What Philly's CEOs are reading this summer

Wondering what to read this summer? Take a leaf from Philly’s CEOs.

Maybe this is why these people are CEOs.

Only Skip Rosskam, honorary president at the flavors firm Tastepoint by IFF and the former chief operating officer of David Michael & Co., will admit to “pure escapism” for his summer reading. “Grisham, Patterson, Vince Flynn,” he wrote. Of course, Rosskam,70, sold his company this year, which might have affected his summer reading.

Our other CEOs are busy reading heavy tomes about business, leadership, history, and the state of the nation and the world. One CEO, newly married, is so conscientious, he’s reading a how-to book on relationships. We asked Philly’s CEOs to tell us what’s on their nightstands — or in their beach chairs — this summer. Here’s what they said:

Business

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss without Losing Your Humanity, by Kim Scott

“Too many people, particularly bosses, think that the only ways to deal with others are to be completely candid and cruel or to be kind and not `brutally honest.’ This book shows that you can criticize directly AND let the person know that you care about their success and life. Love that it once again shows that in human relationships, it is about them, not about you.”

Reviewer: Thomas Spann, Accolade, founder and vice chairman

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike, by Phil Knight

“Terrific book. Reads like a well-structured novel. The book reaffirmed my strong belief in surrounding yourself with the right people who have talents and strengths you don’t have. Also, if you want to build something great, whether it’s an iconic brand and culture like Nike, or anything, for that matter, it takes vision, guts, determination and the will to never give up even when the odds are stacked against you.”

Reviewer:  Carl A. Ortell, Holman Enterprises, chief executive

1,000 CEOs, by Andrew Davidson and Marshall Goldsmith

“This book profiles the ups and downs of the world’s most powerful people – corporate titans whose careers help me to realize that only the strong survive. I recommend this book for CEOs who need encouragement. After all, heavy is the head that wears the crown.”

 

Reviewer: Donna L. Allie, Team Clean, founder and chief executive

 

Blue Ocean Strategy, by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

“This book challenges all of your perceived perceptions about strategy and makes the point that the last thing you want to do is focus your strategy on your competitors. Rather, focus on the `blue ocean’ and what differentiates you, what creates new markets, and makes competitors irrelevant.”

Reviewer: Judith M. von Seldeneck,  Diversified Search, chairman and founder

History and Politics

Shattered: Inside Hillary Clinton’s Doomed Campaign, by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes

“As a Hillary supporter for years, I was anxious to read an unbiased explanation of what caused the failure of her campaign. According to this book, she couldn’t connect, get that stickiness, show transparency, or convey a vision that excited the right groups. She looked to her campaign staff to create it all for her and they were not, nor should they been expected to be, capable of such an undertaking. It made me feel better about what happened.”

Reviewer: Judith M. von Seldeneck,  Diversified Search, chairman and founder

A Soldier’s Story, by Gen. Omar N. Bradley

“Unlike some of his contemporaries, Gen. Omar Bradley did not seek the limelight and was known as the combat soldiers’ general. It is important to show the people that you are leading that you are willing to do anything they might have to do. Be down to earth. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty. Have a `walk-around’ management style. `Lead from the front, not from the rear.’ ”

Reviewer: Ted Peters, Bluestone Financial Institutions Fund, chairman

Vikram Dewan, CEO of the Philadelphia Zoo.
Team of Rivals, by Doris Goodwin

“At a time of greater divisions and heightened differences, I’ve been intrigued by how best to engage with those who clearly have different views and aspirations.”

Reviewer: Vikram H. Dewan,  Philadelphia Zoo, chief executive

Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap? By Graham Allison

“The book provides a compelling overview of how China is on a course (hopefully not collision) economically/technologically/militarily to overtake the U.S. in the next 20 years as the world’s dominant power. The author lays out examples of how this dynamic has occurred over the past 500 years between great world powers and that most of those situations ended in very destructive military and economic conflicts/wars. I was compelled to read this book to get above the `fog and white noise’ of the current media landscape that tends to focus much more on short term interactions of our government and China and not what really matters the most: How two great economic powers will co-exist in the 21st century. By the way, Xi Jinping and Donald Trump are strikingly similar on how they see their country’s place in the world (a good and possibly very bad thing!)”

Reviewer: Rob Wonderling, Chamber of Commerce of Greater Philadelphia, chief executive

 

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration, by Isabel Wilkerson

“The book chronicles the migration of some six million black citizens between roughly 1915 and 1970 from the South to the North and western parts of the U.S. Wilkerson not only relies on some new data and official records to explain this migration, but weaves the story of three black citizens who elected to migrate from the South. It is a page-turner and a book that has helped me in my discussions with our news director as we explore ways to make WHYY even more relevant to this cohort.”

Reviewer:  William J. Marrazzo,  WHYY, chief executive

Other:

The Man’s Guide to Women, by John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman

“I was married [June 7] to Philadelphia radio and television pioneer Jill Chernekoff, and want my marriage to always be strong. I’m also a member of the male species, so I need all the wisdom I can get about relationships.”

Reviewer: Stephen Tang, Science Center, chief executive

The Paris Architect, by Charles Belfoure

“I have been reading a great deal about the `ordinary’ citizens who lived in Europe and the U.S. during the Second World War and extraordinary impact they had on thousands of lives in helping people who were so devastated by the war. I expect [this novel] will be another of those inspiring great reads.”

Reviewer: Patricia D. Wellenbach,  Please Touch Museum, chief executive

Hop on Pop, by Dr. Seuss

“With our seven grandchildren, it is going to be a busy summer.”

Reviewer: Vikram H. Dewan, Philadelphia Zoo, chief executive