Summer reading: 10 transformative books about business

Summer reading doesn’t have to be limited to trashy novels; sharpen your business thinking with these books recommend by the experts at the University of Maryland’s business school: left to right, “Pitch Perfect,” “The Bet,” “Are you Fully Charged?”, “The Emperor of All Maladies,” and “Work Rules!”.CREDIT: Handout photos.)

Summer reading doesn’t have to be limited to trashy novels. Download one of these books to your e-reader at the suggestion of the experts at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business and sharpen your business thinking. Who knows, it might help you build your own venture or get ahead in your job.

1. “Pitch Perfect: How to Say It Right the First Time, Every Time,” by Bill McGowan with Alisa Bowman (2014)

“Sound and engaging advice on how to be ‘pitch-perfect’_i.e., more effective at communicating across a variety of common career-related circumstances. Readers will find many helpful hints aligned with his seven principles of persuasion.”

— Kathryn Bartol, professor of management and organization

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2. “The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble over Earth’s Future,” by Paul Sabin (2014)

“Paul Ehrlich, who focused on the limits of natural resources and economic growth, and Julian Simon, who felt that market forces and innovation would overcome any potential shortages, agreed to a wager in 1980 regarding whether the prices of a set of natural resources would go up or down over the next decade. Julian (Smith School faculty from 1983 until his passing in 1998) won the bet. Innovations such as oil and natural gas fracking continue to support his views.”

— Curt Grimm, professor and Charles A. Taff Chair of Economics and Strategy

3. “Are You Fully Charged?: The 3 Keys to Energizing Your Work and Life,” by Tom Rath (2015)

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“Rath describes three aspects (meaning, social interactions and energy) that we all need to enhance, and provides suggestions for how to do that. In 2013, he published ‘Eat, Move, Sleep: How small choices lead to big changes,’ which describes in practical ways to enhance your overall health and well-being. The premise of both of these books is that the daily actions you take are what define your health, wellness, energy and engagement.”

— Joyce E.A. Russell, vice dean

4. “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,” by Siddhartha Mukherjee (2011)

“A fascinating account of the societal and technical evolution of a cure for cancer. The book provides a detailed and rich account of the progress of science and the research enterprise — and how social forces, government policy and pure serendipity affect the search for truth.”

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— Ritu Agarwal, professor and Dean’s Chair of Information Systems

5. “Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead,” by Laszlo Bock (2015)

“Written by Bock, senior vice president of Google’s People Operations, this is a must-read business book for any leader who wants to bring out the best in their employees and build successful high performing organization. It is an evidence-based practical guide for effective approaches to recruiting, motivating, leading, training, assessing and compensating people.”

— Mark Wellman, clinical professor of management and organization

6. “The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion,” by Jonathan Haidt (2013)

“It is not often that a book changes one’s mind about how to view right and wrong, and why good people disagree about what is right. This book is the first reasonable explanation I have found of why the capitalist/progressive right/left dialogue is so acrimonious. Whether you align left, right or somewhere in between, do not read this book if you wish to remain smug in your own positions.”

— Brent Goldfarb, associate professor of management and organization

7. “Berkshire Beyond Buffett: The Enduring Value of Values,” by Lawrence A. Cunningham (2014)

“The central theme of this book is that the culture instilled within Berkshire, along with its outstanding financial performance over the past 50 years under the leadership of Mr. Buffett, should continue long after the octogenarian (age 84) is no longer the chief executive. The unique management structure within Berkshire, providing substantial autonomy to each of its subsidiaries, has resulted in owners of previously privately held businesses remaining in place as managers after they sell their firms to Berkshire. This book is highly recommended for anyone wishing to gain insight into both the management and investment skills of the world’s greatest investor, Warren Buffett.”

— David Kass, clinical professor of finance

8. “The New One Minute Manager,” by Ken Blanchard and Johnson Spencer (2015)

“In this rapidly changing world, is an effective manager one who focuses on results or people? A young man’s search for an effective manager finally leads him to one in a nearby town, and he discovers the manager’s three very practical secrets: one-minute goals, one-minute praisings and one-minute re-directs. The theme of these secrets is captured in the manager’s screensaver statement: ‘People who feel good about themselves produce good results.’ This book is a must re-read and the lessons therein are applicable both inside and outside the workplace.”

— Frank Alt, associate professor of management science and statistics

9. “Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread — The Lessons from a New Science,” by Alex “Sandy” Pentland (2014)

“Pentland takes a look at the new world of understanding how we can model social behavior and understand social changes through big data. These tools will enable a new wave of predictive analytics to help businesses better understand changes in their consumer base. He also details the benefits and potential pitfalls of the big data movement, and calls for a ‘New Deal on Data’ that guarantees to consumers that their data will be used responsibly.”

— Bill Rand, assistant professor of marketing

10. “More Than You Know: Finding Financial Wisdom in Unconventional Places,” by Michael J. Mauboussin (2007)

“Mauboussin looks at the strategies of super-investors like Warren Buffett, along with the strategies of top poker players, ant colonies and Tupperware salespeople. While aimed at professional investors, the book looks at investing philosophies, the psychology behind investing and how scientific methods can apply to investing. He takes a multidisciplinary approach to finance, bringing in biology, physics, economics and the arts.”

— Susan White, clinical professor of finance