Countdown to Summer: What’s on Our Reading (and Listening) List?

As we prepare to swap our screens for a sea view, speakers from our Unconventional Investing Conference share their recommendations

It’s almost that time of year when many of us will be switching on our out-of-office messages and taking a well-earned summer break. It’s been an eventful year to date – and the second half of 2024 promises to be action-packed.

For those scouting for summer reading recommendations, look no further. To compile this year’s list, we asked each of our speakers at Man Group’s Unconventional Investing Conference to contribute one recommendation.

The resulting list is eclectic, offering insights into behavioural science and contemporary politics, as well as compelling biography, dystopian fiction and even a children’s book. For those who prefer audio content or are pushed for time, some of our contributors, including our CEO Robyn Grew, opted for a standout podcast instead.

Whatever your plans this summer, we hope you find something that piques your interest.

Understanding who we are

Kicking off this year’s list, Steven Desmyter, President of Man Group, selected Same As Ever by Morgan Housel. The book comprises 24 short stories about the ways that life, human behaviour and business will always be the same. In an ever-changing world, Housel aims to provide readers with a deeper appreciation of the elements that remain constant and highlights the value of patience, adaptability and perspective.

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, which offers lessons in negotiation, was the summer read of choice from Eric Atlas, Head of US Residential Debt at Man Group. Voss draws on his experience as a former FBI hostage negotiator and presents practical strategies and psychological insights to help readers negotiate more effectively.

Perspectives on power and policy

In a year when almost half of the world will go to the election booth, it’s unsurprising that some of our presenters chose titles focused on contemporary politics. Chief Political Economist at Goldman Sachs Research Alec Phillips selected No Trade is Free by Robert Lighthizer, which offers a critical perspective on global trade policies and argues against the notion of unrestricted free trade. Drawing on his experience as a former US Trade Representative, Lighthizer contends that free trade often disadvantages American workers and industries.

Along similar lines, Michael Zezas, Managing Director – Global Head of Fixed Income Research at Morgan Stanley, opted for Superpower Showdown: How the Battle Between Trump and Xi Threatens a New Cold War by Bob Davis and Lingling Wei. This weighty tome takes an in-depth look at the trade wars, economic policies and political manoeuvres that defined the relationship between former President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Time travel

For history buffs, Charles Myers, Chairman and Founder at Signum Global Advisors, may have the answer. He chose Eric Larson’s The Demon of Unrest, which charts the tumultuous period preceding the American Civil War. Larson’s suspense-filled narrative draws on historical records to track the lives of several characters, including Abraham Lincoln, in the run-up to the four-year conflict.

Tarek Abou Zeid, Senior Client Portfolio Manager at Man AHL, chose George Orwell’s 1984 as his summer read of choice. The classic novel, which turned 75 this year, explores themes of totalitarianism, surveillance, censorship and individual freedom by following Winston Smith, a low-ranking member of ‘the Party’, who becomes disillusioned with the oppressive regime controlling every aspect of life.

Exceptional lives

Biographies and memoirs, offering deep insights into the lives of sportspeople, musicians and writers among others, featured particularly heavily in this year’s list. Professor in Business Administration, Marketing & Psychology, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, Leif Nelson, selected Lou Reed: The King of New York by Will Hermes. The biography chronicles the life and career of the influential musician and frontman of The Velvet Underground. Hermes paints a vivid portrait of Reed as a pioneering artist who pushed boundaries and reshaped the landscape of modern music.

Meanwhile, David Ryan, Head of Fast Trading Strategies in Single Name Assets at Man AHL, took us to sixteenth and seventeenth century England with Super Infinite by Katherine Rundell. The book explores John Donne’s life and work, including his evolution from a young, ambitious courtier to a renowned poet and preacher.

From metaphysical poetry to theoretical physics, Jens Foehrenbach, Head of Public Markets at Man Group, recommended His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson. The biography paints a detailed portrait of Albert Einstein as both a scientific genius and a deeply human figure and highlights the ongoing impact of his work today.

Putri Pascualy, Client Product Manager at Man Varagon, brought us back to the present day, endorsing The Bond King by Mary Childs, which charts the rise to prominence of Bill Gross, the influential co-founder of PIMCO and dominant figure in the bond market.

If nothing has grabbed your attention yet, what about Jim Boeheim’s autobiography Bleeding Orange? Chosen by Kevin Marchetti, Co-Head of Direct Lending and Chief Credit Officer at Man Varagon, it tells the story of legendary head coach of Syracuse University's men's basketball team. Or Love and Whiskey by Fawn Weaver was selected by Elizabeth Herman, Executive Director – Federal Government Relations at J.P. Morgan, as her summer read of choice. It delves into the hidden narrative behind the iconic Jack Daniel's whiskey brand.

One for the kids

Zog and the Flying Doctors by Julia Donaldson was picked by Richard Barclay, Head of Product and Multi-Strategy Solutions at Man Group. He has been enjoying the story, which celebrates teamwork and bravery while also challenging traditional roles, almost as much as his children.

Captivating audio

Some of our contributors opted for a podcast over a book this year. Diana Zheng, Senior Quantitative Researcher at Man Numeric, selected Bloomberg’s Odd Lots podcast, hosted by Joe Weisenthal and Tracy Alloway, which covers a broad array of topics related to finance, markets and the global economy.

Man Group CEO Robyn Grew opted for audio as well – and gave us two recommendations. First, Hannah Fry’s Uncharted, which explores how data shapes our world. Fry guides the listener through ten intriguing mysteries, uncovering the power of numbers behind each. Robyn also recommended Wiser Than Me, hosted by Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who interviews and draws on the wisdom and life experiences of accomplished women who have navigated challenges and triumphs in their lives.

We wanted to throw in one more. Our very own Extra Credit podcast, the new season of Long Story Short, which explores the ways credit is evolving and how it fits into portfolios. We’ve published episodes on the rise of quant credit and the diversifying role of catastrophe bonds so far – with more to come.

And that’s a wrap. All that’s left is to wish you a great summer.

User Country: United States (237)
User Language: en-us
User Role: Public (Guest) (1)
User Access Groups:
Node Access Groups: 1