CEO Library: What CEOs are Reading during Summer

The summer finally has embraced us with its wide open arms. For most people, this means planning for extended vacations, hitting the beach, and relaxing poolside. For CEOs, summer becomes the perfect time to retreat to a remote island or escaping to exotic places unknown to many. At least for several days, C-suite executives are using some downtime to catch up on their reading.

Since 2004, Samsung Economic Research Institute (SERI), a leading Asian think tank, has conducted a survey of CEOs on their reading habits and recommendable books during the summer vacation. The key theme for the books in 2012 were around humanites, self-examination, learning to read others etc. In terms of the most sough topics, the top three were finding wisdom in life, capturing business trends, discovering new management ideas.  SERI found that, the number of CEOs reading more than three books a month has increased for the past seven consecutive years but decreased this year 1.9%. It’s a well known fact that “Leaders are readers, and readers are leaders.” I hope this list challenges you to check out a book at a nearby bookstore and start reading and nourish your mind. FYI: Here’s a breakdown on the monthly reading habits of Korean CEOs:

  • No time to read: 2.3%
  • 1-2 books: 54.5%
  • 3-4 books: 22.8%
  • More than 5 books: 6.9%
  • More than 6 books: 13.6%

  1. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman In the highly anticipated Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman takes us on a groundbreaking tour of the mind and explains the two systems that drive the way we think. System 1 is fast, intuitive, and emotional; System 2 is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Kahneman exposes the extraordinary capabilities—and also the faults and biases—of fast thinking, and reveals the pervasive influence of intuitive impressions on our thoughts and behavior. The impact of loss aversion and overconfidence on corporate strategies, the difficulties of predicting what will make us happy in the future, the challenges of properly framing risks at work and at home, the profound effect of cognitive biases on everything from playing the stock market to planning the next vacation—each of these can be understood only by knowing how the two systems work together to shape our judgments and decisions.
  2. Getting More: How to Negotiate to Achieve Your Goals in the Real World This new model of human interaction has been chosen by Google to train the entire company worldwide (30,000 employees), is the #1 book for your career chosen by The Wall Street Journal’s website, and is labeled “phenomenal” by Lawyers’ Weekly and “brilliant” by Liza Oz of the Oprah network. Based on more than 20 years of research and practice among 30,000 people in 45 countries, Getting More concludes that finding and valuing the other party’s emotions and perceptions creates far more value than the conventional wisdom of power and logic. It is intended to provide better agreements for everyone no matter what they negotiate – from jobs to kids to billion dollar deals to shopping.The book, a New York Times bestseller and #1 Wall Street Journal business best seller, is based on Professor Stuart Diamond’s award-winning course at the Wharton Business School, where the course has been the most popular over 13 years. It challenges the conventional wisdom on every page, from “win-win” to BATNA to rationality to the use of power. Companies have made billions of dollars so far using his new model and parents have gotten their 4-year-olds to willingly brush their teeth and go to bed. 












3. Borrowing Brilliance: The Six Steps to Business Innovation by Building on the Ideas of Others In a book poised to become the bible of innovation, a renowned creativity expert reveals the key to the creative process-“borrowing”. As a former aerospace scientist, Fortune 500 executive, chief innovation officer, inventor, and software entrepreneur, David Kord Murray has made a living by coming up with innovative ideas. In Borrowing Brilliance he shows readers how new ideas are merely the combination of existing ones by presenting a simple six-step process that anyone can use to build business innovation:
Defining-Define the problem you’re trying to solve.
Borrowing-Borrow ideas from places with a similar problem.
Combining-Connect and combine these borrowed ideas.
Incubating-Allow the combinations to incubate into a solution.
Judging-Identify the strength and weakness of the solution.
Enhancing-Eliminate weak points while enhancing strong ones.
Each chapter features real-life examples of brilliant borrowers, including profiles of Larry Page and Sergey Brin (the Google guys), George Lucas, Steve Jobs, and other creative thinkers. Murray used these methods to re-create his own career and he shows readers how to harness them to find creative solutions.  








4. Demand: Creating What People Love Before They Know They Want It

In “Demand,” Adrian Slywotzky provides a radically new way to think about demand, with a big idea and a host of practical applications–not just for people in business but also for social activists, government leaders, non-profit managers, and other would-be innovators. To succeed in their various missions, all these groups need to master such ground-breaking concepts as the hassle map (and the secrets of fixing it); the curse of the incomplete product (and how to avoid it); why “very good” does not equal “magnetic”; how what you don’t see can make or break a product; the art of transforming fence sitters into customers; why there’s no such thing as an average customer; and why real demand comes from a 45-degree angle of improvement (rather than the five degrees most organizations manage)

“Adrian Slywotsky’s charming and enlightening stories of market creation will inform and inspire innovators everywhere. Demand is the book you didn’t know you needed until you read it, love it, and find that you can’t succeed without it.” –Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Harvard Business School professor,











5. Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

Are you a genius or a genius maker? We’ve all had experience with two dramatically different types of leaders. The first type drain intelligence, energy, and capability from the ones around them and always need to be the smartest ones in the room. These are the idea killers, the energy sappers, the diminishers of talent and commitment. On the other side of the spectrum are leaders who use their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capabilities of the people around them. When these leaders walk into a room, lightbulbs go off over people’s heads, ideas flow, and problems get solved. These are the leaders who inspire employees to stretch themselves to deliver results that surpass expectations. These are the Multipliers. And the world needs more of them, especially now, when leaders are expected to do more with less.

In this engaging and highly practical book, leadership expert Liz Wiseman and management consultant Greg McKeown explore these two leadership styles, persuasively showing how Multipliers can have a resoundingly positive and profitable effect on organizations—getting more done with fewer resources, developing and attracting talent, and cultivating new ideas and energy to drive organizational change and innovation.










6. Mood Matters: From Rising Skirt Lengths to the Collapse of World Powers

“Mood Matters” makes the radical assertion that all social events ranging from fashions in music and art to the rise and fall of civilizations are biased by the attitudes a society holds toward the future. When the “social mood” is positive and people look forward to the future, events of an entirely different character tend to occur than when society is pessimistic. The book presents many examples from every walk of life in support of this argument. In addition, methods are given to actually measure the social mood and to project it into the future in order to forecast what’s likely or not over varying periods of time. Casti’s writing is a pleasure to read and its contents an eye-opener. “They [the chapters] tell an engrossing story, and the mystery heightens as it goes. . . . it’s chatty and knowing.” Greg Benford, Physicist and science-fiction writer, author of “Timescape” and “Deep Time” “I am struck by how thought-provoking it all is. I am sure that your book will draw a lot of attention” Tor Norretranders, Science writer, author of “The Generous Man” and “The User Illusion”.


7. Rush: Why You Need and Love the Rat Race by Todd Buchholz

A former White House director of economic policy makes the outrageous argument that we don’t really want to relax-we want to compete.We think we will be happy when we have some downtime-when we can finally go on vacation, disconnect, shut down. But in this provocative book, Todd Buchholz will convince you that what you really want is to chase your tail-even if you never catch it.Weaving in everything from neuroeconomics to evolutionary biology to renaissance art to General Motors, Buchholz will convince you that the race to compete has not only made us taller and smarter, it’s what we love and need.

Among the book’s many counterintuitive takeaways are:
* Put off retirement-it can make you stupid.
* We all need to be control freaks.
* In-house competition is actually great for morale.
* Never let the ninth place team take home a trophy.


8. Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson

The rise to global predominance of Western civilization is the single most important historical phenomenon of the past five hundred years. All over the world, an astonishing proportion of people now work for Western-style companies, study at Western-style universities, vote for Western-style governments, take Western medicines, wear Western clothes, and even work Western hours. Yet six hundred years ago the petty kingdoms of Western Europe seemed unlikely to achieve much more than perpetual internecine warfare. It was Ming China or Ottoman Turkey that had the look of world civilizations. How did the West overtake its Eastern rivals? And has the zenith of Western power now passed?

In Civilization: The West and the Rest, bestselling author Niall Ferguson argues that, beginning in the fifteenth century, the West developed six powerful new concepts that the Rest lacked: competition, science, the rule of law, consumerism, modern medicine, and the work ethic. These were the “killer applications” that allowed the West to leap ahead of the Rest, opening global trade routes, exploiting newly discovered scientific laws, evolving a system of representative government, more than doubling life expectancy, unleashing the Industrial Revolution, and embracing a dynamic work ethic. Civilization shows just how fewer than a dozen Western empires came to control more than half of humanity and four fifths of the world economy.


9. The Change by Jaeyoon Kim

『더 체인지』는 삼성경제연구소의 기술산업실장인 저자가 거대 변화를 비즈니스로 해석하는 방법을 설명하고 이에 따라 도출한 3가지 신사업과 6가지 유망사업을 소개한 책이다. 저자가 신사업 성공의 비결로 제시하는 두 가지 조건은 변화의 결과가 아닌 원인을 짚을 것, 그리고 과감하게 발상을 전환할 것 두 가지다. 결국 변화를 아는 것이 중요한 게 아니라 맥락과 본질을 짚어 그 의미를 해석해야 하며 발상의 전환을 통해 기회를 잡아야 한다는 것이다. 이에 3가지 신사업으로 인구구조 변화에 대응한 헬스케어 사업, 도시화에 대응한 인프라스트럭처 사업, 기후변화에 대응한 신재생에너지 사업을 제시하고, 6가지 유망사업으로 인구구조 변화가 예고하는 에이징솔루션 사업, 1~2인 가구 대응 사업, 도시화가 예고하는 안(安) 비즈니스, 도심형 서비스업 등을 소개한다



10. 가끔은 제정신 by 허태균 인간은 자신이 원하는 것조차 착각할까?『가끔은 제정신』은 사회심리학자 허태균 교수가 우리가 흔히 하는 착각의 진실을 밝혀낸 심리서이다. 이 책에서는 인간이 애초부터 착각할 수밖에 없는 불완전한 존재임을 강조하며, 나는 사람 보는 눈이 있다는 착각, 나는 좋은 사람이라는 착각, 그 사람과 친하다는 착각, 우리는 하나라는 착각, 나는 처음부터 다 알고 있었다는 착각 등 우리가 알게 모르게 착각하고 있는 수많은 사실을 소개하고 있다. 우리가 언제 착각에 빠지는지, 왜 그렇게 말도 안 되는 착각을 하게 되는지, 나아가 착각을 어떻게 활용할 수 있는지 등 풍부한 사례와 심리학 이론을 바탕으로 설명하며, 착각을 피할 수 없다면 좀 더 행복한 착각에 빠지는 길을 친절하게 소개한다. 이 책을 통해 때로는 콩깍지로, 때로는 위로로, 때로는 독선과 편견으로 개인과 사회에 기능하는 착각의 다양한 모습들을 만나본다.  







  11세상 모든 전략은 전쟁에서 탄생했다 by 임용한명장의 전략과 전술에서 찾아낸 경영과 삶의 지혜!『세상 모든 전략은 전쟁에서 탄생했다』는 오랫동안 세계 각국의 전쟁사를 연구하고 실제로 답사를 통해 분석해온 임용한 박사가 전쟁 속 뛰어난 전략과 전술을 소개한 책이다. 기원전 490년의 마라톤 전투부터 1950년의 한국전쟁까지 고대와 현대의 전쟁을 아우르며 그 중에서도 역사를 바꾸고 전쟁의 원칙을 완전히 뒤집었던 전쟁과 전투 25건을 엄선했다. 이를 다섯 개의 카테고리로 나누어서, 굵직한 전략은 물론 전투에서 임기응변으로 일어난 전술들도 함께 살펴본다. 저자는 전쟁을 오랫동안 연구해오면서, 결국 전쟁도 일종의 경영임을 깨달았다고 한다. 그래서 전쟁 속에 숨은 전략과 전술들 가운데서 경영에 도입할 수 있는 전략적 사고, 과학적 사고, 도전과 혁신, 분석, 팀워크, 리더의 리더십에 관한 교훈들을 뽑아내 각 장의 말미에 소개했다.