Q What books will you be reading summer, and what lessons are you trying to glean for the banking industry?
Since so much of my everyday reading is work related, I like to break away into something different for leisure reading. It usually falls into two categories: easy, fast-paced fiction - such as mysteries and international intrigue - or writings related to history or historical events.
I'm currently reading "Longshot" by the English author Dick Francis and have read virtually everthing he's written. He's an easy, relaxing read, as are writers like Jack Higgins, Robert Ludlum, Sue Grafton, and John Grisham.
In the other category, I've recently finished "Speeches and Writings of Abraham Lincoln" and "Battle Cry of Freedom" by James M. McPherson, both of which provide needed perspective for today's world. I've just purchased James Grant's new book, "Money of the Mind," which I'm told is not kind to bankers, but who is these days?
David W. Fox Chairman, president, and chief executive officer Northern Trust Co., Chicago
I'm reading a manuscript right now by Burt Nanus, "Visionary Leadership." Burt's one of the leading authorities on leadership and a friend of mine. It looks like a good book for improving management skills.
I have only cracked the cover of "Vendetta" [the new book on American Express by Bryan Burrough]. I'm reading it for obvious reasons.
I read mostly history and business-related books and am going to pick up Robert Elegant's "Pacific Destiny," which is an elaborate history of the Pacific Basin and speaks to a lot of the sociopolitical, cultural, and economic trends for that part of the world. It's excellent background, given the rapid growth of our business in the Pacific region.
Alex W. "Pete" Hart President MasterCard International, New York
I plan on reading a book sent to me by one of our major investors, Bob Bass. It's "The Customer-Driven Company," by Richard Whitley. It talks about the customer-driven company and action steps to refine and polish your service delivery.
I also picked up a book, "Managing for the Future," by Peter Drucker. It talks about the 1990s and beyond. I've always been a fan of Drucker's. He talks about the end of the era of the blue-collar worker and about how to use technology in the new environment.
These are two books that are of the more serious nature.
I also have a great book that I've read several times and I try to read once a year - "Leadership is an Art" by Max DePree - on leadership and corporate values. There's so much wisdom in it. It's sort of an ethical checkpoint for me.
And I'm going to read "Alaska" by James Michener because I'm going to make a trip to Alaska. And I'm currently reading a book by Robert Heinlein, a science fiction writer, "Time Enough for Love."
W. Brent Robinson Executive vice president and director of retail banking American Savings Bank, Irvine, Calif.
On my summer reading list, to be reread, is "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand and the reason is to go back and remind myself about the things that are important in the way you lead your life. The point is that people who are really good at what they do, and really successful, are the ones who make the country run. Doing it better is really what it's all about. I have purchased a copy of the book for each of my direct reports.
I think I'll also revisit "The Fountainhead" [also by Ayn Rand]. Some of the individualism and the need to stand up and be counted is sometimes what people in business forget.
I read a whole lot of other kinds of books, including popular novels; that I do for total enjoyment. I read Sidney Sheldon, Robert Ludlum, Frederick Forsyth, and all of these kinds of novels when they come out.
Christopher M. Condron President Boston Safe Deposit and Trust Co.