By Carol Cain

By Carol Cain
CBS Detroit

Wonder what’s on the summer reading list of some high profile folks who are impacting our state?

We posed that question and got all kinds of answers that were as diverse as the people themselves.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig may be busy fighting crime but he loves to spend time catching up on his reading. For him, it’s all business.

Craig’s been reading “Good to Great” by Jim Collins.

“It highlights successful companies and their methods in building a great and successful business,” said Craig. “This book is a valuable source for leaders and is highly recommended. ”

For Hank Meijer, co-ceo of Grand Rapids based Meijer, also an English graduate from the University of Michigan, it’s about local authors.

“I just finished Jim Tobin’s “The Man He Became,” Meijer said. “Jim is an Ann Arbor-based writer and this is his study of how wrestling with the effects of polio was critical to the character and leadership style that propelled Franklin Roosevelt to the presidency.”

“I’m currently enjoying Leslie Stainton’s “Staging Ground: An American Theater and its Ghosts,” a really original hybrid of history and memoir,” Meijer added. “ Leslie is another Ann Arbor writer.  Her story of an historic theater in Pennsylvania is American cultural history drawn in a very personal way from one legendary old building.”

Meijer is also writing a biography about  the late Sen.  Arthur Vandenberg, a former journalist from Grand Rapids who helped create the United Nations.

Meijer wrote a book about his  grandfather and namesake, Hendrik Sr. The book is entitled “Thrifty Years: The Life of Hendrik Meijer.”

Bill Haney, is another prolific writer who has had a hand in writing, editing  and publishing over 400 books. Haney has just written a new book  called  “What They Were Thinking.”  It focuses on some interesting Michiganders including Ernie Harwell, Dr.  Jack Kevorkian, Tom Wilson and Denise Ilitch.

On Haney’s summer reading list?

“For a summer read anyone who grew up in the fifties or for others who wonder what America was really like then, take a trip through time with “The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid,” by Bill Bryson,” said Haney.

“Then, to make up for all those other knowledge gaps you always meant to fill in but didn’t, Bryson has done it for you with a total change of pace in “A Short History of Nearly Everything,” Haney added,’

Business woman Denise Ilitch loved “What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty.

Ilitch  also couldn’t put down a book about a political family in “Brothers Emanuel: A Memoir of an American Family,” by Ezekiel J. Emanuel.

Beth Chappell, president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Club, raved about “Inferno” by Dan Brown.

“I love his books –“DaVinci Code,” and  “Angels & Demons,” she said.

“Inferno” is   set in Florence, Italy which is where Warren (her husband) and I went last month,” Chappell added. “ Very cool to read the book after being there.  Makes it more real.”

Bill Pulte, who has been fighting blight in Detroit and more recently in Pontiac, is  looking for inspiration through his reading,.

“Leadocracy” by Geoff Smart is a great book about how we can transform the public sector by engaging more private sector talent,” Pulte said. “It chronicles existing public sector leaders who have leveraged their private sector experience to innovate government.”

Doro Bush Koch and her  brother, former Fla Gov. Jeb Bush, who run their mother’s organization – the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy– recently opened a chapter in Michigan.

Barbara Bush has been fighting illiteracy since her days as the First Lady.

Doro Bush Koch is reading Alice Munro’s book “Runaway.”

“I love her stories because her characters are so real and she writes so beautifully. A friend of my daughter recommended it to her Instagram followers,” Koch said. “It’s a perfect summer read.  I took it out of our wonderful Graves Library here in Kennebunkport.”

Jeb Bush has been reading “One Summer” by Bill Bryson, “The Fourth Revolution” by John Micklethwait and Adrian Wooldridge, “Abraham Lincoln” by Lord Charnwood, and “Charleston” by Margaret Thornton.

Gov. Rick Snyder may be busy on the campaign trail but he – like his challenger Democrat Mark Schauer  — still manage to find time to squeeze in some reading.

Snyder has read “The Biography of Teddy Roosevelt and William Howard Taft: The Bully Pulpit” by  Doris Kearns Goodwin, “ The Healing of America Understanding Health Policy: A Clinical Approach” by      T.R. Reid, “If  Chaos Reigns,” by Flint Whitlocck, and “The Guns At Last Light” by Rick Atkinson,  both about key and pivotal WWII moments

And he likes fiction too as he mentioned  “Zero Day” and “Rogue Code,”  both by Mark Russinovich.

Schauer is re-reading  “The Switch” by his favorite author, Michigan’s own Elmore “Dutch” Leonard. He hopes to finish it before he sees the movie “Life of Crime,” based on the novel which made its debut at the  recent Traverse City Film Festival.

Speaking of history,  “The Arsenal of Democracy: FDR, Detroit, and an Epic Quest to Arm an America at War by A.J. Baime provides a riveting account of  Detroit’s impact on World War II.

The book focuses on Henry Ford, his son, Edsel, and how Ford and Detroit reinvented itself on a dime to quickly build aircrafts that ultimately saved the war.

The book is so riveting I didn’t mind the two hour delay stuck inside a hot Delta jet near the gate at Metro Airport as they changed an oil valve and  then the navigation system.

It also kept me company on my four hour flight. When the pilot announced we were starting our descent, I hoped he might even take a few minutes longer so I could finish the book — which I did.

(Carol Cain is the Emmy winning Senior Producer and Host of “Michigan Matters” which airs 11;30 am Sunday on CBS 62. She also writes a column in Sunday’s Detroit Free Press. She can be reached at


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