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10 essential nonfiction books JPMorgan says everyone should read this summer

May 30, 2019, 22:56 IST



Every summer for the last 20 years, JPMorgan Chase has released its summer reading list of noteworthy nonfiction titles.

While some books are business focused, like Clayton Christensen's "The Prosperity Paradox," others are about as far from banking as you can get - "Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future" by Tracey Bashkoff made the cut.

According to JPMorgan's newsletter debuting the reading list, "this is the most diverse collection of topics and authors since [the list's] inception."

Despite their wide-ranging topics, the banking giant says the 10 books have a lot in common: they're engaging summer reads, they delve deeper than the average beach book, and they may stretch a reader's comfort zone, especially if said reader absorbed them all in one summer.


Here are all 10 books on JPMorgan's 20th summer reading list, along with descriptions of each title from Amazon, and where to find them online.

"Out of the Gobi: My Story of China and America"

Author: Weijian Shan

Description: Weijan Shan, a Chinese financier, started out working as a hard laborer in the Gobi desert when he was exiled from Mao Zedong's Communist regime at age 15. His inspiring journey led back to Beijing to finish his schooling, then to UC Berkeley in the 1980s. In five years, Shan went from working in the Gobi to meeting Senator Dianna Feinstein. And now that the United States and China's relationship has never been more tense, "Out of the Gobi" illustrates the cultural and political differences between the two world powers through Shan's point of view.

Find it here on Amazon

"The Age of Living Machines: How Biology Will Build the Next Technology Revolution"

Author: Susan Hockfield

Description: With climate change, extreme weather, and overpopulation threatening our way of life, neuroscientist Susan Hockfield says biology will be crucial. She foresees a future where cancer-detecting nanoparticles, mind-controlled bionic limbs, and computer-engineered crops save the planet. Hockfield, a former president of MIT, is calling this book the story of a technological revolution. And with the global population set to rise to 9.5 billion by 2050, a technological revolution couldn't pick a better time to arrive.

Find it here on Amazon

"Hilma af Klint: Paintings for the Future"

Author: Tracey Bashkoff

Description: When painter Hilma af Klint died in 1944, she asked that her work not be seen until 20 years after her death. It's been around seven decades since then, and her seminal abstract paintings are finally coming to light. The Swedish artist left over 1,000 works behind, many of which were recently exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum. While she may not be as well-known as abstract contemporaries like Kandinsky and Malevich, af Klint was decades ahead of her time.

Find it here on Amazon

"The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World"

Author: Melinda Gates

Description: Melinda Gates' first book is a call to empower women everywhere — and it's out when gender equality is one of the most important social issues of our time. Gates runs the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which has donated over $45 billion to those in need, with a focus on lifting communities out of poverty. Gates argues that the only way to ensure a society's progress is by giving women a chance to be treated equally. In the introduction, Gates says, "I want all of us to see ways we can lift women up where we live."

Find it here on Amazon

"Inspired Traveller’s Guide: Literary Places"

Authors: Sarah Baxter and Amy Grimes

Description: Ever wanted to see Dublin the way Joyce saw it when he wrote "Ulysses"? Or walk the same streets as Raskolnikov in Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment"? This travel book focuses on 25 real places behind literary classics like "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "For Whom the Bells Tolls," bringing them to life almost as much as the novels did. "Literary Places" is part of the Inspired Traveller's Guide series, and features illustrations by Amy Grimes.

Find it here on Amazon

"The Prosperity Paradox: How Innovation Can Lift Nations Out of Poverty"

Authors: Clayton Christensen, Efosa Ojomo, and Karen Dillon

Description: While charity has lifted many people out of poverty or kept them from starvation or disease, there is still an astonishing number of poor people around the world. According to Christensen, Ojomo, and Dillon, "750 million people still live in extreme poverty, surviving on less than $1.90 a day." "The Prosperity Paradox" explains that charity has helped, but billions have been funneled into poor countries without the expected results. People are still poor. The real way to create lasting growth in these communities is to focus on long-term solutions.

Find it here on Amazon

"My Mexico City Kitchen: Recipes and Convictions"

Author: Gabriela Cámara

Description: Mexico City is one of the greatest culinary destinations on the planet, and chef Gabriela Cámara stays true to Mexican culture with her recipes. This book has classics like chilaquiles verdes, chiles rellenos and flan de cajeta, as well as Cámara's own tuna tostadas. And there's a bit of modern flair in the mix as well — Cámara says that almost anything can be part of a taco.

Find it here on Amazon

"Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World"

Author: David Epstein

Description: You might think that the world's greatest leaders, artists, and athletes were successful because they did one thing very well. David Epstein, however, found that generalists, not specialists, were the successful ones. Every visionary and legend had multiple talents in addition to what they were known for. Epstein's notions of success will seem backward to most readers — find your path late in life, fail tests, and quit often — but his research proves they work.

Find it here on Amazon

"D-Day Girls: The Spies Who Armed the Resistance, Sabotaged the Nazis, and Helped Win World War II"

Author: Sarah Rose

Description: In 1942, as Britain was the last nation standing in Western Europe against Nazi Germany, 39 female spies were recruited to cross the channel and sabotage Nazi operations in France. Sarah Rose tells the story of all of them — some were patriotic to the point that they'd risk their lives, while others were housewives looking for adventure. In the two years leading up to D-Day, these brave women blew up railway lines, ambushed Nazi troops and the Gestapo, and gathered information. Without them, the Allies may not have won the Second World War.

Find it here on Amazon

"Atlas Obscura: Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid"

Author: Dylan Thuras and Rosemary Mosco

Description: Atlas Obscura has made a series of informative travel books based on their website, and their newest addition is designed for adventurous kids with wanderlust. Along with colorful illustrations, children can learn about Mexico's caves, French mummies, or African waterfalls without leaving their bedrooms.

Find it here on Amazon

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