Book recommendations from Fortune’s 40 under 40 in health


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An eye-opening examination of the U.S. health care system that begs the reader to consider a new perspective; a guide to building effective business relationships while staying true to yourself; and one of the most lauded memoirs in business.

Here is a selection of book recommendations from this year’s 40 Under 40 in health.

The Moral Corporation by P. Roy Vagelos and Louis Galambos

I frequently refer back to The Moral Corporation, [cowritten] by P. Roy Vagelos, MD, who is not only Regeneron’s chairman but also a fellow Greek-American and a role model of mine. I connect strongly with his concept of making medicine that is both useful for public health and conducive to building a successful company. His commitment to societal good helps shape my own career aspirations. —Christos Kyratsous, vice president, research, infectious diseases and viral vector technologies, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

The Attention Revolution: Unlocking the Power of the Focused Mind by B. Alan Wallace

I got it 10 years ago from my former boss, a Buddhist, who later invested in our company via his VC fund. He gave it to me before I went to live on a cattle ranch in Brazil, where I wouldn’t have any connection with the outside world for months. This book taught me how to meditate, back when Headspace didn’t exist and mindfulness wasn’t so sexy. Before reading the book, I thought that meditation was fake and a bunch of gobbledygook. However, with long stretches of nothing to do at the ranch, I began practicing the techniques in the book and actually noticed progress. Every day I could focus just a bit more, and my mind grew calmer. Since then, I’ve been meditating regularly. It got me through some pretty tough times at my company. In my opinion, success is all about weathering crises, which means that a calm mind is such a powerful ally to have. —Michael Kapps, founder and CEO, Vitalk Health

Managing Oneself by Peter Drucker

The most precious thing we have is our own time. This little essay helps focus on self-knowledge in what you’re best at, and how you should prioritize your time. I turn back to it every few years. —Kate Ryder, founder and CEO, Maven Clinic

Expert Political Judgment: How Good Is It? How Can We Know? by Philip E. Tetlock

The best book that has helped me in my career involves foxes and hedgehogs. Philip Tetlock, in his book, Expert Political Judgement, helped me garner the strength required for an entrepreneurial journey. In his book, Tetlock proves that “hedgehog” expertise (academic and single-topic) fails at predicting the future, while “fox” expertise (one that is formed through lessons from different parts of the woods) does better. I always felt I didn’t have the skill set to lead a company in making an impact on the future, because I didn’t pursue a doctorate and instead had a “fox-like” career. The book taught me otherwise. —Yonatan Adiri, founder and CEO, Healthy.io

Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder

The book that inspired me to work in health care was Mountains Beyond Mountains. The story of Dr. Paul Farmer’s journey from Harvard to tackling malaria in Haiti and Peru opened my eyes to impact-driven innovation. It pushed me to look beyond degrees and accolades, beyond words, and even beyond actions, to a singular focus on scalable impact.—Kate Rosenbluth, founder and chief scientific officer, Cala Health

Catastrophic Care: Why Everything We Think We Know About Health Care Is Wrong by David Goldhill

Goldhill’s writing and our conversations have had a profound impact on my views on the ideal health care system. I admire his unwavering view that patients should be in complete control of their health care, even when that idea is extremely unpopular among the health care establishment. —Zachariah Reitano, cofounder and CEO, Ro

Crucial Accountability: Tools for Resolving Violated Expectations, Broken Commitments, and Bad Behavior by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, David Maxfield, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

I love Crucial Accountability, which is centered around how to have hard conversations with people. Internally, our No. 1 principle is “Be super transparent, but be nice about it.” This is extremely difficult to pull off, but if you can do it—and teach other people to do it—the reward is tremendous.  As we’ve grown the company, we have new folks joining who are very talented but who haven’t spent the last 14 years with me, and so I’ve had to learn to have frank conversations with new peers in order to build an unbreakable team. In some ways, this is the hardest part of building the company. Crucial Accountability helped me learn the strategies for tackling these hard conversations in a way that builds relationships and addresses issues and roadblocks, without hindering forward progress. These principles have not only impacted how we work internally, but have permeated our core behavior change product as well. Because open communication is so foundational for building anything—whether building a product, getting a team to gel, or getting your spouse to support you on a new health or fitness journey. —Artem Petakov, cofounder and president, Noom

Expect to Win: 10 Proven Strategies for Thriving in the Workplace by Carla A. Harris

Expect to Win by Carla A. Harris is a book that continues to motivate and drive me toward my career goals. I’ve found the clear-cut advice to be applicable no matter what my work setting may be. I turn to it often as I transition between roles. More than anything, the title alone helps me reframe my thoughts and approach to every role I pursue. —Lauren R. Powell, vice president, head of Time’s Up Healthcare, Time’s Up Foundation

The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield

I love The Celestine Prophecy, a book I read 20 years ago. Its thesis is simple: There is a reason and purpose behind every interaction you have with a person, no matter how well you know them. In my line of work, I meet people all the time. One of the things that drives me personally is trying to authentically understand the reason for meeting this one person out of the 7 billion people on the planet. The book dives into this and discusses the power of these often serendipitous connections. Whether it’s the deeper connections we have or one-off conversations, it has helped me frame the importance of every person I meet. —Ambar Bhattacharyya, managing director, Maverick Ventures

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

I really enjoyed the book Shoe Dog by Phil Knight. In many ways I aspire to build a business like Nike with a global footprint and recognizable brand. I appreciated how much Knight wrote about the early days of Nike and what a struggle it was to get the business off the ground. I also loved how he was clearly maniacal about those early shoes and how much every detail mattered to him. —Will Ahmed, founder and CEO, Whoop

More must-read lifestyle coverage from Fortune:

  • 9 new books to read in September
  • How to turn down a wedding invitation during the coronavirus pandemic
  • “The Dream Architects”: Inside the making of gaming’s biggest franchises
  • How to update your guests about your pandemic wedding plans
  • The founders of skin care startup Starface on normalizing uncomfortable conversations

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