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A Little Light Reading

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Not everyone is reading cheap thrillers by the pool or on the beach this time of year. Holding-company CEOs, who spend most of their time on airplanes, are doing some heavy lifting in the literary-tomes department this season. The following were generous enough to respond to Shoptalk's inquiry about what's on their reading list this summer:

Maurice Lévy, CEO of Publicis Groupe: "I'll re-read Ulysses, by James Joyce; Recidives, by my friend Bernard-Henry Levy; and if I'm lazing round the pool, I'll read The Da Vinci Code, [by Dan Brown], which I've wanted to read for months. And I will not read any economic or management books at all. And last but not least: After Ulysses, I will read L'Odyssee Americaine, written by Alexandre Adler, who is one of the most brilliant French foreign-policy analysts."

Ed Meyer, CEO of Grey Global Group: "I'm a quarter of the way into Ron Chernow's biography of Alexander Hamilton. It's a big, beautifully written book on a fascinating man who obviously played a pivotal role in American history. The summer gives me the time to go through it in a leisurely way and really enjoy it."

David Bell, CEO of Interpublic Group: Big Russ and Me, by Tim Russert, and The Enemy, by Lee Child. Of the former, Bell says, "I'm a sucker for father and son stories—on top of which, we can all use a dose of heartland wisdom." Of the latter: "I love the drive and energy of his Reacher character."

Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP Group: Colossus: The Price of America's Empire, by Niall Ferguson. "Extremely topical," says Sorrell.