Words For the Wealthy: This Summers Critical Finance, Investment and Sustainable Business Reading List

This summer, many people will cozy around campfires, reflecting on the year that was, while dreaming longingly of a sustainable future. We will laugh vicariously at yesteryear's mistakes, jealously conspire against friends who whittled wealth from amidst the global economic collapse, while yearning for personal and professional financial security. Yet, rather than being overcome by despair, it is important to stay focused, plan, and prepare for the opportunities that tomorrow will surely bring. Emerging markets including China, Russia, India, and Africa, continue to blossom, stocks, bonds, and mutual funds show signs of recovery, and commodities continue to perform. As you prepare to navigate the financial battlefield, educate yourself by reading one or all of the critical finance, investment, and business books listed below. Take action, create change in your life, and empower yourself to create opportunity.

Every year, J.P. Morgan, polls thousands of bankers, analysts, academics, and experts to create lists of the best non-fiction finance & investment books available. After sorting through the thousands of titles, a carefully selected committee whittles down this list to a small handful of titles. These titles are meant to capture the essence of business, tackling the most obstreperous issues facing the business community globally, while providing enjoyment to readers, whether they be relaxing in the homes, vacationing with the family, or sipping Sangria at their Hampton estate. As you sit, and read these books, as well as others, be sure to keep a number of key principles in mind. Before beginning, make a commitment with yourself to confront 3 issues that challenge you personally and professionally. Remember, that reading is meant to help you identify and create opportunities. While you read, write down critical insights, highlight key points, and make notes directly on the text. After you're finished, remain diligent! Look for ways to put into practice everything that you have learned. Finally, once complete, share your books, and any information, with others. As Seth Godin once wrote, "the single best use of a business book is to help someone else." No matter what you do, share everything you read with others, and push those around you to take action. As Seth argues, "A book is a souvenir, a container, and a motivator. Hoarding books makes them worth less, not more. Effective managers hand books to their team. Not so they can be reminded of high school, but so that next week she can say to them, 'are we there yet?'"

After reviewing J.P. Morgan's top 10, and surveying the key topics captivating the global finance and investment community, I have created a concentrated list of this summers top finance, investment, and sustainable finance reads. Read together, these books provide insight into the relationship between uncertainty, probabilities, risk, and decision making. The books stress the importance of mindset, character, values, preparation, perseverance, passion, and qualities other than just talent which determine achievement and successful leadership. Many of these books discuss how exposure to the integrative power of strategic frameworks can be invaluable for individuals embarking on an educational, learning process focused, management journey, while providing insightful looks into the historical development of strategy as a management tool. Covey's book, a classic, discusses how management of your internal self is as critical to success as any management tool. Others, provide strong foundations that enable truly global thinking, exploring the complexities of acting ethically across borders, studying the dynamics of change, while providing perspective on the legal struggles many organizations face when working in international areas.

The Printing Revolution in Early Modern Europe by Elizabeth L. Eisenstein

Fool’s Gold: The Inside Story of J.P. Morgan and How Wall St. Greed Corrupted Its Bold Dream and Created a Financial Catastrophe By Gillian Tett

Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle by Dan Senor and Saul Singer

Mathletics: How Gamblers, Managers, and Sports Enthusiasts Use Mathematics in Baseball, Basketball, and Football
 by Wayne L. Winston

The Tyrannicide Brief: The Story of the Man Who Sent Charles I to the Scaffold by Geoffrey Robertson

Rome and Jerusalem: The Clash of Ancient Civilizations By Martin Goodman

On the Brink: Inside the Race to Stop the Collapse of the Global Financial System by Henry M. Paulson, Jr.

Life is What You Make It: Find Your Own Path to Fulfillment by Peter Buffett

Mark Twain: Man in White by Michael Shelden

BlackBerry: The Inside Story of Research in Motion by Rod McQueen

Pops: A Life of Louis Armstrong by Terry Teachout

Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century by Peter Galassi

Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas

Talent Is Never Enough by John C. Maxwell

The Lords of Strategy by Walter Kiechel III

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

The World Is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman 

Exit, Voice, and Loyalty: Responses to Decline in Firms, Organizations, and States by Albert O. Hirschman

From Higher Aims to Hired Hands: The Social Transformation of American Business Schools and the Unfulfilled Promise of Management as a Profession by Rakesh Khurana

Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View by Stanley Milgram

Thick and Thin: Moral Argument at Home and Abroad by Michael Walzer

Creating the Twentieth Century: Technical Innovations of 1867-1914 and Their Lasting Impact by Vaclav Smil

Energy at the Crossroads: Global Perspectives and Uncertainties by Vaclav Smil

The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That is Connecting the World by David Kirkpatrick

Written in Water: Messages of Hope for Earth’s Most Precious Resource by Irena Salina

Lords of Finance by Liqauat Ahamed