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Book Recommendations from Business and Cultural Leaders

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Lynette L. Allston

President of Board of Trustees, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts 

Braiding Sweetgrass, by Robin Wall Kimmerer

“A book that has been on my shelf, but unread, recently called out to me at a time when I needed to be centered and find solace. Braiding Sweetgrass offered indigenous teachings with a mental return to the importance of connecting with the basic elements of being mindful, caring for the body, staying aware of spirit, sustaining life and our environment. With the chaotic pace of day-to-day living in the 21st century, we are now seeing the hostile impact we have had on our world. I feel a renewal by remembering to engage my senses to what is around me and to changes. We have the power to alter our behavior by making decisions that will sustain a safe and livable planet.” 

Lars Seier Christensen

Chairman, Concordium Foundation; Founder, Saxo Bank 

Reality+: Virtual Worlds and the Problems of Philosophy, by David J. Chalmers

“The idea of simulations has long fascinated me, and with the metaverse coming of age, we are now on the edge of creating completely realistic simulations. Professor Chalmers asks the reasonable question—what if someone already created a simulation and we are living in it now? He explores many interesting aspects of the physical and virtual worlds and how they may influence our future. Highly timely, it’s the best book I have read on this subject.”

Lisa Lutoff-Perlo

CEO, Celebrity Cruises

Brave, Not Perfect, by Reshma Saujani

“Our Celebrity Apex godmother Reshma Saujani has a New York Times bestseller, Brave, Not Perfect. It’s inspiring, empowering, and a must read, whether in the business world or not, because it’s filled with powerful life lessons. I’m also looking forward to reading her new book,

Pay Up: The Future of Women and Work (and Why It’s Different Than You Think).

Nina Compton

James Beard Award-Winning Chef

Black, White, and The Grey: The Story of an Unexpected Friendship and a Beloved Restaurant, by Mashama Bailey and John O. Morisano

“This book features great recipes from the authors’ restaurant, The Grey in Savannah, Ga., but more importantly to me, tells the story of Mashama and Johno’s [he goes by “Johno” but uses “John O.” as his author name] unlikely partnership. The symbolism of a Black Southern woman and a white New York man, and their journey converting a formerly segregated bus station into their award-winning restaurant, warmed my heart. This book inspires while showing the beauty of what humanity can accomplish.”

Rebecca Moffett

President, Vanguard Charitable

Quiet Leadership, by David Rock

“I first read it early in my career after taking on the responsibility of leading a larger team, and now, leading an entire organization, I pull it back out to reference the research, tools, and scenarios on how to help talented colleagues, friends, and even family move from impasse to insight to make great decisions and take the best next step. The lessons for leaders on how to teach through small, intentional moments that help others think better—rather than telling them what to do—are critical for every leader, emerging or experienced. Decades after first reading it, this book is still the one I give to my team to inspire them to propel our mission forward.” 

This article appears in the December 2022 issue of Penta magazine.


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