For many of us, the next few weeks will bring terrible weather, long nights, and less to do at work. What better time of year to catch up on your reading?
If you already have an unconquerable stack of titles to check out this holiday season, then curl up and dive in. But if you're looking for reading inspiration from a host of super smart, business-savvy book enthusiasts, then Stanford Graduate School of Business is here to help.
Recently, a long list of professors from one of the country's most respected MBA programs offered their suggestions for those hoping to fill their holiday downtime (and their minds) with great books. Here are some of the less niche reads you might want to check out.
This recommendation comes from finance professor Anat Admati, who says: "Economists tend to think that beliefs and behavior are guided by incentives and rational processing of information, but I know that there is more to it than this simple model, and that other disciplines have much to say. Neuroscience can provide useful insights -- such as why economists believe and act on the basis of narrow and sometimes flawed models."
This is an obvious choice for any current or would-be entrepreneur. "A fascinating inside look at the early days and scale-ups of Uber and Airbnb. Stone has great access," notes professor Glenn Carroll, who recommends you add it to your holiday reading list.
3. Oathbringer: Book Three of the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson
"I love reading fantasy novels for their creative insights into alternative ways in which human societies and even interpersonal interactions can be structured. Brandon Sanderson is one of the best at creating unique, complex, thought-provoking worlds," claims organizational behavior professor Lindred L. Greer. He's far from the only business leader who believes that great sci-fi can push us to think deeply about real-world technology and innovation.
4. The Book of Separation: A Memoir by Tova Mirvis
Marketing professor Szu-chi Huang has a suggestion for those looking to find the courage to reinvent themselves in the coming year: "This book is a memoir about a woman who left her religion, her upbringing, and her whole community behind in order to pursue her own truth and herself. I picked this book because I want to learn from her courage and compassion."
5. I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
Not every faculty member at Stanford is ploughing through a weighty tome on a serious subject this holiday season. Instead, Margaret Neale is enjoying this "awesome and engaging thriller (that grabs the reader from the start) about a spy who wants to lead a 'normal' life. Lucky for us, he does not get his wish. Make sure you buy a hard copy of this work, as you will want to pass it along to your friends when you are done."
6. The Denial of Death by Ernest Becker
If you're not afraid of facing the really difficult -- and really meaningful -- questions over your holiday break, professor Jeffrey Pfeffer suggests this title: "It's an old book that won the Pulitzer Prize in 1974. Social psychologists built terror-management theory on Becker's insights: 'The basic motivation for human behavior is our biological need to control our basic anxiety, to deny the terror of death.' Out of this comes narcissism, heroics (both false and real), and many artefacts of contemporary culture and life."
7. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson
Are you taking a long plane trip this holiday? If so, management professor Seenu Srinivasan says you should pack deGrasse Tyson's new book. "I think it is wonderful to learn a bit more about the cosmos. I enjoyed reading it on a long flight from the U.S. to India," he reports.
8. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Another novel, entrepreneurship professor Stefanos Zenios received this one as a Father's Day present. "Great book about resilience and finding peace in the midst of adversity. You can never go wrong with a book that has a famous mathematical constant in its title," he enthuses.