Books Read – Third Quarter 2019

Happy October and Happy Q4!

In early July, I published a list of books I had read in the first half of 2019.  (link here) As I regularly get requests for book recommendations, I wanted to provide an updated list of what I spent my time reading during the third quarter.

Management / Business:

  • Alchemy by Rory Sutherland – I cannot say enough good things about this one.  Sutherland is both thought provoking and highly entertaining as he deconstructs where and how things that seem “psychological” outperform the purely “logical.”
  • Storybrand by Donald Miller – Marketing is deceptively difficult to discuss.  If addressed from too high a level, we all react by saying things about how self-obvious it was.  If too detailed, it can devolve into specific techniques or platforms.  Miller strikes an excellent middle ground diving into marketing strategy – and especially around the marketing of services as opposed to goods.
  • Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time – by Jeff and J.J. Sutherland – Businesses manage to get things done in spite of themselves.  What if there were a better way to execute a management process to maximize results?
  • The McKinsey Way & The McKinsey Mind by Ethan Rasiel – These were ok but not groundbreaking.  The best thing that came from the read was discovering Say It With Charts by Gene Zelazny.  Zelazny is the Director of Visual Communications at McKinsey.  This is a great reference tool about how to convey ideas visually.

Business History

  • When Hollywood Had a King by Connie Bruck – Having read Michael Ovitz’s autobiography shortly after it came out, it was interesting to learn more about Lew Wasserman – the Ovitz of Hollywood before Ovitz.  Having now read 10-15 different biographies about those who built the modern Hollywood, I am amazed by how consistent the type of person is who has succeeded in that industry – hint – it’s exactly what you would expect – the aggressive wheeler-dealer.  I look forward to reading Bob Iger’s (CEO of Disney) new book simply because he sounds like he forged his own path.

Family Wealth

General Non-Fiction

  • How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams – By the author of Dilbert, I was amazed by how much I underlined in the book.  Adams is incredibly well thought, and his personal journey to regain his ability to speak is inspiring as well.
  • How to Build a Car by Adrian Newey – Newey, likely to be unknown to most in the US, is perhaps the greatest designer of race cars of all time.  His autobiography is a fascinating look inside the world of Formula 1 racing, along with practice and discipline applied creativity.
  • The Plaza by Julie Satow – The Plaza is among the most storied of New York’s fine hotels.  This is a fascinating biography of the hotels ups and downs since its construction in 1907.