21 books Goldman Sachs executives say you should be reading right now

Phairin Theekawong/ShutterstockHere’s what to read this fall.
  • Goldman Sachs publishes a reading list every US Fall.
  • Leaders from around the global company recommend one or two books to read this season.
  • Recommendations spanned from crime thrillers to motivational must-reads.

Goldman Sachs just published its fourth-annual Fall reading list.

The recommendations from Goldman Sachs leaders included everything from inquiries on rural America to guides on setting company culture to fiction on a young woman who returns to her native Nigeria.

Here are 21 of their recommendations:

‘The Making of Modern Britain,’ by Andrew Marr

Picked by: Katherine Alexakis – Global Investment Research, London

Alexkais says: “Andrew Marr’s The Making of Modern Britain gallops through the social, economic and political history of Britain from 1900 to 1945 in a thought-provoking, often amusing way. The author’s skill lies in his ability to humanize the key figures who shaped the era, as well as drawing out the issues that remain top-of-mind today, ranging from protectionism to populist politics.”

Buy it here »

‘My Brilliant Friend,’ by Elena Ferrante

Picked by: Margaret Anadu, urban investment group in New York

Anadu says: “This masterfully written work of fiction tells the story of an increasingly intense and complex friendship between two young girls growing up in a poor but dynamic neighbourhood in 1950s Italy as one leaves and the other stays.”

Buy it here »

‘Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China,’ by Jung Chang

Picked by: Rachana Bahadur, operations in Bengaluru

Bahadur says: “This book details the lives of three generations of extremely powerful women living in a rapidly changing China. The everyday horrors they face are unsettling, but their stories are fascinating, moving, and filled with lessons of resilience and bravery.”

Buy it here »

‘Kindred,’ by Octavia E. Butler

Picked by: Sharon Bell, global investment research in London

Bell says: “Published in the late 1970s and set in both New York in 1976 and the American South under slavery in the early 1800s, it made me think about how we all would behave under such extreme circumstances in a society built on such a corrupt model.”

Buy it here »

‘Strangers in their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right,’ by Arlie Russell Hochschild

Picked by: Chris Buddin, investment banking in San Francisco

Buddin says: “I wanted to read this after the elections to try to understand how people think in the more rural parts of the country. Why would it be that individuals would vote – with conviction – for people and policies that don’t actually improve their personal situation?”

Buy it here »

‘The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives,’ by Lisa Servon

Picked by: Stephanie Cohen, executive office in New York

Cohen says: “Well-researched book about the population that is underserved in today’s banking system and what we can do to change it. Our Marcus strategy, and the focus on solving customer pain points, is aligned with the author’s views on how the banking sector needs to change.”

Buy it here »

‘Empire of the Summer Moon: Quanah Parker and the Rise and Fall of the Comanches, the Most Powerful Indian Tribe in American History,’ by S.C. Gwynne

Picked by: Jane Dunlevie, investment banking in San Francisco

Dunlevie says: “Gwynne’s historical account focuses on two intersecting stories … A detailed look at the determinant force the Comanches were in the opening of the American West.”

Buy it here »

‘Speak Now: Marriage Equality on Trial,’ by Kenji Yoshino

Picked by: Naosuke Fujita, legal in Tokyo

Fujita says: “Denial of marriage creates stigma, entrenches discrimination, and relegates gay people to second-class citizens. At that time, however, I had no clue what marriage equality meant for gay people. That is until I luckily stumbled on ‘Speak Now’ by Kenji Yoshino, a prominent constitutional law professor at NYU.”

Buy it here »

‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull,’ by Richard Bach

Picked by: Vidya Lakshmi, human capital management in Bengaluru

Lakshmi says: “While for most seagulls flying is just a means of finding food, for Jonathan Livingston Seagull, flying is life itself through which he discovers his potential. His journey of self-discovery teaches us that we are perfect and unlimited, the value of mastery, the need to learn from our failures and the importance of letting go.”

Buy it here »

‘The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups,’ by Daniel Coyle

Picked by: Alison Mass, investment banking in New York

Mass says: “This book tracks successful teams like the US Navy SEALs and explains how diverse groups can function successfully with a shared vision. As he says in his book, ‘Culture is not something you are, it’s something you do.'”

Buy it here »

‘How to Be Human: The Ultimate Guide to Your Amazing Existence,’ by New Scientist

Picked by: Des McDaid, consumer and commercial banking in London

McDaid says: “The book covers a huge range of topics from free will, religion and the need for possessions, to why we are so hairy. The ideas and evidence are well presented, it’s not too heavy and doesn’t take itself too seriously.”

Buy it here »

‘Bakhita: A Novel of the Saint of Sudan,’ by Veronique Olmi

Picked by: Celine Mechain, investment banking in Paris

Mechain says: “It tells the story of a 7-year-old girl in Darfur, Sudan – Josephine Bakhita – who was kidnapped by slave traders … Her reflections on what happened to her in her childhood, on what she suffered as a black woman, and the two world wars she had to go through in Europe are amazing.”

Buy it here »

‘Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World — and Why Things Are Better Than You Think,’ by Hans Rosling

Picked by: Timothy Moe, global investment research in Hong Kong

Moe says: “This is a book recommended by Bill Gates that I have found to be an excellent counterpoint to the generally negative and extreme characterization of global affairs offered by mainstream media. The insights are all grounded in data, which appeals to my inner analyst.”

Buy it here »

‘World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech,’ by Franklin Foer

Picked by: Sharmin Mossavar-Rahmani, investment management in New York

Mossavar-Rahmani says: “A book about how the large technology companies are affecting our world, invading our privacy, and using their monopoly powers to influence every aspect of our decision making.”

Buy it here »

‘Hit Refresh,’ by Satya Nadella

Picked by: Takashi Murata, securities in Tokyo

Murata says: “Nadella focuses on the importance of empathy as a key quality for humans and organisations. An honest and insightful account of change and growth, the book is very relevant to any individual or company facing the challenges of adapting to an evolving world.”

Buy it here »

‘The Victorian House: Domestic Life from Childbirth to Deathbed,’ by Judith Flanders

Picked by: Kate Richdale, investment banking in Hong Kong

Richdale says: “Far more informative than a comprehensive history of the Victorians, as Flanders’ room-by-room approach makes it accessible enough to be finished and enjoyed.”

Buy it here »

‘The Talented Mr. Ripley,’ by Patricia Highsmith

Picked by: Jami Rubin, global investment research in New York

Rubin says: “A dark but highly entertaining novel about the suave Tom Ripley, a sociopath who gallivants around Italy in the 1950s.”

Buy it here »

‘Principles,’ by Ray Dalio

Simon & Schuster

Picked by: Gunjan Samtani, co-head of Goldman Sachs Bengaluru

Samtani says: “This book provides a systematic approach to reflect and define principles to help make decisions in life and work, aligned with the cause-effect relationships. It successfully achieves the fusion of psychology, work cultures, personal values and neurosciences in the art of decision-making.”

Buy it here »

‘Why We Sleep: Unlocking the Power of Sleep and Dreams,’ by Matthew Walker

Picked by: Karen Seymour, legal in New York

Seymour says: “My family has accused me of becoming sleep obsessed after reading this book. I have to confess that I have never really thought much about sleep and secretly took pride in functioning on far too little.”

Buy it here »

‘Shoe Dog,’ by Phil Knight

Picked by: Nishi Somaiya, securities in London

Somaiya says: “Phil’s story is about resilience, entrepreneurship, and sheds light on the journey to success in building one of the best known global brands in today’s world, Nike.”

Buy it here »

‘Americanah,’ by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Picked by: Rana Yared, securities in New York

Yared says: “‘Americanah is a fictional story of a Nigerian born girl, Ifemelu, who after a fellowship at Princeton, returns to her native Nigeria. The story is told in flash backs between the present and her past, as she struggles with realising her ambitions, immigration, and poverty.”

Buy it here »

Peruse the entire Goldman Sachs Reading List here.

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