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Faces of Geneia

Summer reading: It's never too late to start a good book

August 28, 2018
The reading list of Geneia leaders ranges from fiction classics to business best sellers.
Elysia Woody

The summer is the best time of the year for traveling, spending time with family and relaxing. For many people, relaxing in the summer means sitting back and reading a new book. When thinking about the intelligent and talented minds of our leaders at Geneia, I began to wonder, ‘What kind of book would a business leader read for fun?’ So, I asked them. Our leader’s summer reading choices range from fiction classics to business best sellers to books that explain how influential technology is and will be.


There seemed to be a mystery theme when looking at all of the fiction books that our leaders were reading. The three mysteries I found most interesting were:The President is Missing, City of Endless Night and The Death of Mrs. Westaway.

The President is Missing

Two Geneia managers are reading The President is Missing written by Bill Clinton and James Patterson. The book is a mystery-thriller about the president going missing after rumors of cyber terror and espionage and a traitor in the cabinet; the president is among the suspects.

“[The President is Missing] explores the thin line between loyalty and duty on one side and resentment and temptation on the other that can corrupt even the most honorable of public servants, and it shines a spotlight on the deep commitment of America’s adversaries to tear us apart and weaken our standing in the world.” - Nicolle Wallace, The New York Times



City of Endless Night

City of Endless Night by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, begins with a manhunt for a wealthy billionaire’s daughter. At first, NYPD believes the daughter has left to go on another wild adventure. However, everything changes when the girl’s body is discovered in an abandoned warehouse, the head nowhere to be found.


The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Another popular read at Geneia is The Death of Mrs. Westaway, written by Ruth Ware. The book is a psychological thriller about a woman named Hal who receives a strange letter granting her a large inheritance. She soon realizes that the letter was not for her, but still wants to claim the money. She later finds herself at a funeral of the deceased, where she realizes that there is something very strange about the situation and the inheritance itself.

“I predict lovers of first-class suspense will also want to burrow into their version of Hal’s darkened chamber, shut out the delights of summer and read until the stunning endgame here is played out.” - Maureen Corrigan, The Washington Post


There were a few other fiction choices that were not mysteries. One is a romance and the other is a classic:

The Inn at Rose Harbor

The Inn at Rose Harbor written by Debbie Macomber is about Jo Marie, a young widow who decides to purchase a local bed and breakfast, The Rose Harbor Inn, to help her cope with the loss of her husband. The inn, however, holds surprises that Jo Marie could have never imagined.


Of Mice and Men

John Steinbeck’s classic novel, Of Mice and Men, tells the story of two displaced migrant ranch workers, George Milton and Lennie Small, who move throughout California during the Great Depression. The book has film, stage and radio adaptations and is taught in many schools throughout the United States. However, the classic often receives criticism for what some see as offensive and vulgar language. This has caused Of Mice and Men to make the American Library Association’s list of the Most Challenged Books of the 21st Century.



Although some of our leaders choose a novel to unwind after work, others get home and continue to think about their work at Geneia. When asking our leaders what books they were reading this summer, it seemed that most of the non-fiction choices were related in some way to the work we do at Geneia. Among these, the books of most interest to me were: Self Made, The Master Algorithm, What To Do When Machines Do Everything, Never Lose a Customer Again and The Best Team Wins.

Self Made

One of our leaders is reading Self Made written by Nely Galán. The book tells inspiring stories about women who started and grew businesses and also gives tips and tricks for how to save money, make money and find ‘hidden money’ that can jump start dreams.

“A much-needed and wise book that teaches women not to fear money, but to see it as a means of reaching our dreams. Nely shows us how to become money courageous instead of finance fearful. I want to give this book to so many women (and men) I know.” - Sandra Cisneros, Author



The Master Algorithm

This book is not surprisingly a summer reading choice from someone on our technology team! The Master Algorithm written by Pedro Domingos, discusses the learning machines that power Google, Amazon and your smartphone. Domingos also develops a blueprint for the future universal learner - the Master Algorithm - and explains how it will impact society, businesses and science.

“The holy grail of computer science is a machine that can teach itself, as we humans do, from experience. Machine learning could help us do everything from curing cancer to building humanoid robots. Pedro Domingos demystifies machine learning and shows how wondrous and exciting the future will be.” - Walter Isaacson, author of Steve Jobs and The Innovators



What To Do When Machines Do Everything

In What To Do When Machines Do Everything by Malcolm Frank, Paul Roehrig, and Ben Pring, the authors discuss how difficult it is for companies to compete in the digital economy. The authors then provide the reader with steps to help move their organization ahead in a world where technology is continuously developing and changing the way value is created.

“A timely analysis of the strategic implications of the rapid advancements in AI and machine learning (ML) on businesses of all sizes. The book is well-researched with terrific case study examples of companies that are confronting the realities of today's rapidly changing AI/ML environment, and the consequences facing those that aren't. The book also provides useful advice for executives to respond to the AI/ML opportunities and challenges.” - Jeffrey M. Kaplan, Founder and Managing Director, THINKStrategies



Never Lose a Customer Again

The book Never Lose a Customer Again by Joey Coleman offers a strategy for dramatically increasing customer retention. Coleman identifies eight emotional phases customers go through in the 100 days following a purchase. He then posits that if you are able to understand and anticipate a customer’s emotions, you can apply an array of techniques to secure a long and valuable relationship.

“This book is essential for everyone who has any interaction with your customers! Never Lose a Customer Again goes beyond customer service and experience. It's about validation that the customer made the right decision to do business with you. Everyone in your organization must understand this.” - Shep Hyken, customer service expert and New York Times bestselling author of The Amazement Revolution



The Best Team Wins

In The Best Team Wins, Adam Robinson gives examples from his past experiences to explain how a business can transform its hiring process from a liability into a source of sustainable competitive advantage. This helps readers improve their success rate in hiring decisions.

A few non-fiction books were not work related. Two that I found interesting are both historical non-fiction.



The Earth is Weeping

The Earth is Weeping by Peter Cozzens tells the history of the hard-fought battles and negotiations that disrupted the Native American way of life after the Civil War. Cozzens writes about the struggles that the Native Americans had to overcome to fight for emergence in the United States as well as the moral struggles experienced by the soldiers who were posted at the frontier.

“Cozzens does an exceptional job of examining the viewpoints of both sides, making heavy use of previously untapped primary sources….This is a timely and thorough book, presenting the story without hyperbole or histrionics of this controversial chapter in American history, providing an excellent one-volume history of America’s actual longest and most tragic war.” - Jerry Lenaburg, New York Journal of Books



Alexander Hamilton

Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow tells the story of Alexander Hamilton, a man who overcame all odds to shape, inspire and scandalize the newborn America. Alexander Hamilton is a full-length biography, giving full details on one of the most fiercely debated figures in American history.



Those are just a few of our leaders’ summer reading books! Some other books that made the list: Irrationality in Health Care, Make Your Bed, 12 Strong, The Terrible and Wonderful Reasons Why I Run Long Distances, You Already Know How to be Great, Commonwealth and Leaders Eat Last.

Those are some excellent choices. I can’t wait to start reading. Remember that although the end of summer is near, it is never too late to start a new book!