Angelina Birkett
Angelina Birkett

Out-Innovate: How Global Entrepreneurs from Delhi to Detroit are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley

Alexandre Lazarow, Harvard Business Review Press, RRP$30

This engaging quest for “frontier innovators” who operate away from established innovation hubs succeeds in shedding new light on innovation, the understanding of which is too often shaped by the unicorns and technology giants of Silicon Valley. By working in more challenging environments, global entrepreneurs build resilience and learn to “create” rather than simply to “disrupt”.

Grow the Pie: How Great Companies Deliver Both Purpose and Profit

Alex Edmans, Cambridge University Press, RRP£18.99

This is more than just another call for a radical rethink of how companies operate: Edmans, a finance professor, offers plentiful research — his own and others’ — to back his thought-provoking thesis that it is not enough to create the conditions for businesses to act better. They should be enabled to “grow the pie” through more effective leadership. He shows how the aim is not just desirable, but realistic and achievable.

Samsung Rising: Inside the Secretive Company Conquering Tech

Geoffrey Cain, Virgin Books, RRP£14.99

This is the entertaining story of Apple’s big non-US rival, a tale in which the dynastic wrangling, tycoon scandals and dealmaking are as exciting as the technology. It’s a compelling insight into the rough and tumble of South Korean business — “a gripping read”, according to the FT’s Louise Lucas.

Dark Towers: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump, and an Epic Trail of Destruction

David Enrich, Custom House, RRP$29.99/£20

A vivid exploration of the disorder and dysfunction of Germany’s largest bank, which helped fuel the post-war rise of West Germany only to stumble as it tried to grow into a global powerhouse to rival US banks. By delving into the psyche of some of the characters at the heart of its ill-fated expansion, Enrich tells — in the words of Gary Silverman’s FT review — “a devastating tale of a big bank gone bad”.

Summer Books 2020

All this week, FT writers and critics choose their favourites — from politics, economics, science and history to art, tech, food and wellness. Novels, poetry and audiobooks feature too

Uncharted: How to Map the Future Together

Margaret Heffernan, Simon & Schuster, RRP£20

Uncharted tackles our obsession with the spuriously precise “science” of prediction and offers abundant examples, drawn from business, science and personal experience, to underline the importance of preparedness, adaptability and robustness, rather than rigid plans. In his review for the FT, Tim Harford said the book provoked fresh thinking in a way that was ultimately “wise and appealingly human”.


David Boyle, Little, Brown, RRP£13.99

A powerful and timely polemic against fast-spreading “tickbox culture” in education, government, business or healthcare. Obsessive target-setting, Boyle argues, leads to disaster by voiding decision-making of common sense, in favour of a rigid managerial template. Boyle lays out a programme of resistance aimed at curbing a system that “has infected and stupidified the official mind”.

Unleashed: The Unapologetic Leader’s Guide to Empowering Everyone Around You

Frances Frei and Anne Morriss, Harvard Business Review Press, RRP$30

Leaders who recast their mission to improve the people around them will turn themselves into better listeners and make their teams more productive and happier to boot. The FT’s Isabel Berwick described Frei and Morriss’s account as “sparkily written and personal”, full of simple but often overlooked tips to build trust and reduce bias. The book is drawn in part from Frei’s work at Uber, where she helped reset the leadership of the scandal-hit company.

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

Liam Vaughan, Doubleday, RRP$26.95/William Collins, RRP£20

The extraordinary saga of Navinder Singh Sarao, the maths prodigy who, trading from his parents’ home in the London suburbs, managed to crash the world’s markets in 2015. The FT’s Katie Martin called it “a cautionary tale of the fragilities baked into the financial system” and “a pacy account that swings from humour to horror”, providing insights into the history of trading and the motivation of the prosecutors who pursued Sarao.

Reimagining Capitalism: How Business Can Save the World

Rebecca Henderson, Portfolio Penguin, RRP£20/Public Affairs, RRP$28

Purpose-driven companies should be central to a systematic rethinking of capitalism, according to this prescription for change. The radical action of central authorities in shoring up business through the pandemic gives added weight to Henderson’s message, especially her emphasis on the importance of co-operation and collaboration between government, business, and communities of individuals.

The New Long Life: A Framework for Flourishing in a Changing World

Andrew J Scott and Lynda Gratton, Bloomsbury, RRP£14

In this sequel to The 100-Year Life, their groundbreaking 2016 examination of work and careers in an age of longevity, Scott and Gratton broaden and amplify their call for action from governments, employers and individuals to prepare for an increasingly multigenerational world. Michael Skapinker, reviewing the book for the FT, described it as essential reading for policymakers and chief executives.

What are your favourites from this list? And what books have we missed? Share your suggestions in the comments below

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