Nine Books to Add to Your Holiday Reading List from Mizuho Americas Leaders

December 6, 2016

Last year, more than 38 million Americans traveled during the holiday season, according to AAA – that's about one-tenth of the entire U.S. population! 

As many of us prepare for our holiday travel and subsequent downtime with friends and family members, we asked some of our leaders from around the company for their top literary picks as we close out 2016. 

Whether you prefer a hard copy or digital download, we hope you enjoy these picks as you're enjoying some well-deserved rest and relaxation this holiday season.


undaunted courage


path between the seas

Marc Alvarez – Chief Data Officer

Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West
by Stephen Ambrose

Marc says: “This is the official history of the Lewis & Clarke expedition. It's a really great story. What's so interesting about it is how it really was a next to impossible venture at their time.” 

The Path Between the Seas
by David McCullough

Marc says: “This book is about the history of the building of the Panama Canal. Both of these books make for excellent holiday reads. This one is a great distraction from the world of capital markets and finance, and both are very well-written stories about key events in North American history. It's amazing how despite the challenges that these pioneers faced, they still managed to see  both of these ventures through to success.” 


a christmas memory

John Buchanan – Senior Managing Director, Securities 

A Christmas Memory
by Truman Capote

John says: “I try to read this story every year during the holidays. It is beautifully written and a poignant reminder of the simple pleasures of the holiday season. It is a nostalgic short story about the author's memories of getting ready for the holiday season in his youth. The story is centered on his and his beloved cousin's adventures while collecting the ingredients needed to make their annual fruit cakes and the joy they experience in giving them away to family, friends and even President Roosevelt.”  


wild swans

Diane Ferguson – Managing Director, Financial Institutions

Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China
by Jung Chang

Diane says: “Appreciating our Japanese heritage and understanding the current socio-economic and political dynamics of greater Asia is facilitated by this non-fiction biography of three women in China. It's a great reading of history personalized by a woman writer spanning three generations and nearly 100 years. Although it's about China, our knowledge of current events is helped by this story and China's history.”



Cheryl Gilberg – Managing Director, Corporate Communications & Marketing 

Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown
by Eric Blehm

Cheryl says: “I'm totally fascinated by our country's most elite special forces and have read numerous non-fiction books and memoirs chronicling the lives of our Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, Green Berets and Marine Raiders. Fearless is a deeply personal, revealing glimpse inside the Navy SEAL Team SIX brotherhood that also shows how these elite operators live out the rest of their lives – away from danger – as husbands, fathers and friends. A truly inspiring account of heroism and humanity.”



Brian McQuade – Head of Human Resources, Bank

Shucked: Life on a New England Oyster Farm
by Erin Byers Murray

Brian says: “This book is about how and where we get oysters, from farm to table. What I find most interesting about it is that it's also about taking career risks to pursue your personal interests. It's not a particularly long or complicated read, so it's a great book for the holidays. Good for the train or plane.”


masters of chaos


charm school

Don Sutton – Co-Head of U.S. Corporate Coverage

Masters of Chaos: The Secret History of the Special Forces
by Linda Robinson

Don says: “When looking for a non-fiction read, I typically look for books about war and history. This is a fantastic read about the history of the special forces and gives readers a behind-the-scenes look at the brave men and women who enter this intense job.”

The Charm School
by Nelson DeMille

Don says: “For a fictional book over the holidays, this is a great read about international espionage set in Russia during the Cold War. It’s a story about a mysterious man claiming to be an American prisoner of war with a secret. The secret concerns ‘The Charm School,’ a vast KGB conspiracy against America.”


i will always write back

Carlos Vargas – Head of Emerging Market Origination

I Will Always Write Back: How One Letter Changed Two Lives
by Martin Ganda and Caitlin Alifirenka

Carlos says: “This is an excellent story about a friendship that develops between two pen pals, a 12-year old girl from Pennsylvania and a 14-year old boy from Zimbabwe. The letters between the two start off casually with the pen pals describing their everyday lives. But as the story progresses, Martin tells Caitlin that he can no longer afford to go to school. 

Touched by his story, Caitlin begins sending him money she earns from babysitting, which helps get Martin back into school so that he can eventually graduate. The most moving element is that it is an absolutely true story about a journey from a remote village in Africa to working on Wall Street. The friendship they develop helps them each grow in more ways than they can imagine.”


Back to top