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Best Summer Holiday Reads for CEOs

Best Summer Holiday Reads for CEOs

KIM Jin-Hyuk

July 24, 2012


Welcome to our video program. I'm Jin-Hyuk Kim from the Industry and Strategy Department II.

Since 2004, Samsung Economic Research Institute has conducted a survey of CEOs and their reading habits. This year a total of 567 CEOs participated in the survey and recommended more than 1,000 books to read. Among them, SERI picked the best 14 summer reads, including seven on economy and management and the rest on humanities and culture.

In the economy and management category, the first to make the list was “Multipliers.” The authors classify leaders as “diminishers” or “multipliers.” Diminishers are intelligent people who focus on their own genius. People around them always feel small and don’t make decisions by themselves. In contrast, multipliers get things done by making the best use of others. They create more for their organizations by multiplying the intelligence and capabilities of the people around them. Read the book and find out more about diminishers or multipliers.

“Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman is a bit longer. The author is the founder of behavioral economics and the first psychologist who won the Nobel in economics. In “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” Kahneman says “We have two modes of thinking. The first is fast but inaccurate, which is called “intuition,” and the other, called “reasoning,” is slow but relatively accurate. Because we have two systems contradicting each other, we make the wrong decisions. In this regard, traditional economics, which assumes humans as rational decision makers exposes its limits.” This book will serve as good guidance in the world of behavioral economics.

“Borrowing Brilliance” is about creation derived from imitation. For example, the author says that the helmet used by Darth Vader in “Star Wars” is copied from Nazi helmets. Also, the sound of his voice is taken from scuba divers breathing underwater. He proposes six steps to borrow ideas from other fields. To describe this process, he takes examples from great artistic creations and scientific innovations.

“The Six Secrets of Demand Creation” by Adrian Slywotzky tells how to create demand in this sluggish economy. Slywotzky suggests six secrets: magnetic products, hassle maps, backstories, triggers, trajectories and variation. They sound hazy at first, but the author elaborates them with vivid illustrations.

“Mood Matters” is about how to learn underlying social moods and “The Change” is about mega-trends and how to capture business opportunities from them. “Getting More” talks about how to negotiate to achieve your goals based on psychological analysis. All are worthwhile as holiday reads.

“Rush: Why You Need and Love the Rat Race” is the first to make the list in the humanities and culture category. It is often said that relaxation and slowness are the sources of happiness, emphasizing the importance of taking a break. “Rush” argues for the opposite.competition, not relaxation and slowness, is the source of happiness. The author says achieving by competing is what humans want by nature. Thus, we have to keep our brain alert by working moderately after retirement.

What comes next is “Wars, The Source of All Strategies in The World.” In the book, the author looks into 25 wars in the past and observes decisive factors that determined victory and defeat. The virtue of the book is that readers can learn lessons from war strategies that will apply to daily life.

The title of the next book is provocative; “Books are Axes”. In this book, the author, an advertiser, explores more than 40 humanities books from the East and the West and finds the meanings of and his own way of reading them. He insists that books should be the axes that trigger innate sensibilities. Like the title, the book is exciting and there is never a dull moment.

“A Stroke of Insight” by a Chinese literature expert is a modern interpretation of Chinese classics. There are 100 four-letter idioms with the author’s explanation, which are insightful as well as touching. Try it for meditation.

The list includes “Sometimes Sober” which throws a new light on misunderstanding. “Your 40s, Time for The Analects of Confucius” tapping the wisdom of Confucius also makes the list. For those with keen interest in history, “Civilization: The West and the Rest” by Niall Ferguson is a perfect choice. It shows six major reasons for the success of western civilization. The book is long and its knowledge is deep.

Thank you for watching. I'm Jin-Hyuk Kim.

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