Culture and Talent

What top finance execs are reading this fall

  • For many industry professionals, fall reading includes titles that offer a deeper understanding of the customer and help grow their leadership skills.
  • To better connect with their teams and customers, industry leaders are taking inspiration from other fields such as the hospitality industry and the military.

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What top finance execs are reading this fall

As fall approaches, finance industry leaders are cracking open books that give them a better idea of how human beings tick.

Tearsheet asked nine industry leaders for their fall book recommendations. Most are going beyond the obvious and learning from other industries on how to improve customer service, contribute to social good and get to the core of what motivates customer behavior.

“Team of Teams,” by General Stanley McChrystal 

“Many lessons learned from how you approach your business strategy; to how you approach teamwork and how the environment changes and you have to learn and adapt or you will be left behind on multiple fronts.” — Michelle Moore, head of digital banking, Bank of America

“Setting the Table,” by Danny Meyer

“It strikes me that a lot of financial institutions promise world-class relationship management and customer experience, but few (if any) actually deliver it. Danny Meyer created an empire in what is arguably the most competitive marketplace — NYC restaurants — by delivering on that promise. So much to learn from one of the masters.” — Dan Kimerling, head of API banking, Silicon Valley Bank

“Digital Gold,” by Nathaniel Popper

“I think it’s important to understand the history and the details around the technology so that you think about how it can be used and applied to real world use cases in the future. The book also does a great job at telling a complete history of a relatively new and fast moving topic.” — David Sica, partner, principal, Nyca Partners

“Screw Business as Usual,” by Richard Branson

“Although it was written in 2011, the concept that companies can do well by doing good is incredibly relevant today. There’s a massive generational shift occurring that is blurring the distinction between doing good and doing business – there shouldn’t have to be a tradeoff. The book highlights businesses large and small around the globe that are thriving by operating in an ethical and transparent manner while still achieving strong financial results.” — Melissa O’Malley, director of global initiatives, PayPal

“Let My People Go Surfing,” by Yvon Chouinard

“Chouinard’s philosophical approach to holistic business greatly influenced me, as I am a committed environmentalist myself. Upon reading that book, I arrived at my ‘aha’ moment and became convinced that profitability and values can co-exist within a business.” — Ken LaRoe, founder of First Green Bank

“Ogilvy on Advertising,” by David Ogilvy

“Full of insights, practical experience and written in plain English, this book taught me a ton about copywriting and marketing which have been critical as we grow CB Insights.” — Anand Sanwal, CEO of CB Insights

“Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War,” by Mary Roach

“Having a natural sense of curiosity and learning rigor, I like the fusion of applied science and important problem-solving as it relates to human endurance and safety. It reflects innovation and a willingness to assess problems from various diverse perspectives. I find the insights apply to leadership in the areas of incorporating data and information from multiple and uncommon inputs.”  — Mike Ott, president, U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management

“Hillbilly Elegy,” by J.D. Vance

“An eye opening memoir of life in Appalachia and a primer on the people of that region and how the decline of the steel and coal industries lead to wide-ranging hardship and challenges. This is an important book for anyone wanting to gain a better understanding of a large sector of the U.S. population and a market that many in the financial services sector directly or indirectly serve. Knowing your customer is more than filling out a KYC form.” — Ryan Gilbert, partner, Propel Venture Partners

“Twitter and Teargas: The Power and Fragility of Networked Protest,” by Zeynep Tufekci

“Tufekci provides deep insight into modern social movements and their use of social media in our changing world. As someone who specializes in banking services for social movement organizations…[it’s] bettered my own understanding of the challenges these movements are facing, and how we can face these challenges moving forward.” — Keith Mestrich, CEO, Amalgamated Bank


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