We asked a few Page Two authors to put together their summer reading lists for your summer reading inspiration! Our first list includes three books and one “summer reading project” from bestselling author and award-winning broadcaster and filmmaker Howard Green. His newest book, Railroader: The Unfiltered Genius and Controversy of Four-Time CEO Hunter Harrison, is coming out on September 18th.
Arrogance, cheating, humiliation, family dynamics—and the near ruination of a global brand. What more could you want in a book, and a business book, at that? Even better, there’s a movie in the works, so you can read first and then see how Leonardo DiCaprio fashions the story for the big screen. The book is Faster, Higher, Farther: The Volkswagen Scandal. It’s not surprising DiCaprio glommed onto it. Not only is Leo an environmentalist and film force, but the book is a tour de force by a superb reporter, Jack Ewing, who’s been based in Germany for The New York Times. The arrogance of the automaker was staggering, and as Ewing reveals, it could be traced back to the culture of what’s essentially a family business, something you may not have known about VW. If you want a business book that lays bare how family culture, combined with business pressures and human behavior led to the disgrace of a national icon, read this book.
In this attention-deficit era of social media, if you want a short-ish book that packs a punch of inspiration and wisdom, try David McCullough’s The American Spirit: Who We Are and What We Stand For. It’s a collection of his speeches and amounts to a wonderful antidote to all the Trump manure. McCullough, of course, is the master presidential biographer of Truman and John Adams, both of which are beautiful, stirring books, but not short! In this book of speeches, you hear the full timbre of McCullough’s finely-aged baritone, familiar to all who’ve heard him narrate documentaries on PBS. It’s thin in size, but thick in content. Slip it into your carry-on for a gentle, but thoughtful read on the plane.
And here’s one about tough guys. Chris Whipple’s The Gatekeepers—a chronicle of the White House chiefs-of-staff since Eisenhower—is a brilliant, fast-paced read about the hard-headed bunch who’ve worked 24/7 in the post-war presidency. Their principal qualification? They have to be unafraid to speak truth to power, i.e. tell the leader of the free world he’s wrong. Whipple was a producer for 60 Minutes, so he knows how to grab you and keep things moving.
Finally, if you want a lengthy summer reading project, then dig into this new and fascinating presidential biography. President Carter is by Stuart Eizenstat, who worked alongside Jimmy Carter at The White House. We get everything in this one. From Carter correcting staffers’ grammar to negotiating a peace agreement between Egypt and Israel, to suffering through American hostages being held by Iran, to beating back Ted Kennedy’s challenge to Carter’s re-nomination in 1980. Frequently viewed as a presidential failure, Jimmy Carter, we learn, did much. Among his accomplishments: appointing inflation-killer Paul Volcker as Fed Chairman and setting aside more land for conservation than any other president, including Teddy Roosevelt. Here’s the review I posted on Amazon:
“For anyone who loves a deeply researched presidential biography in the spirit of McCullough or Meacham, Stuart Eizenstat contributes richly to the form with a sweeping look at Jimmy Carter. Capturing Carter’s range of qualities, from the admirable to the maddening, Eizenstat’s volume is both scholarly in its approach, yet intimate and personal in its touch. “President Carter” is an even-handed assessment, never drifting into sentimentality, although at times moving and frequently human. The author reminds us of Carter’s successes—ones the public seems utterly unaware of—but also dissects the failures, taking Carter to task while accepting his own responsibility for certain fumbles. One is left with an impression of a man who, in frightfully turbulent times, was extraordinarily devoted to the job and tried incredibly hard to do what was right. Unfortunately, his righteous, overworked, molecular style was also a weakness. But in an age of unhinged presidential tweets, an endless series of Oval Office untruths, and a Commander-in-Chief lacking a moral compass, it’s much easier to forgive Carter’s failings. Eizenstat worked on this book over decades, producing a work of quality that will be of value to lay readers, history buffs and historians.”#summer reading list