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What the economic elite reads in summer


Politicians, supervisors, businessmen and social agents recommend a book for August to the readers of 'Negocios'. There are financial essays, novels, poetry and, of course, reflections on the pandemic and the impact of climate change

A sample of the covers of the books that different personalities recommend to the readers of 'Business' for this summer.


has asked top business and economic leaders to recommend a book for this summer.

Suggested readings deal with very topical topics such as feminism, the increase in the market power of a few companies, the fight against climate change and the impact of companies on the environment, the rise of populist and nationalist movements, progress technology and globalization and, of course, the consequences of the pandemic.

There are finance titles, but also novels, essays, history, and even poetry.

These are the books proposed by supervisors, politicians, businessmen, trade unionists and economists.

Nadia Calviño, First Vice President of the Government and Minister of Economic Affairs: 'Infinity in a junk'.

Irene Vallejo.


Getting lost in a book has been one of the sources of relief, comfort and serenity during this difficult year. I recommend two of the ones that have allowed me the most to rest, learn, regain calm and recharge positive energy. In the first place, "Infinity in a junk", the wonderful National Essay Award by Irene Vallejo, which captivates us with her passionate review of the role of books throughout history and provides us, in an entertaining, rigorous and personal, essential keys to understand our culture and our identity. My second recommendation is "A Gentleman in Moscow" by Amor Towles. It is a delightful novel that, through the experiences of a nobleman condemned to live in a hotel from the first moments of the Bolshevik revolution,makes us witnesses of an important part of the history of the 20th century.

Luis de Guindos, Vice President of the ECB: 'Life and destiny'. Vasili Grossman. Gutenberg Galaxy.

The story of Viktor Shtrum and the dozens of characters that are intertwined in this monumental work ranges from survival in the battle of Stalingrad to life in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany, the ineffable horror of the Holocaust or the yoke of existence. in Stalinist terror. "Life and Destiny" narrates war, death, totalitarianism and the human and moral loss that this entails like few novels. It is a reflection that makes us wonder what remains of the individual when the only thing that is required of him is that he be one more pawn in the totalitarian game. But there is also hope in the story: they will find friendships that do not betray despite external pressure, or loyal loves that survive deportations and jails. This is a masterpiece about the human soul and personal decency,about the ability to maintain humanity and freedom even when one's individual destiny has been taken away. Have a good reading, and better summer.

Yolanda Díaz, Second Vice President of the Government and Minister of Labor and Social Economy: 'Hamnet'.

Maggie O'Farrell.

Asteroid Books.

This book borders the canon and manages to make literature in the shadow of the Shakespearean myth.

Maggie O'Farrell is part of that genealogy of writers who stop at the margins of the system and official reality.

There is a story as deep as it is imaginative.

Narrative about loss and absence, it is a great portrait of grief, but also of everything that, as women, we have been prevented from starring in the course of history.

María Jesús Montero, Minister of Finance and Public Function: 'The value of things'.

Mariana Mazzucato.


I would encourage readers to read "The Value of Things" by Mariana Mazzucato, a thought-provoking essay that demonstrates the importance of the public sector for private sector development. Many of today's modern and cutting-edge companies would never have existed without publicly funded technology. I am also happy that one of the most influential economic voices is that of a woman who refutes that the public sector is a drag on growth. And I cannot resist recommending a contemporary classic such as the Sevillian philosopher Emilio Lledó. For example, I recommend "In Praise of Unhappiness", a compilation of texts where he reaffirms his hope in the ability of human beings to get away from barbarism and become better people through reading.

Books recommended by Nadia Calviño, Luis de Guindos, Yolanda Díaz and María Jesús Montero.

José Luis Escrivá, Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations: 'Advise and Disent: Why America Suffers When Economics and Politics Collide'.

Alan Blinder.

Basic Books.

Drawing on his extensive experience as an academic, advisor and decision-maker in the field of economics, in his book "Advise and Dissent: Why America Suffers When Economics and Politics Collide", Alan Blinder analyzes how economists and politicians interact. Its objective is to understand why there are numerous economic policy measures that generate a great consensus in the profession, but that are never fully implemented. He distributes blame equally between economists and politicians. The former are asked to incorporate into their recommendations the political economy restrictions that condition the actions of the executive and legislative branches. He asks the latter to move away from what he calls "the lamppost theory", according to which economists are used more to support themselves than to enlighten themselves.

Reyes Maroto, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Tourism: 'The evanescent half'.

Brit Bennett.

Random House.

I recommend "The Evacescent Half," by African-American writer Brit Bennett.

In the novel the stories of three generations of a family converge that portrays the evolution of American society in civil rights.

It talks about racism, the contempt for dark skin tone within the black community itself, about classism and even about a woman's love for a trans man.

They gave it to me a few months ago and through the eyes of its protagonists it has invited me to reflect on love, racial and class conflicts or on the complexity of identity and gender-sex debates.

It is a call to accept the different, not to submit to the single discourse.

Pablo Hernández de Cos, Governor of the Bank of Spain: 'The profit paradox'. Jean Eeckhout. Princeton University Press.

Jean Eeckhout, professor at Pompeu Fabra University, documents what, from my point of view, is one of the most important economic phenomena of recent decades: the increase in market power of a few companies. It also analyzes its causes —among which the role of technological innovation stands out— and describes its consequences in terms of increased inequality, falling wages in the product, stagnation of social mobility and reduction of economic dynamism. To reverse this trend, it proposes a strengthening of the institutions in charge of the defense of competition, which should adopt the framework of independence of the central banks for a more efficient operation. A key reminder of the effects of lack of competition on workers, consumers and businesses,and proper advice on how to deal with it.

Rodrigo Buenaventura, President of the CNMV: 'On impact: a guide to the impact revolution ”. Roland Cohen. Sir Ronald Cohen.

I have been choosing short readings for some time, such as the booklet "On Impact", which exposes the perspective of the impact of companies on the environment, society or the communities with which they interact. Sir Ronald Cohen, once a venture capitalist, presents two ideas and their corollary. The first, that citizens have the right to know what impact the companies that aspire to capture their savings generate and institutional investors have already started that path. The second, that the impact can and must be measured, quantitatively, if we want to act rationally. And the corollary: that investment theory has changed, from a classic pairing, profitability-risk, to the new trinomial, profitability-risk-impact.

Books recommended by José Luis Escrivá, Reyes Maroto, Pablo Hernández de Cos and Rodrigo Buenaventura.

Ana Botín, President of Banco Santander: 'How to avoid a climate disaster'.

Bill Gates.

Plaza and Janés.

Bill Gates is one of the greatest promoters of the fight against climate change and this book is a manifesto in favor of sustainable development and the protection of the planet.

Fighting climate change requires a different way of managing companies and the courage to take risks.

It is a wake-up call to the responsibility of individuals, companies and governments.

We all have to bear the short-term cost — which will not be small — to obtain a great long-term payoff.

As Gates says, consumers will remember which companies were serious about fighting the climate disaster.

Juan Roig, President of Mercadona: 'The island of the five lighthouses'.

Ferran Ramon-Cortés.


I recommend reading this book, or refreshing its pages if it has already been read, for its clear and simple message.

It contains more experience than theory and therefore connects with the reader.

From the hand of Ferrán, its protagonist, we will tour the lighthouses of Menorca and we will learn what to do so that our messages reach, clearly and effectively, those to whom we are addressing.

It transmits important ideas to reflect, such as that being a beacon for your clients is the best way to add value to them, or that the important thing is not what you believe, but what others perceive.

Carlos Torres Vila, President of BBVA: 'Essay on blindness'.

José Saramago.


A book that has hooked me and made me reflect in these times of pandemic is "Essay on Blindness", by Nobel Prize winner José Saramago.

It brilliantly portends much of what the covid has unleashed, including lockdown.

Apart from the clear parallels with what we have experienced, instructive in themselves, his reflections on individualism, the fear of difference and the importance of solidarity and the joint effort to overcome great challenges, are of great interest as we are more current than ever.

José Ignacio Goirigolzarri, President of Caixabank: 'Identity'.

Frances Fukuyama.


Fukuyama, starting from a reinterpretation of Plato, analyzes the role that the desire for individual recognition has played in shaping current societies through the generation of identity collectives, which, in his opinion, is behind populist movements and nationalists.

Phenomenon that has been aggravated by social networks.

Books recommended by Ana Botín, Juan Roig, Carlos Torres Vila and José Ignacio Goirigolzarri

José Bogas, CEO of Endesa: 'Felipe II'.

Enrique Martínez Ruiz.

The Sphere of books.

It is probably the definitive biography of Felipe II by one of the historians who has studied and documented the life and reign of the so-called 'the wise king' the most and best. The book has the peculiarity of approaching the figure of Philip II not from the chronology of events, but from three very different angles: as a man, as a king and as a myth. As its author affirms, it does not seek to judge the figure of the monarch, but rather to “understand and make understood” its true dimension. It is a recommended book for its great rigor and ease of showing that the personality of one of the most important kings in the history of our country was complex and contradictory, something that, in the end and in the end, may be intrinsic to the performance of the can.

José Manuel Entrecanales, President of Acciona: 'Green Swans: The Coming Boom In Regenerative Capitalism'. John Elkington. Fast Company Press.

Elkington's book emphasizes the keys to successfully meeting the greatest global challenge ever faced by society as a whole: the decarbonization of the economy. And in this context, it raises, among other questions, the role that companies should play in the face of such a challenge. A few years ago, some companies decided to make a commitment to the environment out of “responsibility”. And, we soon realized that it was not enough. More recently, we discovered the need to contribute to the "resilience" of the planet, trying to avoid any damage or deterioration as a result of our activity. But, it is not enough either. Now, we know that we have to assume a purpose of "regeneration" of the environment, ensuring that our projects always produce a clearly positive social and environmental impact. He talks about it,among other issues, the magnificent work of John Elkington, one of the most prestigious intellectual references in the field of sustainability.

César González-Bueno, CEO of Banco Sabadell: 'The Japanese lover'.

Isabel Allende.

Plaza and Janés.

"The Japanese Lover" is a summer reading, leisure, but at the same time it has quality, both literary and in the description of the characters, interesting and attractive even in its defects.

During the reading it is inevitable to assess them and analyze their reactions to the carousel of events they live, "measure" them according to our own vision of life and our values.

In addition, the plot entertains and engages.

Love manifests itself in many of its facets, in settings as diverse as the Poland of the Second World War or the San Francisco of our days.

Jaume Giró, Minister of Economy and Finance of the Generalitat: 'A promised land'.

Barack Obama.


It is the first volume of the memoirs of Barack Obama.

I read them this past Christmas and they blew me away.

It is a magnificent book, full of deep reflections described with irony and intelligence.

It explains how upon entering the White House in January 2009, a few months after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, he had to face the most serious and global financial, economic, social and moral crisis of the last century.

A book full of inspiring passages, on politics and the human condition, that I highly recommend for anyone with a political or historical concern.

Books recommended by José Bogas, José Manuel Entrecanales, César González-Bueno and Jaume Giró.

Beatriz Corredor, President of Red Eléctrica: 'Where life bends, never'.

Angel González.


In recent times I have been fascinated by two great books, without apparent relationship, but which for me create a magic circle.

Essay and poetry, poetry and essay.

"Infinity in a junco", by Irene Vallejo, an absorbing reading about the invention of books in the ancient world, to which I immediately move with some of the poems of Ángel González in his anthology "Where life bends, never".

I add to this the powerful and necessary message of "My life on the road", the autobiography of the Prince of Asturias Award Gloria Steinem, and the poems of Raquel Lanseros, who time and time again meet me at the appropriate moments to feel them from another shape.

Or the same.

Antón Costas, President of the Economic and Social Council: 'Decalogue of the good citizen'.

Victor Lapuente.


For this summer I recommend Víctor Lapuente's book in which he offers a series of tips “to be better people in a narcissistic world”.

It seems to me an excellent work.

Another reading that I want to share is "Good economics for difficult times", by the Nobel laureate in economics Esther Duflo and her husband, Abhijit Banerjee.

Gabriel Escarrer, CEO of Meliá Hotels: 'On the surface'.

Javier Moro.

Seix Barral.

I am reading "A flor de Piel", by Javier Moro, which recounts the epic of the doctor Balmis and the nurse Isabel Zendal, who in 1803 carried the smallpox vaccine to the territories in 1803 overseas.

It conveys emotion and feelings, and reminds us of all those "heroes" of the fight against covid-19.

Although published in 2016, it could not be more current: a pandemic that was devastating the American Indians, a court doctor, brilliant and dedicated, some orphaned children who had a second chance in the New World, and a brave Spanish woman who would become history as the "first nurse on an international mission."

Maurici Lucena, President and CEO of Aena: 'Lyndon Johnson and the American Dream'.

Doris Kearns Goodwin.

Tomas Dunne Books.

The genre of the biography is optimal for the summer.

Had it not been for the quagmire of the Vietnam War, Lyndon Johnson might have joined the pantheon of the great American presidents in history: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

In this work, Doris Kearns Goodwin, who knew Johnson personally, analyzes the life and times of a Democratic politician, in rather vulgar ways, whose modest origins and training contrast with his formidable career and the enormous ambition of his work in government. which represented a before and after in the field of social and civil rights.

Books recommended by Beatriz Corredor, Antón Costas, Gabriel Escarrer and Maurici Lucena.

Antonio Garamendi, President of the CEOE: 'The great adventure of the kingdom of Asturias'. José Javier Esparza. The sphere of books.

In these days when the wind rarely blows in our favor, we talk a lot about bringing out our more supportive side, but it is also necessary to appeal to our epic. For this reason, I recommend "The Great Adventure of the Kingdom of Asturias", to take an example of this "amazing feat", as he calls it, when facing what we have had to live. Now it is up to all of us to rebuild the country, because there were a few who achieved an unthinkable reconquest. Much has been said about it, but never with the detail that this reading addresses. And since there is no summer without adventure and good food, I leave here "Not only on caviar does man live" (Bruguera, 1966), by Johannes Mario Simmel, which immerses us in the hands of the protagonist in the context of World War II, but with a differentiating element, its good cuisine.

Juan Manuel Serrano, President of the Post Office: 'Thank you for being late'. Thomas L. Friedman. Deusto.

I want to recommend the essay "Thanks for being late" by Thomas L. Friedman.

In it, the author takes advantage of a daily event, such as the delay of a person in an appointment, to invite us to think about three key concepts: technological progress, globalization and climate change;

and on how we must manage them to create a new social model that is responsible for people and the planet.

The future is the great challenge and invites us to reflect on how to overcome the tensions of an era of accelerations from the company, politics, the community and the individual.

But for this, sometimes it is necessary to slow down, dare to be late, stop so as not to get carried away and use time to reimagine the world.

Carles Navarro, President of BASF Spain: 'Love your enemies'.

Arthur Brooks.


I highly recommend this book by Arthur Brooks, an American political scientist and Harvard professor who also knows Spain well (he lived here for eight years and is married to a Spanish woman).

The lessons he draws from the extreme political polarization in the United States are exportable to the rest of the world, and his analysis of what he calls the "culture of contempt for the adversary" deserves deep reflection.

His advice to overcome it deserves our full attention.

José Luis Bonet, President of the Spanish Chamber of Commerce: 'The chauffeur's son'.

Jordi Amat.

Tusquets Editors.

My recommended reading for this summer is "The Chauffeur's Son", by Jordi Amat.

It is a book in which, through the career of the journalist Alfons Quintá, some keys are given to understand recent Catalan history and one of its central figures, Jordi Pujol, based on a crucial fact in his biography: the Catalan Banking case.

This fictionalized story also offers a stark portrait of the relationship between politics and journalism, and a way of understanding the media as an indispensable source of power.

Books recommended by Antonio Garamendi, Juan Manuel Serrano, Carles Navarro and José Luis Bonet.

Ignacio de la Torre, Chief Economist of Arcano Economic Research: 'Life and Destiny'.

Vasili Grossman.

Gutenberg Galaxy.

"It is the best novel of the twentieth century," they told me.

I laughed.

Curious, I heard that it was considered "the War and Peace of the twentieth century."

I stopped laughing.

I devoured the book and was as impressed as when I was lucky enough to read Tolstoy's work for the first time.

It tells the terrible epic of a family of Russian Jewish scientists in the midst of the epic battle of Stalingrad, facing Nazi terror and the horror of Stalin.

It exposes the human being to the most violent and terrible situations and observes how he responds by showing off his best to face so much evil.

It is a tribute to our humanity.

Javier Hernani, CEO of BME: 'Beethoven: The Music and the Life'.

Lewis Lockwood.


It is a book for lovers of music and complex characters.

It includes original texts by the great composer and personal letters that reveal a complex personality with great nuances, of genius and self-improvement.

Beethoven had a very intense life of creation, success and suffering in a time of revolutions and radical changes to which he contributed with his music.

Unai Sordo, Secretary General of CCOO: 'Amnesiacs: story of a European family'.

Geraldine Schwarz.

Tusquets Editors.

I would recommend the latest books I have read. From Geraldine Schwarz, "The Amnesiacs: Story of a European Family". Through the family portrait of two families, French and German, he goes through the 20th century, but is particularly descriptive of the collaborationism (by omission and by action) of a substantial part of the population with Nazi Germany, but also with Vichy France. . I would also recommend "This is how it all begins", by Esteban Hernández. An essay that addresses the profound transformations of the last decades with the author's usual wide-mindedness. From the tectonic movements of geopolitics to the dissection of the reactionary tendencies in vogue, Esteban Hernández is a caustic and lucid voice that should always be taken into account. On the pending reading list I have "The Spain of the swimming pools ", by Jorge Dioni. And like every summer, I will look for a novel, outside the rehearsal.

Pepe Álvarez, Secretary General of UGT: 'Land of fields'. David Trueba. Anagram.

I recommend the novel "Tierra de Campos", by David Trueba. You can see that the author is a filmmaker and screenwriter. It is a novel with a story with intertwined threads, where there is comedy with hilarious moments, mixed with spoonfuls of tragedy and reflection. The action takes place on a trip in a funeral car, explained as a "road movie" where Dani Mosca, a former member of a Movida musical group, now in the role of anti-hero, takes his father to bury him in his town in La Empty Spain. He is accompanied by an Ecuadorian driver, Jairo, very talkative. Dani reviews his life, the beginnings, artistic creation, the transformation of music, the night, the friendships, the past loves, the life that will not return. All this through very well constructed characters and with the landscape of the eighties in the background; the transition,hopes dashed, with punk friend who is now a vocal in the copyright society. The reflection is, however, optimistic. There is always a new opportunity. Each page of the book conveys just that: life.

Books recommended by Javier Hernani, Unai Sordo and Pepe Álvarez.

Source: elparis

All business articles on 2021-07-31

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