The 52 New Books That Top Business Leaders Are Recommending—and Why

Toward the end of every year, we reach out to the more than 2,700 journalists who work at Bloomberg and ask them to canvass the executives they cover in search of the best recently published books.

There was more overlap to the 52 books suggested here than in previous compilations: Four titles were recommended more than once, including How the World Really Works by Vaclav Smil, which was nominated by Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s deputy prime minister, and Olli Rehn, a governor of the Bank of Finland. American investor John Doerr’s action plan for solving the climate crisis, Speed & Scale, received nods from Olivia Albrecht, chief executive officer of carbon offset issuer Aspiration Partners Inc., and Axel Hefer, CEO of travel-related search engine Trivago NV.

Many of those who made recommendations, including Volkswagen AG CEO Oliver Blume, mentioned the overall global climate of political and economic uncertainty as a reason for picking something optimistic. In that vein, Debby Soo, CEO of OpenTable Inc., and Graduate Hotels CEO Ben Weprin suggested Unreasonable Hospitality by Will Guidara, former co-owner of three-Michelin-star restaurant Eleven Madison Park. “His case for giving people more than they expect is a business strategy that will uplevel any industry,” Soo says.

For the first time in years, we received no recommendations for any book about cryptocurrency—predictable, given recent news. Perhaps not coincidentally, no one suggested any paeans to the genius of Elon Musk, either.

Jim Casselberry

Co-founder and CEO, Known Holdings

The White Wall: How Big Finance Bankrupts Black America

By Emily Flitter

In experience after well-reported experience, this book examines the ways that our financial system has systematically neglected and exploited Black people. Vivid characters tell their stories, exposing behavior so appalling that even they had to struggle to believe “Was this happening to me?” The scope and breadth of the industry’s pervasive damaging culture, and the cost to communities and individuals, continue to be devastating.

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