The Fourth of July is coming up which, if you're lucky, means you're currently daydreaming about a sun-drenched long weekend of relaxing days away from the chaos of regular life. You might also be wondering what to read on your getaway.
If you're hoping to feed your brain as you de-stress your soul, the Financial Times has got you covered. As part of the paper's "Best Books of the Summer" series, editor Andrew Hill has rounded up the season's most fascinating business books. Tuck them into your bag (or download them to your e-reader) and you'll actually manage to hone your business skills while you're stretched out on that sun lounger.
1. Machine, Platform, Crowd by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee
A follow-up to the authors' 2014 hit The Second Machine Age, the latest from the pair examines "artificial intelligence, big data and the sharing economy, advising leaders to entrust more decisions to machines," according to the FT.
2. The Wisdom of Finance by Mihir Desai
Desai is obviously not shy of a challenge as his book tackles the impossible-sounding task of humanizing high finance. The Harvard Business School economist uses literature, history and even comedy to illustrate "how dry-sounding theories of fiduciary responsibility, merger theory and leverage shed light on life and relationships, and vice versa," explains the FT.
The complete title alone is probably enough to sell someone looking for a thriller (that's secretly also educational) to take on vacation, but if you need more information, the FT describes it as "an absorbing account of the Libor rate-rigging scandal," and the uneven application of justice that followed it.
4. Faster, Higher, Farther: The Volkswagen Scandal by Jack Ewing
Another detailed account of a scandal that gripped the business world, Ewing's account "focuses on autocratic Ferdinand Piëch, who rose to become VW chief executive and chairman but resigned before the cheating burst into view," notes the FT.
5. Red Teaming by Bryce Hoffman
What can business leaders learn from the Israeli military and the Roman Catholic Church? The practice of "red teaming," also known as appointing a devil's advocate, suggests Hoffman in this book that promises to offer techniques to "take the smugness out of any organization."
Another extravagantly titled book about a financial caper and the detective work that led to its prosecution (are you starting to detect a theme here?). This one focuses on the insider trading case against Steve Cohen's former hedge fund SAC Capital that led to $1.8 billion in penalties.
In this one "Harvard Business School is taken to exhaustive task for taking the profitable low road to its position as the world's best-known educator of future leaders," says the FT.
8. The Upstarts by Brad Stone
Not all the titles on the FT list focus on misbehavior and scandal. This one from Silicon Valley journalist (and author of The Everything Store) Brad Stone chronicles the rise of Airbnb and Uber, outlining the keys to their success.
You don't even have to feel guilty about grabbing that page turner. A whole host of super achievers (as well as plenty of studies) attest to the fact that mixing some fiction into your reading diet will make you a better, smarter leader.
What books do you have in your beach bag this summer?