Russell Summer Reads

31 July 2019 | Blog Post

The summer is upon us. For many, it will be a chance to catch some sun and enjoy a well-earned rest. Yet, for many, it will be an opportunity to catch up on some reading.

While there are numerous recommendations for summer reading (including Bill Gates), we at Russell Group have brought together some of our own recommendations.


Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
This book has appeared on every best of the year list and in every shop window across multiple continents for a reason. In a sweeping narrative that covers the dawn of man until the near-distant future, Harari presents the case for why humanity has succeeded.

Humanity in his words has a capacity for co-operation which has made it succeed over other species. A lesson which we all could learn from in these tumultuous times.

Black Box Thinking: The Surprising Truth About Success by Matthew Syed
What do James Dyson, Michael Jordan and Google have in common? They are all “black-box thinkers”, they are not afraid of failures and see mistakes as a learning path to success. Weaving together numerous case-studies and expert analysis, Matthew Syed of The Times puts together a strong case for all of us to embrace black-box thinking.

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles
This excellent and witty story tells the story of Count Alexander Rostov, who is placed under house arrest in the Hotel Metropol in the aftermath of the Russian Revolution.

While the Count forges new friendships, both young and old, within the hotel, the tumultuous upheaval of Revolutionary Russia soon makes its presence felt. President Barack Obama and Bill Gates are fans.

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou
This is for fans of The Big Short. This superb book, penned by the Wall Street Journal reporter who blew the story, charts the rise and fall of Theranos and its founder Elizabeth Holmes. At its peak, Theranos was valued at $4.7 billion and Holmes was dubbed the “female Steve Jobs”. 

So, what happened? Well, Theranos was hiding a secret: the technology didn’t work.


The People Vs Tech: How the internet is killing democracy (and how we save it) by Jamie Bartlett
Tech has radically changed the way we live our lives. But have we unwittingly handed too much away to shadowy powers behind a wall of code, all manipulated by a handful of Silicon Valley utopians, ad men, and venture capitalists?

And, in light of recent data breach scandals around companies like Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, what does that mean for democracy, our delicately balanced system of government that was created long before big data, total information and artificial intelligence?

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
What would you do if society’s most brilliant minds started to mysteriously disappear?  In this epic novel, by the mastermind behind the “Objectivism” system, Russian-born Ayn Rand narrates the tale of a female executive, who feels like she is swimming against the tide as the railroad that she runs falls victim to government coercion.

In these politically turbulent times, this classic with its views on reason, individualism and capitalism has never been so contemporary.

 
Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE by Phil Knight
What does it take to build a business empire in today’s world? In this personal memoir, Knight makes it clear that it takes far more than just a “crazy idea” to achieve success.

Knight’s inspirational story which takes us from his morning runs in freezing Portland, Oregon to the establishment of his global empire teaches us about the power of resilience and perseverance. Qualities that are needed now more than ever in today’s polarised and increasingly short-term focused society.


Further Reading Suggestions

How geopolitics is disrupting global trade



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