The Wall Street Journal Pro Private Equity

A Limited Partner's Summer Reading List

By Preeti Singh and Laura Kreutzer

July 9, 2021


Like the private-equity managers they back, many investors in private-equity funds, often referred to as limited partners, are avid readers. Each year, we ask members of the private-equity investor community to share their favorite book recommendations and this year's response was so robust, we had to split it into two separate features. Below are some of the top picks from limited partners. Responses have been edited for style and clarity.


Andrea Auerbach, head of global private investments, Cambridge Associates


"The Fifth Season" (Book #1 of the Broken Earth series) by N.K. Jemisin


I am a huge science fiction-fantasy geek, always have been, and the Broken Earth series struck me with its utter originality. Jemisin delivered a fully realized future other-world with epic character arcs that do finally converge in the third book "The Stone Sky," with each of the three books being individually compelling reading in its own right. Beyond the creative genius of the author, she fully realizes each character in ways that add meaningful layers to the story, including via a shifting narrative.


Gabrielle Zadra, senior managing director, Cliffwater


"Renewal: Liberal Protestants and the American City after World War II" by Mark Wild


My husband's book came out more than a year ago and I'm only on chapter two. I am trying to make more headway as this history is more interesting in the context of recent lifestyle and demographic changes instigated by the pandemic. The book crafts a narrative of growth and decline of liberal Protestants and their place in the landscape of American religion in the second half of the 20th century.


Johara Farhadieh, executive director and chief investment officer, Illinois State Board of Investment


"Red Notice: A True Story of High Finance, Murder, and One Man's Fight for Justice" by Bill Browder


I enjoyed reading this one because it was an easy read and a page-turner. Lots of anticipation for a finance thriller.


Dana Johns, senior portfolio manager of private equity, Maryland State Retirement and Pension System


"Rootbound: Rewilding a Life" by Alice Vincent


I am an empty-nester now and already have a dog, so I have become a plant mother! This is a memoir about the power of caring, nurturing and growing plants in a time of personal upheaval. Fitting to read as we all come back to life after the pandemic.


Brian Gallagher, partner, Twin Bridge Capital Partners


"The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz" by Erik Larson


Ever since I read Larson's book, "Devil in the White City," I made a point of reading all his works. The latest covers Winston Churchill's first year as prime minister, a very tenuous period for Great Britain during World War II. Churchill is fascinating in all ways and Larson puts the reader right in the middle of all that he faced.


Michael McGirr, director of private equity, Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Management Board (Mass PRIM)


"Invisible Women: Exposing Data Bias in a World Designed for Men" by Caroline Criado Perez


The PRIM book club is currently reading this book, which details how the data, which is fundamental to decision-making on economic development, healthcare, education and public policy, treats men as the default and women as atypical. The book posits that this leads to bias and discrimination and women pay tremendous costs for this bias, in time, money and often with their lives.


Alan Spatrick, managing principal and consultant, Meketa Investment Group


"The Great Sea: A Human History of the Mediterranean" by David Abulafia


This book is an epic (and long) history of the human societies surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, from North Africa across the Levant to Asia Minor and Southern Europe and the many islands. Among its strengths, the book shows the way that millennia of trade connected and influenced these regions and how key trading cities were central to the development and mixing of cultures and peoples.


Colleen Smiley, managing principal and investment operations manager, Meketa Investment Group


"Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know" by Adam Grant


We often hear that we should maintain courage in our convictions, but what do we lose out on by not re-examining our beliefs and challenging them with new information? In what feels like an increasingly polarized world, how can we listen to and learn from those who see the world differently? I look forward to learning more about what I don't yet know.


Lori Campana, partner, Monument Group


"Apeirogon" by Colum McCann


A timely read about the ongoing tragic Israeli-Palestinian violence. Colum is a wonderful author, who builds fiction around current events in a compelling style to really engage the reader's emotions, while also learning about the facts.

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