The 10 books the rich will be reading this summer


A version of this article first appeared in CNBC’s Inside Wealth newsletter with Robert Frank, a weekly guide to the high net worth investor and consumer. Sign up to receive future editions, straight to your inbox.

Today’s workaholic wealthy rarely have time to sit back and read a good book — except maybe for a few weeks in August. That’s why J.P. Morgan Private Bank, every May, releases its summer reading list, often serving as a book club for billionaires.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the list, now called the J.P. Morgan Summer Reading List. The 10 books are carefully curated to match the tastes and preoccupations of J.P. Morgan’s wealthy clients. This year’s list includes books on effective communication, artificial intelligence, Formula One, whiskey, hidden vacation spots and the art collection of Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz.

J.P. Morgan creates the list by surveying its more than 35,000 client advisors and employees globally and asking about the topics clients are talking and thinking about the most. This year, the advisors sent in more than 700 recommended book titles, which a committee whittled down based on timeliness and appeal.

Our clients run the gamut from business owners and entrepreneurs to philanthropists and art collectors,” said Darin Oduyoye, chief communications officer of J.P. Morgan Asset and Wealth Management, who has spearheaded the list since its founding. “There are books to match up to each of those groups.”

Clients get an elegant J.P. Morgan-branded box with a book or two from the list, recommended specifically by their client advisor. The advisor also includes a handwritten note and a commemorative bookmark.

The list helps advisors connect with clients during the slow summer months. It also helps with client events, since authors on the list often agree to do special dinners or speaking events for J.P. Morgan clients.

Authors love being on the list as well since J.P. Morgan buys thousands of books to hand out and since clients often refer the books to others.

“The list is something that both clients and colleagues, and our communities, look forward to,” Oduyoye said.

This year’s 25th anniversary edition features a special “Anniversary Spotlight” highlighting Water.org, the charity founded by Gary White and Matt Damon, and their book “The Worth of Water.”

Here is J.P. Morgan’s 25th Annual Summer Reading List, along with summaries of the books, provided by the bank:

“Supercommunicators: How to Unlock the Secret Language of Connection” by Charles Duhigg

Sharing the latest research on what makes conversations effective, Charles Duhigg reveals how we can level up our communications and make stronger connections. Whether it’s a divided jury room or the way a CIA officer recruits a foreign agent, Duhigg uses examples to illustrate how we can deliver effective messages by recognizing and tapping into the three layers of every conversation—practical, emotional and social. Taking us from the writers’ room of one of television’s most successful sitcoms to the couches of in-demand marriage counselors, Duhigg shows us that we all have supercommunicators inside of us.

“The Anxious Generation: How the Great Rewiring of Childhood Is Causing an Epidemic of Mental Illness” by Jonathan Haidt

Social psychologist Jonathan Haidt lays out urgent facts—and issues a clear call to action—to focus attention on the global epidemic of teen mental illness. Haidt identifies the pervasive use of smartphones and over a dozen other mechanisms as having contributed to the “great rewiring of childhood.” Arguing that these technologies have had a profound negative effect on children’s social and neurological development, he explores what can be done to reverse the significant rise in sleep deprivation, fragmented attention, loneliness, addiction and social comparison. Importantly, Haidt calls for collective action and outlines steps that we all must take to end this epidemic.

Giants: Art from the Dean Collection of Swizz Beatz and Alicia Keys” published by Phaidon

Celebrating selections from the world-class art collection of musical and cultural icons Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz (Kasseem Dean), “Giants” highlights 100 works by nearly 40 multigenerational Black American, African and African diasporic artists. Curated by the Brooklyn Museum for its first-ever major exhibition, the Dean Collection features works by legendary—as well as emerging—artists including Gordon Parks, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Lorna Simpson, Odili Donald Odita and Kennedy Yanko. “Giants” also includes exclusive conversations between Swizz Beatz, Alicia Keys and curator Kimberli Gant, in addition to interviews with 10 of the renowned artists featured.

“Brave New Words: How AI Will Revolutionize Education (and Why That’s a Good Thing)” by Salman Khan

Salman Khan, the visionary behind the nonprofit Khan Academy, explores how artificial intelligence (AI) is set to transform learning both in education and the workplace. Demonstrating how AI will not replace human interaction but rather enhance it with tools to encourage creativity and problem solving, he shows how AI can adapt to each student’s individual pace while identifying strengths and areas of improvement. Outlining how emerging technologies can create a more accessible education system, Khan offers practical implications for administrators, counselors and hiring managers, as well as thoughtful insights on how we all can use AI in an increasingly digital world.

“Love & Whiskey: The Remarkable True Story of Jack Daniel, His Master Distiller Nearest Green, and the Improbable Rise of Uncle Nearest” by Fawn Weaver

Entrepreneur Fawn Weaver reveals the untold story of one of America’s most iconic whiskey brands. Set in Lynchburg, Tennessee, “Love & Whiskey” follows Weaver’s quest to discover the life of Nearest Green, a 19th-century African American distiller who played a pivotal role in developing Jack Daniel’s whiskey. Navigating through layers of history to unlock the truth about Green’s contributions to the spirits industry and his friendship with Daniels, Weaver uncovers a story that connects generations. Her findings inspire a new path forward, with Weaver spearheading the creation of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey as a way to honor and celebrate Green’s legacy for generations to come.

“The Formula: How Rogues, Geniuses, and Speed Freaks Reengineered F1 into the World’s Fastest-Growing Sportby Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg

In “The Formula,” Joshua Robinson and Jonathan Clegg from The Wall Street Journal tell the riveting story of how Formula 1’s fearless reinvention led to its breakthrough in America. With fast cars, engineering geniuses, driver rivalries and glamorous settings, “The Formula” details how F1’s “sudden” arrival in the United States was actually decades in the making. With unfettered access to F1’s most legendary teams and icons from Ferrari to Mercedes, Robinson and Clegg give readers a thrilling look inside the drivers, corporations, cars and risks that have defined the world’s fastest-growing sport.

“Secret Stays: Pioneering Hosts of the New Chic” by Melinda Stevens, Issy von Simson and Tabitha Joyce

A fascinating exploration curated by Melinda Stevens, Issy von Simson and Tabitha Joyce, “Secret Stays” introduces 22 hidden gems that reflect the dynamic evolution of modern travel. Highlighting captivating properties and the people who own them—from a secluded Croatian monastery to a Japanese machiya townhome—this coffee table book from Assouline, the luxury brand on culture, reveals one-of-a-kind experiences that stem from a revived belief in genuine, bespoke hospitality. Through stunning photographs and compelling narratives, “Secret Stays” takes a fresh look at the diverse and ever-evolving face of travel today.

Finding Fortunato: How a Peruvian Adventure Inspired the Sweet Success of a Family Chocolate Business” by Adam Pearson

In “Finding Fortunato,” Adam Pearson takes us on a journey into the northern Peruvian jungle with the inspirational story of the entrepreneurial family who struck gold and discovered the legendary Nacional white cacao bean—previously thought to be extinct. Realizing their success was predicated on disrupting a traditional, unethical supply chain to instead trade directly with local Peruvian farmers, the family pioneered Fortunato Chocolate, a company that would come to be described as “the Rolex of chocolate.”

“Uptime: A Practical Guide to Personal Productivity and Wellbeing” by Laura Mae Martin

Every day, tens of thousands of Google employees, from interns to C-suite executives, rely on an executive productivity advisor—Laura Mae Martin—to make the most of their time. In “Uptime,” Martin provides easy-to-follow steps to boost productivity, prevent burnout and achieve a better work-life balance. Whether you face an avalanche of emails, an overloaded calendar or a difficult meeting to lead, Martin’s strategic approach lays out concrete steps to help you manage time efficiently, focus on priorities, and maintain effective systems and routines.

“The Secret Society of Aunts & Uncles” by Jake Gyllenhaal and Greta Caruso

A whimsical and heartwarming picture book by Academy Award and Tony Award nominee Jake Gyllenhaal and his childhood best friend Greta Caruso, “The Secret Society of Aunts & Uncles” celebrates the unique, fun-filled role aunts and uncles play in children’s lives. Humorously exploring the call to adventure that being an aunt or uncle can bring—from flexible bedtimes to activities with a “healthy dose of danger”—this book paints a loving portrait of these special relationships.

Anniversary Spotlight: “The Worth of Water: Our Story of Chasing Solutions to the World’s Greatest Challenge” by Gary White and Matt Damon

In celebration of the 225th anniversary of JPMorgan Chase’s earliest predecessor—the Manhattan Company, which was founded as a water works company—we are proud to spotlight “The Worth of Water” by Gary White and Matt Damon. These two unlikely allies, with a shared mission to end the global water crisis, take readers on a journey to empower communities and families with tools to address their potable water shortages. Outlining their trial-and-error approach to finding a workable solution, White and Damon demonstrate how the water crisis is solvable through collective action.

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