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THE INC. LIFE

5 Enlightening Books on Mark Cuban’s Summer Reading List

From politics to behavioral economics, here’s how Mark Cuban plans to wise up this summer.

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BY Betsy Mikel - 11 Jun 2018

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

People love to love Mark Cuban. He's one of Shark Tank's most popular stars. From investing in products that he foresees will take on Elon Musk to doling out tough-love advice to millennial entrepreneurs, Cuban seems to be a fountain of endless wisdom.

He wasn't born rich. Cuban attributes reading this book to helping him make his first $1 million. Like many of the world's most successful businessmen, Cuban makes reading a priority to keep his mind sharp.

When CNBC asked Cuban what's on his summer reading list, this is what he said. Put on your thinking cap. These aren't breezy beach reads. No one said becoming -- and staying -- a billionaire was easy.

1. "The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds" by Michael Lewis

The field of behavioral economics would not exist today as we know it if not for Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky. "The Undoing Project" tells the real story of two friends who are credited with shifting the entire field. Their theories, research and academic papers have had wide-ranging influence on everything from finance and professional sports.

Israeli psychologists Kahneman and Tversky began to study the inner workings of the human mind forty years ago. Both had spent time in the Israeli military, which was formative to their research. Their personalities were completely different. Kahneman was an outgoing and bold extrovert. Kahneman was a quiet and self-critical introvert. Yet they worked so closely together and in such close collaboration, they couldn't remember whose ideas were whose. They'd switch off sharing credit for their academic papers they co-authored.

As researchers and co-authors, they worked together to explore human irrationality and the way our own minds can deceive us. "The Undoing Project" is written by Michael Lewis, the same author who wrote "Moneyball." "You laugh when you read his books," said New York Times columnist David Leonhardt when he reviewed the book. "You see his protagonists in three dimensions -- deeply likable, but also flawed, just like most of your friends and family."

2. "Our Mathematical Universe: My Quest for the Ultimate Nature of Reality" by Max Tegmark

Max Tegmark is an MIT professor and one of the world's leading theoretical physicists. In "Our Mathematical Universe," he leads readers through an epic exploration of physics, astronomy and mathematics. If you want to bring yourself up to speed on astrophysics and quantum theory, this is the book to read. He's also somewhat of a radical mind in the field. Tegmark believes our world our physical world is not only described by mathematics, but that it is mathematics.

"It will make your head hurt at times, but that's because your brain cells need to grow to take in the new information," writes one Amazon reviewer named Clyde. Not up for reading all 432 pages of "Our Mathematical Universe?"

Pull up YouTube and get a crash course in Tegmark's 45-minute talk on the same subject.

3. "Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations" by Amy Chua

Some speculate that Cuban might run for president in 2020. Putting Amy Chua's recent book on his summer reading list adds fuel to that flame.

Just published earlier this year, "Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations" explores how Americans' sense of tribalism creates schisms in domestic and foreign policy. Yale Law School professor Chua examines America's foreign policy approach in several conflicts. She offers a concise history on Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq and shows how America's foreign policy approach is blind to tribal politics.

It's all about groupthink and how it impacts the American political identity. We tend to pit tribes against each other: Capitalism vs. Communism, for example. Chua's book is about how culture and tribalism shape our American identity -- and how that can lead to things going terribly wrong.

4. "That's What She Said: What Men Need to Know (and Women Need to Tell Them) About Working Together" by Joanne Lipman

Released in the midst the #MeToo tidal wave, "That's What She Said" aims to move gender parity in the workplace forward. Are you a guy who's not sure what you should or shouldn't say to your female colleagues? Never fear, "That's What She Said" is here. It's essentially a handbook for men on how to behave.

It's written by Joanne Lipman, who was previously the Chief Content Officer at Gannet and the editor-in-chief of USA Today and the SA Today Network. In her book, she shares anecdotes about her journey to the top. She busts common myths. She acknowledges certain cultural norms -- some even perpetuated by women themselves. She weaves stories throughout to keep things interesting. The book also contains facts and research that are hard to ignore. Lipman makes clear that equality for women is good for both women AND men. Greater financial success, for example.

Cuban is wise to add this read to his summer list. As someone with enormous influence, he wields great power into bringing light to these issues.

5. "The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politic" by Salena Zito and Brad Todd

How were the polls leading up to the 2016 election so wrong? CNN contributor and political journalist Salena Zito and Republican consultant and strategist Brad Todd decided to find out. Just released last month, "The Great Revolt" sheds light on Trump's rise with in-depth interviews from over 300 of his supporters across Wisconsin, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Zito and Todd dig in deep to explore exactly why Trump resonated with these voters and captivated their hearts and minds. They spent time in diners, bars and coffee shops to speak to these voters and capture their stories. Many had supporters Barack Obama and some even voted for Bernie Sanders in the Democratic primary.

Though all had different personal reasons that led them to ultimately cast their vote for Donald Trump, "The Great Revolt" ties together the common themes and messages of the campaign that won them over.

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