Mizuho’s Annual Holiday Reading List

November 28, 2017

Whether you find the weather outside is frightful or delightful this holiday season, consider curling up with a good book suggested by Mizuho Americas.

In our second annual Mizuho Holiday Reading List, we asked 10 of our colleagues to suggest books they hope you will find an insightful and inspirational addition to your seasonal festivities.

undaunted courage

Thomas Bausano – Managing Director, Debt Capital Markets

Bellevue: Three Centuries of Medicine and Mayhem at America’s Most Storied Hospital
by David Oshinsky

Thomas says: “This is a great holiday book because it requires some time and effort to really tuck in (hopefully in a soft chair next to a fire) and get lost in its intense narrative. As someone who has lived and worked in New York, I really appreciated learning more about the history of the city through the prism of its main hospital. Most importantly, my grandfather served as an orderly and eventually a medical doctor at Bellevue. He died before I was born, so this book in many ways helped me imagine what my grandfather’s life might have been like working at the storied hospital.”

a christmas memory

Nelson Chang – Director, Credit, Power & Utilities

It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership
by Colin Powell

Nelson says: “Mr. Powell wrote this book using short anecdotes from his experiences in the military and politics. With the holidays being so busy, you can just read a few chapters at a time whenever you have a free moment. I’m a bit of a political junky and history buff so this was an interesting read for me. Mr. Powell gives you a glimpse of some of the most consequential decisions made in our recent history through his eyes while also learning about the different management and leadership styles that he adopted from those that he personally admired.”

wild swans

Jeffrey Ollada – Managing Director, Futures

Promise Me, Dad
by Joe Biden

Jeffrey says: “Many of us struggle with perfecting our work-life balance; Joe reminds us that we find the time for what matters to us and it doesn’t have to be a singular choice. This is a very timely reminder around the Holidays, as we take time to be with our families. “Promise Me, Dad” intertwines of some of Joe’s proudest moments as a world leader with his eldest son Beau’s courageous battle against cancer. The common thread wends to the answer of a core question in the book, posed to Joe by President Obama, ‘what do you want to do with the rest of your life?’”


Richard Burke – Managing Director, Head of Securitization

The American Spirit
by David McCullough

Richard says: “I’m adding this as a good holiday book recommendation for two reasons. First, it is a concise collection of speeches and essays delivered over the past 25+ years that makes it easy to pick up when there is time to read during what is usually a busy time of year for everyone. Second, the theme that runs through the book is a positive perspective on what makes the American and human spirit so great, by reflecting on history as a guide to how we deal with challenges and succeed.”


Erin Leixner – Managing Director, Head of Loan Sales & Trading, North American Banking

Yes, Chef
by Marcus Samuelsson

Erin says: “This is fascinating story about an Ethiopian orphan raised in Sweden who eventually attains great success in the US. It’s a heartwarming story that’s perfect for the holidays. Personally, I love the author’s restaurant Red Rooster.”

Blood, Bones & Butter
by Gabrielle Hamilton

Erin says: “This is another great story that focuses on an unconventional upbringing and years of struggle to find success.”

masters of chaos

Minako Nakamoto – President & CEO, Mizuho Bank USA

Representative Men of Japan (「代表的日本人」)
by Uchimura Kanzō

Nakamoto-san says: “This book is a compilation of essays on five Japanese historic figures, originally published in 1908 to introduce Japan and its people to other countries. Although it was written more than a century ago, it is interesting to see that the values Japanese people appreciate in the present-day – such as simplicity and impartial self – have not substantially changed from then. Also, I believe the messages that they, as leaders, conveyed to the people of their own era, resonates with people of our time, struggling with the ideal image of a leader.”

i will always write back

Sugeet Madan – Managing Director, Technology, Media & Telecom, North America Banking

Murder on the Orient Express
by Agatha Christie

Sugeet says: “This classic is a quick and thoroughly engaging read, perfect for the holidays. Although the book was written in the last century, the description of characters and the building of suspense is timeless. With all the activities of the holidays, this book is a good one to curl up with in front of a fire with a glass of wine. And for those looking to get out of the house, they can read the book and take in the latest movie rendition for a comparison.”

i will always write back

James Shepard – Managing Director, Syndicated Finance

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics
by Daniel James Brown

James says: “This is the true account of a group of young men from the University of Washington, mostly from hard scrabble backgrounds, that against all odds took on the elite of the rowing sport in the depths of the Great Depression. At that time the sport of crew was mostly dominated by Eastern universities, whose rowers were from aristocratic families, so there was a social as well as a geographic divide. The story centers on one particular rower, Joe Rantz (seven-oar) who was abandoned by his family at age 15 but was able to put himself through school at the University of Washington and onto graduation. Having never participated in crew until in university, Rantz nevertheless made it onto the freshman boat his first year and the varsity boat thereafter. The story with the inherent dichotomy of West vs. East, poor vs. privileged, upstart vs. established, makes for great reading.”

i will always write back

Gopal Tampi – Managing Director, Acquisition Finance

by Andre Agassi

Gopal says: “Although this is autobiographical, it really reads more like a novel. It’s a very enjoyable read that’s great for the holidays. Agassi tells us about how he hated tennis, but through grit and determination rose to become the best in the world. Throughout the book, he’s candid about his triumphs and struggles, even opening up about his shortcomings and struggles with drug use.”

i will always write back

Stephanie Weiss – Managing Director, Treasury

Small Great Things
by Jodi Picoult

Stephanie says: “This is one of Jodi Picoult’s newer fiction books published just last year. It really resonates with me now because I feel that a light has been shed on examples of the enormous racial and cultural divide in this country. While the story doesn’t at all deal with politics, the main theme is about this divide and how it impacts the book’s characters. What I find most interesting is that each chapter is narrated by a different character. The author does an amazing job getting inside the minds of her characters, all of whom come from a broad spectrum of different backgrounds.”

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