Family Business Director’s Reading List for 2020

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Listing the best books one has read over the preceding twelve months is commonplace.  Family Business Director eschews the humble-bragging endemic to such lists.  Instead, we offer a list of four books that we plan to read in 2020.  We confess to reading far more book reviews than actual books, and we selected these books, in large measure, on the basis of generally glowing reviews.  Upon completing each book, we will report back in future posts with our own impressions and takeaways for family business directors.

The Cartiers: The Untold Story of the Family Behind the Jewelry Empire

by Francesca Cartier Brickell

So the Cartier family business might seem a bit more glamorous than yours.  But, business is business, and the inside account of a well-known family business that started in 1847 is sure to have plenty of great lessons regardless of what industry your family business is in.  The author is a member of the Cartier family but never worked in the business herself, so her perspective on things should be interesting.

Patient Capital: The Challenges and Promises of Long-Term Investing

by Victoria Ivashina & Josh Lerner

The authors are both professors at Harvard Business School.  Investing for the truly long-term brings its own unique set of risks and rewards, and enterprising families are natural long-term investors.  We look forward to reading about what the authors find to be essential for successful long-term investing.

Clyde Fans

by Seth

Yes, apparently Seth gets by on just one name.  Family Business Director has never read a graphic novel before, but we are intrigued.  The book tells the story of a second-generation member who drove his father’s business – Clyde Fans – into the ground.  We are really not quite sure what to expect, but in general, we find that we learn more from good fiction than most non-fiction.

Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America

by Christopher Leonard

In order to become a polarizing political influencer, you first have to make a lot of money.  Whether you welcome or abhor the political machinations of the Koch brothers, it is undeniable that Koch Industries has been a wildly successful family business.  This book purports to be the corporate history of a very secretive family business.  We look forward to learning more about how Koch Industries grew, and how remaining a privately-owned family business contributed to (or hindered, as the case may be) the company’s success.

As 2019 winds down, we want to extend best wishes to our clients and subscribers for continued success in 2020.  Happy reading!