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Summer reading suggestions 2021


Illustration of a swimmer floating in a pool made of a book

Illustration Whether it’s half-day Fridays, vacation weeks, or simply a few extra hours of daylight, the summer is an ideal for time for burrowing into a good book. Here are eight great reads from our recent coverage that challenge conventional wisdom and offer fresh perspective—on yourself, your company, and the economy at large.

<img src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" data-src="/media/image/43824718b_a.jpg" class="awcLazy" width="220" height="244" border="0" alt="Cover art for How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, Want to be less lazy and more confident? In her new book, Wharton professor Milkman offers research-backed guidance for making changes that last. She finds that the trick is to understand your internal obstacles and select the right strategies to overcome them. It’s not that change is hard. Rather, she writes in this engaging mélange of behavioral economics and self-help, “we often fail Cover of “Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment”

Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment

The proponents of the nudge and other behavioral economics hacks are back with a take on expert judgment. Companies live and die

Cover art for John Hudson's How to Survive: Self-Reliance in Extreme Circumstances

How to Survive: Self-Reliance in Extreme Circumstances

Alternate title: MacGyver for Management. Hudson, a survival instructor for the British military, offers lessons on how to get through the most challenging ordeals. The direst circumstances require what Hudson calls the Survival Triangle, the sides of which are hope, plan, and work. And this applies whether you are floating on a boat in the Pacific for 438 days or trying to devise a strategy for gaining market share. He lists work first, because if you can exert some effort to change your situation, you begin to feel in control and can then sustain hope. On the basis of that hope, you can plan further measures to save yourself, leading to yet further concrete actions (more work)—which in turn yield further hope, on and on in a virtuous circle until, with luck, you are rescued.

Cover art for Kevin Roose's Futureproof — 9 Rules for Humans in the Age of Automation

Futureproof: 9 Rules for Humans in the Age of Automation

AI can do a great job scanning X-rays for abnormalities, but it can’t reassure parents about their child’s prognosis. That tension lies at the heart of this shrewd and searching book

Cover art for Bill Gates’s How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need

The Microsoft cofounder’s green manifesto is a techno-optimist’s plan for tackling the climate crisis through innovation. It will take all the tools at our disposal—regulation, activism, rethinking systems, and yes, technological breakthroughs—to avoid climate disaster. Not surprisingly, perhaps, the solutions here tend to rely more on innovation and business than on politics and policy. After all, Gates has some experience in scaling up an operating system that will transform our world.

Cover art for Jesper B. Sørensen and Glenn R. Carroll's Making Great Strategy: Arguing for Organizational Advantage

Making Great Strategy: Arguing for Organizational Advantage

Stanford b-school professors Sørensen and Carroll have written a book about strategic due diligence that fills an important gap in the literature

<img src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" data-src="/media/image/43721666a.jpg" class="awcLazy" width="220" height="244" border="0" alt="Front cover of Social Chemistry What can David Rockefeller’s 100,000-contact Rolodex tell us about the human condition? In her new book, Yale professor King examines the types of human connection, which she breaks down into three network types—expansionists, brokers, and convenors. (If you have 100,000 people in your Rolodex, you’re an expansionist.) For each network type, she describes its topographies, its advantages and disadvantages, and how to build and manage it. She also explores the idea of shifting your network style according to your current career needs.

<img src="data:image/gif;base64,R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAAAAAP///yH5BAEAAAAALAAAAAABAAEAAAIBRAA7" data-src="/media/image/43704348a.jpg" class="awcLazy" width="220" height="244" border="0" alt="Front cover of Mutualism Freelancers Union founder Horowitz urges people to rely less on government and more on a powerful cooperative spirit. She defines mutualism as the creation of organizations with a purpose, a long-term focus, and a sustainable and independent way of generating revenue. New Deal legislation didn’t order companies to pay higher wages; it empowered unions to fight for them. Horowitz puts great value on this distinction, because the latter approach grants greater autonomy to workers.


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