This story was compiled by Elizabeth Karier, with reports from Richard Baert, Hazel Bradford, James Comtois, Meaghan Kilroy, Rob Kozlowski and Robert Steyer.
History, personal and business development, and finance are at the top of the summer reading lists of some Pensions & Investments' readers.
But if you fear the summer book bag might get too heavy, don't worry. It holds a smattering of sports, mystery and nostalgia, as well.
Several of the must-read books combine history with finance, or intrigue: “The Richest Man Who Ever Lived: The Life and Times of Jacob Fugger”; “The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance”; and “Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice,” the story of Bill Browder and Hermitage Capital in Russia.
Domonkos L. Koltai, a partner and co-founder of investment bank PL Advisors, New York, who is reading the story of Mr. Fugger, said of the biography of a late-medieval banker: “I ... love a good biography of unknown but important historical characters.”
The summer reading of Mansco Perry III, executive director and chief investment officer at the Minnesota State Board of Investment, St. Paul, reflects his love of history. It includes “Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” and “Bricks Without Straw” by Albion Winegar Tourgee, written in the late 1800s, about life in the American South during the end of Reconstruction. Also on his list is “Looking Backward: 2000-1887”; a utopian tale of what life would be like in the year 2000 that was written in the late 1800s.
“Team of Rivals” also made the list of Ronald O'Hanley, president and CEO of State Street Global Advisors, Chicago, who called it the “best book on leadership ever ... the best business book ever written, though it is not about business. If ever one wants to learn how to put in place a diverse, effective leadership team, study Lincoln.”
Leadership combines with history in several of the books on this summer's list. In addition to Abraham Lincoln, books on Barack Obama, Calvin Coolidge and George H.W. Bush made the list.
Edmund F. Murphy III, president, Empower Retirement, Greenwood Village, Colo., is reading “Destiny and Power: The American Odyssey of George Herbert Walker Bush” by Jon Meacham. “There are two themes at work in this book that are of interest,” Mr. Murphy said in an e-mail. “The first, contemporary American history, is a favorite because many of the issues are still relevant and still playing out in headlines every day. The second theme is leadership, which I believe is a learned and developed trait. ... Meacham is a master whose work I've enjoyed in the past. He captures Bush very well in this book.”
Michael Walden-Newman, state investment officer at the Nebraska Investment Council, Lincoln, is reading “Witness to the Revolution: Radicals, Resisters, Vets, Hippies, and the Year America Lost Its Mind and Found Its Soul.”
Mr. Walden-Newman said the book “covers 1969-'70. That was the year I realized that there was something to the broader world besides my nice hometown. It was like I suddenly woke up and needed to get out of bed, get out of the house, get out of town and go grab a piece of everything! Turns out I had to graduate from high school first.”
Kourtney Ratliff Gibson, president and partner, Loop Capital Markets LLC, Chicago, has two books on her to-read list this summer - “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz, a personal development book based on Toltec wisdom; and “The Power of Less: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Essential” by Leo Babauta.
Mr. Ruiz's book “is totally non-financial. It gives a guide to help put your life in balance, to put things in perspective,” Ms. Ratliff Gibson said. Meanwhile, “The Power of Less” is about “limiting and prioritizing what's important ... giving yourself the structure to achieve what it is you really want to do,” she said.
Staying up on trends that clients might be experiencing, Marina Edwards, senior consultant, benefits advisory an compliance with Willis Towers Watson, Chicago, said she is reading “The Future of Work — Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization” by Jacob Morgan. “It's one thing to feel change happening around us, it's another to read about it and think about change innovatively for different corporate clients — very exciting.”
She added that this is typical reading for her: “I try to read a couple of business innovation books each year.”
Also reading job-related books — “How to Make Money in Stocks” by William O'Neil — is David Fischer, executive director of the New York State Deferred Compensation Plan, Albany. “It's about a form of technical analysis in stock picking that includes some consideration for fundamentals,” Mr. Fischer said. “I like to read about finance and science,” he added, noting his favorite author is Peter Lynch, the former manager of Fidelity's Magellan Fund.
Vijoy Chattergy, chief investment officer of the Hawaii Employees' Retirement System, Honolulu, tends to pick up broad economic or history books in the summer.
This year Mr. Chattergy is reading Andrew Ang's book on factor investing, “Asset Management: A Systematic Approach to Factor Investing” and Steven Hill's book “Raw Deal” on the sharing economy.
Mr. Chattergy, who can be found reading outside of his children's jiu jitsu classes, said he'll supplement his finance reading “KaPunahou,” a book of short essays celebrating the 175th anniversary of his high school, Punahou, in Honolulu. (Punahou is also the alma mater of President Barack Obama.)
Global issues also are in readers' minds and book lists.
Stephen Potter, president of Northern Trust Asset Management, Chicago, is planning to read “Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers” by Simon Winchester. “The book addresses geographic, geological, political, social, commercial and historical issues which bring new insights,” Mr. Potter said.
And Mr. O'Hanley is targeting “The Rise and Fall of American Growth: The U.S. Standard of Living Since the Civil War” by Robert J. Gordon.
“Gordon's thesis is that the 1870-1970 period saw advances that are largely unrepeatable and, therefore, growth in economic activity will remain muted,” Mr. O'Hanley said in an e-mail. “Industry commentators all speak of lower for longer without any kind of empirical notion of why. Gordon provides a very plausible rationale that should make all sit up and ponder "what's next.'”
But it is summer, and for many that means America's pastime. Minnesota's Mr. Perry is planning to read “American Baseball, Vol. 2: From the Commissioners to Continental Expansion” — that's “the fun one” on his book list.
David Barret, founder of executive recruiting firm David Barrett Partners, New York, is reading “Munson: The Life and Death of a Yankee Captain” — “you need to see my office to understand,” he said.
Northern Trust's Mr. Potter is reading “The Legends Club: Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Valvano and an Epic College Basketball Rivalry.” It chronicles the “rivalry and deep respect” between the coaches of the University of North Carolina, Duke University and North Carolina State University, respectively, in the early 1980s, Mr. Potter said.
As a Duke alum, Mr. Potter is a fan of Blue Devil basketball — “I am a Cameron Crazy,” he said, in reference to Duke's home court, Cameron Indoor Stadium.
If suspense and mystery are more to your liking for a summer read, you can join Rob Austin, director of retirement research at Aon Hewitt in Charlotte, N.C., and pick up “Before the Fall” by Noah Hawley. “Early reviews are saying this is a good book,” he said. “I like to read a variety of different styles.”
And to a still lighter side, Mr. Barrett acknowledges he is “currently cheating in this category (light seasonal read) and catching-up on back seasons of “Game of Thrones.”