Want to know which business leader is reading Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You? and who’s reading The Iliad? See Part I. Let’s see what some other leaders in business, CSR, and nonprofits have been reading this summer.
“For fun, I am in a science fiction mood right now. Three novels I recently completed are Kraken and Un Lun Dun by China Mieville and Tongues of Serpents by Naomi Novik. Kraken, like much of Mievelle’s work, is difficult to describe–it begins when a preserved giant squid disappears from a London Museum. That’s the most straightforward thing that happens in this exquisite novel. Un Lun Dun follows a young heroine who finds herself in an alternative version of London where she must save the world from sentient pollution. It’s like a cross between Alice in Wonderland and An Inconvenient Truth. Tongues of Serpents is the latest volume in the Temeraire series, which imagines the Napoleonic Wars fought with an Air Corps of domesticated dragons. It will definitely take your mind off of the Great Recession.”
“David Copperfield, by Charles Dickens. The literary equivalent of the ‘slow food’ movement. Immersion in another time and place, with surprising immediacy in shrewdly drawn characters and scenes that can be hugely dramatic or comic–or sometimes both–but always amazingly inventive.
“The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. The celebrated financial writer intersperses this discussion of the role of randomness with sartorial advice, philosophic reflections, and a description of his ‘stochastic workouts.'”
The Black Swan, by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Highly entertaining. Reminder not to fall for anecdotes, but rather to ask for the data. And then to remember that data can fool you too! After an exhilarating, roller-coaster, hyperactive read, it seems to boil down to: bad things happen, appreciate what you have, and don’t sweat the little things.
The Promised Land, by Nicholas Lemann. I’m in the midst of this story of the migration of 5 million African-Americans from the rural South to the urban North between 1940 and 1970. I am fascinated by the social impact of a technological innovation: the story begins with the invention of the mechanical cotton picker in 1944, that ultimately displaced black sharecroppers and drove a mass migration to the urban North for unskilled work in factories, laundries, restaurants, hotels, and stockyards.
Please share your favorite books from the summer in the Comments section below.
See more of Michelle Rhee at Innovation Uncensored 2011.