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Top Execs’ Summer Reading Picks

Top Execs' Summer Reading Picks - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Anne Altman, IBM

You’ve packed your bags, you’re ready for your big trip. But wait, what about a book? Summer and reading go hand in hand. “There’s a temperate zone in the mind … between laziness and labor, that summer reading belongs,” is how someone once put it. So, with summer just around the corner, here’s a round-up of some of the titles that leading executives from around the Beltway will be reading both poolside and at the office:

Anne Altman’s Picks

Anne Altman, IBM
Anne Altman, IBM
  1. Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas L. Friedman
    “While I have skimmed Tom Friedman’s most recent book, I intend to read it thoroughly!”
  2. Friendly Fire by A.B. Yehoshua
    “Yehoshua is a great Israeli novelist whose characters are so interesting.”
  3. Pipeline by Peter Schechter
    “This international thriller came out in March, and it’s definitely on my stack for the summer.”

Mac Curtis’ Picks

Mac Curtis, Vangent
Mac Curtis, Vangent
  1. The Forever War by Dexter Filkins
    “This book is written by a long-time foreign news correspondent for The New York Times who does a superb job of describing why the United States is fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.“
  2. The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss
    “It's a well-written novel about the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794 and the nation's first “˜sin tax' on whiskey distillers that eventually led to the creation of our federal banking system.“

Bill Dean’s Picks

Bill Dean, MC Dean
Bill Dean, MC Dean
  1. The Ruin of the Roman Empire by James J. O’Donnell
    “Too many priests and lawyers, not enough barbarians.”
  2. Internal Combustion by Edwin Black
    “How different the world might have been “” and still could be “” if we focus on CO vs. CO2”
  3. The Power of Productivity: Wealth, Poverty and the Threat to Global Stability by William W. Lewis
    “The source of all gains in prosperity.”

Joe Doherty’s Picks

Joe Doherty, ACS
Joe Doherty, ACS
  1. Beyond Booked Solid, by Michael Port
    “Port advises on big thinking and strategies to take your business to the next level.”
  2. There's No Elevator to the Top by Umesh Ramakrishnan
    “One way to learn from the best, with stories and guidance from successful CEOs on leadership and managing in tough times.”
  3. The Strategy Paradox by Michael E. Raynor
    “Does more strategy lead to less success? Raynor looks at handling change and managing risk.”
  4. The Bourne Sanction by Eric Van Lustbader
    “Nothing like a cool thriller for a hot summer afternoon. Will Jason Bourne save the day?”

Ted Leonsis’ Picks

Ted Leonsis
Ted Leonsis
  1. The Science of Fear by Daniel Gardner
    “We live in a risk managed society, we have irrational fears. You can rise above the noise, face your fears, be brave and prosper. A great read “” insightful and informative.”
  2. The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb
    “On second thought, be afraid “”  be very afraid “” nothing you can plan on will happen. Something you don’t even consider will change your world. Stop planning! It doesn’t matter! The end is near “” I just don’t know when it is! The sky is falling, the sky is falling …”

Andy Maner’s Picks

Andy Maner, NISC
Andy Maner, NISC
  1. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin
    “There is no better subject matter than Abraham Lincoln, his leadership and decision making are a great constant historic companion for executives in any line of work.  She is a detailed storyteller who brings it all to life.”
  2. The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan
    “One of the best books I have read in many years, a life-story for people firmly in the middle age of life. Can get through it in hours and it will make you laugh.”
  3. Ark Angel by Anthony Horowitz (Alex Rider series)
    “Reading this with my nine-year-old son for a book club. Business books are always a good read, but picking a book to share with a child and talking about it is something you can't beat!”

Stan Sloane’s Picks

Stan Sloane, SRA
Stan Sloane, SRA
  1. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
    “It drives home the point that success is more about hard work than innate talent.”
  2. How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer
    “I always like things on how the human brain works and how that’s relevant to business.”
  3. For a third recommendation, I’d say look to the classics. Friedman’s books on globalization are interesting to read in view of the current global economic situation.
  4. Then there’s the “great” management thinkers and theorists: Taylor, McGregor, Drucker, et al.

Ted Davies’ Picks

Ted Davies, Unisys
Ted Davies, Unisys
  1. Break All the Rules by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
    “This has been one of the most important business books I have ever read. I continue to come back to it as I encounter new challenges and it helps me to stay focused on what I consider the most important aspect of managing a professional services firm“”the people.”
  2. The Nature of Leadership by Stephen Covey, Roger Merrill and Dewitt Jones
    “I came across this one because of Dewitt Jones' inspirational video, ‘Celebrate What's Right with the World.’ This book, as well as the rest of Jones' work, helps to remind us … to look for what is best in [one’s] team and in [one’s] business, while always being realistic about what needs to be done.”
  3. The Shack by William P. Young
    “This fascinating book explores spiritual and emotional issues in a unique way.  It really makes you stop and think about things that you might take for granted in your life.”
  4. The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
    “This one is kind of a beach read by one of my favorite authors.  It's a compelling story with engaging characters.  You should probably save it for vacation, though, because you won't want to put it down.”

What would you add to the list? Share your comments here.

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