15 books that inspire

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The books included in this year’s summer reading list are ones that have inspired, moved and impacted the lives of the CEOs and senior leaders within the Legatum network. When looking through the list, we realised that many of the authors and publications speak of optimism and suggest that the world doesn’t need to be as it is; that social justice is within reach for everyone; that advancement is obtainable; and that personal transformation is possible.

To help you select which book is best for you, we have split them down into three key themes: leadership & business, global insights and self-transformation.

A big thank you to the following leaders for their contributions: Ellen Agler, the END Fund, Nick Grono, the Freedom Fund, Georgina Campbell Flatter, the Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship, Philippa Stroud, the Legatum Institute and Caitlin Baron, Luminos Fund

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Leadership and business 

New power: How it’s changing the 21st century – and why you need to know, by Henry Timms and Jeremy Heimans

Why do some leap ahead while others fall behind in our chaotic, connected age? In New Power, Heimans and Timms confront the biggest stories of our time and reveal what's really behind them: the rise of "new power." Drawing on examples from business, activism, and pop culture, Heimans and Timms explain how to build new power and channel it successfully.

Principles: Life and work, by Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs, 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. 

A higher loyalty: Truth, lies, and leadership, by James Comey

In his book, former FBI director James Comey explores what good, ethical leadership looks like, and how it drives sound decisions. His journey provides an unprecedented entry into the corridors of power, and a remarkable lesson in what makes an effective leader.

The square and the tower: Networks and power, from the Freemasons to Facebook, by Niall Ferguson

Most history is hierarchical: it's about emperors, presidents, and field marshals. But what if that's simply because hierarchical institutions create the archives that historians rely on? What if we are missing the informal, less well documented social networks that are the true sources of power and drivers of change? 

Unelected power: The quest for legitimacy in central banking and the regulatory state, by Paul Tucker

Paul Tucker draws on a wealth of personal experience from his many years in domestic and international policymaking to tackle the big issues raised by unelected power. Blending economics, political theory, and public law, Tucker explores the necessary conditions for delegated but politically insulated power to be legitimate in the eyes of constitutional democracy and the rule of law. 

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Global Insights 

Superforecasting - the art and science of prediction, by Philip Tetlock 

Superforecasting offers the first demonstrably effective way to improve our ability to predict the future—whether in business, finance, politics, international affairs, or daily life—and is destined to become a modern classic. In Superforecasting, Tetlock and coauthor Dan Gardner offer a masterwork on prediction, drawing on decades of research and the results of a massive, government-funded forecasting tournament. 

Measure what matters, by John Doerr

In Measure What Matters, Doerr shares a broad range of first-person, behind-the-scenes case studies, with narrators including Bono and Bill Gates, to demonstrate the focus, agility, and explosive growth that OKRs have spurred at so many great organisations. This book will help a new generation of leaders capture the same magic.

Enlightenment now, by Steven Pinker

In this elegant assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist and public intellectual Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom, which play to our psychological biases. In seventy-five jaw-dropping graphs, Pinker shows that life, health, prosperity, safety, peace, knowledge, and happiness are on the rise.

Zero-sum world: Politics, power and prosperity after the crash, by Gideon Rachman

Zero-sum logic, in which one country's gain looks like another's loss, has prevented the world from reaching an agreement to fight climate change and threatens to create a global economic stalemate. This timely and important book sets out what can be done to break away from the crippling logic of a zero-sum world.

Randomistas: How radical researchers changed our world, by Andrew Leigh

In Randomistas, Andrew Leigh tells the stories of radical researchers who overturned conventional wisdom in medicine, politics, economics, law enforcement and more. From finding the cure to scurvy to discovering what policies really improve literacy rates, randomistas have shaped life as we know it – but they often had to fight to conduct their trials and have their findings implemented.

 

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Self-transformation

Leading from within: Conscious social change and mindfulness for social innovation, by Gretchen Ki Steidle

In Leading from Within, Steidle describes the ways that personal investment in self-awareness shapes leaders who are able to inspire change in others, build stronger relationships, and design innovative and more sustainable solutions.

How to completely change your life in 30 seconds, by Earl Nightingale and Robert C. Worstell

Here's the secret in 3 steps: 1. Suspend disbelief as you read the following: 2. "We Become What We Think About." - Earl Nightingale 3. Then, decide that it's true. Now, the rest of your life, you'll be testing this for yourself.

The curmudgeon's guide to getting ahead: Dos and don'ts of right behavior, tough thinking, clear writing, and living a good life, by Charles Murray

Charles Murray explains that at senior levels of an organisation there are curmudgeons everywhere, judging your every move. Yet it is their good opinion you need to win if you hope to get ahead. The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Getting Ahead is an indispensable sourcebook for living an adult life.

Living with a SEAL: 31 days training with the toughest man on the planet, by Jesse Itzler

Entrepreneur Jesse Itzler will try almost anything. So when Jesse felt himself drifting on autopilot, he hired a rather unconventional trainer to live with him for a month-an accomplished Navy SEAL widely considered to be "the toughest man on the planet"! At turns hilarious and inspiring, Living with a SEAL ultimately shows you the benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone.

Entitlemania: How not to spoil your kids and what to do if you have, by Richard Watts

Entitlemania will provide practical strategies like creating boundaries, walking your talk, and allowing children to fend for themselves. The big takeaway for parents: You may have to let your children fail so they can learn how to succeed.