Books that left a lasting impression
A: It goes almost without saying that the Bible has had the most impact on my life. It crystallizes in one place the elements that drove the development of two great cultures and religious movements, Judaism and Christianity. However, there were so many more books that shaped me as a young man. Who could not be moved by the power of To Kill a Mockingbird, or felt the foreboding of George Orwell's 1984? (Machiavelli's) The Prince stands out as a cool and frightening gazetteer in manipulation.
I found in Walt Whitman a soaring but tangible vision of America. Mark Twain in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn amplified that vision for me. And then I read James Baldwin's The Fire Next Time, and The Autobiography of Malcolm X. It was through these works that I began a journey to understanding the great tragedy of racial discrimination, as well as the promise of America.
His favorite genre
I am an insatiable reader of both historical and contemporary non-fiction. I have a hunger to understand the times in which we live. History has always been a passion, but it only gives part of the answer. Current commentators can provide new insights. I hope that through my reading I can fuse the two and open up greater understanding. Some examples: Winning The Right War: The Path to Security for America and the World by Philip H. Gordon and The Story of Civilization by Will & Ariel Durant.
Books that helped his career
We are an industry in change, so the books I read that are related to business are focused on how to manage change. Two standouts: Jim Collins' Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don't and Peter Georgescu's The Source of Success: Five Enduring Principles at the Heart of Real Leadership. Peter's personal story is inspiring, and his lessons in how to build a creative and aligned business have been hugely valuable.
What he's reading now
Doris Kearns Goodwin's book about Lincoln and his cabinet, Team of Rivals; The Audacity of Hope by Barak Obama; The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court by Jeff Toobin; and Charlie Wilson's War by George Crile.
Last book given as a gift
George Packer's revealing book, The Assassins' Gate: America In Iraq.
Last book received as a gift
Team of Rivals.