CFO 2022 Summer Readling List

CFO Summer 2022 Reading List

Jack McCullough, Founder & President of CFO Leadership Council & Senior Contributor for Forbes polled our members and compiled this 3rd annual reading list.

Summer is here! The word conjures up thoughts of beaches, cookouts, blockbuster movies, and of course reading by the pool or beach! Like all executives, CFOs are avid readers, and many use summer to “catch up” on their reading lists.

Welcome to my third CFO Summer Reading List. I have learned that CFOs have eclectic tastes in their reading habits. Although they do read their share of business books, they also love history, biography, fiction, and more.  I asked the members of the CFO Leadership Council about their summer reading recommendations, and their selections are below. Neither I nor Forbes are endorsing any of the books on the list, but simply sharing what financial leaders are reading during the lazy, crazy, hazy days of summer.

For the first time, I asked our members to share what intrigued them about the particular books they are reading. Their selections are below, alphabetized by title.

THE LIST

1984 by George Orwell.
This was required reading in High School, but I really didn’t connect the dots like I do now.

The 80/20 CFO by Suzy Taherian.
I read this book every year and recommend it for any CFO.

Aiming Higher: A Journey Through Military Aviation Leadership by Chris Stricklin.
I’m obsessed with leadership books by fighter pilots right now- my daddy was a fighter
pilot.

All We Can Save – Ayana Elizabeth Johnson & Katharine K. Wilkinson.

American Faust by Richard Brown.

The Arc by Tory Henwood Hoen.

Arriving Today by Christopher Mims.
How the entire supply chain has changed from start to finish and what it means.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear.
I start off training new hires with this book, using specific examples.

Baby Steps Millionaires by Dave Ramsey.
My wife and I are ready to retire in a few years without debt.

Battle for the American Mind: Uprooting a Century of Miseducation by Pete Hegseth and David Goodwin.

Build: An Unorthodox Guide to Making Things Worth Making by Tony Fadell.
It is the most comprehensive business book I have read, especially for those interested in startups and new products. Fadell talks about building products, teams, fundraising, leadership, and much more.

Build Boldly: Chart Your Unique Career Path and Lead with Courage by Bolanle Williams-Olley.
Bolanle has a compelling career story that gives her a unique and valuable perspective on career management.
Burn Rate: Launching a Startup and Losing My Mind by Andy Dunn.
Personal and colorful narrative from a well-known industry founder on mental health.

CEO Excellence, The Six Mindsets That Distinguish the Best Leaders from the Rest by Carolyn Dewar.

The Catcher In the Rye by J.D. Salinger.
I read this every summer.

The Courage to Advance by Bonnie Hagemann & Lisa Pent.
Resilience stories from the world’s most successful women in business.

Deep Change by Robert Quinn.
A classic on assessing where you are, who you are and where you are going.

Deep Finance by Glenn Hopper has been called a “must read” for CFOs looking to lead their firm’s digitalization strategy.

Deep Finance: Corporate Finance In The Information Age by Glenn Hopper.
A great guide for any leader interested in developing digital strategy.
Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales.

Dirtbag, Massachusetts: A Confessional by Isaac Fitzgerald.
It’s a collection of almost chaotic and very funny essays, which seems like the perfect combination for an escapist summer read! 

The Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe.
A chronicle of greed and ambition in Oxycodone distributions that plagued America in the opioid crisis. A horror story showing why ethics and morals are very important in the business.

Extreme Ownership – How Us Navy Seals Lead and Win – Jocko Willink.
This book is intense and I love it. It came as a recommendation from our general counsel and we are reading it this summer in book club format with my legal team. 

Fame and Fortune by Horatio Alger.
This is a re-read…just for enjoyment.

The Financial Mindset Fix: A Mental Fitness Program for an Abundant Life by Joyce Marter.
I am not one for self-help books, but I heard Joyce speak and her message resonated with me.
The Financial Mindset Fix: A Mental Fitness Program for an Abundant Life by Joyce Marter.
I am not one for self-help books, but I heard Joyce speak and her message resonated with me.

The Future of Money: How the Digital Revolution Is Transforming Currencies and Finance by Eswar S. Prasad.
I’m looking forward to knowing the author’s thoughts on the digital currencies’ impacts to central banks.

God and Mammon by Lance Marrow.
It is a helpful reflection on history, money, and race in America. 

Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit, by Alex Edmans.
I listened to the author and it made me curious about his idea of “deliver both purpose and profit”.

Here to Lead: Mastering the Art of Leadership in order to Execute Strategy, Advance Change and Drive Results, by Kelly Bargabos.
Leadership books from successful CFOs are rare and therefore invaluable.

The History of the World in 6 Glasses by Tom Standage.
It’s fun to read about the beverages we love while also getting a history lesson.

How Civil Wars Start: And How To Stop Them by Barbara F. Walter.
I consider it a ‘must read’ by anyone in a leadership position and anyone who looks at political risk as part of their risk assessments related to their business.

Implementing Beyond Budgeting: Unlocking the Performance Potential by Bjarte Bogsnes.
It should be interesting to compare beyond budgeting with the traditional budgeting.

The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain.

The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak.
The best book I have read in a long time – a story about Cyprus, immigration, relationships, resilience, and hope.

The Lion Trackers Guide to Life By Boyd Varty

Lost and Found in Paris by Lian Dolan

The Hotel Nantucket by Elin Hilderbrand

Narrative and Numbers: The Value of Stories in Business by Aswath Damodaran.
One of my favorite authors, I use his tools often.

Pitching to Win: Strategies for Success by Mindy Barker.
A great guide for anyone looking to raise capital for a small business.

The Psychopathic CEO, An Executive Survival Guide by Jack McCullough.
Unfortunately, I find myself working for a CEO who seems to possess most of the traits of psychopaths.

POWERFUL: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility by Patty McCord.
A fantastic read about creating a culture of accountability at Netflix.

Reality Based Leadership – Ditch the Drama, Restore Sanity to the Workplace, and Turn Excuses into Results  by Cy Wakeman.
I’ve been a longtime follower of Wakeman and love her No Drama philosophy of leadership. She has a powerful perspective on accountability and leading your team to greatness.  

Reminders of Him by Colleen Hoover.

Sparring Partners by John Grisham.
Summer fiction?
Nobody does it better.

The Speed of Trust by Stephen M.R. Covey.
I am leading a direct report through this book.

The Surge: An Overview of China’s Rapid Evolving Corporate Governance and Coming ESG Revolution by Lyndsey Zhang.
This is one of those books you will come back to often. If you are an American executive learning about doing business in China, start here.

Traction by Gino Wickman.

Tribes by Sebastian Junger.
Great read for all leaders in understanding how to ultimately create a collaborative/loyal culture.

Trust and Inspire by Stephen M.R. Covey.
What could be more important to a CFO than trust?
Two Nights in Lisbon by Chris Pavone.

The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith.
Looking for old wisdom for current day.

Why Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek.

You are a Badass – How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero.
As someone who fights Imposter Syndrome daily, this book is always on my nightstand to remind me to get out of my own damn way.

 

It is interesting that only one author (Stephen M.R. Covey) has two books listed, only one book (Build Boldly) was listed by more than one CFO. From thought leadership, self-improvement, fiction, world history, or simply reading staples from our high school and college years, financial leaders have a wide range of literary interests.

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