What CEOs are reading - August 2018

Leadership's multiplier effect, the AI delusion and Yuval Noah Harari's 21st century lessons all feature this month.

by Richard Kilgarriff
Last Updated: 22 Aug 2018

Yuval Harari’s latest work - 21 Lessons for the 21st Century -  hits the shelves this month and will no doubt easily find it’s way onto the late summer sun loungers of every CEO looking for some smart company by the pool. However, the road to being a global non-fiction bestseller is a long one. The Israeli historian’s first book was published back in 2004 (Renaissance Military Memoirs: War, History and Identity, 1450–1600) when he was just 28 years old.

Ten years later – in 2014 – I championed the author for his most famous work to date, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind (translated from the original Hebrew version of 2011), before it came to the attention of the wider public via Chris Evans on BBC Radio 2. There was something about his Yuval’s crisp, confident prose and his sharp contextualising of human culture that caught my eye from the moment the matt-black trade proof landed on my desk at Bookomi.

After much badgering of his then modestly-sized management team, we were granted an intimate breakfast event with him in London in 2015. At the informal gathering in Soho House, we sensed just how important he was to his publisher (Sapiens went on to sell well over a million copies by 2017) because the publishing group CEO turned up and took a seat at the side of the room, waiting in the wings to seal the deal on Homo Deus. Today, for the launch of 21 Lessons, he is filling 2,000 seater auditoriums and selling books by his name alone – and deservedly so.

21 Lessons for the 21st Century

Yuval Noah Harari

Sapiens looked at the past and Homo Deus looked towards the future. This amazing work completes the trilogy, exploring how we live here and now in the historian's unique way.


John Grant

We are in the midst of a well-being revolution at work - this is an account of that revolution by the co-founder of acclaimed 1990s London creative advertising agency St Luke's.

Exploding Data: Reclaiming Our
Cyber Security in The Digital Age

Michael Chertoff

The former US Secretary of Homeland Security (2005-2009) puts forward a powerful argument for new laws and policies surrounding cyber security, arguing personal freedom is at stake.

The AI Delusion

Gary Smith

Don't believe everything you read about artificial intelligence, argues Pomona College economics professor Smith, examining the US election, board games, medicine, face recognition and Karoake.

Origins: How The Earth Made Us

Lewis Dartnell

Why is the world the way it is? UK Space Agency researcher Lewis Dartnell examines how the forces that shape our planet have also shaped our history and continue to influence our lives today.  

Leadership: The Multiplier Effect

Andy Cope, Jonathan Peach and Mike Martin 

Lead from the front, make the most of yourself and make everyone around you feel great. Sounds like a good idea on paper, but how do you put it into practice, ask the team behind The Art of Brilliance.

Yours Truly: Art, Human Rights
And The Power of Writing a Letter

Ai WeiWei

Postcards written by visitors to the author's art exhibition sent to prisoners of conscience around the world with incredible consequences.

Nine Crises: Fifty Years of Covering The British
Economy, From Devaluation to Brexit

William Keegan

The current Brexit 'crisis' put into context by the economics editor of The Observer - reassuring or depressing depending on your point of view.

Game Changers: How A Team of Underdogs and Scientists Discovered What It Takes To Win

Joao Madeiros

The features director of Wired examines the science behind high performance in sport and how analysis can change the fortunes of any elite team.

Japan Story: In Search of a Nation; 1850 to the Present

Christopher Harding

The cultural historian and broadcaster's fresh and surprising account of Japan's culture from the 'opening up' of the country in the mid-nineteenth century to the present.

Richard Kilgarriff is editorial director of Bookomi.com, which connects businesses with the world’s most wanted authors for live events and video calls. In this monthly column, he tracks the reading habits of business leaders, flagging titles that are set to cause a stir.  You can contact Richard at hello@bookomi.com.

Image credit: connel/Shutterstock


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