Bogotá — Steering the destinies of Colombia’s major companies requires preparation and experience, part of which can be absorbed through the habit of reading; that’s why Colombia’s top CEOs were asked by Bloomberg Línea to provide their main recommendations of books to keep by your nightstand in 2024.
The executives were specifically asked to pick out the books that inspired them the most, and to provide an explanation for their selection. Here are the results:
Juan Ricardo Ortega
The CEO of Grupo Energía Bogotá recommends “Dance of the Furies” by Michael S. Neiberg. He describes it as a journey through the outbreak of World War I, portraying Europe as a minefield of nationalism, ready to explode with the slightest pressure, and highlighting the significant risks posed by multipolar geopolitics.
Another recommended title for 2024 is Henry Kissinger’s “Leadership,” analyzing how six extraordinary leaders, whom he knew closely, shaped their countries and the world we know today.
“The Road to Unfreedom” by Timothy Snyder, explaining Russia and authoritarianism, is also on Ortega’s list. Lastly, “Revolutionary Spring” by Christopher Clark, covering the 1848 revolutions that swept through Europe and the charismatic figures that drove them.
Jorge Mario Velásquez
The CEO of Grupo Argos, who battled for control of companies within Grupo Empresarial Antioqueño from 2020 to 2023, provided three recommendations for 2024.
Firstly, “Good Power” by former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty, recounting her innovative journey from a challenging childhood to becoming IBM’s CEO and one of the world’s most influential business leaders. Similar to Ortega, he recommends Kissinger’s book on leadership as one of his 2024 choices.
Finally, he suggests “Cómo Avanza Colombia” (How Colombia is Making Progress) by former Finance Minister Mauricio Cárdenas Santamaría, stating it remains relevant despite being published in 2021.
Juan Carlos Mora
The president of Grupo Bancolombia, the country’s largest financial institution, recommends “Nudge” by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. Described as one of the best books on economics and politics in recent decades, it explores how our perceptions and decisions depend on how different options are presented to us.
María Lorena Gutiérrez
The president of Corporación Financiera Colombiana, a company of Grupo Aval Acciones y Valores, offered two recommendations: “Strategy” by Lawrence Freedman and “Economics in America” by Angus Deaton. Freedman explores the vast history of strategic thinking, while Deaton’s book delves into the future of capitalism and reflects on economics based on his experience.
Carlos Enrique Cavelier
The president of Alquería includes “Manifesto for a Moral Revolution” by Jacqueline Novogratz on his list of recommendations. He suggests it raises questions about dedicating more resources and innovation to solving poverty, hunger, and inequality and explores the moral aspect of these actions. Novogratz’s book advocates that impact investment is not only morally defensible but also economically viable and necessary.
Francisco Fuente Castañeda
The General Manager of Grupo Bimbo Colombia recommended “Conscious Leadership” by Fred Kofman. Fuente Castañeda views it as a positive guide for team leaders at any level, emphasizing the development of trustworthy leadership, improving directing skills, and motivating teams to bring out the best in each collaborator, encouraging autonomy.
Bloomberg Línea sought recommendations from Ricardo Roa, president of Ecopetrol, and César Prado, president of Banco de Bogotá, but received no response.