Unless you have been out of the country or living in a cave, you have to be scratching your head with all the silly so-called political “news” that has been dominating the media. With the 2016 Presidential Election still a year and a half away, the first primary six months away and just the first of 12 Republican Presidential debates upon us, we have officially entered the summer silly season. How else do you explain the non-stop breathless coverage of every national poll that is released, including those with 250 possible voters, or the TMZ like attention to each candidates perceived character flaws? It is almost bad enough to make one wish Congress would stay in session rather than take its traditional August break.
My advice, turn off the tv, close your laptops and perhaps grab some down time with the family. It is also a good time to recharge the intellectual batteries by getting caught up on some thought provoking reading. So with a nod toward the traditional summer reading list, here are a few of my favorite summer reads.
- Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin. This revealing and exhaustive look at President Lincoln’s leadership during the Civil War period is highly instructive for both policy and business leaders. Learning how President Lincoln knowingly brought some of his most vigorous political rivals together to tackle the incredible challenges of running the country and the Civil War inspires and motivates me.
- Freedom’s Forge: How American Business Produced Victory in World War II by Arthur Herman. Arthur Herman details the efforts to literally create a wartime production economy virtually overnight. Obviously the Allied victory was paid for by the sacrifices of U.S. servicemen and women, but victory would not have been possible without tapping the incredible industrial production of the United States.
- Race for Relevance by Harrison Coerver and Mary Byers. Race for Relevance challenges all of the conventional thinking around managing a trade association and a business. It forces you to think about what is absolutely relevant for your customers today and in the future.
- The Lost Battles: Leonardo, Michelangelo and the Artistic Duel by Jonathan Jones. An absolutely fascinating look at the Renaissance competition in Florence between two of the greatest artists the world has ever known.
- America’s Victory: The Heroic Story of a Team of Ordinary Americans– and How They Won the Greatest Yacht Race Ever. An inspiring story of the ordinary American sailors who overcame tremendous obstacles both on land and sea to win the first America’s Cup.
For this summer, the two books at the top of my reading list are; The Innovators by Walter Isaacson and Washington’s Revolution by Robert Middlekauff. I look forward to diving into these books and preparing for ABA’s Fall Policy Conference where we will have a dialogue free of the silly “news” of late as we address the policy issues impacting our industry and take our concerns to Capitol Hill. Enjoy your summer!