A Consultant’s Guide to Summer Reading 2019

These 19 compelling titles deserve a place in every beach bag.

Lunchtime conversations at Prophet often involve personal life updates or discussions about what’s going on in the news – whether it be about AdAge’s newest article or what the President most recently tweeted. As consultants, we are not only expected to stay up to date on industry trends, cultural phenomenons or current events, but we also enjoy it. That said, we also love the TV shows and books that transport us out of our family lives and jobs, allowing us to escape into the twists and turns of someone else’s life (or revel in reflection of our own).

These books, ranging from fictional novels to self-help books and business reads, fall under the adored banner, “reading for pleasure.” Here’s what our Propheteers have been reading for fun this summer:


All the Light We Cannot See

By: Anthony Doerr

A blind French girl and a German boy meet in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

 American Dreamer

By: James Bell

The story of a penniless French pimp, who immigrated to the United States at the turn of the last century to become the quintessential American success story. After pioneering the new field of scientific management consulting, Charles Lelouch became an internationally recognized business leader, a friend of the Windsors and undercover intelligence asset for the United States.


By: Lisa Halliday

Told in three distinct and uniquely compelling sections, Asymmetry explores the imbalances that spark and sustain many of our most dramatic human relations: inequities in age, power, talent, wealth, fame, geography, and justice.


By: Mary Miller

A strangely heartwarming tale of loneliness, masculinity, and the limitations of each, Biloxi transports readers to the delightfully wry, unapologetic corner of the south―Biloxi, Mississippi, home to sixty-three-year-old Louis McDonald, Jr. As Louis navigates his life after divorce and the loss of his father, he finds companionship in mix breed dog, Layla.

Conversations with Friends

By: Sally Rooney

Conversations with Friends explores the pleasures and dangers of youth, and the messy edges of female friendship as best friends Frances and Bobbi get to know a local poet and her husband.

Homo Deus

By: Yuval Noah Harari

Homo Deus explores the projects, dreams and nightmares that will shape the twenty-first century—from overcoming death to creating artificial life. It asks the fundamental questions: Where do we go from here? And how will we protect this fragile world from our own destructive powers? This is the next stage of evolution.

Janesville: An American Story

By: Amy Goldstein

This is the story of what happens to an industrial town in the American heartland when its main factory shuts down—but it’s not the familiar tale. Most observers record the immediate shock of vanished jobs, but few stay around long enough to notice what happens next when a community with a can-do spirit tries to pick itself up.

Rule of Capture

By: Christopher Brown

Donny Kimoe, a lawyer who makes his living defending enemies of the state, resides in an alternate America – one that is on the brink of a civil war. As he uncovers devastating secrets through working with a client, he will be forced to choose between saving one client or the future of the entire country.

Small Great Things

By: Jodi Picoult

Small Great Things tells the story of an African American labor and delivery nurse and the racism surrounding her care of a white supremacist couple’s newborn son. Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice and compassion—and doesn’t offer easy answers.

There, There

By: Tommy Orange

This shattering novel follows twelve characters from Native communities: all traveling to the Big Oakland Powwow, all connected to each other in ways they may not yet realize. Together, this chorus of voices tells of the plight of the urban Native American—grappling with a complex and painful history, with an inheritance of beauty and spirituality, with communion and sacrifice and heroism.

Self Help Books

Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope

By: Mark Manson

Following the bestseller, The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck, Mark Manson’s second book has a mix of erudition and where-the-f*ck-did-that-come-from humor, Manson challenges readers to be more honest with themselves and connected with the world in ways we probably haven’t considered before.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone

By: Lori Gottlieb

From a New York Times best-selling author, psychotherapist, and national advice columnist, a hilarious, thought-provoking, and a surprising new book that takes us behind the scenes of a therapist’s world–where her patients are looking for answers (and so is she).

Business Reads 

Bad Blood

By: John Carreyrou

The full inside story of the breathtaking rise and shocking collapse of Theranos, the one-time multibillion-dollar biotech startup founded by Elizabeth Holmes.

INSPIRED: How to Create Tech Products Customers Love

By: Marty Cagan

This thoroughly updated second edition shares the same objective of being the most valuable resource for technology product managers, yet it is completely new—sharing the latest practices and techniques of today’s most-successful tech product companies, and the men and women behind every great product.

Making the Healthcare Shift: The Transformation to Consumer-Centricity**

By: Jeff Gourdji and Scott Davis

Making the Healthcare Shift is a practical guide for healthcare leaders across the globe who have the fortitude to transform their organizations to both compete and win in the age of healthcare consumerism.

Platform Revolution:  How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy and How to Make Them Work for You 

By: Geoffrey G. Parker

A practical guide to the new economy that is transforming the way we live, work, and play.

Shoe Dog

By: Phil Knight

Nike founder and board chairman Phil Knight tells the story of his company’s early days as an intrepid start-up and its evolution into one of the world’s most iconic, game-changing, and profitable brands.

The Master Algorithm

By: Pedro Domingos

Pedro Domingos, a trailblazing computer scientist, is at the very forefront of machine learning research. With the Master Algorithm in hand and data as its fuel, machine learning – essentially the automation of discovery, a kind of scientific method on steroids – will become the most powerful technology humanity has ever devised. And The Master Algorithm will be its bible.

Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World

By: Anand Giridharadas

Former New York Times columnist Anand Giridharadas takes us into the inner sanctums of a new gilded age, where the rich and powerful fight for equality and justice any way they can–except ways that threaten the social order and their position atop it.

“As consultants, we are not only expected to stay up to date on industry trends, cultural phenomenons or current events, but we also enjoy it.”


We are what we read. From riveting love stories to evil Silicone Valley start-ups, our colleagues say their choices this year offer insights, ideas and escape.