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Summer Reading List

Summer is a great time to catch up on reading as you hit the beach or lounge poolside. I am personally more of a non-fiction lover myself, but a good novel is certainly conducive to relaxation as well.


So here are a few tomes (both non-fiction and fiction) that you might consider for your summer reading list. Feel free to share with your clients.


1. How Excellent Companies Avoid Dumb Things: Breaking the 8 Hidden Barriers that Plague Even the Best Businesses (June 2012, 244 pages)


By Neil Smith, CEO of Promontory Growth and Innovation, and Patricia O’Connell, former management editor at BloombergBusinessweek.com.


As you strive to provide better customer service, consider some of the challenges faced by all companies regardless of size: the desire to avoid controversy, poor use of time, reluctance to change, organizational silos, management blockers, incorrect information and bad assumptions.


“Every day, seemingly intelligent and successful companies make headline news for poor decisions that can cause their business to stumble and make many of us scratch our heads in wonder. Why would such a successful business make”that” strategic decision? Neil Smith, with more than 20 years of experience leading large-scale performance improvements, reveals the hidden barriers that limit excellent companies from reaching their potential, and cause even the smartest managers and leaders to falter. During his experience transforming some of the top global businesses, Smith has identified 8 barriers that exist in every organization and prevent them from implementing literally thousands of ideas to improve the way they work.”


2. Atlantic Fever: Lindbergh, His Contemporaries, and the Race to Cross the Atlantic (May 2012, 544 pages)


By Joe Jackson, author of The Thief at the End of the World: Rubber, Power and the Seeds of Empire.


If you’re looking to get caught up in the passion of pioneer air flight, this book tells the story of Lindberg and his race to cross the Atlantic. I feel a strong connection to Charles Lindberg having read his wife’s book, Gift from the Sea.


“For five weeks—from April 14 to May 21, 1927—the world held its breath while fourteen aviators took to the air to capture the $25,000 prize that Raymond Orteig offered to the first man to cross the Atlantic Ocean without stopping.


Joe Jackson’s Atlantic Fever is about this race, a milestone in American history whose story has never been fully told. … Atlantic Fever opens for us one of those magical windows onto a moment when the nexus of technology, innovation, character, and spirit led so many contenders from different parts of the world to be on the cusp of the exact same achievement at the exact same time.


3. How Will You Measure Your Life? (May 2012, 240 pages)


By Clayton M. Christensen, professor at Harvard Business School, James Allworth, fellow at the Forum for Growth and Innovation, and Karen Dillon, former editor of the Harvard Business Review.


Business guru Clayton Christensen gave an inspiring graduation speech in 2010 that serves as the basis for this book. He had just successfully overcome cancer and reflected on his life, his father’s death from cancer, asking profound questions such as: How can I be sure that I’ll find satisfaction in my career? How can I be sure that my personal relationships become enduring sources of happiness? How can I avoid compromising my integrity?


How Will You Measure Your Life? is full of inspiration and wisdom, and will help students, midcareer professionals, and parents alike forge their own paths to fulfillment.


4. Capitalism for the People: Recapturing American Prosperity (June 2012, 336 pages)
By Luigi Zingales, professor at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.


Earlier this year I shared my interview with Professor Zingales. I’m a big fan of his research into entrepreneurism and his poignant defense of responsible capitalism. His new book builds upon concepts in his first book, Saving Capitalism from the Capitalists, offering a prescription for creating a prosperity through free enterprise.


Born in Italy, University of Chicago economist Luigi Zingales witnessed firsthand the consequences of high inflation and unemployment—paired with rampant nepotism and cronyism—on a country’s economy. This experience profoundly shaped his professional interests, and in 1988 he arrived in the United States, armed with a political passion and the belief that economists should not merely interpret the world, but should change it for the better.


In A Capitalism for the People, Zingales makes a forceful, philosophical, and at times personal argument that the roots of American capitalism are dying, and that the result is a drift toward the more corrupt systems found throughout Europe and much of the rest of the world. … Zingales argues that the way forward is pro-market populism, a fostering of truly free and open competition for the good of the people—not for the good of big business.


5. Wicked Business: A Lizzy and Diesel Novel (June 2012, 320 pages)
By Janet Evanovich, best-selling author


Many advisors are closeted fans of the Stephanie Plum bounty hunter series, and this is Ms. Evanovich’s latest offering in her paranormal Lizzy and Diesel  series, a spin-off from the Plum series.


When Harvard University English professor and dyed-in-the-wool romantic Gilbert Reedy is mysteriously murdered and thrown off his fourth-floor balcony, Lizzy and Diesel take up his twenty-year quest for the Luxuria Stone, an ancient relic believed by some to be infused with the power of lust. Following clues contained in a cryptic nineteenth-century book of sonnets, Lizzy and Diesel tear through Boston catacombs, government buildings, and multimillion-dollar residences. On their way they’ll leave behind a trail of robbed graves, public disturbances, and general mayhem.


6.  Calico Joe (April 2012, 208 pages)
By John Grisham, best-selling author


Known for his legal thrillers, Grisham is also a baseball fan, and this is his latest, a story about the national pastime from one of America’s most well-known novelists.


Whatever happened to Calico Joe?


It began quietly enough with a pulled hamstring. The first baseman for the Cubs AAA affiliate in Wichita went down as he rounded third and headed for home. The next day, Jim Hickman, the first baseman for the Cubs, injured his back. The team suddenly needed someone to play first, so they reached down to their AA club in Midland, Texas, and called up a twenty-one-year-old named Joe Castle. He was the hottest player in AA and creating a buzz.


In the summer of 1973 Joe Castle was the boy wonder of baseball, the greatest rookie anyone had ever seen. The kid from Calico Rock, Arkansas dazzled Cub fans as he hit home run after home run, politely tipping his hat to the crowd as he shattered all rookie records.



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