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Volume 22 No. 23
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Summer Reading 2016

This summer we take a deeper dive into executives’ book lists, with a look at what they’re reading now as well as the classics that have shaped their lives and careers.

Bob DuPuy
Partner, Foley & Lardner;
former president and COO, MLB

What are you reading now?
“Zero K,” by Don DeLillo

Tell us about a recent favorite.
“A Constellation of Vital Phenomena,” by Anthony Marra
A beautifully written book that nonetheless underscores the ravages of war.
 
What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
“V.,”
by Thomas Pynchon
 

What book that you read as a young person has stuck with you?
“To Kill a Mockingbird,”
by Harper Lee
It made me want to become a lawyer. I read it again this year so I could read “Go Set a Watchman.” Distressingly, “To Kill a Mockingbird” maintains enormous relevance 56 years later.

What’s a business book you would recommend to everyone?
“The Lean Startup,”
by Eric Ries
Much more than a book about startups, it has management advice for every level of company.

Paper or digital? Or both?
Both, but primarily digital. So easy to travel with an entire library.

What’s next on your list?
“The English Spy,”
by Daniel Silva
“Purity,” by Jonathan Franzen
“American Pharoah,” by Joe Drape
“13.8,” by John Gribbin

Jac Sperling
Chairman and CEO, Grit Rock Ventures; managing member, Strategic Property Partners

What are you reading now?
“The House of Secrets,”
by Brad Meltzer
It’s a combination of historical fiction and international thriller, involving the relationship of George Washington and Benedict Arnold.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
Growing up in New Orleans, my sentimental favorite was “The Moviegoer,” by Walker Percy. He captures the effects in the ’60s of a radically changing South on the unique culture of New Orleans.

What book that you read as a young person has stuck with you?
“A Tale of Two Cities,”
by Charles Dickens

It’s a great story, and who can forget the famous opening passage which still captures our world today: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times …”

What’s a business book you would recommend to everyone?
“Grit,”
by Angela Duckworth
We all understand the critical importance of personal qualities in converting innate talent into success. She provides great insights in how to assess these personal qualities in others and ourselves.

Paper or digital? Or both?
Digital — the iPad is fabulous if you travel a lot and want to buy books on the spot. But I also enjoy wandering in bookstores.

What’s next on your list?
“Alexander Hamilton,”
by Ron Chernow
It’s the account from which the award-winning Broadway musical was based. Clearly, Hamilton was a more complex guy than we learned in American History classes. And his life story reinforces the point: Each of us can make a difference.

Rob King
Senior vice president of “SportsCenter” and news, ESPN

What are you reading now?
“The City of Mirrors,”
by Justin Cronin, the third installment of a trilogy (“The Passage,” “The Twelve”) that I genuinely never want to end.
 
Tell us about a recent favorite.
As an avowed comic book/sci-fi geek, I really enjoyed “Ready Player One,” by Ernest Cline. Looking forward to Steven Spielberg’s film version.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
It’s a tie: “The Paperboy,” by Pete Dexter, and Walter Mosley’s “A Red Death.”
 
What book that you read as a young person has stuck with you?
“Sinbad and Me,”
by Kin Platt
A boy and his dog and an ingenious mystery. My preteen is reading it now and loving it.

What’s a business book you would recommend to everyone?
“Creativity, Inc.,”
by Ed Catmull
It’s equal parts the history of Pixar and a treatise on fostering a culture of creativity.
 
Paper or digital? Or both?
Both. Audio, too!
 
What’s next on your list?
“The Fireman,”
by Joe Hill
By the way, Hill is not his given surname. His real last name is actually amazingly cool.

Tobias Sherman
Global head of esports, WME-IMG

What are you reading now?
“Players,”
by Matthew Futterman
The book discusses how Mark McCormack felt sports stars were undervalued (much like we see in esports today). McCormack convinced Arnold Palmer to sign with him and that was really the beginning of a sports industry revolution. This really hits home for me as the parallels in esports are strikingly similar, also the fact that IMG ended up acquiring my company AND my grandfather was good friends with Arnold Palmer and shares a place in the Tri-State PGA Hall of Fame with him.

Tell us about a recent favorite.
“The Real George Washington,”
by Jay Parry and Andrew Allison
This book really brings George Washington to life and highlights his trials and tribulations as he faced what seemed to be insurmountable odds at times. Bravery, selflessness and the ability to inspire were all traits that George Washington had in spades. Traits severely lacking in today’s political roster.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read?
100%, Homer’s “Odyssey”

A great example of how an amazing tale can span generations and still be both relevant and entertaining. Technology, culture, and environments may change and evolve, but people seem to be doomed to continually live out the themes of the book, such as war, lust and betrayal, indicating that history truly does repeat itself.
 
What book that you read as a young person has stuck with you?
I actually have two standouts here: “The Hobbit,” by J.R.R. Tolkien, and “To Kill a Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee
Both books had a big impact on me despite being vastly different.

What’s a business book you would recommend to everyone?
“How to Win Friends and Influence People,”
by Dale Carnegie
Classic must-read to help establish fundamentals necessary to be successful.
 
Paper or digital? Or both?
Both. You have to have the classics on paper. Also, there’s nothing sexier than a library in your house (especially if there’s a ladder). Digital’s great but this internet thing is a fad.

What’s next on your list?
I have two (again). “Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success,” by Steve Harvey, and “Tell to Win,” by Peter Guber