Favorite “Outside-In” books: Heavy-Hitters weigh in

Posted 09.05.2008

As leaders rise, we need to broaden our field of vision to get perspectives that compel us to think from the outside-in. The Washington Post‘s Frank Aherns asks a range of heavy hitters for their recommendations on books that have helped them gain perspective on the big changes in the global economy. All of the responses were interesting, some unexpected. Here’s a rundown:

recommendations leaders books gain perspective changes global economy Former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin suggests Travels with Herodotus because it combines modern day reporting with insights from ancient Greek history. Sheila Barr cites the Pultizer Prize-winning 1924 novel, So Big. Steve Case, co-founder of AOL, recommends Fareed Zakaria’s new book, The Post-American World. Corporate governance expert Nell Minow and historian Henry Louis Gates both find current day lessons in Charles Dickens’ classic, David Copperfield.

And finally, there’s Mark Cuban, the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks. His recommendation? Nothing. His question was, "Is there a book out there called, "No One Has a Clue What Is Going On and the Whole World Is Guessing." Is it just me or does Cuban’s response strike anyone else as being both myopic and arrogant? Mark Cuban has done some pretty impressive things (his early exit from Dancing With The Stars notwithstanding) in his career, but certainly there’s got to be something out there that he could learn from. Maybe he just doesn’t read.

P.S. One of my favorite Outside-In books is Blue Ocean Strategy by Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne. What’s yours?