Wondering what to read this summer (apart from New Private Markets)? Fear not: we have gathered some varied and hard-hitting recommendations from industry insiders for your consideration.

We asked contacts for separate recommendations that fit into either the “work” or “leisure” categories. The responses suggest that for many sustainable private markets people, it is difficult to distinguish between the two. We hope, like us, you find some inspiration in these suggestions. We present them in alphabetical order:

Autumn by Ali Smith

“I, citizen of the Netherlands, live in a state of constant fall. We have all degrees of rain, wind and greyness here. This is a delightfully poetic, rhythmic book that on a rainy summer day will sweep you up in the cadence of her language and subtly addresses the societal challenges of our times.” – Jacqueline van den Ende, co-founder and CEO, Carbon Equity

Chip War by Chris Miller

“As a placement agent focussing exclusively on sustainable investments, we advise our investors on the geopolitics and geoeconomics of the energy transition – much of it relating to technology. While the world is transitioning away from fossil fuel to renewable sources of energy, it is becoming important to understand the underlying dynamics of supply chains. This brilliant book covers the economics, politics and technology aspects underlying the race towards economic prosperity. The old Cold War is gone. Millar does a great job explaining why the new Cold War will all be about technology.” – Christian Anderson, managing partner, Worthwhile Capital

Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever to Reverse Global Warming by Paul Hawken

“The clue is in the title! Despite being over five years old, it remains the most informative but easy to digest breakdown of the solutions that we need that I have seen. Each described solution is just a couple of pages long, so it is perfect for the tube… although I remember someone laughing at me for reading about composting on the way to work.” – Ali Floyd, managing director, Campbell Lutyens

How to Avoid a Climate Disaster by Bill Gates

“[Recommending Bill Gates’ book even though] my husband has written a really good – very climate-related – thriller called Relife, which is about how the world looks in 2045, but he hasn’t tried to publish it!” – Paula Langton, partner, Campbell Lutyens

Letting Go: How Philanthropists and Impact Investors Can Do More Good by Giving Up Control by Ben Wrobel and Meg Massey, 2021

“Having worked in the impact investing industry for nearly a decade now, I’ve come across some truly brilliant and passionate people working hard to solve some of society’s most intractable challenges. But I’ve also come to realise the limitations of current investment models and grant-making models, and how even well-intentioned philanthropists and impact investors might be making certain problems worse rather than better. According to Wrobel and Massey, the solution is the increased adoption of participatory models where investors and funders share their decision-making power with those most affected by those decisions. By allowing community members to participate in deciding, for instance, how a place-based investment should be allocated, those at the top of the capital markets food chain can inspire those at the bottom to work together in identifying solutions with the potential for enduring impact.” – Dmitriy Ioselevich, CEO and founder, 17 Communications

Ik ga leven (“I will live”) by Lala Gül

“This biography by a young Dutch-Turkish woman talks about the writers’ upbringing in the Netherlands in a very religious Muslim family with a dominant mother. The writer kicks against it… by writing the book she took a lot of risk; she has been getting a lot of death threats. Yet she wrote it in a very mature style and with an incredible sense of humour. I am personally interested in the story as I have always been very curious about cultures and human psychology (what makes people who they are). – Amara Goeree, sustainability director, Schroders Capital

The Last Grain Race by Eric Newby

“A friend lent me this recently and it is a magical picture of a world now completely lost, but which some people still alive today experienced.” – Ali Floyd, managing director, Campbell Lutyens

Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

“Because I always love a good female lead!” – Paula Langton, partner, Campbell Lutyens


Moving Beyond Modern Portfolio Theory: Investing That Matters by Jon Lukomnik and Jim Hawley

“This book explores how interpretations of financial materiality and fiduciary duty are evolving as institutional asset owners and allocators have become more diversified. Because these large investors have long-term outlooks and are diversified across nearly every industry, geography and asset class, they cannot avoid systemic and systematic risks, such as inequality, climate change and biodiversity loss. Lukomnik and Hawley highlight how most of these investors’ return actually comes from systemic and systematic factors, rather than the risk and return of each individual portfolio company. This means that large asset owners and allocators have a financial incentive to account for externalities in their capital allocation and investment decision making, which has huge implications for how we think about financial materiality and fiduciary duty.” – Delilah Rothenberg, co-founding partner and executive director, The Predistribution Initiative 

The Myth of Capitalism by Jonathan Tepper and Denise Hearn

“This was one of the earlier books on market consolidation, having been released a few years ago. Since then, the topic has become more popular, and several other authors have written about the risks of corporate concentration in markets. However, this book clearly articulates the risks to capitalism of such consolidation and the business case for “deconsolidating”. It also highlights how market structure and consolidation can have negative impacts relating to inequality, which can help folks understand how these dynamics relate to the SDGs and responsible investing.” – Delilah Rothenberg, co-founding partner and executive director, The Predistribution Initiative 

The New China Playbook by Keyu Jin

“This book explains China’s economic achievement in the past decades in the context of why ‘The China Model’ worked and why it is unlikely for China to adopt the western model. – Ben Meng, head of global private equity, chairman Asia Pacific and executive sponsor of sustainability, Franklin Templeton

The Persuaders: At the Front Lines of the Fight for Hearts, Minds, and Democracy by Anand Giridharadas

“As a communications professional, I spend a lot of time thinking about how to best convince people of certain ideas – like the importance of addressing climate change – and motivate them to take action. But as Western countries have become more polarised, the basic act of communicating among one another has become more challenging than ever. This book by Giridharadas offers valuable lessons on the art of persuasion, including the importance of understanding where someone is coming from and how to engage with someone on a difficult or controversial topic. I find myself using these lessons in both my professional and personal life, allowing me to better connect with critics, sceptics and allies alike.” – Dmitriy Ioselevich, CEO and founder, 17 Communications

Power and Progress: Our Thousand-Year Struggle Over Technology and Prosperity by Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson

“I am reading this book because I am a strong believer in the need for technology to help solve critical climate challenges. At the same time I can see that the outcomes of technology – first led by a huge wave of digitisation and now increasingly by AI – are not always equitable. I am interested in exploring how, if at all, technical progress can go hand in hand with building a more healthy and happy society.” – Jacqueline van den Ende, co-founder and CEO, Carbon Equity

Purpose + Profit: How Business Can Lift Up the World by George Serafeim

“To create a successful business, in the current environment with global challenges, it is deeply important to be purpose-driven, in order to create high performing organisations.” – Reynir Indahl, founder and managing partner, Summa Equity

Right Kind of Wrong: The Science of Failing Well by Amy C Edmondson

“Because of its relevancy to Summa’s work in paving a new way in impact investing and the importance of learning to fail fast and learn from [the failures], which is crucial for development.” – Reynir Indahl, founder and managing partner, Summa Equity

Thinking in Bets by Annie Duke

“It is a must read for anyone who makes investment decisions. Or more accurately, for anyone who wants to learn from his/her investment decisions. She has another book out recently, which is called Quit; this book is about how to deal with sunk cost fallacy.” – Ben Meng, head of global private equity, chairman Asia Pacific and executive sponsor of sustainability, Franklin Templeton

We are Bellingcat by Eliot Higgins

“A fascinating page-turner that leads the reader into the world of open source intelligence (OSINT): written by a school dropout becoming a hunter for truth in an increasingly opaque world of disinformation. By setting up Bellingcat, Higgins takes on some of the world’s biggest lies and turns in many cases the world of intelligence on its head. He quickly becomes the figurehead of online journalism, sharing the true stories of the missiles that downed the Malaysia Airline Flight over Ukraine, the use of chemical weapons in Syria and hunting down neo-Nazis in Charlottesville. It is a true story about how he is taking on the world using his laptop and smartphone, which is an admirable task in today’s world.” – Christian Anderson, managing partner, Worthwhile Capital 

We are the weather by Jonathan Safran Foer

“An insightful book about the role we can personally play in fighting climate change while also acknowledging the psychological struggle that comes with some of the changes we have to make. I liked it a lot because it balances facts and tangible numbers, but is also written with a fair share of vulnerability by the writer. He started writing it to convince people to try to switch to a vegan lifestyle (I do not follow one), but he also shares part of his life story and a long inner dialogue with himself in which he basically battles with himself sometimes not managing and ordering a burger. As someone that has dedicated her career to sustainable finance, I empathised a lot with that vulnerability and the struggle with some changes at a personal level that sometimes make it difficult to not block and rebel.” – Amara Goeree, sustainability director, Schroders Capital

Winners Take All by Anand Ghiridharadas

“It’s a good tool of reflection for people who are supposedly in the world of ‘doing good’, and particularly relevant for many of us in the industry where greenwashing at many levels is an existential headwind to real change.” – Tang Zongzhong, head of sustainability, BPEA EQT