Rude VC: Summertime reading for Entrepreneurs on Holidays

Jul 31, 2012
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Summertime ReadingToday, the last day of July, represents a crossroads of vacation periods. Northern Europeans are largely finished with their summer holidays, while the Dutch and Belgians are just winding theirs down. Italy is preparing to shut down for the next month. And here in France, we’re still ramping up too. In the vacation spirit, here’s my summer leisure reading list, compiled from my personal suggestions and others’ reviews.

Inside Apple. by Adam Lashinsky

Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs has been probably been the most widely discussed business book this year, but Adam Lashinsky’s Inside Apple tops it for summer reading. Perhaps attending the same high school as Jobs afforded me a sufficient dose of his incredible story, so I found Inside Apple even more intriguing, particularly for its insight into how Apple may develop without Jobs.

Too Big to Fail. by Andrew Ross Sorkin

This book came out at the end of 2009, but its insight into the behavior of bankers still rings hauntingly true in today’s world of relentless banking scandals. The best irony comes in Jamie Dimon’s portrayal as a master CEO during the subprime crisis. Believe it or not, this book really is almost a page-turner, so easily qualifies for summer leisure reading.

What Money Can’t Buy: The Moral Limits of Markets. By Michael Sandel.

I haven’t read this one yet, but The Economist gave What Money Can’t Buy a glowing review: “Mr Sandel poses two objections consistently. One is inequality: the more things money can buy, the more the lack of it hurts. The other Mr Sandel calls “corruption”: buying and selling can change the way a good is perceived. Paying people to give blood does not work. Giving schoolchildren money as an incentive to read books may make reading a chore rather than a lifelong pleasure.”

Final Venture. By Michael Ridpath

For sheer mindless escapism, this is a thriller whose backdrop is a Boston-based venture capital firm. Far from anything close to resembling literature, but the plot is tight, making this a sufficient way to pass the time under a beach umbrella.

Parable of the Sower. By Octavia Butler

Pretty much everything I’ve read from Octavia Butler not only resembles great literature, it raises the bar in science fiction. Butler penned Parable of the Sower almost 20 years ago, yet its story chillingly reflects a potential outcome for today’s European crisis.

{Note: In the grandest French VC tradition, RudeVC will be taking two weeks holiday starting next week. Next column on August 21. Have an enjoyable summer !}