- UBS Investment Bank recently emailed out its second annual reading list to its bankers.
- This year’s list revolved around the theme of "change," and includes books ranging from "Charlotte’s Web" to a history of a 19th-century naval battle.
- UBS Investment Bank is reportedly considering laying off hundreds of employees, as its heads consider how to deal with a rough first half of 2019.
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UBS Investment Bank recently sent its employees in the Americas a summer reading list, which it then shared with Business Insider. This year’s theme is growth through change.
Sam Kendall, head of corporate client solutions for the Americas at UBS and the list’s author, said the original compilation was a long list of reads he wanted workers to keep handy when they needed to reflect on changes or transitions. He pared down the list to 10 books, and sent it on August 6.
"When we sent out the list we encouraged people to take their own journey either via other books or venues where they may learn from others about dealing and preparing themselves for change," Kendall told Business Insider.
The list kicks off with a quote often attributed to Charles Darwin: "It’s not the strongest or most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change." The University of Cambridge traces the quote to a Louisiana State professor paraphrasing the scientist in 1963.
Self-growth through adaptation is, of course, a timeless theme applicable to any organization. And it’s a natural progression from last year’s UBS book list, which was focused on leadership, and included libertarians’ favorite novel, "Atlas Shrugged." (That list began with a quote attributed to the author and women’s rights pioneer Margaret Fuller, "Today a reader; tomorrow a leader," though that one is of dubious origin.)
This year’s theme comes at a time when investment banks are struggling with the slowing economy and trade war, leading UBS’s peers to announce as many as 30,000 job cuts. Bloomberg reported that UBS’s co-heads of investment banking, Piero Novelli and Rob Karofsky, are mulling an overhaul of the business and also considering cutting hundreds of jobs.
Regardless of internal and external changes, Kendall has been big on reading since assuming his role early last year, going so far as to establish a small lending library outside his office. The exec has sought ways to encourage his bankers to embrace innovation and extolled the virtues of being well rounded.
The bookshelves at UBS have three or four copies of each of the books featured in Kendall’s email, which we’ve included in full below.
As I mentioned at the recent townhall, it is vital that we continue to challenge the status quo and drive agility in our thinking and structure. Being open to change and managing towards it is not only an important driver of successful businesses; it can also create opportunities we hadn’t even imagined.
As Darwin said, being able to manage change is the key to survival, but this journey is not one that we take alone or unprepared. Hence, the 2019 CCS Americas Suggested Readings are aimed at helping everyone prepare themselves for the changes ahead, whether they are within our industry or the industries that our clients operate in.
Change, be it disruption or innovation, isn’t a new problem for our age, nor one of technology. As showcased in some of these books, it is something that we as a society have been grappling with for many generations. Many of these titles directly touch on change and several were selected to give you some insight into tools that may be useful in navigating it.
While I hope that many of you will be able to enjoy one of these selections during your summer vacation, reading these books should not be limited to the summer. Learning is a constant journey.
In addition to our suggested readings, I encourage everyone to use the additional resources at your disposal (i.e., TED Talks or simply researching the topic of change on the internet) to continue to explore how to best deal with change, satiate your intellectual curiosity and prepare yourselves for the future – whatever it may be.
Please let me know your feedback and feel free to pass along any additions that should make their way onto our library shelf.
"Breathe In, Cash Out"
By Madeleine Henry
What it’s about: This is a story about a Wall Street banking analyst, who plans to quit her job the minute her bonus hits the bank account to follow her real passion of becoming a yoga instructor. Think The Devil Wears Prada meets banking…
Why it’s applicable: While it is fiction, it drives us to recognize parts of ourselves and awareness about our industry. The author is much like her protagonist. She too worked at an investment bank and left to follow her dream. The lesson here is to do something you are passionate about.
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