5 Summer Reads at the Mid-Year Break

It’s summer! That puts us at the mid-year break for 2021. Covid-19 is behind us now (mostly), and we’re moving into the recovery. Full steam ahead!

With that in mind, this summer’s selections focus on the changed world we find ourselves in. Call it the New (Ab)Normal, the title of our first recommendation.

Last year we recommended 5 non-logistics, management books. We stayed away from books directly related to supply chain management. This year, we take the opposite track.

We take our inspiration from what’s influenced 2021 thus far how that may dominate industry events for the rest of the year.

Nonetheless, like last year’s summer reads, the five books we’ve selected for you will help refresh your mind. They draw from the past and the present to help you gain insights into the future.

Are you wondering how to survive and thrive in the New Normal? These recommended reads will help shed light on what shippers and carriers need to know.

Instead of providing summaries, this blog post focuses why you should read each book. After reading about how each book will benefit you, you can find summaries at Amazon. Just click on each book’s title.

We selected these recommended reads based on their relevance to your needs. In addition, this post not only identifies relevant but also interesting books for you. It is summer after all.

In today’s New Normal all businesses must be nimble and durable. With that in mind the overarching themes these books address are anticipation, agility, resilience, and sustainability.

Let’s get started.


#1: The New (Ab)Normal (318 pages),  Author: Yossi Sheffi

Why You Should Read this Book:  To begin with, anything written by Yossi Sheffi is worth your time. He’s the Director of the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL). And he’s a premier industry thought leader. He’s a familiar voice in the logistics industry.

Let’s move beyond his outstanding bona fides and get into his latest book.

In (AB)NORMAL Sheffi surveys the pandemic and its impacts on society, government, and business. He also projects what the future of supply chain management might entail.

Besides exploring trends, Sheffi explores opportunities that present themselves. He does an excellent job of laying out potential opportunities of the New (AB)NORMAL, as he calls it.

This book is comprehensive, cohesive, and convincing. It builds on some of Sheffi’s prior books helping to set the stage for the “reset” as companies emerge from the pandemic. Although it’s the longest book coming in at 318 pages, it’s a great place to start your summer reading. Besides, when you finish his book, you’ll feel like you’re blazing through the others.


#2: Digital Resilience  (258 pages), Author: Ray A. Rothrock

Why You Should Read this Book:  The shutdown of Continental’s 5,500 mile pipeline for one week was both a warning as well as a stark reminder of the significance of securing IT infrastructure.

In the recent past, cyber concerns were an afterthought. Now, cybersecurity is not only essential – it’s crucial. Cybersecurity isn’t just here to stay – it’s a rapidly expanding element of future supply chains.

Digital Resilience casts a wider net expanding beyond the confines of cybersecurity. It addresses disaster recovery plans and business continuity plans. However, book’s focus is more on digital resilience, hence the title.

Ray Rothrock makes the point that executives must understand that cybersecurity breaches are not a question of whether they will occur… but when they will occur. With that mindset, Rothrock advocates for a “whole of business” approach.

In other words, he warns against leaving cybersecurity to the IT department. Reading this book will help you reorient your ideas about how to best secure your business, not just your IT infrastructure.


#3: The Adaptation Advantage: Let Go, Learn Fast, and Thrive in the Future of Work  (272 pages), Authors:  Chris Shipley and Heather McGowan

Why You Should Read this Book:  Supply chains are transforming.

Underlying that transformation is technology. Emerging technologies have many facets leaders must understand. As a leader you must look beyond the business benefits to understand the impacts of technology.

That implies you must understand the cultural aspects of technological change.

That is, incorporating new technologies also transforms how work gets done. To transition your business from where is today to where you want to take it means embracing the inherent changes. It includes not only technical and business process changes. It also includes understanding the less obvious, cultural changes that will emerge.

Those changes include flatter organizations, an emphasis on teamwork, and constant change. Shipley and McGowan suggest ways you can benefit from understanding the cultural shift new technologies introduce.

You should read this book because it gives you a useful manual showing you how to adapt and thrive in today’s new world.


#4: COVID-19: The Great Reset,  (280 pages)Authors:  Klaus Schwab, Thierry Malleret

Why You Should Read this Book:  This book offers an analysis of the causes of the pandemic to help inform the “Great Reset” as the authors call it.

Like Sheffi’s book, the authors breakdown the impacts of the pandemic. They also put forward their assessment at the macro- , micro-, and individual-levels. So they cover the bases.

The book’s message complements the messages of some of the other books, especially Sheffi’s.

Without diminishing the pandemic’s disruptive effects, the authors make a case for leveraging crisis for opportunity. Thriving amid turmoil is a growing theme in logistics and supply chain management. And the authors expand on that theme.

The authors suggest, you can position your business to compete and thrive – in spite of persistent uncertainty and volatility. The authors suggest you can turn disruption into opportunity with creativity and innovation.

This book suggest a new path forward, and it’s not business as usual. It’s also worth reading this book to compare and contrast the ideas Sheffi outlines in his book.


#5: Logistics of the First Crusade: Acquiring Supplies Amid Chaos (Paperback) – Available July 15, 2021 (226 pages), Author: Gregory D. Bell

Why You Should Read this Book:  Although this book is not yet available, it makes this year’s list.

It made the list because it helps round out the other selections, which deal with the present and the future. This book deals with the past – the ancient past. This book also takes you on an adventure.

This book recounts how the crusaders took Jerusalem against enormous odds. Adverse terrain, hostile territory, challenging time and distance – you name it.

The crusaders overcame insurmountable odds with amazing logistics support. Despite these formidable obstacles, the crusaders overcame them due to their attention to detail in logistics. Detailed planning supported masterful execution.

This books reveals the need for sound logistics planning to support successful execution. The value of logistics to operations is nothing new. Lessons learned apply to today’s challenges while putting them into perspective.

It’s well worth your time to read because this book because it gives you a better appreciation of the indispensable role logistics plays. This book demonstrates the interdependence of logistics and operations and the strategic nature of logistics.



There you have it. Reading these five books should not only keep you busy. They should also give you some new perspectives on the past, present, and the future.

They offer useful insights on the value of anticipation, agility, resilience, and sustainability. Consider these books a short course on building a foundation to reset your business. We’re sure you’ll find them relevant and maybe even entertaining.

One theme constant among these books is change – or better yet – the need to respond to change.

At American Global Logistics we embrace change as a means to gain competitive advantage.

Contact us to find out more about we can help you as you emerge from the pandemic and reset for the New Normal.