We’ve brought back our Summer Reading List as the season kicks into full gear. Point72 senior leaders shared books that they recommend – including our most popular recommendation, “Outlive,” on the art of healthy living; as well as real stories from Marines, adventurers, and athletes; to lessons on negotiating and decision-making under uncertainty.
Harry Schwefel, Co-Chief Investment Officer: I’d recommend “Discipline Is Destiny: The Power of Self-Control” by Ryan Holiday. The book highlights the benefits of a disciplined approach to both your professional and personal life. For me, I enjoyed reading about the many accomplished people and all the little things they did right along the way to create their success. The book also served as a good reminder that maintaining discipline means having that discipline show up in all aspects of your life, like not just working hard but also taking care of yourself (e.g., getting enough sleep, eating right, etc.).
Denis Dancanet, President, Cubist Systematic Strategies: Before “1984” by George Orwell there was “We” by Yevgeny Zamyatin. I was recently surprised to discover this precursor that inspired Orwell in the writing of “1984.” It is more lyrical and darkly humorous, but no less powerful.
Mo Grimeh, Head of Global Macro: I recently enjoyed a book recommended from a few of my portfolio managers, “Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art” by James Nestor. The book looks at one of our most essential and common biological functions – breathing – and breaks down its evolution over the course of history, what we’re doing wrong, and the benefits of proper breathing techniques. It mainly focuses on breathing from the nose instead of the mouth which has enormous benefits to health, mental strength, and self-awareness.
Dan Gwak, Managing Partner, Point72 Private Investments: I’d recommend “One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer” by Nathaniel Fick. This book does a great job articulating the experience of Marines in combat without hyperbole or sensationalism – and it does a lot more than tell war stories. This is the best book I’ve read on an important and generalizable leadership skill: the ability to compartmentalize the ironies and injustices of chaotic situations in pursuit of an outcome.
Sri Chandrasekar, Managing Partner, Point72 Private Investments: “Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise” by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool. This is a book that looks at how people become experts – and what we can learn from it. I loved this book because: a) it disputes the “10,000 hour” rule of practice; and b) It gives clear examples of how you can markedly improve your performance in various things. As someone who loves learning new things and picking up new skills, I’ve found the “deliberate practice” they describe in the book invaluable.
Marc Desmidt, Head of Asia Pacific: Ahead of the Rugby World Cup this fall in France, I will be re-reading the autobiography of New Zealand All Blacks Captain and Rugby Legend Richie McCaw, “The Real McCaw.” On one level the book is the story of his journey and focus on becoming a G.A.B. (Great All Black) and on another it’s a study in humility, the power of the mind, focus, dedication, teamwork, and leadership. There are many great parallels that should resonate with us at Point72, as we strive to not only be the best at what we do but to remain consistent over time.
Will Tovey, Head of UK: I have two: “Notes from a Small Island” by Bill Bryson. It provides an interesting insight into the history and quirks of the UK through the eyes of an American who spent 20 years on our little island and did one last tour around the country before returning home. Second, and also another primer for the Rugby World Cup, is “Legacy” by James Kerr. A look into what the New Zealand All Blacks, the most dominant sports team ever to exist, can teach us about business and life. It provides a lesson in humility and leaving “the shirt” in a better place for the next person to wear it.
Rafa Lopez-Espinosa, Chief Operating Officer, International; Head of Warsaw & Paris : I enjoyed reading “Chip War: The Quest to Dominate the World’s Most Critical Technology” by Chris Miller, Stephen Graybill, et al. It offers a great description of the semiconductor ecosystem and a brief summary of historical events that help explain our current geopolitical situation. Truly a great read.
Laura Sterner, Global Head of Capital Development and Investor Relations: I read so much daily on the markets and finance that when I have time to read for leisure, which isn’t often, I am drawn to historical fiction or more biographical books and podcasts. I am a big British Monarchy fan, so I had to read “Spare” by Prince Harry and found it interesting to read history from a different angle. I also really enjoyed the “Magnificent Life of Marjorie Post” by Allison Pataki, which details the history of Post Cereal, the building of Mar-a-Lago and a strong woman of her time. To check out, I typically listen to the SmartLess podcast, which is a great way to learn the backstory of some of the great comedians and actors of our time.
Jeanne Melino, Chief Inclusion and Community Officer: I’d recommend “Outlive – The Science and Art of Longevity” by Peter Attia. The book focuses on how to not only live longer but how to live a HEALTHY long life. It discusses the failures of modern medicine around teaching preventability of diseases while wholly ignoring how to be proactive in staving off the four most prevalent forms of death: heart disease, cancer, neurodegenerative disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Ariel Speicher, Chief Human Resources Officer: I just finished “Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts” by Annie Duke and strongly recommend it. Duke shares insights from her career as a poker player and decision scientist to guide the reader to better decision-making under uncertainty. The prose is funny, and she distills a lot of information into short, practical lessons. Duke has changed the way I think about managing the unknown in my personal and professional life.
Jaimi Goodfriend, Head of Investment Professional Development, Point72 Academy Director: “Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as if Your Life Depended On It” by Chris Voss. While it has takeaways that can be applied to negotiations, I have found success using the framework to help improve flows in meetings and projects.
Michael Sullivan, Chief of Staff, Head of External Affairs: I’d recommend “The Gatekeepers: How the White House Chiefs of Staff Define Every Presidency” by Chris Whipple. The book provides the first in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the White House Chiefs of Staff and the unrecognized impact they’ve had on history. I found it to be an interesting lens to look at some of the most important moments of the past 40 years.
Gavin O’Connor, Chief Operating Officer: “Paper Tiger: An Obsessed Golfer’s Quest to Play with the Pros” by Tom Coyne. If you’re tough on yourself on the golf course, read this book. A light, funny account of one golfer’s crazy, year-long quest to make it to the pros. Turns out, it’s a really hard game.
Tony Paquette, Chief Financial Officer: I’d recommend “The Impossible First: From Fire to Ice – Crossing Antarctica Alone” by Colin O’Brady. The book is an incredible account of the first person to ever cross Antarctica alone without support or any assistance. The story highlights the ever-expanding limits of human achievement, and holds important lessons of strength, perseverance, discipline, and the power of sheer determination. For anyone looking to challenge their inner potential, I can’t imagine a more inspiring story.
Matt Dowd, Head of Market Intelligence: At the suggestion of a colleague, I recently listened to an episode of Anderson Cooper’s podcast All There Is with Stephen Colbert. The episode is about loss and grief and how Colbert has learned to be grateful for the grief he experienced following the tragic death of his father and two brothers. I found their conversation powerful both for its candor around a deeply personal topic and for its remarkable demonstration of the profound impact of perspective.