Billionaire private-equity investor Stephen Schwarzman studied geopolitics, while Morgan Stanley Chief Executive Officer James Gorman drew lessons from rowers trying to win the Olympics.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry looked at China and ice hockey. Economist Thomas Piketty enjoyed Mexican literature. Billionaire Wilbur Ross disagreed with Piketty’s own work on inequality. Deputy U.S. Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin focused on the New Deal.

These were some of the responses to the annual Bloomberg News survey, which asked CEOs, investors, current and former policy makers, economists and academics to name their favorite reads in 2014.

Books seeking to explain the global financial crisis, analyze technology or plot the future for governments proved popular reads. The most-cited selections were Martin Wolf’s The Shifts and the Shocks: What We’ve Learned –- and Have Still to Learn -– from the Financial Crisis; The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee; World Order by Henry Kissinger and House of Debt: How They (and You) Caused the Great Recession, and How We Can Prevent it from Happening Again by Atif Mian and Amir Sufi.

The List:

Stephen Schwarzman, chairman, co-founder and chief executive officer of Blackstone Group LP

At a time when the world has little or no order, Henry Kissinger’s World Order is indispensable reading. Informed by a long view of centuries of history, the author demonstrates why our diplomacy must be rooted in a genuine engagement between cultures, rigorous pragmatism and, yes, realpolitik. Henry makes clear the dangers of ambivalence in the face of the apparent landscape of disorder before us, and reminds us of the only path forward: If we are to defend our principles, we must set out to prove them.

James Gorman, chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Olympics by Daniel James Brown. The story of the 1936 U.S. Olympic rowing team competing in the Berlin Olympics. One should never underestimate what the determined amateur can do when armed with a professional attitude.

Final Rounds: A Father, A Son, The Golf Journey of a Lifetime by James Dodson. Any son who has played golf with his father will instantly connect not just to the golf but to the bond of father and son.

Thomas Piketty, professor at the Paris School of Economics and author of Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

One my favorite books this year was Carlos Fuentes’s novel La Voluntad y la Fortuna. It is a wonderful meditation about contemporary capitalism in Mexico.

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