12 Books on Business and Journalism to Add to Your Fall Reading List
If September brings back nostalgic memories of freshly sharpened pencils and plenty of new books, then you can still look forward to the latter with this list of some of the most anticipated nonfiction works on business and journalism being published this fall.
Super Pumped: The Battle for Uber, by Mike Isaac
Available Sept. 3
Already being heralded as this year’s Bad Blood, Super Pumped is a title techies will need to brace themselves for straight out of the gate after Labor Day. After covering ride-sharing company Uber as his beat assignment for the New York Times, technology correspondent Mike Isaac took an extended leave to dive deeper into just how and why Uber imploded the way it did (and continues to, in some areas). There is no shortage of stories of toxic workplaces, misplaced trust, inflated evaluations, and bad behavior in Silicon Valley these days. But Uber surely takes first place, according to this latest in-depth account, based on more than 100 interviews with current and past employees. In that regard, Super Pumped might not just be the next Bad Blood but also the treatment for the next Social Network.
The Many Lives of Michael Bloomberg, by Eleanor Randolph
Available Sept. 10
If cats have nine lives, then Michael Bloomberg is on his way there in terms of careers.
Veteran New York Times reporter Eleanor Randolph demonstrates unprecedented access to the circle of one of the wealthiest and (relatively) most-private public figures in the country. Randolph studies the tycoon in a number of roles he has filled, including (but not limited to) businessman, trailblazer, politician, philanthropist, and (more recently) activist. His greatest achievement—at least from a financial and media perspective, is still arguably the 1982 introduction of his Bloomberg Terminals.
But Bloomberg also made history for an unprecedented three terms as mayor of New York City, picking up the baton in an immediate–post 9/11 New York through the Great Recession and (for better or worse) an astronomic rise in real estate deals, dotting the land along the Hudson and East rivers with dozens of new luxury high-rises and skyscrapers. While Bloomberg may not have thrown his hat into the very crowded ring that is the Democratic presidential primary race, Randolph makes a case for what Publishers Weekly described as “Bloomberg’s brand of plutocracy.”
The Education of an Idealist: A Memoir, by Samantha Power
Available Sept. 10
In an age in which the bar for a “successful” voter turnout is still abysmally low, Pulitzer Prize winner Samantha Power is here to remind us that one person can still make a difference.
In her new memoir, Power transports us from her childhood in Dublin to the streets of war-torn Bosnia to the White House Situation Room—all while juggling two young children somewhere along the way. And these days, as we are constantly reexamining what it means to be an American, Power’s career demonstrates what is arguably the most American journey: from immigrant to White House official, serving as former President Barack Obama’s human rights adviser for four years, later becoming the youngest American to ever serve as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations in 2013.
And despite how dire the situation has become for many immigrants nationwide, Power maintains an optimistic, sometimes even humorous, outlook—yes, even an idealist one—telling readers to keep kindness in their hearts while maintaining a clearer—if not critical—eye on the political landscape.
The Most Spectacular Restaurant in the World: The Twin Towers, Windows on the World, and the Rebirth of New York, by Tom Roston
Available Sept. 10
Before Sept. 11, 2001, the Windows on the World restaurant was both figuratively and literally at the pinnacle of fine dining in America, both one of the highest-grossing restaurants nationwide and one of the loftiest, sitting on the 107th floor of the North Tower of the World Trade Center. This isn’t an account of just the restaurant itself but a history of fine dining over the past 150 years, rooted in the emergence of New York’s restaurant culture, following the ebbs and flows of the city’s own tumultuous history over the second half of the 20th century. Among the familiar characters are author James Beard, chef Jacques Pepin, and food scribe Gael Greene—figures who were not only trailblazers in the culinary world, but were also consequential to the establishment of a fine-dining fixture nearly a quarter of a mile in the sky.
And while it took many people to make Windows on the World the restaurant that it was, one person stands out as the driving force: Joe Baum was a restaurateur before the term was ever coined—well before the likes of Danny Meyer, David Cheng, and Lidia Bastianich built their own empires in Manhattan (and beyond) and took the title for themselves. Baum was also barking orders at subordinates (and colleagues) faster and louder than you could imagine even Gordon Ramsay doing. And yet it’s difficult to imagine Windows on the World ever being possible without Baum’s overly acute attention to detail, perfectionist demands, and firm belief that the experience of a restaurant was just as important as the food it serves.
The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned From 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, by Bob Iger
Available Sept. 23
Is there any studio in Hollywood making money besides Disney? The easy answer is simple: No. And a large part of that is thanks to many of the acquisitions and creative decisions made during the tenure of current Disney CEO Bob Iger. Between the successes of buying Marvel, Lucasfilm, and Pixar—not to mention growing those entities beyond movies but out to the theme parks, new streaming shows, and a never-ending flow of merchandizing—Iger has grown so popular that there were even murmurs he should run for President. (He’s not—at least not this election cycle.) That’s probably a relief for Disney shareholders, especially as the Mouse House prepares to roll out its Netflix rival, Disney+, this fall. Needless to say, if you’re an apprentice looking toward a master for business advice, Iger is your guy, and this is your book.
How to Start a Revolution, by Lauren Duca
Available Sept. 24
Under the inclusive editorial direction of former editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth, Lauren Duca brought the term “gaslighting” and everything it entails to the forefront of the national conversation when her Teen Vogue article about the Trump campaign went viral in 2016.
Now, in How to Start a Revolution, Duca traces through a first-person examination as to how millennials and Generation Z went from being considered politically alienated (or described as apathetic or lazy) to engaged in just two years. The goal: to identify the root of our ailing political system while reimagining what an equitable democracy would look like. According to Duca, that begins by ensuring young people are involved.
Embrace Your Weird: Face Your Fears and Unleash Creativity, by Felicia Day
Available Oct. 1
In the follow-up to her bestselling memoir, You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost), actress, writer, and social media darling Felicia Day doles out personal anecdotes with frank but refreshing (and always droll) personality, resulting in a hands-on guide to finding and rekindling creative passions. Day doesn’t shy away from the negative memories and experiencing, making for an empathetic read in dealing with anxiety, fear of failure, and constructive (or not so constructive) criticism. (Entrepreneurs, startup founders, young professionals, and creative professionals would be wise to pick this book up.)
In her part guided journal, part imaginative workbook, Day encourages readers to discover their “hero selves,” reminding readers that yes, it’s okay to be weird, flipping that on its head and proposing that weirdness can be “wielded as a superpower.”
Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For, by Susan Rice
Available Oct. 8
Given our polarizing political climate, one’s knowledge or opinion of Susan Rice—the former national security adviser to President Barack Obama—could very well rely on one’s political party.
But in this memoir from the former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Rice shares the family struggles that shaped her early life in Washington, D.C., simultaneously with the ancestral legacies that influenced her. Positing she was raised with “tough love,” Rice reflects on how that influenced her to compete and excel as an African-American woman in political and diplomatic circles—settings where people of color, especially women of color, are so few.
Rice also provides an insider’s account of some of the most complex and notable events faced during her tenure in both the Clinton and Obama administrations, including (but not limited to): the “Black Hawk Down” crisis in Somalia, the genocide in Rwanda, the East Africa embassy bombings in the late 1990s, the Ebola epidemic, the warming of relations between the U.S. and Cuba, the fallout from Edward Snowden’s leaks, the deadly 2012 terrorist attacks in Libya (a.k.a. Benghazi), the U.S. response to Russian interference in the 2016 election, and the surreal transition to the Trump administration.
Available Oct. 15
Few current tech CEOs have been as outspoken as Salesforce cofounder and co-CEO Marc Benioff. That group drops to a relative circle of one when it comes to vehemently publicly addressing the wealth gap, the “defecation crisis” on city streets, and the deterioration of the standard of living for many in the epicenter of the tech industry (and his hometown): San Francisco.
In his latest work, Benioff suggests change starts at home—or even in the workplace. Based on the mantras of the cloud-software giant, Benioff argues it also starts at the top by building a corporate culture that not only understands change but also embraces and encourages its employees to be “agents of change” themselves.
Do You Mind If I Cancel? (Things That Still Annoy Me), by Gary Janetti
Available Oct. 22
Perhaps the lightest entry on this list, a certain subset of Internet users—notably entertainment news and Royals enthusiasts—are probably most familiar with Gary Janetti’s Instagram account in which he impersonates a sassy version of Britain’s Prince George. His day job is a bit more serious (and lucrative) as a Hollywood writer and producer. Credits include serving as the executive producer of Will and Grace along with writing for Family Guy and British sitcom Vicious, which has developed a cult following of its own in the United States. All of that said, Janetti knows comedy, and now book lovers will reap the rewards with wickedly hilarious accounts of Janetti’s early years in the entertainment industry. According to the writer: “These are essays from my childhood and young adulthood about things that still annoy me.”
What You Do Is Who You Are: How to Create Your Business Culture, by Ben Horowitz, with a foreword from Henry Louis Gates
Available Oct. 29
As one-half of the eponym to Sand Hill Road’s cornerstone venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, Ben Horowitz probably has some good business advice. But in What You Do Is Who You Are, the venture capitalist isn’t here just to dole out how to start a company but rather to remind you that what you do with it later is just as important to both your success and your legacy.
Horowitz combines lessons from history and from modern organizations’ best practices to guide executives as to how they should build company cultures that can weather both good and bad times. These case studies range from studying Haiti’s Toussaint Louverture, the leader of the only successful slave revolt; Genghis Khan, who built the world’s largest empire; and Shaka Senghor, a convicted murderer who ran the most formidable prison gang, transforming prison culture. As for more recent (and less extreme) leadership examples to dissect: Don Thompson, the first African-American CEO of McDonald’s; former Secretary of State and Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton; and former Uber CEO Travis Kalanick—perhaps in a lesson what not to do after your company shoots to the top.
The Two Popes: Francis, Benedict, and the Decision That Shook the World, by Anthony McCarten
Available Nov. 26
Pope Francis made history in more ways than one when the white smoke rose from the Vatican after the College of Cardinals cast their most recent vote in the Sistine Chapel in 2013. The Argentine-born cleric formerly known as Jorge Mario Bergoglio was the first non-European Pope in 1,200 years—not to mention the first from South America. Francis has made waves for being more progressive on issues regarding women, people of color, and the LGBTQ community, prompting many Twitter followers worldwide to dub him the first “cool” Pope. (Simultaneously, he has been noticeably conservative and more of the same when it comes to responding to sexual abuse of children rampant throughout the Catholic Church worldwide.)
Francis is also serving as the leader of Catholic faith after his predecessor—Pope Benedict XVI—willingly vacated his post—the first by a sitting Pope in 700 years.
Setting up the treatment for his next biopic, Anthony McCarten, the Academy Award–nominated screenwriter of The Theory of Everything and The Darkest Hour, weaves together the histories of both men: one growing up in Nazi Germany and the other who used to ride the bus to work in Buenos Aires. McCarten sets out to address many questions, including why anyone would walk away from the seat of St. Peter, considering the ambitious career and political machinations it takes to get there—and what it must take to do that knowing your successor will most likely undo your legacy.
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—Listen to our audio briefing, Fortune 500 Daily
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