2017 Collection

We mark the 18th year of the J.P. Morgan Reading List with works that command attention, from compelling viewpoints to engaging design. Enjoy this nonfiction selection on diverse subjects—leadership, popular culture, cuisine and creativity—that created buzz among readers at J.P. Morgan.

Climate of Hope: How Cities, Businesses, and Citizens Can Save the Planet

Michael Bloomberg and Carl Pope

Noted philanthropist and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and renowned environmentalist Carl Pope team up to share insights and solutions they believe will address the impact of climate change, from how we manage our cities to how we invest. While urging immediate action, they remain optimistic that people and policy can come together to confront civilization's greatest challenge.


“The changing climate should be seen as a series of discrete, manageable problems that can be attacked from all angles simultaneously. Each problem has a solution. And better still, each solution can make our society healthier and our economy stronger.”


Michael Bloomberg is the founder of Bloomberg LP, a global media and financial services company. He served as mayor of New York City from 2002-2013, earning a reputation for independence and innovation. In 2014, the UN Secretary-General appointed him Special Envoy for Cities and Climate Change, and he leads the boards of numerous climate-related organizations. He is one of the world’s most prominent philanthropists, and the environment is one of the five main focus areas of his foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies.

A veteran leader in the environmental movement, Carl Pope is the former executive director and chairman of the Sierra Club. He is now the principal advisor at Inside Straight Strategies, focusing on the links between sustainability and economic development, and serves as a senior climate advisor to Bloomberg. Mr. Pope was a founder of the BlueGreen Alliance and America Votes and has served on the boards of the California League of Conservation Voters and the National Clean Air Coalition. The author of three books, he writes regularly for Bloomberg View and the Huffington Post.

Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction

Derek Thompson

In the Internet age, popularity often seems attainable by anyone, even on a global scale. In Hit Makers, Derek Thompson offers an alternative explanation: Hits are rarely flukes. Instead, hits are meticulously, almost scientifically crafted to be both familiar and new. From popular songs to blockbuster movies, the author explores how “the science of popularity” shapes our culture and our lives.


"A handful of products will inevitably become massively popular each year for the simple reason that, once they are pushed into the national consciousness, people just can’t stop talking about them."


Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic magazine, where he writes about economics and the media. He is a regular contributor to NPR’s “Here and Now” and appears frequently on television, including CBS and MSNBC.

Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Helene Cooper

As Africa's first elected female president and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has blazed a trail of equality and empowerment for women everywhere. Helene Cooper, herself born in Monrovia, Liberia, details Sirleaf’s amazing path from mother of four boys and survivor of war and violence to leader of a fragile nation—an inspiring and memorable story.


“The ascendance of Madame to power in Liberia, and the immediate bump in the country’s fortunes that came with her inauguration, gave the air of possibility to the political aspirations of women across Africa. In the ultimate irony, Liberia, long viewed as one of the most godforsaken countries on a godforsaken continent, was now an example of democratic empowerment."


Helene Cooper is the Pulitzer Prize–winning Pentagon correspondent for The New York Times, having previously served as White House Correspondent, diplomatic correspondent, and the assistant editorial page editor. Prior to moving to the Times, Ms. Cooper spent 12 years as a reporter and foreign correspondent at The Wall Street Journal. In addition to Madame President, she is the author of the bestselling memoir, The House at Sugar Beach. She was born in Monrovia, Liberia, and lives in the Washington, DC, area.

National Geographic: The Photo Ark: One Man's Quest to Document the World's Animals

Joel Sartore

With nearly half of the earth's animals moving toward extinction by 2100, photographer Joel Sartore set out to capture what the world could be losing. Brilliant, breathtaking photos of thousands of animals and insects set against dramatic black or white backgrounds bring the beauty and importance of the world's biodiversity to life. The Photo Ark is a mesmerizing tour through the animal kingdom—and a persuasive call to action for all who care about our world’s future.


“Some call it the ‘sixth extinction’—a global sweep of disappearing species so far-reaching it rivals the ice ages and the meteoric event believed to have exterminated the dinosaurs. And this time, we humans are both cause of and, one hopes, solution to the problem.”


Joel Sartore is a photographer, speaker, author, teacher, conservationist, National Geographic fellow, and a regular contributor to National Geographic magazine. Mr. Sartore specializes in documenting endangered species and landscapes in order to show a world worth saving. He is the founder of the Photo Ark, a multi-year documentary project to save species and habitat. Mr. Sartore has written several books, including RARE: Portraits of America's Endangered Species, Photographing Your Family, and Nebraska: Under a Big Red Sky. His most recent book is Let's Be Reasonable. In addition to the work he has done for National Geographic, Mr. Sartore has contributed to Audubon magazine, Time, Life, Newsweek, Sports Illustrated, and numerous book projects.

The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes Us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative

Florence Williams

Our modern digital world has pulled many of us away from nature’s beauty and soothing silence, while we also often report feeling disconnected or down. Intrigued by stories about the world's great thinkers and their communions with nature for inspiration and insight, neuroscientist Florence Williams shows why and how a walk in the woods (or similar escape) is not only good for the heart, but also good for the mind and the soul.


“For millennia, humans alone or in small groups have at times sought out a sparer, more elemental connection to the forces of nature. They come because they are needing something, and they keep coming because they are finding it.”


Florence Williams is a journalist and contributing editor to Outside magazine. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The New York Times Magazine, and National Geographic, among others. Her first book, Breasts: A Natural and Unnatural History, was a New York Times Notable Book of 2012 and the winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize in Science and Technology. Ms. Williams lives in Washington, DC.

One Buck at a Time: An Insider's Account of How Dollar Tree Remade American Retail

Macon Brock and Earl Swift

For over 30 years, Dollar Tree has remained true to its name and mission, defying disbelievers while faithfully serving its loyal, budget-conscious customers. In One Buck at a Time, company co-founder Macon Brock delivers a vivid and entertaining portrait of enterprise and business acuity, from Dollar Tree's humble beginnings as a five-and-dime in Norfolk, Virginia, to the company’s rise in the Fortune 500 rankings.


“So we saw an opportunity. We hoped to occupy the same role in the dollar business that Henry Ford had in the car business. He didn’t invent the automobile, but he made it available and affordable to the masses. We wanted to bring scale to the concept, which no one else had done.”


Macon Brock, a former Marine Corps captain and Naval Intelligence officer, co-founded Dollar Tree in 1986, served as its Chief Executive Officer from 1993 to 2003, and continues today as chairman of the board of directors.

Earl Swift is the author of five previous books of narrative nonfiction, including Auto Biography: A Classic Car, An Outlaw Motorhead, and 57 Years of the American Dream and The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways.


Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy

Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

After the sudden death of her husband, Sheryl Sandberg wondered if she and her two children would ever recover from their deep and consuming grief. With the help of family and friends, including best-selling author, psychologist and Wharton professor Adam Grant, she learned that resilience, recovery and even joy are always within reach. For those facing adversity and loss (and for those supporting on the journey), Sandberg and Grant map the steps to help persevere—and eventually thrive.


“Tragedy does not to have be personal, pervasive, or permanent, but resilience can be. We can build it and carry it with us throughout our lives.”


Sheryl Sandberg is chief operating officer at Facebook, overseeing the firm’s business operations. Prior to Facebook, Ms. Sandberg was vice president of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, chief of staff for the United States Treasury Department under President Clinton, a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, and an economist with the World Bank.

She is also the author of the bestsellers Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead and Lean In for Graduates. She is the founder of the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works to build a more equal and resilient world through two key initiatives, LeanIn.org and OptionB.org. Ms. Sandberg serves on the boards of Facebook, the Walt Disney Company, Women for Women International, ONE, and SurveyMonkey.

Adam Grant is a psychologist and the New York Times best-selling author of Originals and Give and Take, in addition to Option B.

As Wharton’s top-rated professor for five straight years, Dr. Grant is a leading expert on how we can find motivation and meaning, and live more generous and creative lives. He has been recognized as one of the world’s 25 most influential management thinkers and received distinguished scholarly achievement awards from the American Psychological Association and the National Science Foundation.

Dr. Grant received his B.A. from Harvard University with Phi Beta Kappa honors and his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. He serves as a contributing op-ed writer for The New York Times on work and psychology.

Rethink: The Surprising History of New Ideas

Steven Poole

Steven Poole believes the best ideas are rarely new. Through illuminating examples, he demonstrates that innovation owes less to a flash of inspiration than a recognition and respect for ideas of the past. For those interested in influencing change, whether in business, science or culture, Poole’s perspective is an invitation to reexamine the discarded or discredited as part of today’s—and tomorrow’s—creative mix.


“Good ideas can be found, but then rejected or ridiculed for decades or centuries or millennia before they are finally rediscovered. Yes, the past is riddled with error and fraud. In other words, it is much like the present. But it also contains surprising gems that lie waiting to be unforgotten.”


Steven Poole is the award-winning author of four critically acclaimed works of non-fiction: Trigger Happy, Unspeak, You Aren’t What You Eat, and Who Touched Base In My Thought Shower? He has written widely on ideas, culture, language and society for The Guardian, the New Statesman, The Times Literary Supplement, The Wall Street Journal, and many other publications.

Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert's Renegade Life

Emily Kaiser Thelin

When legendary cookbook author Paula Wolfert started experiencing early stage dementia, her lifelong passion for Mediterranean cooking became a reliable anchor to the world drifting away. Part cookbook, part biography, Unforgettable traces Wolfert's incredible life, documenting her discovery and love for a region, its culinary traditions and culture. Thelin’s celebration of Wolfert’s lifelong bravery and boldness is also a foodie’s education in flavor, technique and delicious ingredients.


“Her work had a quiet but incalculable influence on our grocery stores and on our approach to cooking. She helped popularize foods we now take for granted: the couscous, preserved lemons, and tagines of Morocco; the duck confit and cassoulet of France; the muhammara, sumac and pomegranate molasses of the Middle East. . . She legitimized a basic approach to cooking that all good chefs now embrace: a respect and reverence for foods of tradition and place.”


Emily Kaiser Thelin is a writer, editor and former restaurant cook. A two-time finalist for James Beard awards, and a former editor at Food & Wine, her work has also appeared in Oprah, Dwell, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the Washington Post. For five years, during and after college, Ms. Thelin worked as a professional chef: as a prep cook in London, a private chef in France, and a line cook in Washington, DC. She currently works for the meal kit delivery service, Sun Basket, and lives in Berkeley with her husband and daughter.

Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World

Rachel Ignotofsky

Hypatia, Edith Clarke, Lise Meitner, Wang Zhenyi. These trailblazing women of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), along with 46 others, are joyfully saluted in this inspiring collection. Crisp two-page biographies of remarkable scientists across geographies and centuries are complemented by playful drawings and fun facts. The next generation of young scientists (and their families) will enjoy this irresistible compendium of brilliant, passionate and tenacious achievers.


“Throughout history many women have risked everything in the name of science. . . They broke rules, published under pseudonyms, and worked for the love of learning alone. When others doubted their abilities, they had to believe in themselves.”


Rachel Ignotofsky is an illustrator and designer. She graduated from Tyler School of Art’s graphic design program and formerly worked as a senior designer and illustrator at Hallmark Greetings. Ms. Ignotofsky and her work have been featured in many print and online media outlets such as Babble, the Huffington Post, Scientific American, and Buzzfeed.

A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order

Richard Haass

Richard Haass argues that today’s escalating political turmoil has been compounded by—or perhaps driven by—fissures in an old world order that prevailed over the last half century but is now ineffective. In A World in Disarray, he examines factors at play in politics and policies across the globe and documents the need for a new world order. Crucial to this is the role of the United States and the ability of its citizens and leaders to come together.


“So much of what has historically been viewed as domestic and hence off-limits because it took place within the borders of a sovereign country is now potentially unlimited in its reach and effects. The result is that we no longer have the luxury of viewing all of what goes on in another country as off-limits.”


Dr. Richard Haass is president of the non-partisan Council on Foreign Relations. He served as the senior Middle East advisor to President George H.W. Bush and as Director of the Policy Planning Staff under Secretary of State Colin Powell. A recipient of the Presidential Citizens Medal, the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, and the Tipperary International Peace Award, he is also the author or editor of 12 books on foreign policy and international relations.

2016 Collection

We invite you to explore this year’s J.P. Morgan Reading List. The Collection was chosen from nearly 450 works of nonfiction nominated by our offices around the world.

It features 10 titles that encompass themes from the historical to the creative, from the scientific to the visionary.


Clementine: The Life of Mrs. Winston Churchill

Sonia Purnell

Most historians regard Winston Churchill as one of the 20th century’s greatest figures, but where would he—and history—be without his loyal, whip-smart wife Clementine? While Churchill has been the subject of innumerable biographies, Clementine is much lesser known. Not anymore. Author Sonia Purnell reveals a woman who, in her devotion to husband and country, played an enormous role in the ultimate success of the Allied effort during World War II.


“Neither mousy nor subservient, as many assume her to have been, Clementine Churchill was so much more than an extension of her husband. He claimed marrying her had been his most brilliant achievement.”


Sonia Purnell is a biographer and political commentator who has worked at The Economist, The Telegraph and Daily Mail.

Her first book, Just Boris: A Tale of Blond Ambition, a widely acclaimed portrait of London mayor Boris Johnson, was informed by her time working alongside him in Europe in the 1990s. She has been regularly cited in major U.S. newspapers and is a frequent broadcaster on radio and TV across the world.

Sonia Purnell

The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness

The End of Average: How We Succeed in a World That Values Sameness

Todd Rose

No one wants to be average, but according to author Todd Rose, there’s nothing to worry about—average doesn’t exist. Yet society at almost every level is designed around the idea that there is some vast middle of mediocrity. It shouldn’t be. That critical insight is the premise for The End of Average, which lays out the mathematical flaws in the idea of average and offers three principles of individuality that can lead to a better, more satisfying life.


“We live in a world that demands we be the same as everyone else, only better…rather than the best version of ourselves. The principles of individuality present a way to restore the meaning of the American dream—and, even better, the chance for everyone to attain it.”


Todd Rose is the Director of the Mind, Brain, and Education Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he leads the Laboratory for the Science of the Individual.

He is also the Co-Founder and President of the Center for Individual Opportunity, a nonprofit organization that promotes the principles of individuality in work, school and society. In addition, he is a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where he teaches Educational Neuroscience. Mr. Rose is also the author of Square Peg.

Todd Rose

From Silk to Silicon

From Silk to Silicon: The Story of Globalization Through Ten Extraordinary Lives

Jeffrey E. Garten

Globalization may be a uniquely modern term, but it’s been brewing for centuries. Through the stories of ten disparate, sometimes obscure figures in history—from Genghis Khan and Margaret Thatcher to Cyrus Field and Andy Grove—Jeffrey E. Garten traces the roots of a world that once seemed vast but is now as close and connected as any small community. From Silk to Silicon is the story of transcendent change and the lessons civilization’s pioneers provide when they look to the horizon and beyond.


“We often give too much credit to the power of ideas and not enough recognition to the importance of effectively implementing them on the ground….My protagonists show beyond doubt how much individuals can accomplish against extremely long odds and how transformative and lasting their achievements can be.”


Jeffrey E. Garten teaches courses on the global economy at the Yale School of Management, where he was formerly the Dean.

He has held senior positions in the Nixon, Ford, Carter and Clinton administrations, and was a Managing Director at Lehman Brothers and the Blackstone Group on Wall Street. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, BusinessWeek and the Harvard Business Review, and he is the author of four previous books on global economics and politics.

Jeffrey Garten


Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Angela Duckworth

In Angela Duckworth’s view, the secret to achievement is not talent or genius, but pure persistence, what she calls “grit.” Through interviews with some of the world’s highest achievers to historical anecdotes and insights gleaned from modern experiments in peak performance, Duckworth reveals that the ability to persevere is perhaps the greatest talent of all.


“How you see your work is more important than your job title….This means that you can go from job to career to calling—all without changing your occupation.”


Angela Duckworth, Ph.D., is a 2013 MacArthur Fellow and Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs.

Dr. Duckworth is also the Founder and Scientific Director of the Character Lab, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance the science and practice of character development. She completed her B.A. in Neurobiology at Harvard and her M.Sc. in Neuroscience at Oxford. In her late 20s, Dr. Duckworth left a demanding job as a management consultant at McKinsey to teach math in public schools in San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York. After five years of teaching, she went back to grad school to complete her Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance is her first book.

Angela Duckworth


Hamilton: The Revolution

Lin-Manuel Miranda and Jeremy McCarter

With its genre-bending fusion of musical theater, hip hop, R&B and pop, the Broadway sensation Hamilton has electrified theatergoers since it debuted in the fall of 2015. Hamilton: The Revolution is the official account of the inspiration for and making of the show from its creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Featuring exclusive stories, photos, interviews and more, as well as the full script and lyrics, the book is an indispensable companion to a show that promises to excite and inspire for years to come.


“There are nearly 24,000 words in Hamilton. That is a lot of words. It is more than an audience hears in a performance of The Merchant of Venice, Richard II, or The Taming of the Shrew. It is significantly more than in Macbeth. Alexander Hamilton speaks, sings, and raps more words in the course of a show than King Lear does.”


Lin-Manuel Miranda is an award-winning composer, lyricist and performer, as well as a 2015 MacArthur Foundation Award recipient. His most recent musical, Hamilton, was awarded the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Drama and received a record-breaking 16 Tony nominations—including three nominations for Mr. Miranda for Book, Score and Leading Actor in a Musical.

Mr. Miranda is also the composer-lyricist-star of Broadway’s In the Heights, which won a Grammy Award for Best Musical Show Album, four 2008 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Orchestrations and Best Choreography, with Mr. Miranda receiving the award for Best Score. In addition, he is the co-composer and co-lyricist of Broadway’s Tony-nominated Bring It On: The Musical, and he provided Spanish translations for the 2009 Broadway revival of West Side Story. Mr. Miranda, along with Tom Kitt, won the 2014 Creative Arts Emmy for Best Original Music and Lyrics for their work on the 67th Annual Tony Awards. In 2015, Mr. Miranda was named as a Fellow of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

Jeremy McCarter wrote cultural criticism for New York magazine and Newsweek before spending five years on the artistic staff of the Public Theater, where he created, directed and produced the Public Forum series. He served on the jury of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and is writing a book about young American radicals during the First World War.

Lin Manuel Miranda

Jeremy McCarter


Lab Girl

Hope Jahren

Part memoir and part celebration of the wonders of nature, acclaimed scientist Hope Jahren’s autobiographical meditation is an exquisite portrait of science pursued passionately, the meaning of friendship, and how—like the miracle of the plants, trees and flowers Jahren so earnestly details in Lab Girl—life unfolds when it is nurtured in all the right ways.


“A plant that lives where it should not is simply a pest, but a plant that thrives where it should not live is a weed. We don’t resent the audacity of the weed…we resent its fantastic success. Humans are actively creating a world where only weeds can live and then feigning shock and outrage upon finding so many.”


Hope Jahren has been pursuing independent research in geobiology since 1996, when she completed her Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley, and began teaching and researching, first at the Georgia Institute of Technology and then at Johns Hopkins University.

She is the recipient of three Fulbright Awards in Geobiology and is one of four scientists, and the only woman, to have been awarded both of the Young Investigator Medals given in the Earth Sciences. Named by Popular Science in 2005 as one of the “Brilliant 10” young scientists, she has taught and pursued independent research at universities around the country, most recently as a tenured professor at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa in Honolulu. There, in 2008, she built the Stable Isotope Geobiology Laboratories, with support from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy and the National Institutes of Health.

Hope Jahren


Map: Exploring the World

Phaidon Editors

The history of cartography is a view of the world coming into focus, a history of discovery, conquest, ingenuity and innovation. Featuring more than 300 maps from around the world, from the Greeks’ first forays into mapmaking to today’s incredible Global Positioning System, Map is a beautifully illustrated and remarkable account of civilization’s noble attempt to make sense of where it is now and where it may be going.


“The number of participants in what used to be a highly specialized discipline has exploded: now anyone with a laptop, tablet or smartphone has access to…state-of-the-art software, geospatial data and mapping capability.”


The maps in this book were selected by an international panel of cartographers, academics, map dealers and collectors. They are arranged in pairs to highlight interesting comparisons and contrasts, reinforcing each mapmaker’s uniqueness as well as the structures they have in common. For example, an 1832 lithograph map of Mt. Vesuvius’s 27 eruptions is paired with a 2005 satellite image of Hurricane Katrina’s estimated flood damage.


Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

Adam Grant

The iconoclast-as-innovator idea is well documented. What Adam Grant brings to the conversation in Originals is bountiful evidence that ingenuity is inside all of us. It often takes great courage, but challenging the status quo and changing your world or the world at large is not only the arena of the eccentric—it is available to everyone, every day. Originals finds Grant daring his readers to find the strength to improve the world in their own unique ways.


“After spending years studying them and interacting with them, I am struck that their inner experiences are not any different from our own. They feel the same fear, the same doubt, as the rest of us. What sets them apart is that they take action anyway. They know in their hearts that failing would yield less regret than failing to try.”


Adam Grant has been recognized as The Wharton School’s top-rated teacher for four straight years, one of the world’s 25 most influential management thinkers, one of Human Resources’ most influential international thinkers, and one of the world’s 40 best business professors under 40.

Dr. Grant received a standing ovation for his 2016 TED talk on the surprising habits of original thinkers. His speaking and consulting clients include Google, the NFL, Johnson & Johnson, Disney Pixar, the United Nations, the U.S. Army and Navy, and the World Economic Forum, where he has been recognized as a Young Global Leader. He also serves as a contributing op-ed writer on work and psychology for The New York Times. Dr. Grant earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and his B.A. from Harvard College. He is a former magician and Junior Olympic springboard diver.

Adam Grant


The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time

Arianna Huffington

It’s safe to say you don’t get enough sleep. What you don’t know is just how destructive sleep deprivation can be to your health, happiness, career and relationships. First addressed in her best-selling book, Thrive, Arianna Huffington devotes nearly 400 pages to the science and mystery of sleep and the consequences of not getting enough of it.


“These two threads that run through our life—one pulling us into the world to achieve and make things happen, the other pulling us back from the world to nourish and replenish ourselves—can seem at odds, but in fact they reinforce each other.”


Arianna Huffington is the Co-Founder, President and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group, one of the world’s most influential news and information brands.

A nationally syndicated columnist, Ms. Huffington is the author of 14 books, including Third World America and On Becoming Fearless. She is also Co-Host of Left, Right & Center, public radio’s popular political roundtable program, as well as Both Sides Now, a weekly syndicated radio show with Mary Matalin and moderated by Mark Green. In May 2005, she launched The Huffington Post, the news and blog site that has quickly become one of the most widely read, linked to, and frequently cited media brands on the Internet.

Arianna Huffington


The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Future

Steve Case

Technology has transformed the world, but where it’s going from here is up for debate. Few people are more equipped to answer this question than Steve Case, pioneering entrepreneur and co-founder of AOL. In The Third Wave, Case explores how a new wave of technological innovation will impact our lives, and explains the skills we will need to succeed.


“The Third Wave of the Internet is coming, the moment where the Internet transforms from something we interact with to something that interacts with everything around us. It will mean the rise of the Internet of Everything, where everything we do will be enabled by an Internet connection, much in the way it’s already enabled by electricity.”


Steve Case is one of America’s most accomplished entrepreneurs—a pioneer who made the Internet a part of everyday life and orchestrated the largest merger in the history of business between America Online (AOL) and Time Warner.

Mr. Case co-founded America Online, which at its peak handled nearly half of U.S. Internet traffic, was the first-ever Internet IPO, and was the top-performing stock of the 1990s. As Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Revolution, a Washington, D.C.-based investment firm he co-founded in 2005, Mr. Case partners with visionary entrepreneurs to build businesses such as Zipcar, LivingSocial, Sweetgreen, and many others. Mr. Case was the Founding Chair of the Startup America Partnership—an effort launched at the White House to accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship throughout the nation. A member of the Presidential Ambassadors for Global Entrepreneurship, Mr. Case also serves as Chairman of the Case Foundation, which he established with his wife, Jean, in 1997.

Steve Case

15th Anniversary

Celebrating 15 Years of the J.P. Morgan Reading List

To commemorate the 15th anniversary, authors from the previous five years contributed exclusive essays reflecting on their inspirations to write.

Clive Davis


Clive Davis

I thought once my book was published that I might change my priorities, travel more and read more books. That’s just not been the case. I’m still living my passion of music, recording Aretha and Jennifer Hudson and preparing the first album, after Whitney’s passing, Whitney Live to cement her legacy. A new, young 18-year-old artist, Avery Wilson, has just sung for me and wouldn’t you know it, I’m as excited as ever to find songs for him and help launch his career.

Yes, I’m branching out into the world of theater by co-producing for Broadway a first-class revival of My Fair Lady for the fall of 2015, and I am reading fascinating nonfiction, finally catching up with the lives of Washington, Adams and Jefferson. But my true love is contemporary music, being immersed in the creative process for new and established very special artists. It races my blood and continues to make time fly by much too fast.

Clive Davis’s book, The Soundtrack of My Life, was featured in our 2013 list.

Clive Davis

Alexis Maybank

Alexandra Wilkis Wilson


Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson

We hope to see entrepreneurship reach the same gender parity achieved among lawyers and doctors over the past several decades. It is no secret that women have lagged in the field of STEM education, in starting new businesses and in raising funds. However, we had never truly focused on this until a visit in early 2010 to our alma mater led us to a conversation with our beloved Professor Bill Sahlman. He said, let us write a case study on you; we have trouble getting women to tell their stories until they know their story has a successful outcome. This was eye-opening! His comment helped catalyze us to write our book during the very busiest time in our lives.

In taking the time to document our rollercoaster ride, we have shared our twists and turns and maybe have helped to inspire others to consider starting a business. We would like to see the success factors for women entrepreneurs begin to shift. The good news is the tide is turning. Venture funding for women grew to 13% in the first half of 2013, a 20% jump over 2012. A concerted effort from women, as well as men, to solidify networks, emphasize STEM education and ensure investor focus is coming together to create a new ecosystem for female entrepreneurs. And this is only the beginning.

Alexis Maybank and Alexandra Wilkis Wilson’s book, By Invitation Only: How We Built Gilt and Changed the Way Millions Shop, was featured in our 2012 list.

By Invitation Only

Adam Bryant


Adam Bryant

Leadership is personal.

After interviewing hundreds of CEOs for my “Corner Office” series, I have come to appreciate the importance of that insight, simple as it may seem. And yet leadership often is portrayed in a very different light—with theories and concepts that suggest leadership can be boiled down into a this-is-the-one-thing-that-matters headline or book title. But these cookie-cutter answers quickly break down in practice because, well, people are complicated, and groups of people with shared tasks are exponentially more complicated.

We have to make sense of leadership for ourselves, and build the foundations of our approaches and styles brick-by-brick. What feels right for me? What seems like it will work with the people I’m managing? It’s about finding the balance point amid the push-and-pull forces of leadership—how to be friendly without being friends, how to be both humble and confident, how to know when to step back and when to take control.

These are hard things, and many of the CEOs I’ve interviewed have spent years finding their balance points amid these devilish paradoxes. But there is a payoff for the hard work: they come across as authentic leaders. That builds trust, and trustworthy leaders tend to have followers.

Adam Bryant’s book, The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons from CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed, was featured in our 2011 list.

The Corner Office

David Kirkpatrick


David Kirkpatrick

I'm astonished by the fervor that is the Internet today. In the four years since I published my profile of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg, the cacophony of information and app-mediated experiences around us has risen to a fever pitch. Facebook itself has burgeoned from 350 million to 1.3 billion users, so more of the planet is in on this cacophony, too.

People talk a lot about a supposed “Internet Bubble,” but I worry more about what might be called an “Information Bubble.” We are continually stimulated by new info, trivial and profound, silly and solemn. Will we lose our ability to discriminate about what’s important? It’s easier to obsess over an elevator pushing match for an hour than over global warming for a decade, as objectively we must. And I do think that, to some extent, the profane is elbowing out the sacred. I remain a proponent of connectivity as well as the economic and even social virtues of the Net, but every day we head further into terra incognita.

David Kirkpatrick’s book, The Facebook Effect: The Inside Story of the Company That Is Connecting the World, was featured in our 2010 list.

The Facebook Effect

Lisa Endlich


Lisa Endlich

For as much as we know about money, the earning, gathering, spending and investing of it, our knowledge of giving it away is remarkably frail. History is strewn with failures, a litany of good intentions and mediocre outcomes. Yet philanthropy may be one of the most exciting dynamic areas of American life, the place where great social innovation is born and the blueprints for the future are being drawn.

Lost on my own path to help others, I sought out the stories of those who had blazed a bright trail, givers who had created wealth and then, with determination and insight, found ways that truly better the lives of others. Our best guide to giving well lies in the successful philanthropic journeys of those who have found ways to change our world. These are tales, I believe, that need to be told. While the stories of great wealth may intrigue us, the stories of great giving inspire us.

Lisa Endlich’s book, Be the Change, was featured in our 2009 list.

Be The Change

10th Anniversary

Celebrating a Decade of the J.P. Morgan Reading List

In recognition of our 10th annual Reading List, nine authors featured in prior years shared personal insights about their work as writers—what inspires them, challenges them and drives them to keep at their passion.

Mohammed El-Erian


Mohamed El-Erian

I was nervous as I navigated my Cambridge University entrance interview in 1976. I felt that I had dealt well with most of the questions but, importantly, had not done what my school teacher had urged me to do: refer to a book that I had recently read and, in the process, signal to the interviewer that my interest in economics went well beyond schoolbooks.

With time running out, I had no choice but to attempt a messy transition to the book, and away from something that had nothing to do with it. My interviewer smiled and asked me to summarize where I agreed with the book.

Confidently, I launched into a well-prepared monologue aimed at demonstrating my understanding and support for its conclusions. Then it all came crashing down. The interviewer asked me a question that totally stumped me. After I was left to fester in my incompetence for a few minutes, he got up and pulled an “off print” from his shelf.

“Here is my published critique of the central thesis of the book,” he said. “Go away and look at it. And, remember, you should not believe everything you read in books. Just because it is in print does not mean it is accurate.”

This episode marked me for life as it vividly reinforced something that my father had told me years earlier: when reading a book, intellectual curiosity should never be allowed to fall victim to appearances, no matter how intimidating. Indeed, books should be approached as containing hypotheses rather than assertions. No author, no matter how famous, has a monopoly on the truth.

Mohamed El-Erian’s book, When Markets Collide: Investment Strategies for the Age of Global Economic Change, was featured in our 2008 list.

When Markets Collide

John Wood


John Wood

I no longer believe in coincidences. Too often to be mere chance, seemingly random people and moments cross our paths that have profound effects on where we take our next step. For me, it was the ultimate cliché: successful businessman has an epiphany in the mountains of Nepal and decides to give it all away for the sake of a dream.

As I grappled with “should I or shouldn’t I” while shivering in my sleeping bag at 12,000 feet, I sought some diversion from the enormity of the question and grabbed a book out of my pack. “Coincidentally” the book flipped open to a page that began, “There is nothing with which every man is so afraid as getting to know how enormously much he is capable of doing and becoming.” In that sentence, Søren Kierkegaard issued me the challenge that would propel me into the next amazing chapter of my life.

John Wood’s book, Leaving Microsoft to Change the World: An Entrepreneur’s Odyssey to Educate the World’s Children, was featured in our 2007 list.

Leaving Microsoft to Change the World

George Taber


George M. Taber

I am living proof of Woody Allen’s adage that 80% of success is just showing up. I almost didn’t go to a winetasting in Paris in 1976 that put Napa Valley wines on the map because they topped some of France’s best. I later told the story of the tasting in Judgment of Paris. Fortunately for me, that event and book laid the foundation for a retirement career writing wine books. In the process of writing Judgment, I developed an expertise in wine, which also became my passionate hobby. I have since written two more wine books. The first, To Cork or Not to Cork: Tradition, Romance, and the Battle for the Wine Bottle, is about the hottest debate currently taking place in the wine business: how to seal a bottle. My next one is entitled In Search of Bacchus: Wanderings in the Wonderful World of Wine Tourism.

George Taber’s book, Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine, was featured in our 2006 list.

Judgement of Paris

Thomas Friedman


Thomas L. Friedman

I find that in these incredibly disruptive times, when both economics and technology seem to be turning everything upside down, there are two sections to go to in the library—one is to escapist fiction and the other is to history.

I have sought succor myself in history, which always calms me down much more than escapist fiction. Why? Because the minute you read a history of Jackson’s Presidency or Ghandi’s India or Churchill’s wartime experiences or FDR’s leadership, you realize that the press was just as noisy back then as they are now, that politicians were just as brutal, narrow-minded and “political” back then as they are now and that the problems of war, poverty and education were actually bigger. And yet, they got through them, and, in the end, democracy survived and societies still managed to thrive. We will too—I hope.

Thomas Friedman’s book, The World Is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century, was featured in our 2005 list.

The World is Flat

Julie Salamon


Julie Salamon

My writing, as well as my life, has been most influenced by my childhood in Seaman, Ohio, population 800, the rural Appalachian town where my European parents chose to settle in the 1950s. There were eight churches, mostly Baptist—and us, the town’s diversity. As the daughter of Hungarian-speaking Holocaust survivors, the only Jewish family in town, I had to work hard to fit in, even though I was born and raised in Ohio.

My imagination was fed by stories my parents told my sister and me of a vanished world, and by the bookmobile, the traveling library that drove into town every six weeks. I read voraciously, if indiscriminately, staggering out of that cramped, book-lined trailer with a fresh armload of pleasure, terror, knowledge and mystery. Through those books I felt connected to the universe.

My own children are growing up in New York City, where bookstores and libraries still abound—though they just as often order books online. Back in Seaman, the bookmobile has been replaced by a bricks-and-mortar building. My latest book can be read on Kindle. But the connection remains.

Julie Salamon’s book, Rambam’s Ladder: A Meditation on Generosity and Why It Is Necessary to Give, was featured in our 2004 list.

Rambam’s Ladder

Hersh Shefrin


Hersh Shefrin

The financial and economic crisis that hit the world in late 2008 has its roots in human psychology. This means that the crisis is the product of how our collective minds work, rather than energy prices, global warming, or terrorism. This is grist for the mills of academics like me who have spent the last thirty years working to develop behavioral finance, the systematic study of how psychology impacts financial decisions and financial markets.

A lot has changed in the decade since I wrote Beyond Greed and Fear. But human psychology has not changed. When I wrote the book, the challenge was to explain the psychology that permeates the financial landscape. We face a different challenge now. If the global financial crisis has made anything clear, it is that we must find a way to deal with the psychological excesses that have precipitated the most serious economic downturn since the Great Depression.

This crisis motivates me to continue to teach the insights I have gained over the years. I sincerely hope that my efforts help people to structure psychologically intelligent organizations in both private and public sectors. When it comes to risk, there are tried and true steps we can take to reduce the deleterious impact of emotions and biases on our judgments and decisions.

Hersh Shefrin’s book, Beyond Greed and Fear: Understanding Behavioral Finance and the Psychology of Investing, was featured in our 2003 list.

Beyond Greed and Fear

Jim Collins


Jim Collins

When I first embarked on a writing career, I devoured dozens of books about the process of writing. I soon realized that each writer has weird tricks and idiosyncratic methods. Some wrote late at night, in the tranquil bubble of solitude created by a sleeping world, while others preferred first morning light. Some cranked out three pages a day, workmanlike, whereas others worked in extended bursts followed by catatonic exhaustion. Some preferred the monastic discipline of facing cinder-block walls, while others preferred soaring views.

I quickly learned that I had to discover my own methods. Most useful, I realized that I have different brains at different times of day. In the morning, I have a creative brain; in the evening, I have a critical brain. If I try to edit in the morning, I’m too creative, and if I try to create in the evening, I’m too critical. So, I go at writing like a two piston machine: create in the morning, edit in the evening, create in the morning, edit in the evening . . .

Yet all writers seem to agree on one point: writing well is desperately difficult, and it never gets easier. It’s like running: if you push your limits, you can become a faster runner, but you will always suffer. In nonfiction, writing is thinking; if I can’t make the words work, that means I don’t know yet what I think. Sometimes after toiling in a quagmire for dozens (or hundreds) of hours, I throw the whole effort into the wastebasket and start with a blank page. When I sheepishly shared this wastebasket strategy with the great management writer Peter Drucker, he made me feel much better when he exclaimed, “Ah, that is immense progress!”

Jim Collins’ book, Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don’t, was featured in our 2002 list.

Good to Great

Lawrence Cunningham


Lawrence A. Cunningham

When you present to a group, it’s vital to “know thy audience.” In today’s multimedia world, each medium may addresses a different audience, each with their own set of concerns.

Last summer, I wrote a white paper for the Council of Institutional Investors on Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s vision for financial regulation and what it means for investors such as pension funds and private equity. As the financial crisis widened and reform proposals proliferated, I needed to reach an additional audience focused on approaches to financial regulation: academia. That spurred me to write a scholarly article delineating the alternative approaches to financial regulation reform.

From there, I realized that new approaches to financial regulation confront specific problems of accounting with international implications. As I was updating my textbook, Introductory Accounting, Finance and Auditing for Lawyers, I knew this would be pertinent to students across the United States who read it. I also needed a way to communicate these current concerns into a language my own students could understand as it is relevant to our study of corporate law. I pursued this translation on my blog, “Concurring Opinions,” a sort of treadmill for thought and communication.

Taking a step back to see these varying audiences influences how I write to them and focuses my thinking on the ramifications to their lives. The challenge and joy of writing a general interest book like How to Think Like Benjamin Graham and Invest Like Warren Buffett is reaching all these lives and addressing all their diverse concerns under one cover.

Lawrence Cunningham’s book, How to Think Like Benjamin Graham and Invest Like Warren Buffett, was featured in our 2001 list.

How to Think Like Benjamin

Malcolm Gladwell


Malcolm Gladwell

The most important experience of my life was the nine years I spent working for The Washington Post. When I started there, I was a “writer”—that is, I thought that the point of writing was for the writer to express himself or herself in as complete and profound way as possible. But then I started having to write newspaper stories, and every day was confronted with an editor telling me to make my stories shorter and shorter—without, of course, losing any important details. I fought that for the longest time. I thought it was a contradiction. Now I realize it was a blessing.

Great storytelling is not measured by how complete and profound the story is; it is measured by how economical it is. A carefully worded paragraph can, in the right hands, run circles around a page.

Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point, was featured in our 2000 inaugural list.

The Tipping Point