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3 ‘must-read’ books by women to read in 2022, according to female CEOs

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Women have made invaluable contributions to the world, ranging from the discovery of radioactivity to the invention of windshield wipers. Still, women are far from being equal with men.

The World Economic Forum estimates that it will take us another 135 years before we can close the global gender gap, as the Covid-19 pandemic has raised “new barriers to building inclusive and prosperous economies and societies,” Saadia Zahidi, managing director and head of the WEF’s Center for the New Economy and Society, writes in the report. Women also make up a mere 8% of Fortune 500 CEOs.

While there’s no clear answer to solve such gender disparities, we can find inspiration and new ideas in books. CNBC Make It spoke with three female CEOs about their top recommendations for books written by women and what we can learn from each title. 

‘The Sentence’

By Louise Erdrich

Recommended by Crystal Echo Hawk, founder and CEO of IllumiNative 

This modern ghost tale is set in a Native-owned bookstore in Minneapolis during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and protests following the murder of George Floyd by police. In the midst of this chaos, the store’s employees must solve the mystery of Flora, a stubborn ghost who haunts the aisles. 

“Louise Erdrich is a national treasurer for Native Americans and one of the most significant writers of our time,” Hawk says. “She flips the script on one of the most well-worn tropes about Native peoples — Native American burial grounds and Native spirits haunting non-Native places and peoples.” 

Using humor, historical references and creative details, Erdrich shows readers how the “violence and systemic racism against Native and Black people has deep roots in the fabric and founding of Minnesota and the United States, all of which started well before 2020,” she adds. “It’s a must-read.”

‘Dyslexic Advantage: Unlocking the Hidden Potential of the Dyslexic Brain’

By Drs. Fernette and Brock Eide

Recommended by Rachel Thomas, Co-founder and CEO of LeanIn.org

Dyslexia is one of the most common learning disabilities among children and affects about 20% of people in the United States, according to research from the National Institute of Health.

In “The Dyslexic Advantage”, Drs. Brock and Fernette Eide, who are leading experts in studying dyslexia, debunk myths about the condition and explain the strengths of the dyslexic mind, focusing on how these strengths can give people an edge at work and in their lives. 

Thomas shares that the book’s core message — viewing dyslexia “not as a disability, but as a different approach to thinking and learning,” resonated with her both as a mother of a dyslexic child and business leader.

More importantly, “it underscores how important it is for leaders to learn about experiences that are not our own and to lean into differences in how people think and work,” she says.  “It serves as an important reminder that too often we don’t focus on people with disabilities — let alone people with invisible disabilities — when we talk about diversity, equity and inclusion, and that needs to change.” 

‘Pride and Prejudice’



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Porsche shares rise in landmark Frankfurt debut

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Antlitz: IPO will strengthen investment in digitalisation and electrification

Porsche shares rose in their stock market debut Thursday, in one of the biggest public offerings in Europe ever.

Shares of the iconic sports car brand initially traded at 84 euros ($81) on Thursday morning after they had been priced at the top end of their range late Wednesday, at 82.50 euros. It values the company at roughly 75 billion euros.

By 9:30 a.m. London time Thursday shares had steadied at 84.50 euros. Parent company Volkswagen is offering 911 million shares, a reference to Porsche’s famous 911 model.

“Today is a great day for Porsche and a great day for Volkswagen,” Arno Antlitz, Volkswagen’s chief financial officer told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Europe” Thursday.

The organization knew the IPO would be successful, according to Antlitz, citing “strong financials” and “a very convincing strategy for the future.”

“We were convinced despite the challenging environment this IPO would prove successful, and we were right,” he told CNBC’s Annette Weisbach.

Jefferies: Porsche is half the Ferrari business

Before trading started reactions were positive, with cornerstone investors having already claimed around 40% of the shares on offer, according to Reuters. Until now the sole owner of Porsche AG, Volkswagen is reducing its stake in the sports car firm, with a 12.5% slice being listed.

Listing shares should give Porsche a financial boost of 19.5 billion euros, giving the company more financial flexibility in terms of electric vehicles, according to Volkswagen.

The landmark listing comes at a time of market choppiness as the auto industry continues to feel the effects of the war in Ukraine, and valuations of other luxury carmakers including Aston Martin, Ferrari, BMW and Mercedes-Benz have all dropped in recent months.

“The Porsche AG has completely decoupled itself from the negative market trends,” one investor told Reuters, translated by CNBC. Companies are thought to be delaying going public because of current market conditions. 

Porsche may have a 'very good' debut, says former banker

The IPO isn’t set to be a trailblazer for other companies to follow suit however, as Porsche remains a particularly strong brand with a unique market position. Volkswagen initially announced its plans for Porsche to go public on Sept. 5.

Antlitz also addressed the ongoing semiconductor shortages, which will continue to be an issue this year.

“We expect a better supply in 2023, but we expect an easing of the shortage to kick in in 2024,” Antlitz told CNBC.

Smead Capital Management: Predictions of 25% return in equity for Porsche AG



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Amazon hikes pay for warehouse and delivery workers

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A worker sorts out parcels in the outbound dock at Amazon fulfillment center in Eastvale, California on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021.

Watchara Phomicinda | MediaNews Group | The Riverside Press-Enterprise via Getty Images

Amazon is raising its hourly wages for its warehouse and delivery workers, the company announced Wednesday.

Beginning in October, Amazon’s average starting pay for front-line employees in the U.S. will be bumped up to more than $19 per hour from $18 per hour, the company said.

Warehouse and delivery workers will earn between $16 and $26 per hour depending on their position, Amazon added. Amazon’s minimum wage for employees in the U.S. remains $15 an hour.

Amazon is spending roughly $1 billion on the pay hikes over the next year as it looks to attract and retain employees in a historically tight labor market. It’s also preparing to enter what’s known as “peak” season, the especially busy shopping period tied to the holidays.

Tensions have been growing between Amazon and its front-line workforce, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic. Employees have called for wage increases, more paid time off and adjustments to productivity expectations.

Workers at several Amazon facilities have taken steps to organize, and earlier this year, workers at Amazon’s warehouse in Staten Island, New York, successfully voted to form the company’s first U.S. union. Amazon faces another union election at a site near Albany, New York, next month.

The company said earlier this month it planned to raise pay and benefits for drivers employed by members of its contracted delivery network, which handles a growing share of its last-mile deliveries to customers doorsteps.

Alongside the pay increase, Amazon said it’s also expanding a payday advance program for its employees that allows them to access up to 70% of their eligible earned pay whenever they choose and without fees, not just on a schedule, such as a biweekly basis.

WATCH: Amazon labor union wins — president breaks down future decisions

Amazon labor union wins — president breaks down future decisions



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DocuSign to cut workforce by 9% as part of restructuring plan

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The Docusign Inc. website on a laptop computer arranged in Dobbs Ferry, New York, U.S., on Thursday, April 1, 2021.

Tiffany Hagler-Geard | Bloomberg | Getty Images

DocuSign will lay off 9% of its workforce as part of a major restructuring plan, the company announced Wednesday.

The plan is designed to support the company’s growth and profitability objectives and improve its operating margin. As of January, DocuSign had 7,461 employees, and it said the restructuring plan will largely be complete by the end of fiscal year 2023.

Shares of DocuSign were up 5% as of 10:35 a.m. ET.

It expects to incur charges between $30 million and $40 million, largely in the third and fourth quarter of fiscal 2023, as part of the changes.

The electronic signature software maker enjoyed a wave of greater interest among investors during the Covid pandemic as consumers and corporate workers became more reliant on digital ways to sign documents. But the interest has died down, and shares have fallen 65% so far this year.

Several firms downgraded the company’s stock in June after first-quarter earnings fell short of analyst estimates. Dan Springer, the former CEO, stepped down later that month. DocuSign announced earlier this month that it hired an Alphabet executive, Allan Thygesen, as its next CEO. 



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