10 Books Goldman Sachs Executives Say You Must Read This Year
— 24 October 2018

10 Books Goldman Sachs Executives Say You Must Read This Year

— 24 October 2018
Madelyn May
Madelyn May

In search of a good read? The Goldman Sachs Reading List, published each fall (our spring), is now in its fourth year of providing a wide range of thought-provoking books. Here’s what Goldman Sachs leaders across the firm and across the globe recommend reading this season. 

Principles by Ray Dalio

Recommended by: Gunjan Samtani—Co-Head, Goldman Sachs Bengaluru

Ray Dalio, the legendary investor and entrepreneur who built Bridgewater Associates, history’s most successful hedge fund, out of his NYC apartment in 1975, shares the unconventional principles that he’s developed, refined, and used over the past forty years to create unique results in both life and business—and which any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals. Samtani states that “this book provides a systematic approach to reflect and define principles to help make decisions in life and work, aligned with the cause-effect relationships. It successfully achieves the fusion of psychology, work cultures, personal values and neurosciences in the art of decision-making”.

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

Recommended by: Stephanie Cohen—Executive Office, New York and Timothy Moe— Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research, Hong Kong

A book recommended by two GS executives and declared “One of the most important books I’ve ever read―an indispensable guide to thinking clearly about the world” by Bill Gates is assuredly worth the read. Moe has found the book “to be an excellent counterpoint to the generally negative and extreme characterization of global affairs offered by mainstream media. The insights are all grounded in data, which appeals to my inner analyst. After reading it, I find myself more optimistic about many global issues without downplaying the severity of many of the challenges that humanity still faces”.

Subliminal: How Your Unconscious Mind Rules Your Behavior by Leonard Mlodinow

Recommended by: Andre Kelleners—Investment Banking, Goldman Sachs London

Subliminal is a book about the profound influence of our unconscious mind on the way we perceive and interpret the world around us. It reveals factors subconsciously driving the way we collect and retain information, make decisions, and the bias in how we consciously and subconsciously form judgements. It reveals the imperfections of our own beliefs and the limitations of our conscious mind. The research presented in this book is an interesting and entertaining reminder of the importance for all of us to keep testing our own assumptions. And if that is not humbling enough, read his second book, The Drunkard’s Walk on the impact of chance and probabilities on everything we do.

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, by Richard Bach

Recommended by: Vidya Lakshmi—Human Capital Management, Goldman Sachs Bengaluru

You’re probably thinking that there are about a million things you would rather spend time reading about than a protagonist just like the birds trying to steal your chips at the beach on the weekends. However, Jonathan Livingston Seagull is for people who make their own rules when they know they’re right, people who get a special pleasure out of doing something well (even if only for themselves), and people who know there’s more to living than meets the eye. A simple book with very profound life lessons that has managed to top several charts. According to Lakshmi “[Seagull’s] journey of self-discovery teaches us that we are perfect and unlimited, the value of mastery, the need to learn from our failures and the importance of letting go. I have read and re-read the book plenty of times since it was recommended to me early this year by a speaker at a GS event. The book reminds me about making the most of the life I have been given”.

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle

Recommended by: Alison Mass—Investment Banking, Goldman Sachs New York

Daniel Coyle, New York Times bestselling author, examines some of the most effective organisations in the world to uncover their secrets. The Culture Code combines cutting-edge science, on-the-ground insight and practical ideas for action to offer a ground-breaking exploration of how the best groups operate that will change the way we think and work together. Mass states “as someone who leads a global team, I am always looking for examples of how to improve the culture of our team. I really believe that our clients directly benefit from our cohesive operating model. This book tracks successful teams like the US Navy SEALs and explains how diverse groups can function successfully with a shared vision. As he says in his book, ‘Culture is not something you are, it’s something you do'”.

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The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

Recommended by: Vidya Lakshmi—Human Capital Management, Goldman Sachs Bengaluru

Lakshmi says “I am a big fan of time management and productivity books and read them all the time. But this book is my all-time favourite. The book is a simple read with plenty of practical tips and strategies to identify your ONE THING (focus on what truly matters) and eliminate distraction. The layout of the book is also interesting with plenty of illustrations with no more than 5-10 pages per chapter. My favourite quote from the book that I follow is, ‘What’s the one thing I can do such that by doing it everything else will be easier and unnecessary?'”

Rough Diamond: Turning Disruption Into Advantage in Business and Life by Nicole Yershon

Recommended by: Des McDaid—Consumer and Commercial Banking, Goldman Sachs London

This is the story of Nicole Yershon who was a hugely successful and inspirational Chief Innovation Officer at Ogilvy for over a decade. Rough Diamond is all about disruption, embracing change, and technological innovation. According to McDaid, “at times the book feels a little self-indulgent but it’s packed full of interesting anecdotes, life lessons and insights into how to get stuff done. Nicole was the ultimate “intrapreneur” driving innovation and change into big marketing agencies over the last 30 years. I love the energy and passion she brought to her work and it’s a great read for the budding disruptor”.

Hit Refresh by Satya Nadella

Recommended by: Takashi Murata—Securities, Goldman Sachs Tokyo

Written by the third CEO of Microsoft after a few years into the role, this is a book of two halves. In the first half, Nadella shares the inside story of Microsoft’s transformation and how the company rediscovered its soul while reflecting on his own personal journey from an upbringing in India to working in the US tech sector. In the second half, the author talks through his vision and questions for the future regarding the rapid technological developments occurring in our world. In both parts, Nadella focuses on the importance of empathy as a key quality for humans and organizations. An honest and insightful account of change and growth, the book is very relevant to any individual or company facing the challenges of adapting to an evolving world.

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing by Daniel H. Pink

Recommended by: Karen Seymour—Legal, Goldman Sachs New York

We’ve all heard the phrase ‘timing is everything’ and, to many, it seems that timing is an art. However, Pink explains how timing is actually a science – capable of being broken down, explained, and mastered. This book is a fascinating examination of the importance of the timing of our actions. According to Pink, “we often focus on what we are doing and how we are doing but rarely do we think about when we do things. This book will open your eyes to the importance of our calendar and will challenge you to think about the passage of time in a completely different way. Full of memorable studies from neuroscience to psychology, you will learn to see time as a tool and not just a scarce resource”.

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Recommended by: Nishi Somaiya—Securities, Goldman Sachs London

In this instant and tenacious bestseller, Nike founder and board chairman Phil Knight “offers a rare and revealing look at the notoriously media-shy man behind the swoosh” (Booklist). Somaiya “[loves] this book because it’s about having the courage of your convictions to pursue your dreams despite all the obstacles you might encounter. Phil’s story is about resilience, entrepreneurship, and sheds light on the journey to success in building one of the best known global brands in today’s world, Nike’.

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Madelyn May


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