McKinsey Wall Street corporate America reading list summer 2021
Looking for a good book to dive into this summer? McKinsey asked execs from Wall Street and corporate America for their top recommendations.
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  • Not ready to turn the page on summer just yet? We've got some book recommendations for you.
  • Consulting firm McKinsey asked top business leaders for their suggestions on must-read books.
  • We rounded up five titles from top Wall Street and corporate America execs.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

If you're not ready to turn the page on summer just yet, there are still a few weeks left to settle in with a good book to open your mind and broaden your horizons.

Global management consulting firm McKinsey & Co. has published its annual reading list of more than 100 titles collected from politicos, business magnates, and big names in corporate America.

Insider has combed through the list and identified five titles from Wall Street and business power players that you might want to dive into.

From Morgan Stanley boss James Gorman's taste for narrative nonfiction to United Airlines CEO Scott Kirby's love of literature about Winston Churchill, we bet that you won't want to put this summer reading advice back on the shelf anytime soon.

Click here to check out the rest of the titles on McKinsey's full summer 2021 list.

James Gorman, CEO of Morgan Stanley

His recommendation: "Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the Siege of Leningrad," by M.T. Anderson

Synopsis: The nonfiction book takes place in 1941 during World War II. "Trapped between the Nazi invading force and the Soviet government itself was composer Dmitri Shostakovich, writing a symphony to rouse, rally, eulogize, and commemorate his fellow citizens: the Leningrad symphony. This is the true story of a city under siege, the triumph of bravery and defiance in the face of terrifying odds," publisher Penguin Random House says.

Why Gorman loves this book: Wall Street's highest-paid CEO told McKinsey that the narrative nonfiction title "captures the journey of a composer writing a symphony amidst the siege of Leningrad. Anderson tells a powerful story, through the eyes of a musician, of Russian resilience and the ability to withstand hardship."

"In a time where so many have been suffering, it is an impactful reminder to lean into the things that keep us mentally strong," Gorman added.

Shamina Singh, EVP for Sustainability and President, Center for Inclusive Growth at Mastercard

Her recommendation: "Travels with Charley: In Search of America" by John Steinbeck

Synopsis: Steinbeck's last full-length novel "is a journey in both a physical and a spiritual sense," the National Steinbeck Center says. It takes readers on his 1960 cross-country road trip, where he gets a taste of the ethos of Americana, in the hopes of making up for the fact that he felt he wasn't truly in touch with the American way of life that he explored in his writing.

Why Singh suggested this book: "I enjoyed the spontaneity and serendipity of traveling around the country in my early career and want to experience that again with Steinbeck," she said.

Gretchen Howard, COO of Robinhood Markets

Her recommendation: "Two Sides of Glory: The 1986 Boston Red Sox in Their Own Words" by Erik Sherman

Synopsis: Team members from the 1986 Boston Red Sox open up about their victory over the California Angels, followed by their devastating losses to the New York Mets in Game Six, followed by losing the entire series.

"Bill Bucker, whose name became synonymous with a muffed grounder, speaks openly about the cruel aftermath. Pitcher Bruce Hurst broke down three times while being interviewed," says the University of Nebraska Press, which published the book. "In each player's retelling, there is the excitement of history never told and old mysteries answered."

Why Howard wants to read this book: "I'm excited to read this book so I can discuss it with my son, who knows more about baseball than anyone I've ever met."

Scott Kirby, CEO of United Airlines

His recommendation: "The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz" by Erik Larson

Synopsis: This book explores the larger-than-life personality of British prime minister Winston Churchill, who led the United Kingdom through World War II.

"Drawing on a wealth of untapped sources, including recently declassified files, intelligence reports, and personal diaries only now available," Larson brings to light various members of Churchill's family and how he pulled the country through "London's darkest year," the author's website says.

Why Kirby loves this book: "Winston Churchill is one of my heroes, and I've read hundreds of books on World War II," Kirby told McKinsey. "So to find a book that had new insights into who Churchill really was as a human being was a great find to start my summer."

Jessica Herrera-Flanigan, VP for Public Policy & Philanthropy, Americas at Twitter

Her recommendation: "The Ethical Algorithm: The Science of Socially Aware Algorithm Design" by Michael Kearns and Aaron Roth

Synopsis: Much has been said about social media algorithms in recent years, but this book "presents cutting-edge research in the science of socially aware algorithm design," drawing on case studies from business, law, and medicine to help make sense of it all, says publisher Oxford University Press.

Why Herrera-Flanigan loves this book: It is "one of several books on algorithms, data, and democracy on my reading list this summer to help me get smarter on the topic," she said. "I'm finding it to be a great primer into AI and ethics."

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