What You’re Reading

J. Ann Selzer, owner of Selzer & Co., has “The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds” by Michael Lewis (W.W. Norton & Co., 2017) at the top of her to-read list: “After reading Lewis’ ‘Liar’s Poker,’ recommended as a way to introduce myself to the culture of a trading floor as I began working with Bloomberg LLC, I committed to read everything he has written. Lewis makes complicated people, situations and mechanisms accessible. ‘The Undoing Project’ is about the birth of behavioral economics. In social science, we think we are pretty smart if our theory can be shown to explain, what, maybe 30 percent of the variance. Well, that leaves a lot left unexplained. So, I’m looking to get into some of the other forces that drive human decisions. I think I’ll start on this tomorrow!”


Mike Draper, owner of Raygun, is reading “Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War” by Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking, 2006): “This is one of best history books I have ever read. It starts with the nuts-and-bolts of the Pilgrims’ trip from England to the Northeast, but then takes an in-depth look at the decades after the arrival.

It combines an extremely well-written narrative with great sourcing, maps, and a balanced take on the intentions and politics of both the Europeans and the Native Americans. This approach paints a complex and complete view of 17th-century America that will be eye-opening to anyone, no matter what their knowledge level of American history.”


Jay Simmons, president of Simpson College, has just finished reading “The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt” by Edmund Morris (Random House, 2001): “Morris reviews TR’s life from his youth in Manhattan until the moment when Vice President Roosevelt, camping in the Adirondacks, sees a courier climbing the trail to his campsite who bears the message that President McKinley had died of his gunshot wounds. With engaging and informative prose, Morris describes how TR grew from an energetic, bright, asthmatic youth into one of the most robust and influential leaders our Republic has ever produced. A Pulitzer Prize winner, the book well rewards the time spent reading it.”

You May Also Like

Cheers for Local Theater

The always-entertaining Cloris Leachman Excellence in Theatre Arts Awards program is Sunday, Aug. 27, ...

Free (No Strings Attached)

Above: Members of the Belin Quartet alternate among performances and include John Helmich, Tracy ...

Enduring Spirit

A new exhibit at the Des Moines Art Center showcases works by women and ...