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I by IMD Book Club

Why business leaders should join a book club

Published 8 March 2021 in I by IMD Book Club • 3 min read

Books are a vital way to learn and expand our thinking. They let us go more deeply into a topic, to immerse ourselves in new world, to open our minds and hearts more fully, and to hear an author’s distinctive voice more clearly.  

An article may be a tasty snack, but a book is a feast – a source of nourishment, an enjoyable experience, an experience to savor, a chance to commune with other friends.


Phil’s Book Club is open to anyone within the I by IMD community. Each month we will read a recent book and then use an online forum to have a virtual discussion.   

These will not be “business books” in a narrow sense, but “books for business people,” on topics of importance for managers in today’s world. We will read about economics and employment, geopolitics and technology, environment and climate, psychology and artificial intelligence.  We will select books that stretch our minds without being too demanding, thoughtful but not overly academic, thought-provoking yet practical. They will be intelligent books that appeal to intelligent people.

Importantly, we will read and discuss the books in a thoughtful manner, not merely accepting what the authors write, but using our inquisitive minds to have a robust discussion.

Our aim is to create a community of readers and thinkers, and we invite you to take part!

Phil Rosenzweig: your book club host

As host of Phil’s Book Club, my aim is to create a valuable virtual community.

I’ve been professor of strategy and international management at IMD since 1996. I’ve taught in many programs and directed IMD’s Executive MBA program, and for six years, have taught a course called Critical Thinking and Decision Analysis.

I’m also the author of a few books, notably The Halo Effect … and the Eight Other Business Delusions that Deceive Managers (Free Press, 2007). My aim with that book was “to help managers become wiser: more discerning, more appropriately skeptical, and less vulnerable to simplistic formulas and quick-fix remedies.” I wanted to help managers develop their skills of critical thinking, not to accept everything they are told, but to think for themselves: to “separate the nuggets from the nonsense.”

We’ll follow that same spirit here. Our aim is to select good books, to engage the ideas in an active way, to apply our discerning judgment, and to take away useful ideas.

How our club will operate

The list of upcoming books will be published three months in advance, to allow time to get the books and fit them into your schedule. I will also provide a few questions to consider while reading, not to limit your inquiry, but to make sure we have a common topics for discussion, to enable a healthy exchange of views.

During the third week of each month, we will discuss one book in a virtual chat forum, and then in a live discussion. Afterwards, I’ll write a short summary after the discussion, to be posted to this site. If you miss any months, you can always catch up by reading what other Club members have thought.

Why should I join?

We invite you to join our book club and hope you will take part, whether that means participating every month or some of the time.

For starters, have a look at the upcoming books, a list that will be updated that each month. And tell us if you have suggestions: maybe a book you’ve enjoyed reading and would like to suggest we include, or heard about and would like to read as part of a larger group.

No doubt you’re busy with work and family life, and often feel you are bombarded by the steady noise of information. This is a chance to read one good book a month – with support and guidance from a group of smart and engaged people.

Phil’s reading list

My personal reading tends toward history, biography, politics, cinema, sports, and music. Favorite authors include David Halberstam, William Manchester, and Robert Caro. Although I’ve never read much fiction, my favorite recent book was The Sympathizer, by Viet Thanh Nguyen, and am looking forward to his next book, The Committed.

In the world of management, some of my favorites include:

  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini, 2007
  • The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy, Mariana Mazzucato, 2018
  • A Random Walk Down Wall Street: The Time Tested Strategy for Successful Investing, Burton G. Malkiel, 2020
  • How Markets Fail: The Logic of Economic Calamities, John Cassidy, 2009
  • Only the Paranoid Survive: How to Exploit the Crisis Points that Challenge Every Company, Andrew S. Grove, 1996


Phil Rosenzweig - IMD Professor

Philip Rosenzweig

Professor of Strategy and international Management

Emeritus Professor Phil Rosenzweig has been Professor of Strategy and International Management at IMD since 1996. He directed IMD’s Executive MBA program for six years. He is the author of The Halo Effect and Eight Other Business Delusions that Deceive Managers.


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