What Our Business Leaders Have Been Catching Up on during Quarantine

On csq.com, we surveyed more than 50 industry icons to see how they are handling the COVID-19 crisis, for our series “Business Leaders Weigh In.” Part of that survey asked what they were doing with their downtime and the media that was captivating them. While nearly everyone found distraction in Tiger King and Ozark, our business leaders’ nightstands are slightly more dynamic.

The CSQ community around the world is turning to books for everything from practical wisdom to something light and fun. Some are savoring the chance to learn new ideas and principles, ranging from the culinary and physical to the philosophical and spiritual. Here’s a list of some of the books keeping their inspiring minds afloat.


Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About The World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think is a wonderful way to remind us that the world, is, at the end, heading in the right direction.” — Simone Gibertoni, CEO, Clinique La Prairie

“Depending on my mood, I have [Yuval Noah] Harari’s Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, and Kai-Fu Lee’s AI Superpowers, a very good read that describes the next competitive stage for artificial intelligence, on my nightstand.”— Kevin Kelly, CEO, Sensei Holdings Inc.

“I now have time to read nearly every day. I have completed a number of books in these last weeks, including Presidents of War, Oblivion or Glory, Shadow Strike, Black Edge, and most recently In Praise of Wasting Time.” — Peter Lowy, Principal, The Lowy Family Group

“One Last Strike by Tony La Russa, The Yankee Years by Joe Torre, and The Only Plane in the Sky: An Oral History of 9/11 by Garrett Graff.” — Edward Mady, Regional Director, USA, Dorchester Collection

“I’m reading a book called Delicioso: A History of Food in Spain, which is about how the different kingdoms arose in Spain, what they ate, the agricultural changes.” — Wolfgang Puck, Chef and Restauranteur, Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining Group


“I am currently reading a book called Leadership in War: Essential Lessons from Those Who Made History, in which the award-winning author Andrew Roberts presents a brilliant look into nine key figures in modern history, including Napoleon Bonaparte, Winston Churchill, Dwight D. Eisenhower, and Margaret Thatcher. In light of the outbreak of COVID-19, I have been thinking a lot about how leadership can impact not just an organization, but also the world, for the better.” — Adrian Cheng, CEO, New World Development Company

“One book that I’ve gravitated toward is The Universe Has Your Back, by Gabrielle Bernstein. It teaches you about your spiritual side and how to connect with love instead of fear, which has helped me to maintain a positive mindset. Another book would be Wisdom by Andrew Zuckerman, which is very inspiring.” — Parisa Fowles-Pazdro, Founder and CEO, max-bone

“Recently, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on meaning and legacy; I am currently reading The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. I also recently read How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen. I think these are great books to read at a time like this as they encourage you to reflect on what is really important and puts things in perspective.” — James Henderson, CEO, Exclusive Resorts

“Ray Dalio’s Principles. One of my goals before we reopen is to create a new framework for our Next Health core values and principles.” — Kevin Peake, Co-founder and President, Next Health

“Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence by Gary Mack with David Casstevens, Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss, The Fifth Agreement by Don Miguel Ruiz and Don Jose Ruiz, and Ninja Selling by Larry Kendall.” — Greg Reisdorf, Project Director, Rancho San Lucas


“Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons to my three little girls, ages 6, 4, and 3.” — Jonathan Beckett, CEO, Burgess

“Currently finishing Farewell, My Queen by Chantal Thomas and attacking Catherine Cusset’s Life of David Hockney.” — Ulrik Garde Due, CEO, Mark Cross

“We have created a virtual book club with 12 friends and my mother, and I will be doing that on Zoom tomorrow. The book selection is American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins.” — Nicole Gordon, Principal, Nicole Gordon Studio

Midnight in Chernobyl by Adam Higginbotham. How’s that for some light reading during a pandemic?” —Tom Nelson, Global President and CEO, Zero Halliburton

“For fiction, one of my all-time favorites: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling.” — Carly Stein, Founder and CEO, Beekeeper’s Naturals