Summer arrived in Luxembourg a few weeks ago and this year it seems it wants to stay with us for a while. The jaw-dropping high temperatures, the dry lawns and the terraces of cafés full with people enjoying their refreshments are proof of that.
In parallel, the city’s streets are slowly becoming less and less crowded as people start to take a break from their busy lives and head to warmer shores —although it’s already pretty hot over here, so they are probably looking for cooler shores at this point, like the beach or the mountains.
Your faithful PwC Luxembourg blog team is no different. We are also in the process of preparing our suitcases —which, of course, will be packed with books— and hitting the pause button.
But before that, as it’s customary, we’ve put together a summer reading list. We hope you didn’t think, even if just for a moment, that we would leave you high and dry! We would never do such a thing to our dear readers.
This year, we have recruited a special crowd to provide you with book recommendations for the summer of 2022: our new partners. They are hard-working professionals who personify The New Equation, our firm’s approach to how we see new opportunities to serve clients.
Hence, we thought, ‘Who better to propose to us —and our readers’— some page-turning, thought provoking and thrilling reads?’
Since they are 14 people and we didn’t want to overwhelm you with decisions, we opted to split the article into two parts. Here are the first seven book recommendations.
Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgment by Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, Cass R. Sunstein
Noise truly gave me food for thought. Throughout it, the supergroup of authors, drawing on the latest findings in psychology and behavioural economics, explores the causes and consequences of the inherent variability in professional judgement.
Suppose that two doctors from the same speciality working in the same hospital give different diagnoses to identical patients. Now imagine these doctors make different decisions depending on whether it’s morning or afternoon, or Tuesday rather than Friday. These are examples of noise.
The book shows how noise, which can be found everywhere, can lead to errors in all fields. More importantly, it’s a good reminder for individuals and organisations of the role of chance in their reasoning and actions.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
I love this book. I read it some time ago and will read it again. It is business-related but very entertaining and inspiring to me. The author talks about the importance of focus and concentration to produce value-creating work, the work that really makes a difference to our clients and to our careers.
We are constantly distracted by hyper-connectivity, email, social media, interruptions, and complexity. Knowing this problem, the author gives many ideas on how to create the opposite: a state of concentration, flow, and deep work, with very practical guidelines. I really (try to) apply this and fully believe it is the way forward for knowledge workers like us!
Run or Die by Kilian Jornet
As a big mountain fan, I recommend this book during your summertime. Running is an art, Kilian said, like painting a picture or composing a piece of music. And to create a work of art, you have to be clear about four basic concepts: technique, effort, talent and inspiration. And all this must be combined in dynamic equilibrium.
In Run or Die, Killian Jornet shares his passion, inviting readers into a fascinating world rich with the beauty of rugged trails and mountain vistas.
In turns inspiring, insightful, candid, and deeply personal, this is a book written from the heart of the world’s greatest endurance runner, for whom life presents one simple choice: Run. Or die.
Psychologie des foules (The Crowd & The Psychology of Revolution) by Gustave Le Bon
It’s a book that I believe is thought provoking —but not necessarily a summer read. It’s about social psychology and can explain some of today´s behaviours. It was first published in 1895, but most of the statements are still true (if we exclude some racist beliefs —again, keep in mind it was written in the XIX century).
Le Bon explains how people’s behaviours are completely different from their individual’s behaviours when they act in a crowd. I recommend the book to challenge our perspectives and behaviours in crowd settings.
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Over summer, I like to spend time reading and relaxing by diving into stories. The books I read during this period help me to return to the office full of energy and ready to start a new audit season with new challenges.
Becoming by Michelle Obama is one of the books that I enjoyed last summer. Beyond being the incredible woman we know, she shares her thoughts on how she built herself and her different roles as a first lady as well as a mother. I found this book very inspiring.
Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World – and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund
Factfulness is … recognizing when a story talks about a gap, and remembering this paints a picture of two separate groups with a gap in between. Reality is often not polarised at all. Usually the majority is right there in the middle, where the gap is supposed to be.
Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly
During summer, I usually read crime and thriller novels. I’m a big fan of Michael Connelly’s novels, notably those featuring LAPD Detective Hieronymus “Harry” Bosch and criminal defence attorney Mickey Haller. I recommend the Lincoln Lawyer which was also a movie adaption starring Matthew McConaughey, and streaming on Netflix.
I also like the GQ (formerly Gentlemen’s Quarterly), which is an American international monthly men’s magazine. The publication focuses on fashion, style, and culture for men, though articles on food, movies, fitness, sex, music, travel, celebrities’ sports, technology, and books are also featured.
After this diversity of choice, from thrillers to business books, which one(s) will you pick? Let us know in the comments section, we would be happy to hear from you! We know it isn’t an easy decision —actually, you could go for them all if you are a speed reader— and to complicate matters further, the list doesn’t end here. As we briefly mentioned at the start of this blog entry, we have seven more book suggestions for you and they will be coming next week, so stay tuned!