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What is CDC Small Business Finance reading? Bestsellers we couldn’t put down

April 23, 2019 | Community
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Around the literal and proverbial water cooler at CDC Small Business Finance, you’re bound to hear management and staff alike sharing their most irresistible, must-read books of the moment.

Whether it’s a Depression-era piece or a tell-all from a legendary food writer — many of us enjoy sinking into a good book for the stimulation, intrigue and kick of motivation.

Looking for your next literary adventure? Some of our most prolific readers at CDC Small Business Finance think you should pick up these reads next:


Get with the times: Our historical picks

Kurt Chilcott

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles – recommended by Kurt Chilcott, chief executive and president.

What to expect: A chance encounter between a young woman, Katey Kontent, and a handsome banker at a jazz bar ignites Katey’s year-long adventure through the higher rungs of New York social circles. This crowd and critic favorite explores the themes of class and wealth with Manhattan in the Golden Age serving as the vivid backdrop.

Why I loved it: It’s a classic period piece set in New York in the 1930s. It’s a great story and period piece from that time.

Stacey Sanchez

The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard – recommended by Stacey Sanchez, senior small business loan officer.

What to expect: After getting walloped in the 1912 presidential election, Theodore Roosevelt spent little time licking his wounds. Instead, he set off on an expedition of a dark, unexplored tributary in the Amazon nicknamed The River of Doubt. This true tale covers the physical and emotional toll this exploration had on Roosevelt and his crew.

Why I loved it: I usually prefer historical fiction, but this book, my second by this author, is non-fiction. It is a fascinating deep look at Theodore Roosevelt, post presidency that reads like a  great novel.


Business in the front: Our top financial reads

Robert Villarreal

The Color of Money: Black Banks and the Racial Wealth Gap by Mehrsa Baradaran — recommended by Robert Villarreal, executive vice president and president of the Small Business Finance Fund.

What to expect: A provocative take on the racial wealth gap discussion. Baradaran analyzes the historical performance of Black-owned community banks to reveal an unsettling truth. Black-owned banks have not accomplished what they were designed to do: lifting African American communities out of poverty and help them build wealth.

Why I loved it: It’s a book that makes you angry as it discusses how the racial wealth gap continues to persist in the Black community. In fact, Black-owned banks, held up as a hope for the Black community, have not contributed to shrinking the wealth gap, and have actually drained capital from Black communities into traditional banks.

Kim Buttemer

The Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni – recommended by Kim Buttemer, chief operating officer.

What to expect: Lencioni, known for his business management titles, delves into what he calls “the three indispensable virtues” one must have to be an ideal team player in a work environment. This book provides managers a roadmap on how to snag and train employees to reach ideal team player status in any type of company. This is a wonderfully practical read for any manager, HR person or even employees striving to better themselves.

Why I loved it: Lencioni is one of my favorite business writers. (When it comes to magazines, I love to read Time!)

Jon Pinon

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis — recommended by Jon Pinon, product and innovation developer

What to expect: Who would’ve guessed a deep dive into the world of sabermetrics — the analysis of baseball stats to inform team-management decisions — would become a #1 national bestseller? If anyone could pull that off, it’d be financial writing guru Michael Lewis. In Moneyball, we get a first-row seat to the mind of Billy Beane and how he elevated the Oakland Athletics from a ragtag team to one of the most respected franchises in Major League Baseball.

Why I loved it: An engaging insight into statistical analysis in baseball by an incredible storyteller. Lewis dives headfirst into the weeds without ever letting you get lost, confused, or bored.


We can do it!: Tales of strong, independent ladies

Julie Smart

Non-Fiction: Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir By Ruth Reichl — recommended by Julie Smart, vice president of lending, smart growth.

What to expect: Self-described Berkeley hippie Ruth Reichl plunges into the corporate magazine world as editor of Gourmet, the grand dame of food and wine writing. This memoir captures her tenure at the storied publication along with interactions with top-billed chefs.

Why I loved it: Engaging behind-the-scenes insight as she details her transition from food writer/restaurant critic for The New York Times to her 10-year run as Gourmet magazine’s editor in chief and the magazine’s demise during the Great Recession.

Penina Goodman

The Only Woman in the Room by Marie Benedict — recommended by Penina Goodman, senior vice president of brand marketing.

What to expect: A fascinating novel about the life of Hollywood icon Hedy Lamarr. She is renowned for not only her striking beauty but also her brilliant mind. Once married to an Austrian arms dealer, she fled from their castle and ended up landing in the Hollywood spotlight. It was later revealed she was behind a groundbreaking invention that revolutionized modern-day communication.

Why I loved it: What I like most about the author, Marie Benedict, is that all of her historical fiction focuses on women who have not gotten the attention they deserve for their accomplishments and contributions to society.

Margaret Roberson

Becoming by Michelle Obama — recommended by Margaret Roberson, servicing agent.

What to expect: Michelle Obama recounts her own story of growing up in the South Side of Chicago to her years of service and impact as First Lady. This raw look dives into the triumphs and challenges in her journey of becoming one of the most revered, compelling female figures in U.S. history.

Why I loved it: I find the book to be a look at a strong, caring and funny real woman who became the First Lady of the United States. She’s an advocate for women and girls around the world, a mom and a wife who handled the ups and downs of being in the White House.


Reaching for the stars: Motivational reads

Kelly Klein

Thirst by Scott Harrison, founder and CEO of charity: water — recommended by loan officer Kelly Klein.

What to expect: The book tells the story about how Scott Harrison went from being a wealthy, but deeply unhappy New York City club promoter to starting one of the world’s most trusted and recognized nonprofits helping to bring clean water to those around the world.

Why I loved it: Harrison not only encourages you to live a life with a deeper purpose and shows it’s never too late to change paths, but also gives a closer look into the nonprofit world and urges for more transparency and better storytelling. Highly recommended!

David Dobreski

To Shake The Sleeping Self by Jedidiah Jenkins — recommended by David Dobreski, multimedia marketing specialist.

What to expect: In this New York Times bestseller, the author describes his 10,000-mile bicycle journey from Oregon to Patagonia, and in the process he philosophizes about his discoveries both about himself and the world around him.

Why I loved it: Jenkins reminds us of how life can pass us by if we don’t live with intent, and motivates readers to examine their own lives and to truly understand who they are and why they are here.


CDC Small Business Finance is one of the nation’s leading small business lenders. We’ve provided more than $18 billion in capital to entrepreneurs to date. While we support all types of small businesses, we are especially passionate about helping underserved groups including women, military vets and minorities.

Want to learn more? Tell our loan experts about your business, and they’ll work to match you with a financing plan that best suits you. Let’s talk! Reach us at loaninfo@cdcloans.com or (619) 243-8667.


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