and Cultural Realities We Cannot Deny" by Stephen Green
Barton's interest in this book is clear, given the recent political turmoil in the European Union (EU), which threatens trade and global integration. Identifying the commonalities in culture and heritage among Europeans, Green argues that Europe's peoples should see each other as countrymen rather than rivals; yet citizens of the different countries still cling to their national identities, and across the continent, there are growing nationalist movements (as suggested by Brexit) which rejects involvement with the European Union and seeks to reestablish borders and protectionist trade policies.
"China's Mobile Economy: Opportunities in the Largest and Fastest Information Consumption Boom" by Winston Ma
This book, authored by another of our C-Suite recommenders (see below) explains how the internet and mobile applications took over China in a short time period, and how business leaders can take advantage of this movement. Chinese internet companies have become the most valuable in the world, second only to those in the United States, due to the rapid adoption of applications in mobile payments, communication and shopping. Barton has two reasons to understand China. For one, it is McKinsey's fastest-growing market for consulting services. Second, China remains the fastest-growing economy in the world, and McKinsey must provide guidance to its clients on how to reach Chinese customers. Full disclosure: Barton wrote the book's foreword.
China Investment Corporation: Winston Ma
As the managing director of China Investment Corporation (CIC), a sovereign wealth fund responsible for managing a portion of the Chinese government's foreign exchange reserves, Winston Ma is one of the most powerful and influential people shaping Chinese fiscal policy. Ma joined CIC when it was established in 2008; he was also a co-founder of CIC's private equity department and the special investment department that is responsible for direct investing.
"Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human" by Harold Bloom
Harold Bloom, a literary critic and one of the foremost authorities on Western literary tradition, takes readers through his exhaustive, in-depth, passionate and comprehensive reading of all of Shakespeare's plays, expounding on each with his own brand of satire and wit. Bloom presents his thesis that Shakespeare is responsible for the creation of modern-day language and human nature.
"The Art of Woo: Using Strategic Persuasion to Sell Your Ideas" by G. Richard Shell and Mario Moussa
In "The Art of Woo," Shell and Moussa advise executives how to introduce and facilitate the execution of new ideas in complex organizations. The book breaks down a four-step process for effectively communicating and persuading the toughest and most skeptical colleagues. Shell and Moussa worked with top-level executives from companies such as Microsoft Corporation, the World Bank, and the FBI's hostage rescue training program.
"Alexander Hamilton" by Ron Chernow
In his groundbreaking biography and the inspiration for the musical "Hamilton," Chernow aims to portray an often-misunderstood Founding Father in an accurate light, correcting common misperceptions and giving Hamilton more credit for his legacy. He emphasizes that the modern-day shape of the U.S. federal government and economy are largely the result of Hamilton's relentless work and sacrifice, supporting and promoting ideas that were widely deemed impossible, impractical or unacceptably scandalous.
LinkedIn: Reid Hoffman
Reid Hoffman, founder and CEO of LinkedIn Corporation, is one of the most successful and well-connected figures in Silicon Valley. He was an early employee at PayPal Holdings Inc. and an early investor in Facebook Inc. These successes have made him a billionaire and a thought leader in Silicon Valley – though he has an atypical background for a tech titan. Originally intending to become a philosopher, he graduated from Stanford University in 1990 with a major in symbiotic systems, a discipline that combined computer science, philosophy, linguistics and psychology to understand how technology and media affect human thought and behavior. These interests have fueled Hoffman's ventures throughout his career. His reading list is widely shared and circulated among the tech community.
"More Human: Designing a World Where People Come First" by Steve Hilton with Jason and Scott Bade
"More Human" proposes that many of the problems of the modern era are due to a disconnect between institutions and the public. Despite life becoming better by all objective metrics, the book identifies a growing frustration and discontent within the population, which the author believes reflect the fact that institutions no longer cater to human needs. Hilton points the blame at leaders who are more interested in power than reform, though he believes these challenges are manageable and offers suggestions for reform. Hoffman's interest in this book reflects his advocacy of open systems that can rapidly evolve.This is particularly apparent in the modern world, where technology has caused massive shifts in how people interact, work, communicate and spend money in short time periods. Of course, Hoffman has instigated many of these changes through his companies and investments.
"This Brave New World: India, China and the United States" by Anja Manuel
This book makes the case that India and China will become the dominant powers of the latter half of the 21st century due to their economies, large populations and military spending. Both countries will compete with each other in terms of the latter, similar to the arms race between the Soviet Union and the United States in the 20th century. Manuel gives insight into the thinking of political and business leaders in both countries, and how it is shaped by each nation's culture and history. LinkedIn's fastest-growing markets are China and India.
"The Seventh Sense: Power, Fortune and Survival in the Age of Networks" by Joshua Cooper Ramo
"The Seventh Sense" is a book about the power of connection. Ramo examines the commonalities behind billion-dollar startups, terrorist attacks, political insurgents and technological innovation. He determines that certain individuals are having outsized effects due to a superior understanding of the networks that drive the world. The author believes that utilizing these hidden networks is the key to success. Ramo's book validates Hoffman's core belief that connection is the most powerful force in the world. Hoffman's technology career has been about building tools to organize real-life relationships and foster connections. "The Seventh Sense" advances this concept and ties it to recent global events, while giving readers advice on how to build their own networks for maximum impact.
Dow Chemical Co.: Andrew Liveris
Andrew Liveris has been working for Dow Chemical Co. for four decades in sales, engineering and marketing. Liveris assumed the CEO role in 2004 and became chairman in 2006. A native Australian, Liveris earned a bachelor's degree in chemical engineering from the University of Queensland, and he is also author of the book "Make It in America," which introduces policies and strategies to revive America's manufacturing sector. He is spearheading Dow Chemical's merger with E.I. Du Pont De Nemours & Co. , and recently announced plans to retire from the combined conglomerate in mid-2018.
"The Intelligent Investor: The Definitive Book on Value Investing" by Benjamin Graham
"The Intelligent Investor," first published in 1949, is an interesting read for Liveris because the principles expounded in the book serve as the foundation of Warren Buffett's investment philosophy. In fact, Buffett has called this work “by far the best book on investing ever written" (author Benjamin Graham was one of Buffett's teachers at Columbia University). "The Intelligent Investor" teaches value investing: to focus on the long term and to do the necessary research to have a "margin of safety" and avoid investment errors.
"The First Clash: The Miraculous Greek Victory at Marathon and Its Impact on Western Civilization" by Jim Lacey
Lacey is a military veteran of the 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions, and he teaches strategy, war and policy at the Marine War College. "The First Clash" discusses the ancient battle of Marathon. The Athenians were vastly outnumbered by the Persians, but they won decisively. Lacey explores why the battle occurred, the tactics used (such as the phalanx) and outcome's lasting impact on both Greece and Persia.
"Australia’s Second Chance" by George Megalogenis
"Australia’s Second Chance" delves into The Land Down Under's history and lays a path to be a successful, prosperous country going forward. George Megalogenis, a journalist who also wrote "The Australian Moment," explores Australia's economic progress and interviews the country's former leaders to get a picture of its future. Liveris has taken a liking to "Australia’s Second Chance" no doubt out of interest in his mother country.
Corning Inc.: Wendell Weeks
Wendell Weeks has been with Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW) for over 30 years, serving as the CEO for 11 of them. Weeks has also served as the company's chairman since 2007. He earned his undergraduate degree at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, and then went on to Harvard Business School to earn his MBA. Weeks was a Baker Scholar at Harvard, earning the distinction by being in the top 5% of his class.
"The Seventh Sense" by Joshua Cooper Ramo
"The Seventh Sense" puts forth the idea that the secret to power in the modern world lies in understanding how networks govern virtually every aspect of our lives. In explaining their central importance, Ramo points out the purposes and workings of not just the main network connector, the internet, but also of the interconnected networks of finance, trade and even the human network of DNA. The book is based on his decades of experience as a key executive at the consulting firm Kissinger Associates Inc., where he served as a trusted advisor to both corporate executives and politicians. In the book, he argues that the individuals who best understand – and can therefore take advantage of – the vast, global interconnections that influence policy decisions, world finance, and social and economic trends will be the outstanding success stories of the future.
"Gilead" by Marilynne Robinson
"Gilead" is a novel that discusses American spirituality from the time of the Civil War to the 20th century. The book explores the relationships between sons and fathers across this period, offering a glimpse into the dynamic nature of strongly held beliefs and customs across time, with generations differing considerably on their core values and principles.
"Search Inside Yourself" by Chade-Meng Tan
"Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace)" explains how people can reach tranquility and reduce stress. It also teaches people to be more self-aware, which can then strengthen their confidence and positively affect their relationships and leadership skills. "Search Inside Yourself" was originally a self-help course for Google, now Alphabet Inc.
Cisco Systems Inc.: Chuck Robbins
While Chuck Robbins assumed the role of CEO at Cisco Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: CSCO) in July of 2015, he had been a member of Cisco’s executive team for nearly two decades. He joined the company in 1997 as an account manager and advanced rapidly, filling first the regional manager’s seat, and then moving on to become operations director. In his current role, Robbins heads the company's executive leadership team, with a focus on Cisco's stated goal of changing and enhancing the way that people work and live. He obtained a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, with a concentration in computer science, at the University of North Carolina.
"Tattoos on the Heart" by Gregory Boyle
"Tattoos on the Heart" is composed of remarkable tales gleaned from Father Gregory Boyle's more than two decades of work heading up Homeboy Industries, a gang-intervention program located in a ghetto neighborhood of Los Angeles – a series of parables that illustrate an overarching theme of redemption through faith and unconditional love. Among the lessons that the book contains are ones on how to feel worthy of God's love, even with a long history of sinful behavior, and on the extraordinary patience that is often necessary to help people in overcoming failure, shame and evil.
"Five Presidents" by Clint Hill and Lisa McCubbin
With assistance from Lisa McCubbin, Clint Hill recalls the 17 years that he spent as a Secret Service agent, protecting the occupants of the most powerful political office in the world. He walked alongside five presidents (Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford), during some of the most tumultuous years in United States history – a time period that included the Cold War, the Cuban missile crisis, the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Robert Kennedy, as well as the Vietnam war and the Watergate scandal.
Robbins is also a fan of "The Seventh Sense" (see above, under Corning's Wendell Weeks).
Whole Foods Market: Walter Robb
Walter Robb’s interest in health and sustainable farming began early on in his life. He started growing his own food while in college, and after graduating in 1976 from Stanford, he and his wife moved to Atlanta to teach high school to inner city kids, where they built an organic garden for the students. Robb transitioned into retail when he opened a health food store, Mountain Marketplace, before coming to work for Whole Foods Market Inc. in 1991. He became the president of the company's Northern Pacific Region in 1993, eventually expanding it from two stores to 17. He continued to rise through the ranks, and in 2010, Robb was named co-CEO, alongside his longtime friend, John Mackey. Robb also sits on the board of directors for Whole Foods Market, Whole Planet Foundation and the Retail Industry Leaders Association.
"The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time" by Arianna Huffington
With an entire store devoted to healthy living at his fingertips, it should be no surprise that Robb recommends a book on improving sleep. Society has become incredibly fast-paced, and it is a badge of honor to proclaim how tired and stressed a person feels (or how little shut-eye he needs). What people do not realize is that sleep is incredibly valuable for one's wellbeing, and a lack of it can have serious health consequences. In her book, Huffington explores this sleep shortage and recommends strategies to build better rest habits based on scientific research.
"Long Walk to Freedom" by Nelson Mandela
Nor is It is surprising that Walter Robb has chosen to read Nelson Mandela's autobiography, which details the political and emotional struggles Mandela faced throughout his life. Whole Foods has a history of corporate social responsibility and is committed to improving the world for the next generation. No doubt Robb takes inspiration in Mandela's determination, strength and faith.
"The Politicians and the Egalitarians: The Hidden History of American Politics" by Sean Wilentz
In his book "The Politicians and the Egalitarians," Wilentz argues that historians have underestimated the contributions and talents of great insiders and exaggerated the influence of activist outsiders. However important egalitarianism may be, only those adept in the skills of politics can do something about actually advancing it, he says. Politicians can serve the country, but they serve it best when they learn the art of compromise through party-building and not when they stand, prophet-like, outside the fray delivering secular, and sometimes overtly religious, sermons.
Fluor Corporation: David Seaton
Fluor Corporation CEO David Seaton has been at the helm since 2011, but has worked for the company for over 30 years in various capacities, including sales and operations. Fluor is an engineering and construction company based in Texas. In addition to his CEO role, Seaton has served as chairman since 2012.
"Prisoners of Geography: Ten Maps That Explain Everything About the World" by Tim Marshall
"Prisoners of Geography" delves into how countries and their leaders throughout history have been shaped by their environment: climate, rivers, oceans, mountains and other geographical features. Author Tim Marshall explores how these characteristics have affected world history and how they have constrained or motivated political movements and the geopolitical strategies of contemporary leaders around the world.
"Dealing with China: An Insider Unmasks the New Economic Superpower," by Henry (Hank) M. Paulson Jr.
"Dealing with China" explores how China accomplished such rapid economic growth, how the Chinese government's policies have changed over time and what the future is for China's amalgamation of capitalism with communism. Its author, Henry (Hank) M. Paulson Jr., served as the U.S. Treasury Secretary from 2006 to 2009; he'd previously been the CEO of The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) for seven years, during which time he built relationships with Chinese leaders and helped to open China to private investment.
MTN Group: Phuthuma Nhleko
In 2013, Phuthuma Nhleko began serving as the executive chairman of Mobile Telephone Networks (MTN) Group, a South African multinational telecommunications company operating in Africa, Europe and Asia, following a nine-year stint as the company's CEO. When Nhleko took over, MTN was a relatively small firm operating in a few countries with less than 20 million subscribers; as of 2016, the company had over 300 million subscribers and was valued over $15 billion – one of the largest African corporations in the world. Often sought out for his insights on Africa's economy, Nhleko also serves on the board of directors of BP Plc. and Anglo American PLC. He also runs Pembani Group, a privately held investment company that invests in African firms focused on resources, cement and energy.
"The Life of the Mind" by Hannah Arendt and Mary McCarthy
"The Life of the Mind" is a philosophical investigation with a practical application. Aimed at a layman audience, Arendt applies concepts from Greek, Latin and medieval philosophy on thinking, willing and judging to the questions of everyday life.
"The End of Alchemy" by Mervyn King
In "The End of Alchemy," King – a former chairman of the Monetary Policy Committee for the Bank of England – details the history of money and banking. He argues that while its creation was essential for the Industrial Revolution, the financial system has grown way too much, relative to the rest of nations' economies, over the last 50 years; its undue political influence is responsible for many recent economic crises. King offers solutions that would limit these excesses.