From stories of star athletes Arnold Palmer, Keith Hernandez and Tiger Woods to advice from entrepreneurs Ray Dalio, John Doerr, Phil Knight and Nathalie Molina Niño, plus strategies to help business leaders in general, and female dealmakers in particular, the 15 books on Mergers & Acquisitions’ summer reading list entertain, instruct and inspire.
1. Take me out to the ball game
I’m Keith Hernandez
Keith Hernandez (Hachette Book Group, 2018)
From beating Pete Rose for the 1979 National League batting title to appearing on TV’s Seinfield, Keith Hernandez recalls career highlights. Hernandez, who played first base as a member of the 1986 New York Mets World Series team, “accurately describes the grit, dedication, and perseverance it takes to become one of baseball’s greats,” writes Alex Rodriguez, the retired New York Yankees third baseman and current TV analyst, who idolized Hernandez while growing up.
2. Golf tales
Homespun Stories of The King
Chris Rodell (Triumph Books, 2018)
Based on 20 years of interviews with friends, players and commentators, journalist Chris Rodell provides insight into the life and career of golf legend Arnold Palmer, whose nickname was The King. As television viewing grew in the 1950s and 1960s, Palmer’s charisma and down-to-earth style helped popularize the sport, and his humble background (his father was the head greenskeeper at the Latrobe Country Club in Latrobe, Pennsylvania) helped change the image of golf as a sport only for the rich to one accessible to the middle and working classes.
3. What makes Tiger tick
Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian (Simon & Schuster, 2018)
Much has been written about the professional and personal life of golf phenom Tiger Woods since he became the youngest player to win the Masters Tournament in 1997, but journalists Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian say they have unearthed new details, based on interviews with 250 people, including coaches, former girlfriends and a former attorney. Critics seem to agree. “The authors have laid out a saga that is part myth, part Shakespeare, part Jackie Collins,” says the Wall Street Journal reviewer. “The book features fresh reporting on almost every significant element of Woods’ story,” says Golf Digest. “It is a book brimming with revealing details.”
4. Venture capital insights
Measure What Matters
How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
John Doerr (Penguin Random House, 2017)
Legendary venture capitalist John Doerr of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers reveals how the goal-setting system of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) has aided such tech giants as Intel and Google achieve explosive growth, and how it can help any organization do the same. Doerr, who started his career at Intel and joined KPCS in 1980, has backed some of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs, including Google’s Eric Schmidt and Larry Page, and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.
5. Truths and transparencies
Life and Work
Ray Dalio (Simon & Schuster, 2017)
Ray Dalio, the founder of Bridgewater Associates, the world’s largest hedge fund, shares the unconventional principles that he's developed, refined, and used over the past 40 years to create unique results in both life and business. He claims any person or organization can adopt these techniques, such as providing honest feedback and recording meetings to analyze later.
6. Just doing it
A memoir by the Creator of Nike
Phil Knight (Simon & Schuster, 2016)
Entrepreneur Phil Knight looks back on building Nike, the company he named after the Greek Goddess of Victory. Knight recalls how he went from selling shoes out of his car while a track team member at the University of Oregon to creating the Air Jordan brand for basketball shooting star Michael Jordan, who won six championships with the Chicago Bulls.
7. Advice for female entrepreneurs
The New Revolution for Women Entrepreneurs
Nathalie Molina Niño (Penguin Random House, 2018)
Entrepreneur and investor Nathalie Molina Niño, who launched her first tech startup at the age of 20, shares tips for female entrepreneurs. Niño recently founded Brava Investments, which “aims to create a billion-dollar portfolio from scratch by bankrolling start-ups on one condition: The businesses must disproportionately benefit women,” says The Washington Post.
8. Woman’s guide to making more
Secrets of Six-Figure Women
Surprising Strategies to Up Your Earnings and Change Your Life
Barbara Stanny (HarperCollins, 2017)
Based on interviews with 150 female high earners, author and wealth coach Barbara Stanny provides strategies and tips designed to help women raise their incomes. Stanny encourages women to “toughen up,” not take rejection personally and seek advice from other female executives.
9. Advice for women in business
How Women Rise
Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back from Your Next Raise, Promotion or Job
Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith (Hachette Book Group, 2018)
Leadership experts Sally Helgesen and Marshall Goldsmith discuss how women can overcome roadblocks to advance their careers, including networking and paying attention to details, and how to avoid falling into habits that helped them early in their careers, but might hold them back later on.
10. How to make your next meeting better
The Art of Gathering
How We Meet and Why it Matters
Priya Parker (Penguin Random House, 2018)
Simple changes, such as focusing on people, can make group experiences more meaningful, argues author Priya Parker, who helps activists, elected officials, corporate executives, educators, and philanthropists create more impactful gatherings.
11. Executive advice
The 4 Behaviors that Transform Ordinary People into World-Class Leaders
Elena Botelho and Kim Powell (Penguin Random House, 2018)
Most chief executives didn’t plan on becoming leaders until later in their careers, and only a fraction graduated from Ivy League schools. Here’s advice on how to rise to the top by overcoming hidden handicaps and dodging the five hazards that most commonly derail those promoted into a new role.
12. Leadership tips
Mind Tools for Managers
100 ways to be a Better Boss
James Manktelow and Julian Birkinshaw (John Wiley & Sons, 2018)
Based on a survey of 15,000 professionals, this guide provides tools and tips on how to become a better leader and manager.
13. Cautionary tale
The People and Forces Behind America’s Fifty-Year Fall and Those Fighting to Reverse It
Steven Brill (Penguin Random House, 2018)
The founder of American Lawyer and Court TV Steven Brill argues that America’s healthcare system, education system and infrastructure are behind most other countries, and warns that democracy is in peril.
14. Closing time
An American Story
Amy Goldstein (Simon & Schuster, 2017)
Washington Post reporter Amy Goldstein examines what happened when General Motors shut down an assembly plant in Janesville, Wisconsin, two days before Christmas 2008. Janesville is the hometown of House Speaker Paul Ryan (R: WI) and was a stop on the 2008 presidential campaign tour of Barack Obama. The book details how the whole community was affected by the plant closing, with workers scrambling to feed their families while trying to learn new skills and launch new ways of earning a living.
15. Crunching numbers
Numbers and the Making of Us
Counting and the Course of Human Cultures
Caleb Everett (Harvard University Press, 2017)
Numbers are a “creation of the human mind,” a tool like the wheel, developed and refined over millennia, argues anthropologist Caleb Everett. He “buttresses his argument with an impressive array of studies from different fields,” writes the Wall Street Journal reviewer. “It all adds up to a powerful and convincing case for Mr. Everett’s main thesis: that numbers are neither natural nor innate to humans but ‘a creation of the human mind, a cognitive invention that has altered forever how we see and distinguish quantities.’ His argument that numbers played a crucial role in the development of agriculture and the complex societies it supported is equally persuasive.”