As the holiday season approaches, it is a good time to think about adding books to your “wish list” or to buy for others as gifts.
While 2020 has been a bit of a train wreck on many fronts, thankfully there have been several great business-related books published. Here are three books released in 2020 that I’d highly recommend.
First, “Apocalypse Never” is a great book that brings thinking about trade-offs and opportunity costs to the environment — i.e., it approaches environmentalism from a business/economics mindset.
The author, Michael Shellenberger is a lifelong environmental activist. You can tell immediately that this is somebody who loves the environment, but he is laser-focused on using logic and tradeoffs when considering environmental regulations.
The book is full of good examples.
One involves why fracking is beneficial and how many environmentalists have missed the mark — or even deceived people — in their case against it.
Shellenberger outlines how natural gas is superior to coal, and hence fracking (for natural gas) improves the environment by saving water and emitting less mercury, among other reasons.
Some environmentalists have opposed going from coal to natural gas, instead advocating for a switch from coal to “green” energy, but that’s a false choice at the moment. While solar might be (hopefully is) the future, polluting less now is important — and Shellenberger shows why fracking is an important tool to improve the environment.
Second, “CEO Words of Wisdom” is a new book by a Susquehanna University alumnus, Tim Murray.
He served as CEO of Aluminum Bahrain from 2012-2019 and is currently CEO of Cardinal Virtues Consulting.
He takes stories from his career and weaves them into easily-digestible chapters that provide solid advice. The stories are entertaining — my favorite are those that involve him applying for and ultimately getting the job in Bahrain. I can’t imagine the conversation in my household to move from the US to the Middle East … but Mr. Murray gives us a glimpse into what happened for him. The book is short, easy to read, and provides great advice for anyone looking to advance their career.
Third, Patrick Lencioni had a new book this year. Lencioni is one of my favorite authors, and this year he released “The Motive.”
Lencioni often writes using fables, and “The Motive” is no different. It brilliantly uses a fable to take a deep dive what factors should be considered if you’re considering a promotion.
For those thinking about where they might want their careers to take them, this book is perfect. Further, Lencioni writes in a style that is easily digestible, entertaining, and powerful.
I promised to recommend three books published in 2020, but I have to also make a shameless plug for my own book, “Broadway and Economics: Economic Lessons from Show Tunes.”
If you like musicals, this book will help show you how songs from your favorite musicals teach you about economics. Further, for those who are missing Broadway (like me), hopefully this book helps fill the void until Broadway is back up-and-running.
These four books all have something in common — they are educational and entertaining. That should make a good present for yourself or others.
Matt Rousu is dean of the Sigmund Weis School of Business at Susquehanna University and author of the book “Broadway and Economics: Economic Lessons from Show Tunes.”