Winter is drawing to a close.
And as the weather transitions, there’s something about September that seems to signify a fresh start.
If you want to know what’s on the minds of Goldman Sachs’ business leaders as we head into the new season, consider the firm’s book suggestions.
The banking giant has compiled a back-to-school reading list with book recommendations from leaders across the globe and across the firm.
The second annual reading list offers a diverse selection of books, covering topics like the making of “Seinfeld” and football tactics.
Here’s a roundup of their picks, along with employees’ descriptions of the books and why they chose them:
Author: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Description: 'The book is written by the author for his son. I chose to read it because I have a son and I think the experience of being a black male in America is unique. I want to be educated by his perspective for my son Austin's benefit.' -- Lisa Opoku, chief operating officer at Goldman Sach's technology division, New York
Authors: Melvin Oliver and Thomas Shapiro
Description: 'Sherrilyn Ifill from the NAACP Legal Defence Fund recently recommended this book during a meeting I attended with her.
'The book explains many important historical facts about wealth in the black community and how public policies have impacted the problem. It is not light summer reading but I am enthusiastic about the education I am getting on how differences in the transfer of wealth contribute to racial inequality.' -- Lisa Opoku
Author: Yaa Gyasi
Description: 'My friend gave me a copy of this book and told me it was 'homework.' I told her she had too much confidence in me if she thought I could work a full day and read 300 pages in 48 hours!
'It is about two sisters from Ghana, where my friend and I are both from. The novel details the life of one sister in Ghana and the other who was sold into slavery in America. It is very well-written and educational narrative of their lives.' -- Lisa Opoku
Author: Nate Silver
Description: 'This is a remarkably engaging book about how people fail when making predictions and the approaches followed by superior predictors.
'Each chapter uses real-world examples from different disciplines to reveal how the best and worst predictors behave, including revisiting Billy Beane, the protagonist of 'Moneyball,' and speaking with Goldman Sachs' Jan Hatzius. Silver even successfully finds a way to gently introduce the reader to Bayesian statistics, which I realise is hard to believe but true.' -- Kent Clark, investment management division at Goldman Sachs, New York
Author: Martin Gilbert
Description: 'This is a good one-volume biography of Churchill by Martin Gilbert, who was the 'official' Churchill biographer. I think Churchill is as interesting for his mistakes and failures as he is for his successes, his seemingly boundless energy and curiosity, and for having been an incredibly prolific writer.
'The biography gives good perspective on some of the most important events of the 20th century, at least as seen from Churchill's vantage point. Unless you have a good knowledge of the political figures of this era, I'd recommend an e-book edition since you can easily get a bit of information on the many characters who feature throughout the book.' -- Kent Clark
Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Description: 'This is my favourite of Chimamanda's books (although 'Purple Hibiscus' and 'Americanah' are also wonderful).
''Half of a Yellow Sun' combines a beautiful account of three lives in Nigeria in the 1960s against the backdrop of the country's civil war. The characters in her book are so well drawn and Chimamanda writes compassionately about her country's history and its people.' -- Sally Boyle, partner and international head of the Human Capital Management division at Goldman Sachs, London
Author: Hanya Yanagihara
Description: ''A Little Life,' which has been nominated for a number of book awards this year, is a long but very compelling read. It follows the lives of four classmates from a small Massachusetts college as they pursue their chosen paths in New York City.
'It is an extraordinary study of friendship and trauma -- you are led to understand the minds of the characters in a way that is equally gripping and, at times, harrowing.' -- Sally Boyle
Author: Jennifer Keishin Armstrong
Description: 'This is a must-read for every 'Seinfeld' addict. It is a hilarious behind-the-scenes history of how Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld created the concept, characters and story lines that resulted in the greatest television series of all time. It will make you want to put on a 'puffy shirt' and read it cover-to-cover in one sitting.' -- Dino Fusco, global head of corporate services and real estate at Goldman Sachs, Jersey City
Author: Leigh Stringer
Description: 'This is a well-researched book with relevant and provocative data and -- as well as intriguing insights and anecdotes -- designed to shed light on how simple changes to our office workplace can increase worker productivity, reduce medical costs, and create healthier, happier employees. Everyone who works in an office can relate to the subject matter and assess for themselves the validity of its recommendations and conclusions.' -- Dino Fusco
Author: Jared Diamond
Description: 'Europeans conquered other continents with guns, germs and steel. What makes the difference between conquerors and conquered?
'The author demonstrates from various points of view that it wasn't because of the superiority or inferiority of particular races, but because of the geographical and ecological advantages that Eurasian continent offered to the people lived there. For example, in Eurasia, there happened to be plants and animals suitable for domestication, which could be transferred and shared relatively easily across the continent.
'Fun reading with lots of intellectual stimulation.' -- Shigeki Kiritani, president and representative director of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Tokyo
Author: Jonathan Wilson
Description: 'For all the sports/soccer fans out there -- this is an excellent book that describes how football tactics have evolved over time. Applicable to our work -- as it shows how change is the only constant.' -- Bobby Vedral at Goldman Sachs' securities division, London
Author: Henry Kissinger
Description: 'Nobody knows the world of politics and diplomacy better than Henry Kissinger -- an absolute and undisputed numero uno!' -- Bobby Vedral
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