MERU's 2017 Holiday Reading List



With the holidays fast approaching, we all have an opportunity to reflect on the past year, spend time with family and friends, and recharge for 2018. With that in mind, we compiled a list of some of our favorite reads. We hope you find time in the coming weeks to unwind and bury yourself in a good book.

Wishing you a happy holiday.

The MERU team




When Genius Failed by Roger Lowenstein (Buy on Amazon)

An oldie but goodie, Lowenstein's book traces the rise and fall of Long Term Capital Management, a hedge fund that nearly took down the financial system when it collapsed in 1998. The story itself is gripping and includes cameos from Wall Street power players and Nobel laureates alike. The lessons of yesterday (the danger of overconfidence in a model; the disastrous side effects of leverage; the limits of genius) are just as relevant today as when the book was written. – Kyle






The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (Buy on Amazon)

Randy Pausch was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, which asked him to give a “Last Lecture.” A CMU tradition, professors so charged share their wisdom as if the lecture is truly their last. Before he spoke, he learned he had terminal pancreatic cancer, and unfortunately, the symbolism of the lecture became real. The book is an extension of the lecture and has always reminded me to not only follow my dreams but to get creative with how I accomplish my goals. It also pushes me to reflect on daily actions and consider what words and experiences I would want to leave behind in my own last lecture. – Sydney






The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (Buy on Amazon)

Duhigg examines the science behind forming (and shedding) habits in this fascinating view into how people, businesses, and organizations develop routines that make them more productive. He translates science into practice with story after story that compels you to keep reading. After learning that “making your bed every morning is correlated with better productivity, a greater sense of well-being and stronger skills at sticking with a budget,” I have made my bed (almost) every morning, and am working on applying his methods to eliminate my heavy reliance on the snooze button. – Sarah






The Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley (Buy on Amazon)

In a time when all the news is bad and the world seems to be going to hell, this book is a nice reminder that there is a reason for hope. Not only are things getting better, but they’re doing so at an accelerating pace. Matt Ridley does an effective job of telling how and why this is true with stories throughout human history. It’s an uplifting book that will improve your outlook on the world. – Nick








Elon Musk by Ashlee Vance (Buy on Amazon)

An inspiring biography of Elon Musk’s life to date highlighting his insatiable drive and quest to “save the human race.” Vance takes us through all the ebbs and flows of Elon’s childhood, early entrepreneurial ventures, and the successes and failures of Tesla and SpaceX. From near bankruptcy to billions in net worth, Musk’s “risk it all” mentality and commitment to a far-reaching, futuristic vision embodies the modern portrait of an entrepreneur, including the sacrifices made and the volatility of success. –CJ






The Obstacle Is the Way by Ryan Holiday (Buy on Amazon)

A quick read and relevant to many of the themes we encounter as we work with distressed clients and through personal adversity. Holiday's book is straightforward in its application of stoic principals with real-life examples of individual triumphs throughout history. It captures the importance of seeing the glass half-full and is relatable and insightful without being preachy. My key takeaway: view life’s obstacles for what they are, not for the emotion they elicit.   – Tim






Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit (Buy on Amazon)

So well written and a totally different perspective on the war in Europe. The book is set in Poland in 1939 and is written from the perspective of 6-year-old Anna.  – Ian








Strategy by B.H. Liddell Hart (Buy on Amazon)

Written by the “Clausewitz of the 20th century,” the book is a historical survey of the greatest generals in history, with a focus on what made them successful. The common theme between the greats is a willingness to avoid the direct, head-on approach and instead focus on the indirect approach, throwing the adversary off-balance with unique and (ideally) unanticipated tactics. One can’t help but find parallels between the military and business worlds, from technological disruption to innovation to negotiation. It’s also a quick read! – Bill