33 Books | The Essential Hedgeye Summer Reading List - Summer Reading

School is out. summer is here!

It's time to unwind, get some fresh air and sunshine, and spend quality time with friends and family (or by yourself if you prefer peace and quiet).

The only thing left to do before you grab the sunscreen and head to the beach or pool is to grab a book or two to help you unwind and reflect during the warm summer weather.

We've got you covered.

Below is the comprehensive Hedgeye Summer Reading Guide selected by our employees across various teams. From intriguing biographies, to scientific breakthroughs, and even a few classics you've maybe heard of (but probably haven't read); we've got a little bit of everything to keep you interested. 

While we're on the subject, you may also want to head over to Hedgeye University to take a look at Keith's three "Must-Read Process Books" as well as 10 essential books which can help you become a better investor (and human being!) 

Happy reading all!

- Team Hedgeye


MICHAEL BLUM: Hedgeye President 

A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

This book ought to be required reading for all. Bryson is one of my favorite authors and he makes for wonderful summer reading. In “A Short History,” Bryson manages to report how we got from primordial nothingness to where we are today.

The accidents that lead to fundamental discoveries. The scientists who failed with well thought our plans and thesis. Entertaining, fact-based and phenomenally sourced, you will learn so much about things you didn’t know and which are fundamental to our understanding of today’s world around us.


The Man Behind The Microchip: Robert Noyce and the Invention of Silicon Valley by Leslie Berlin.

This book is a great foundation stone for understanding the creation of Silicon Valley, the foundation of the semiconductor industry, a unique view into Intel, and is a reminder of a the OG generation of zillionaires created via innovation in the modern era.

Robert Noyce was a brilliant engineer, 2-pack a day smoker, would spend his time driving fast cars and flying his planes, then show up at work and not leave or sleep for days to solve major engineering crises. This wasn’t a change-my-life book, but I loved it, and it gave me a great window into the origins of the modern technology revolution in a page-turner of a story.

JEFF ESSER: VP of Technical Product Management 

Ruse: Lying the American Dream from Hollywood to Wall Street by Robert Kerbeck

In the world of high finance, multibillion-dollar Wall Street banks greedily guard their secrets. Enter Robert Kerbeck, a working actor who made his real money lying on the phone, charming people into revealing their employers’ most valuable information. An entertaining read and great insights into human psychology. Maybe you got discovered by headhunters using these methods in the good old days.

TANYA WAITe: Head of Human resources

The Last Traverse: Tragedy and Resilience in the Winter Whites by Ty Gagne

For those who enjoy the outdoors, or not, I think this is a great book.  It not only walks you through a series of poor decisions made by these two hikers, but the other side of it is how it impacts the rescue teams and their determination to do whatever it takes to rescue them.  We have hiked these mountains for some time now, sadly there are many hikers that don’t respect the mountains and mother nature.

The Whites are amazing but in seconds the weather is known to change, so always being prepared is key, even on the sunniest of days!  The rescue effort that went into this is truly an amazing story, and in such detail, I never truly understood what went into a rescue and I have such a greater appreciate now for those who are always on call should something go wrong. It's one of those books once you start you can’t put it down.

BRIAN MCGOUGH: Retail Sector Head 

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Amazing story of Phil Knight – then a kid – who took his passion (running) and along with his mentor/coach built one of the greatest and most successful consumer brands in the world – Nike.

Knight is very transparent about decisions made along the way that led to success as well as failure – but most importantly, learning and evolution. The overwhelming majority of consumer-facing brands ultimately fail, and Knight built one that has spanned decades and gained relevance across generations and cultures. A must-read for anyone building a business, or who wants to grow as a professional/manager. 

EMMA VLASIC: Institutional Sales 

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl.

Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Based on his own experience and the stories of his patients, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose.

At the heart of his theory, known as logotherapy, is a conviction that the primary human drive is not pleasure but the pursuit of what we find meaningful. Man's Search for Meaning has become one of the most influential books in America; it continues to inspire us all to find significance in the very act of living. 

Tom tobin: healthcare sector head

The Gap and The Gain by Benjamin Hardy

Of all the books I've read in the self-improvement and how to boost your productivity genre, Gap and Gain has made the biggest and lasting impact on me. Hardy describes a simple formula that calls on you to be mindful of your actions and accomplishments as they happen. Goals are important, but the day to day should be consumed with progression and process. After all it’s the details that matter.  


The Power & The Glory by Graham Greene

Set amid La Cristiada during an period of intense anti-Catholic persecution, a nameless whiskey priest wanders through rural Mexico as an ashamed fugitive, trying to evade hardened authorities that have placed a 700 peso bounty for his death. Clinging to unspeakable guilt from a dark past, his conflicting moral quandary regarding his pastoral mission, and wrestling with a weakened confidence in the God he serves; the destitute priest views himself as “a damned man putting God into the mouths of men,” as he wanders the desolate hillsides in hiding to evade capture.

Painfully honest and filled with intensely relatable characters wrestling with God’s empty love amidst painful loss, Greene’s brutally beautiful prose presents a novel full of suspense, wit, and betrayal that will have you gripping the pages and ultimately asking yourself: “What does it mean to be a good person?”


Masks, Crutches, and Daggers: The Science of our Self-delusional, Addictive Homo economicus Brain by Ray Armat

Personally, I've often found my biggest enemy in life is myself.  This book is on one hand is re-assuring in that it gives me comfort that the mental challenges I face are similar to many people. But also raises some long-term issues and challenges about how modern life has evolved to the detriment of our happiness and health.  It's a complex, thoughtful, and scientific read, but one simple takeaway: get off those devices and eat less sugar!


The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay 

The Power of One follows a small for his age English-Speaking South African boy named Peekay from 1939 to 1951. He is orphaned, sent to boarding school and then bullied at a young age . Few show him much kindness save his Zulu wet nurse. His life takes a turn for the better when he sees an exhibition boxing match, where a professional welterweight beats an amateur heavyweight.

He sees “Small beating Big” for the first time. And so begins his journey to “beat big” in all aspects of his life. He accomplishes this through a combination of hard work, discipline and an iron will to better his station. I read it at a young age. It spoke to me given my own personal challenges with bullies growing up. It motivated me to volunteer for the shittiest , hardest jobs I could find in college. It forever changed my outlook and my life for the better. 


Can’t Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds by David Goggins 

I read this book once a year and it could be an autobiography of my life and many other people’s lives. I’ve come to find we live a time where excuses are the normal and/or the comfortable response, cut the shit. This book is a rare look into a #winner’s mind. David uses this book to explain how he has changed his mind set over his life to accomplish his goals and more.

But more importantly it challenges the reader to apply the same principles to their lives (the only reason I work here today). If your takeaway from this book is cool, but I’m not a runner so this book doesn’t apply to me, you completely missed the point. #stayuncomfortable

Ian Fignon: Compliance ANALYST 

A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.

Delivered in a three-part narrative format, A Canticle for Leibowitz tracks America’s centuries-long rebirth after nuclear devastation.  The various epochs depicted explore the tensions between scientific discovery, political power, and religious institutions through the standpoints of a monk, a secular scholar, and an Abbott. 

Additionally, each section shows how systems associated with knowledge, control, and value manifest uniquely under differing geopolitical and economic landscapes.  As each individual’s story unfolds and greater patterns emerge, the book’s theme of cyclical history wrestles with the veracity of the ancient wisdom that “there is nothing new under the sun.”


Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut 

The story of American servicemember Billy Pilgrim and his life before, during, and after World War II — though not necessarily in chronological order.  Vonnegut uses his own experiences in the European theatre along with science fiction tropes like time travel and aliens to succinctly and deftly challenge your understanding of war veterans, the damage they carry and the society in which they return to. All in less than 250 pages.


Billion Dollar Whale by Tom Wright and Bradley Hope

A Billion Dollar Whale chronicles the large-scale fraud committed by Jho Low which provides another example of financial corruption which could have potentially posed a threat to the financial system globally.

It is insightful as to how he was able to run such a scam and somehow be undetected by financial regulators. It is amazing that he could have pulled it off underneath the scrutiny of Goldman Sachs and the Malaysian Development Bank to swindle 10 billion dollars. Jho Low lived the high life before eventually becoming an international fugitive and being investigated by the U.S Dept of Justice. Another example of financial corruption and greed. 


Lifespan. Why We Age – and Why We Don’t Have To by David Sinclair

I referenced this book in an Early Look in May, but it’s so good I’ll give it a broader shout-out. The point of the book isn’t to say that we’ve figured everything out about cellular aging triggers, but rather to introduce the public to the idea that we are nearing a threshold point where our understanding of the what and why at the cellular level is enabling us to think about, and ultimately to change, the process of aging itself.

As Bill Gates said, “we always overestimate the change that will happen in two years, and underestimate the change that will happen in ten.” We won’t have “solved” the puzzle of death in the next few years, but in the next 10-20 years we may be quite close, or already there. Give the book a read and decide for yourself.


All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Shifting perspectives across multiple timeframes and characters, this Pulitzer-Prize-Winning piece of WWII historical fiction is the type of book that makes one grateful to have studied literary merit & devices throughout school. Doerr's masterful use of symbolism, foreshadowing, and dynamic character relations allows one to dig their empathetical vines deeply into this story; inevitably one will cheer and cry for the characters, perhaps finding a new perspective on one's own life and relationships as they carry Doerr's writing with them.

Its poignancy is accented by its sectional brevity (most chapters are only 2-3 pages). This is the type of book that will leave you staring off in the distance pondering the complexity of human nature.

Rob Milburn: Marketing Strategist & Editor

Extreme Ownership by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

At Hedgeye, we generally have a deep respect for practitioners over academics and theoreticians. Jocko is definitely the former – a retired Navy SEAL, who commanded Seal Team 3’s Task Unit Bruiser and fought in the Battle of Ramadi (during the Iraq War).

Each chapter of “Extreme Ownership” contains vivid stories from the Seal Teams—where leadership decisions literally determine whether men live or die. Again, this isn’t a leadership book written by a know-it-all management consultant. Scan the table of contents and you’ll get a sense for the type of book this is: Chapter 2: No Bad Teams, Only Bad Leaders; Chapter 5: Cover and Move; Chapter 8: Decentralized Command; Chapter 12: Discipline Equals Freedom.

The simple and intuitive (not an insult!) lessons of “Extreme Ownership” are a way of life that should be learned by C-suite execs, bank tellers and Moms and Dads everywhere. Enjoy!


The Chickenshit Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives, by Jesse Eisinger

The US is a ‘high trust’ society. Wealth isn't usually resented because it's assumed to have been earned or at least legally obtained.

However, the current "Golden Age of Fraud" (h/t Jim Chanos) shows a remarkable lack of enforcement. How could Elon Musk declare that he doesn't respect the SEC after allegedly faking a buyout, incorrectly filing notifications while buying TWTR shares, and announcing nonexistent or vaguely prototyped products ahead of securities offerings...and still be respectable? It’s gone mainstream. 

There is such a 'flash mob' of fraud that the public can hardly keep track. If you aren't selling fake crypto products, why not collude on monkey jpeg NFTs? Politicians and bureaucrats trade with information and influence advantages that undermine public interest.

How’d this happen? Jesse Eisinger book brilliantly details prosecution hurdles, blowback from earlier actions, and incentives discouraging enforcement. Unfortunately, it's only become more relevant since published in 2017.

Danny New: SALES REP 

Prisoners of Geography by Tim Marshall.

This book lays a nice foundation for understanding global politics. Each chapter starts with a country or region and explains the geography of that country, how that country came to be and its political setup. I found it very informative and a helpful reference for when regional issues are in the news. 

Andrew freedman: Communications sector head

Disney War by James B Stewart 

Fantastic history of the The Walt Disney Company under Michael Eisner’s leadership and how the world’s most valuable media company came together. Detailed and well-researched look into how business decisions were made (e.g., Capital Cities/ABC) and the genesis of some of the most iconic 90s animated features. This book is foundational for anyone who is invested in the media space or who enjoys history and Disney content!


On the Origins of War by Donald Kagan

Reading Thucydides led me to Yale classics professor Donald Kagan, the great authority on the Peloponnesian war. Published in 1995, Kagan’s book analyzes the decisions and errors of judgment leading up to the Peloponnesian War, WWI, WWII, the Second Punic War, and the Cuban missile crisis. Kagan champions historians over political scientists: people, not institutions, make decisions – and errors of judgment. The role of passion and hubris – Honor – is often overlooked. Decisions to go to war are not always based on informed calculation; restraint and judgment do not carry the day. The Peloponnesian War did not have to happen, but imbalances in technology, political influence, and the persistence of old hatreds combined to stoke fear and resentment. In the contentious ancient world, it was a War To End All Wars. Kagan’s book presents lessons for all time – and for ours.


Moscow Nights: The Van Cliburn Story: How One Man And His Piano transformed the Cold War by Nigel Cliff.

This award-winning biography recounts Van Cliburn’s triumph as the American champion of the 1958 Moscow Tchaikovsky International Piano Competition at the peak of the Cold War.  Despite his tremendous performances throughout the competition, the nervous judges reached out to Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev for his approval to award Cliburn the top prize.  “Is he the best?” Khrushchev asked the Soviet Culture Minister.  “Yes, he is the best,” responded the Minister.  “In that case,” Khrushchev replied, “give him the first prize!”  Cliburn came home a hero and was given a ticker tape parade down Broadway in New York City.  More than a great and legendary musician, Cliburn inspired Americans at a time of geopolitical anxiety and became a cultural diplomat, adored in the U.S. and Russia, for the decades that followed.

Anthony Parsio: CHIEF COMPLIANCE OFFICER & General counsel 

Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner. 

It’s an entertaining, quick, and thought-provoking read that proffers unexpected explanations for societal events and behaviors.  The author economists support their theories with data and tell the stories in easy reading prose.  The common theme through all the theories is that the modern world, despite a surfeit of obfuscation and misdirection, is full of learnable and discoverable truths through the study of data. 

Daniel Seltzer: VIDEO EDITOR 

"Fire And Rain: The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY, and the Lost Story of 1970" by David Browne

This book explores a pivotal year in music history through the telling of various interlocking stories of these musical artists. From a look into the writing of "Ohio" by Neil Young, a dedication to the victims of the Kent State Massacre. To the release of "Sweet Baby James" by James Taylor. To the breakup of perhaps the biggest musical group in history. This presents a fascinating look behind the scenes of the music that defined the year 1970 and the events that shaped that generation. Growing up listening to this music, I felt an immediate connection to these stories. A must read for fans of any of these artists.

Eric Gendron: SUPERVISING PRODUCER, Hedgeye tv 

Our Magnificent Bastard Tongue: The Untold History of English by John McWhorter

A fascinating look into the history of all the disparate cultures and languages that were thrown into a stew and became the English we speak now. HIGHLY recommend the audiobook version to get the full effect of the formation of the language. McWhorter is amazing to listen to as he narrates and explains the construction of words. A surprisingly funny book too.


Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.

The author of “Seabiscuit” wrote about the truly remarkable story of Louis Zamperini, an Olympian, WWII vet, and POW survivor. His tale of survival against daunting odds, mental strength, heroism, and redemption is one that should be read.

As a parent of three children the story also reminds me that it may not be obvious when they are children, but personality traits can have a different purpose when they are older. Louis Zamperini’s stubbornness may have given him the strength to survive being a POW. What may seem like a particularly challenging character feature for a child may become redeeming as an adult. It has since been made into a movie, if you enjoy watching a book on the big screen after reading it.


Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu (English version translated by Stephen Mitchell)

On second thought, I probably should’ve selected a different book. It’s near impossible to capture in words how remarkable the Tao Te Ching is and the wisdom contained inside. It’s an ancient Chinese classic written around 2,500 years ago—its authorship and date of composition/compilation are debated.

Anyhow, I stumbled across it many years ago in my college bookstore. I’m really grateful that I bought it.

Over the years, I’ve read it many times. It still sits on my bedside table, where I often pick it up and read a little portion. It’s one of those rare books where you can read a page or two, even just a paragraph, put it down, and ponder the meaning and significance.

People sometimes say they wish there was a manual on how to live life. Along with the Bible, the Tao Te Ching comes close.

Jane Hamilton: senior CORPORATE COUNSEL 

Say Nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe 

“Say Nothing” by Patrick Radden Keefe is a fascinating account of the "The Troubles" in Northern Ireland told through the intersecting stories of several IRA members and the notorious abduction and murder of a young mother of 10. Though it reads like detective fiction, this historical account comprehensively describes a complex and violent conflict that many Americans know little about. And, it reflects on the justification of violence and the cost of peace in a manner that continues to be relevant today.


Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari 

This tome will completely change how you think about the journey of our species. Harari provides a unique way of looking at the evolution of the human race from a small roaming band of hunter/gathers that was one of  at least seven other species within the homo genus, to the sole species for the last 40,000 years. This includes what he described as the Cognitive Revolution, how did we develop large brains, but also our unique ability to share common stories and communicate knowledge to others to unify a group of people.  This ability to communicate in shared ideas helped our species build larger and more cooperative bands or tribes, which helped us dominate other homo species. The advent of the Agricultural Revolution, roughly 10,000 years ago,  allowed population growth of the species to explode, but in fact left the species living in worse conditions. The next stage was the advent of the ideas of money, religion and ruling hierarchy, which resulted in large societies around the globe. And finally, we went through a scientific revolution, which has humans questioning the known and unknown and forcing humans to “prove” facts, and question and dismiss “beliefs” that can’t be proven. The journey of the human species is a journey of understanding how our unique cognitive capabilities evolved over 10’s of thousands of years.  

Michael Barr: Data science 

Capital, Volume 1 (1867) by Karl Marx, Frederick Engels

Among those who either love it or hate it, most have never actually read it. 

So what is it really all about? This work falls in the category of general theory aka “grand theories of everything” along with other works like The Wealth of Nations (Smith), Economy and Society (Weber), down the line to the more recent Capital in the Twenty-First Century (Piketty). What all these works have in common is their broad subject matter, unifying studies of history, psychology, politics, economics, religion, etc. into a single theoretical framework (usually with claims of generative/predictive value) of human civilization and change. The book moves through different economic “epochs” or systems of ‘relations of production’ from slavery to feudalism but is primarily a deep dive into capitalism starting with an analysis of the commodity and building to a theory of colonization, covering money circulation, theory of value, logic of markets, capital crises, and more. There’s also some fun polemics, with blood-thirsty take-downs and some Shakespeare mixed in.

Kevin peel: managing director sales 

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

There is a clear message at the heart of the Harry Potter series: choice matters much more than destiny, and love will always triumph over death. Fiction keeps the mind young. It’s important to keep your imagination active. Stop taking yourself so seriously and read something that allows you to escape for a few hours.

Casey flavin: managing director sales 

Blue Mind by Wallace J. Nichols

This book enlightens us to and reminds us of the heeling powers of water both physiologically and mentally. Interwoven with many a study, Blue Mind makes the case for maximizing the time you spend around bodies of water to help encourage mentally flexibility and reduce rigid tendencies that solidify like scar tissue around our ability to think creatively. The physical benefits of spending time around bodies of water abound, which most of us are subconsciously aware of, but now can more purposefully pursue.


Discussion Materials: Tales of a Rookie Wall Street Investment Banker by Bill Keenan

Bill Keenan was a Harvard hockey player who went on to play pro, and then shortly after became an investment banking analyst for Deutsche Bank. He tells the day-to-day story of someone in his position in a detailed, vulgar, and hilarious way. Not only did this book give me a lot of insight into the industry, but it had me laughing the whole time. As a hockey player, I could also relate to a lot of his feelings and references, so it naturally drew me in and kept me interested throughout the story.