Cartoon alligator sitting at a desk reading a book. A large bookshelf filled with books sits behind him. There are two pens and another book on his desk.

Your 2020 summer reading list

Faculty and staff across the Warrington College of Business selected their recommendations for books to read this summer. See their selections and what you’ll get out of reading each in the list below. 

Think Outside the Building Think Outside the Building: How Advanced Leaders Can Change the World One Smart Innovation at a Time

By Rosabeth Moss Kanter

“Over a decade ago, renowned innovation expert Rosabeth Moss Kanter co-founded and then directed Harvard’s Advanced Leadership Initiative. Her breakthrough work with hundreds of successful professionals and executives, as well as aspiring young entrepreneurs, identifies the leadership paradigm of the future: the ability to ‘think outside the building’ to overcome establishment paralysis and produce significant innovation for a better world. Kanter provides extraordinary accounts of the successes and near-stumbles of purpose-driven men and women from diverse backgrounds united in their conviction that positive change is possible. When traditional approaches are inadequate or resisted, advanced leadership skills are essential. In this book, Kanter shows how people everywhere can unleash their creativity and entrepreneurial adroitness to mobilize partners across challenging cultural, social, and political situations and innovate for a brighter future.”

– Dr. Brian Ray, Director, Poe Business Ethics Center; Senior Lecturer of Leadership and Ethics


American Nations American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America

By Colin Woodard

“I was introduced to this book by a colleague and friend at UF (Professor David Colburn) since I was interested in gaining an understanding of why our country is currently characterized by two (or more) distinct groups of people who cannot agree of anything. David’s opinion was that to better understand current events and/or trends, history often offered valuable perspectives and lessons. So instead of relying on anecdotal explanations which are often colored by the biases of investigators, this book starts by tracing historical immigration patterns to analyze ‘value’ differences between distinct groups who immigrated to the U.S. Interestingly, these differences provide a foundational explanation of why, even today, people within the country hold such divergent viewpoints.”

– Dr. Asoo Vakharia, McClatchy Professor, Department of Information Systems and Operations Management


How to be an Antiracist How to be an Antiracist

By Ibram X. Kendi

“Given the spring events that bring troubling issues of race into public discourse, I believe most of us can improve on understanding racism and its history, along with our own implicit biases. This is not light summer reading, but important.”

– Dr. Joyce Bono, W.A. McGriff, III Professor, Department of Management

Recommended by Joyce Bono and Finny Melson, Print Shop Manager, Information Technology Support Programs.


Extreme Ownership Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

By Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

“A very good introduction to the importance of taking ownership as a leader. The book uses examples from the authors’ experience as Navy SEAL leaders to extend the principals for the business world and your personal life. Taking ownership is an easy principal to understand, yet one that is too often ignored in the business world. Learning early in your life and career to take ownership and be humble will have the greatest impact on both a successful career and a successful life. This book is a great start in that journey.”

– Tim Becker, Director, Bergstrom Real Estate Center


The New Rules of Work The New Rules of Work

By Kathryn Minshew and Alex Cavoulacos

“‘The New Rules of Work’ is a playbook to the ever-changing workplace. An easy and actionable book, ‘The New Rules of Work’ is broken down into three parts: What do I actually want?, Making your move and Charting your course through the modern workplace. Their website also includes free worksheet downloads. As shared on their website – in this book you will uncover your strengths and skills, discover a world of exciting job options, and build a career path that’ll truly fulfill you. You will also learn how to gain the experience you need for your dream position, what hiring managers are really looking for to stand out from all other applicants. Finally, the books ends by covering topics on how to move up with tips for communication, interpersonal skills and productivity. No matter where you are in your career journey, ‘The New Rules of Work’ is a must read for all students and alumni.”

– Diana Saiz, Associate Director, Business Career Services


Good to Great Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t

By Jim Collins

“What does it take to build and sustain great companies? How does one become a level 5 leader? What should you look for when surrounding yourself with change makers? This timeless classic may be more relevant than ever and reminds us that professional will and personal humility are essential characteristics for successful leaders of any level in times of great change and upheaval.”

– Jamie Kraft, Director, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center


Good Economics for Hard Times Good Economics for Hard Times

By Abhijit V. Banerjee and Ester Duflo

“This engaging book by Nobel-winning Economists highlights the most important contemporary policy debates using evidence-based academic research. It shows how rigorous academic studies can guide real-world policy debates, such as immigration, trade, AI, inequality, economic growth, and climate change. A perfect book for us to understand the most pressing social issues.”

– Dr. Liangfei Qiu, Associate Professor, Department of Information Systems and Operations Management


Exception to the Rule Exception to the Rule: The Surprising Science of Character-Based Culture, Engagement, and Performance

By Peter Rea

“The antidote to navigating turbulent times isn’t more rules. It is timeless virtue that creates sustainable value. Thoughtful leaders are keenly aware of the enormous challenge they face to drive high performance in a world that continues to ratchet up pressure and uncertainty. Some leaders respond by getting tough and establishing strict rules. They get people in line, but they don’t inspire excellence. Wise leaders, on the other hand, help their people practice character to navigate their way through the turbulence―without lowering performance expectations. As a result, their people are more reliable under pressure. ‘Exception to the Rule’ links ancient wisdom with contemporary science on high performance, teamwork, and engagement. Building an organizational culture based on classical virtues―of trust, compassion, courage, justice, wisdom, temperance and hope―is both strategically smart and a better way to live. ‘Exception to the Rule’ walks you through the steps of helping everyone in your organization focus on character defined by virtue. The word virtue means excellence, which is why each one is essential to help people perform at a high level despite uncertainty and pressure. Under character-based leadership, teams work better together, creativity flourishes and engagement increases.”

– Dr. Brian Ray, Director, Poe Business Ethics Center; Senior Lecturer of Leadership and Ethics


The Monk and the Riddle The Monk and the Riddle: The Education of a Silicon Valley Entrepreneur

By Randy Komisar

“Some books give you answers, others get you thinking. ‘The Monk and the Riddle’ definitely falls under the second category. Read this book at your own risk! It WILL make you question your motivation, the life plan you’ve set for yourself, and what is really important in your life.”

– Parker Van Hart, Director, Master of Science in Entrepreneurship


The Splendid and the Vile The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz

By Erik Larson

“‘The Splendid and the Vile’ provides great lessons in leadership during difficult times. It tells us how Churchill managed the turmoil within himself, between members of the upper echelons of British government, and within the people of Britain during the early days of the second world war. He emphasized clarity of purpose and of national character, and them used them to manage his and others’ optimism, recognition of harsh realities, and drive. He masterfully shaped messages that both confused and confounded his enemies while also rallying his allies. One part of the story is an interesting contrast in comprehending reality: Shortly after France surrendered to Germany in 1940, Churchill steeled his citizens, developed Britain’s defenses, and strategized how to take the offensive against Germany. Hitler, on the other hand, was so confident that Britain was ready to capitulate, that he began preparing bleachers and review stands for the end-of-the-war victory parade that he believed he would soon hold.”

– Dr. Mark Jamison, Director and Gerald L. Gunter Memorial Professor, Public Utility Research Center


Just Mercy Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

By Bryan Stevenson

“’Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption,’ is a memoir written by Bryan Stevenson, an activist, lawyer, and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, who writes to persuade us that ‘the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice.’ Published in 2014, the book has gained attention again because of the recent release of the related movie, as well as current events that, sadly, demonstrate the book is as relevant today as when it was published. The author is a gifted writer, and this is both a harrowing and inspiring book, educating the reader with the litany of stories of various prisoners trapped in our broken justice system. The central case Stevenson follows throughout the book is that of an African American man, Walter McMillian, who spent six years on death row for a crime that he did not commit. The case was based in Monroeville, Alabama, where Harper Lee grew up and wrote ‘To Kill a Mockingbird.’ Bryan Stevenson is the Atticus Finch of this story, and in this book, Stevenson convincingly traces the historical trajectory from slavery, to lynching, to mass incarceration and the death penalty in the USA. This trajectory is hauntingly memorialized by the Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Alabama, created by the author’s non-profit, the Equal Justice Initiative. Please read this book and then visit the Legacy Museum and the Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, Alabama.”

– Dr. Fiona Barnes, Director, Management Communication Center


Tap Unlocking the Mobile Economy Tap: Unlocking the Mobile Economy

By Anindya Ghose

“Location, Location, Location. This amazing book focuses on one of the most important breakthroughs of tech + business model: the increasing pervasiveness of location-acquisition technologies has dramatically changed how firms reach their consumers. A fundamental question answered by this book is: how can firms take advantage of the recent advancement of mobile and location technologies and revolutionize the nature of how businesses operate? It convincingly shows that the mobile economy isn’t about changing a specific industry, but rather changing the landscape of consumer searching, advertising, branding, etc. A perfect example of incorporating cutting-edge academic research into practical business applications.”

– Dr. Liangfei Qiu, Associate Professor, Department of Information Systems and Operations Management


Becoming a Person of Influence Becoming a Person of Influence

By John Maxwell  

“John Maxwell’s books are full of great knowledge about becoming a better leader. He teaches that leadership is simply about having influence. If you have influence, people will naturally want to follow you. In this book, you will learn some ways that you can positively influence others and become a better leader.”

– Dr. Steve Tufts, Clinical Professor, Department of Marketing


Factfulness Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think

By Hans Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund and Ola Rosling

“Factfulness will help you learn more about the world while also learning about the way society has conditioned you to react to information. The authors outline the ten main instincts that may be limiting your ability to think critically about serious issues facing the world. This summer in particular, it will serve as a timely reminder to go beyond the dramatized headlines and analyze the full context of the news you are digesting in order to make better decisions-both personal and professional.”

– Lauren Stefan, Associate Director of International Programs, Heavener International Programs


Flash Crash Flash Crash: A Trading Savant, a Global Manhunt, and the Most Mysterious Market Crash in History

By Liam Vaughan

“This book provides a fascinating look into the world of lightning fast electronic trading, algorithmic trading, and how stock trading is conducted today generally. It is centered around the story of how a single day trader, operating out a bedroom in his parent’s house in a London suburb, set off the fastest decline in stock market history on May 6, 2010, and the globe-spanning investigation into fraud that followed.”

– Dr. Brian Gendreau, Clinical Professor of Finance, Department of Finance, Insurance and Real Estate


The Art of Statistics The Art of Statistics: How to Learn from Data

By David Spiegelhalter 

“So much of discussion about Data Science, Artificial Intelligence and Statistics seems difficult, confusing, or intimidating. This book explains how data can be used to understand the world without resorting to formulas, code, or programs. Concepts that you may have heard of are explained with examples. The examples tie to real world problems. This is one of the best books that I’ve read that explains why data science is going to be growing for the foreseeable future.”

– Dr. Jim Hoover, Clinical Professor, Department of Marketing


Black Faces in White Places Black Faces in White Places: 10 Game-Changing Strategies to Achieve Success and Find Greatness

By Randal D. Pinkett, Jeffrey A. Robinson and Philana Patterson

“This is a book that examines the contemporary Black experience in terms of identity, society, meritocracy, and opportunity. The authors describe the experience that they and other Black people have had in the business world and examines the issue of race in the American workplace and in society. The book provides strategies on how African-American professionals can act entrepreneurially and within existing organizations to create real societal change. All UF Gators, students, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends will be able to learn from the authors experience and recommendations.”

– Dr. Alex Settles, Clinical Associate Professor, Department of Management and Entrepreneurship and Innovation Center


Loonshots Loonshots: Nurture the Crazy Ideas that Win Wars, Cure Diseases and Transform Industries

By Safi Bahcall

“Often business books about innovation are more or less the same. This one brings something new. Safi Bahcall reveals a surprising new way of thinking about the mysteries of group behavior that challenges everything we thought we knew about nurturing radical breakthroughs. Much has been written about ‘culture’ of organizations. Loonshots identifies small shifts in ‘structure’ that control transition. If you are an entrepreneur, find out about the p-type (product) loonshots versus S-type (strategy) loonshots, the Bush-Vail rules and the dreaded Moses trap.

Loonshots: ‘A neglected project. Widely dismissed, its champion written off as unhinged.’ Our society makes progress only when it adopts new ideas, which are almost always resisted by those with a strong vested interest in status quo. The examples in the book are fascinating and interesting. The author has described this phenomenon clearly by the example of radar and statins. The book also nicely explains ‘false fails,’ when a valid hypothesis yields a negative result in an experiment because of a flaw in experiment design. 

According to the author, a successful company is one that finds balance between ‘franchise activities’ (things that you know will work) and the crazy stuff (loonshots). Finding a structure to nurture both is what makes companies successful. Enjoyable and enlightening read.”

– Pratibha Singh, Academic Specialist, Master of Science in Management, Master of International Business and Master of Science in Marketing programs


White Fragility White Fragility: Why it’s so Hard for White People to Talk about Racism

By Robin DiAngelo

– Finny Melson, Print Shop Manager, Information Technology Support Programs


So You Want to Talk About Race So You Want to Talk about Race

By Ijeoma Oluo

– Finny Melson, Print Shop Manager, Information Technology Support Programs

Interested in more summer reading recommendations? Check out this list of books suggested by Warrington alumni