Press Release

J.P. Morgan launches 21st annual summer reading list

Following months of global social distancing, books continue to provide an invaluable lens into the world and ourselves

J.P. Morgan today announced its selections for the firm’s 21st annual Summer Reading List—with a twist. This year, in addition to its own recommendations, J.P. Morgan asked some leaders in the arts, sports, business, philanthropy and academia—what book, past or current, is a “must read” during this moment in time. Recommendations from Bryan Cranston, Stephen Curry, John Hennessy, Arianna Huffington, Condoleezza Rice, Alex Rodriguez and Diana Ross provide a range of unique and inspiring titles.


“Resiliency, community, compassion and change are the resounding rhythm of this year’s selections,” said Darin Oduyoye, Chief Communications Officer for J.P. Morgan Asset & Wealth Management. “Our list features an eclectic mix of newly released reads, contemporary offerings and some classics.”


In creating the 2020 list, J.P. Morgan client advisors from around the world submitted hundreds of titles, in addition to the broader community selections. That list was then culled and curated based on timeliness, quality and global appeal.


To explore this list and past ones, visit The 14 titles selected for the 2020 J.P. Morgan Summer Reading List are:


Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life’s Fundamental Bond, by Lydia Denworth. 

“Friends are the family you choose” is the focus of science journalist Lydia Denworth’s exploration into how deep and lasting friendships sustain us. She traces the origins and evolution of these profound connections to reveal a vital human quality and window into a more fulfilling future.


Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius.
Recommended by Arianna Huffington, Co-Founder of The Huffington Post, Founder and CEO of Thrive Global
In a series of personal writings, one of antiquity’s most powerful rulers sets forth his ideas on Stoic philosophy as a source of guidance and self-improvement. Infused with important lessons and practical advice for confronting times of trouble, Marcus Aurelius’s musings touch on universal truths that still resonate with us today.
“Meditations is one of my favorite books—the one I keep on my nightstand and reach for all the time. Published over 1,100 years ago, its wisdom applies as much to ancient times as it does today.” –A.H.


Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World, by Vivek H. Murthy

As the 19th Surgeon General of the United States, Dr. Vivek Murthy traveled across the country to better understand what he believed was a silent epidemic plaguing the nation—loneliness. In Together, he reveals a disconnected country with too many citizens estranged from their families and communities. Dr. Murthy believes loneliness may well be at the core of social ills such as addiction, violence and political polarization. By understanding the essential social nature of humans, Dr. Murthy shows a way forward and a chance for communities and citizens to reconnect and be better together.

Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City, by Wes Moore with Erica L. Green.

Like many urban centers, the city of Baltimore faced mounting tension. The tipping point was the death of Freddie Gray, a young black man killed while in police custody. In Five Days, Wes Moore, CEO of Robin Hood and best-selling author, provides a raw, unvarnished account of a city in transition. Eight perspectives, each reflecting a different citizen’s point of view, provide us with an uncompromising look at one of America’s most resilient civic turnarounds.


Fighting for Life, by S. Josephine Baker.
Recommended by John Hennessy, Chair of Alphabet Inc., Computer Scientist, 10th President of Stanford University
New York’s Lower East Side was a tragic epicenter of childhood disease and early death in the late 1890s. Through the heroic and groundbreaking efforts of public health crusader Dr. Sara Josephine Baker, New York was transformed in two decades, emerging as one of the healthiest cities on Earth. In this re-released and deeply moving autobiography, Dr. Baker details her courageous fight and tireless efforts to save the lives of tens of thousands of children—a story with lessons and practices still saving lives today.
“I’m running a seminar this quarter at Stanford on Leading in Turbulent Times. Our first leader is Sara Josephine Baker. She’s a remarkable New York woman who overcame tremendous hardships to save the lives of many New York City children. Her autobiography is our primary source. It’s an inspiring story!”  –J.H.

You’re Not Listening: What You’re Missing and Why It Matters, by Kate Murphy.
With so many voices competing for our attention every day, our ability to slow down, stop and truly listen has become compromised—and we’re feeling the lasting effects. In You’re Not Listening, Kate Murphy mixes psychology, science and a sense of humor to explain why we’re not listening anymore and the implications this has for us, individually and collectively. She invites us to step inside the shoes of the world’s best listeners, from a CIA agent to a bartender to a furniture salesperson, to better hone our own skills.

The Prison Letters of Nelson Mandela, by Nelson Mandela.
Recommended by Condoleezza Rice, Former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor, Professor at Stanford University
During the 27 years he spent in jail as a political prisoner in apartheid South Africa, Nelson Mandela wrote thousands of letters to prison and government officials, fellow activists, and most poignantly to his wife and five children. In each, we know he never wavered in his fight—or his humanity. In the 255 letters in this collection, Mandela’s indomitable spirit and the virtues of his cause are in full force, providing an unforgettable portrait of one of the most inspiring figures of the 20th century.
“It’s a rare glimpse into the heart and mind of one of the most public service–minded figures of our time. Even more, it’s an inspiring take on why we must all strive to see the world not as it is, but as it should be.” –C.R.

Think Outside the Building: How Advanced Leaders Can Change the World One Smart Innovation at a Time, by Rosabeth Moss Kanter.

Lauded innovation expert Rosabeth Moss Kanter identifies a new kind of leadership dominating the world’s most dynamic and purpose-driven businesses and organizations today. Think Outside the Building presents a mix of stories about how leaders—through clear, but not always popular, thinking—push both their teams’ and their own limitations.

What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School: Notes from a Street-Smart Executive, by Mark H. McCormack.
Recommended by Alex Rodriguez, Former Professional Baseball Player, CEO of A-Rod Corp.
Entrepreneur and International Management Group founder Mark McCormack sheds light on how an “applied people sense” is the key to a successful business—and life. Applicable to organizations of any size and scope, McCormack shares how executives can better negotiate, sell and lead their companies to greatness with these classic business principles—all lessons he learned outside the MBA classroom.
“With his ‘give-first’ attitude, Mark McCormack is brilliant and so practical in his way of managing teams and relationships. When you are done reading this book, you will be poised and well positioned to be a better business person.” –A.R.

Cliffhanger: New Climbing Culture & Adventures, by Julie Ellison.
Strategy. Risk. Adrenaline. It’s what define the sport of mountain climbing. In Cliffhanger, you’ll travel the world and get an in-depth look at why the sport has become a global phenomenon. Stunning scenery and stories of athletic achievement will inspire you to reach new heights.

Leadership: In Turbulent Times, by Doris Kearns Goodwin.
Recommended by Bryan Cranston, Actor, Director, Producer, Screenwriter
It’s no coincidence that the political leaders we typically bestow greatness on were also challenged like few before them. Pulitzer Prize–winning historian Doris Kearns Goodwin explores the lives and times of four notable U.S. presidents—Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson—as a framework for thoughtfully exploring the important questions about the qualities required of great leaders.
“Having already written extensively on four larger-than-life presidents, Goodwin has her finger on the pulse of what America is in search of in these turbulent times: leadership. Her prescient instinct is now amplified during the coronavirus pandemic. Fascinating reading.” –B.C.

Talking to Strangers: What We Should Know about the People We Don’t Know, by Malcolm Gladwell.
Recommended by Stephen Curry, Golden State Warriors Basketball Player, Founder of Unanimous Media and SC30 Inc.
Malcolm Gladwell’s latest title is a deep analysis of stranger relations—how we interact with people new to us in our daily lives, and how, throughout history, first impressions developed with either beneficial or disastrous consequences. Our relationships with acquaintances are full of unspoken context, and Gladwell offers strategies on how we can be more thoughtful in these interactions.
“This is an enlightening take on how we can never give up on trusting people—and a valuable reminder about being mindful of a deeper story or what we may not know when trying to understand people’s actions.” –S.C.


Hike, by Pete Oswald.
In this charming and profound picture book, a father and child embark on a daylong hike—their destination, a favorite mountain trail. Along the way, the two marvel at nature’s splendor, conquer a few challenges and return home with a renewed joy and bond. Pete Oswald’s playful and reflective illustrations reveal both the magic of the natural world and the deep connection between parent and child.


I Is an Other: The Secret Life of Metaphor and How It Shapes the Way We See the World, by James Geary.
Recommended by Diana Ross, Singer, Actress, Record Producer
Metaphors are ubiquitous in our daily lives, both as a useful language tool and common way of thinking abstractly. In I Is an Other, James Geary makes the case that everything from science to art, politics to economics, childhood play to medical advancements are all influenced by the construct. This deep dive into our everyday conversations shows how we can harness the power of language to better express ourselves.
“I love to read fascinating books. I also like to write songs and even poetry. This book is very thought provoking and highlights how we describe ideas, feelings, thoughts, emotions and concepts through the use of metaphors.” –D.R.