A Summer Reading List Every Dealmaker Should Explore

Five perfect reads for those lazy summer afternoons

27 July 2018


Summertime is that special season when temperatures soar, barbeques are abundant and life is just a bit easier. If you’re lucky, the pace of work slows down so you can enjoy time to rejuvenate by the beach or pool with family and friends. 

With the prospect of downtime hopefully in your future this summer, a good book will be in order. We asked Melissa A. Schilling, a professor at NYU and author of Quirky: The Remarkable Story of the Traits, Foibles, and Genius of Breakthrough Innovators Who Changed the World (PublicAffairs, 2018), to recommend a selection of books.

Widely regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on innovation, Schilling’s Quirky is the byproduct of six years of research on serial innovators. The Financial Times described her book as “an entertaining and enlightening romp through the lives of eight ‘breakthrough innovators,’ exploring their remarkable abilities, personalities and motives.”

Whether you’re trekking to an exotic tropical locale or enjoying an easygoing staycation, these books are must-reads for time-starved but insight-hungry dealmakers such as yourself. 

1. Clean Meat by Paul Shapiro. This book blew me away on two levels. First, it shows how the global food supply chain is about to be massively disrupted in ways that most people can’t even imagine. Any manager in, or connected to, the food industry needs to get out ahead of this curve, or they will be washed away by the technological change underway. Second, I found the book incredibly inspiring by how it shows us we can have a kinder and healthier relationship with animals and the natural environment.

2. Abundance by Peter H. Diamandis and Steven Kotler. This book has been out a couple of years but if you haven’t read it yet, you should. It shows how self-reinforcing effects and exponential growth curves in a wide range of processes are affecting our world, including data, artificial intelligence, health technology and more.

3. Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance. You may think you know a lot about Elon Musk, but if you haven’t read this book, you probably don’t know nearly as much as you think you do. This story is so mind-blowing and inspiring — it offers a huge lesson on how we can achieve what others say is impossible.

4. Freek Vermeulen’s Business Exposed or Breaking Bad Habits. Vermeulen has a knack for spotting where our perceptions and assumptions have led us astray. With a dry and witty writing style, he uses entertaining stories to teach us lessons about how to rethink our strategies and the workplace. 

5. The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. Listen to this one on audiobook; the print version is somewhat hard to read because of the way English has changed over time. It’s a short book — it won't take long to listen to — and you will glean some timeless lessons about persuading others, courage and resilience. 

Melissa A. Schilling

Melissa A. Schilling

Melissa A. Schilling is the John Herzog Family professor of management and organizations at New York University’s Stern School of Business, and one of the world’s leading experts on innovation. Her book Quirky: The Remarkable Story of the Traits, Foibles, and Genius of Breakthrough Innovators Who Changed the World is now available in hardcover, ebook, and audiobook.

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