Over the past couple of years, buying bosses have barely had a moment to relax amid the frenzy of blockbuster business.
But as the economic downturn affects corporate activity and the summer holiday season gets into full swing, many private equity professionals are shedding their bookstores.
Sister title of Financial News Private Equity News spoke to industry figures about what’s on their reading lists, which include fiction and non-fiction titles, from novels to history, as well as economics and business books.
Contributions have been edited for clarity.
CEO or IK Partners
This summer I will be reading One Thousand and One Nights, a work that easily ranks among the greatest of mankind, but one that I never took the time to immerse myself in. I look forward to discovering how Sheherazade saves her neck every night by telling a new story and making her mercurial husband wait for the ending and the next one.
Carlyle, Chief Risk Officer, Head of Emea and Global Chief Investment Officer
This summer I will be reading Postwar by Tony Just. A masterful history of post-World War II Europe by one of the finest historians of the century. Extremely relevant today, as the post-war order and consensus in Europe seems to be falling apart.
Head of Private Equity and Deputy Managing Partner, EQT
This summer I’m reading A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles because he’s recommended it to me so many times, and it’s been waiting on my nightstand for a while… All of you who have already read it, no spoilers. please.
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Co-Head of Strategic Investors and Emea Financial Sponsors Group, JP Morgan
Budapest: Between East and West by Victor Sebesteyn covers 1,000 years of European history and is top of my reading list. I haven’t read it yet, but Sebesteyn is great. He previously wrote a book about Lenin which I found very interesting.
Director General of BVCA
Francis Fukuyama’s Liberalism and Its Discontents has been gathering dust on my bookshelf since I bought it in the spring, so now’s my chance to catch up! Thirty years ago he infamously (and prematurely) predicted “the end of history” by proclaiming the triumph of liberal economics and politics after the fall of Soviet communism. This book is an attempt to reassess the arguments and re-make the case for liberalism (in the broadest sense), which I look forward to reading.
Founder and CEO of Hermitage Capital Management
My summer reading recommendation is The Billion Dollar Whale by Bradley Hope. It’s a fascinating and funny look at how a clever and ruthless con artist could trick the entire financial establishment into handing over billions of dollars. It’s a page-turning read with a strong underlying message about the moral weakness of our institutions.
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Head of Emea on Hamilton Lane
I’ve started, but not finished, Doddie’s Diary: The Highs, the Lows and the Laughter from My Fight with MND by former Scottish rugby player Doddie Weir. It’s about his battle with motor neurone disease, which is something very close to my family. He’s in my bed right now.
Co-Founder and Managing Partner, Quinbrook Infrastructure Partners
Vaclav Smil states that the answer in his book titled: How the World Really Works lies in four great transitions of civilization – of populations, agriculture, energy and economy – that have transformed our way of life. He notes that we’ve never had so much information at our fingertips, but most of us don’t know how the world really works. Smil’s book is a good read and provides a much-needed reality check on the gap between climate change rhetoric and the real world we live in.
TO READ Why workplace ‘jokes’ are bad news for financial services
Deputy Head of Ardian Buyout
I truly believe that business should be a force for good. The Heart of Business: Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism by Hubert Joly and Caroline Lambert is an extraordinarily timely guide for anyone who aspires to lead with purpose and understands the importance of putting people first.
Head of Private Equity, DWS
I will be reading one of my favorite historical fiction writers, Mary Renault, with a recommendation of The King Must Die. The author is best known for her historical novels set in ancient Greece with an amazing attention to detail that vividly encapsulates a time and place in history. For anyone sailing or on the shores of the Mediterranean this summer, this is a perfect companion.
This article was first published by Financial News’ sister title, Private Equity News.