Summer Reading List: ASTHO CEO Michael Fraser

July 02, 2019|2:33 p.m.| Michael Fraser, Ph.D.

If you’re anything like me, it’s hard to choose just one book to read. As the July 4 holiday approaches and we gear up for a much-needed vacation, here’s what I currently have on my summer reading list. It’s an eclectic list, but that’s the fun of it. I hope there’s something on here for everyone.

How to Hide an Empire: A Short Story of the Greater United States by Daniel ImmerwahrHow to Hide an Empire: A Short History of the Greater United States
Daniel Immerwahr

As we prepare to celebrate July 4 and the ideas of American democracy and independence it represents, perhaps no book on my summer reading list is as relevant as this one. Many of us, myself included, often think of the United States as a contained territory, framed by Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. But of course nothing could be further from the truth. How to Hide an Empire provides a historical account of how the United States acquired territories—first in the western states and then the Atlantic and Pacific. It is an interesting tale of racial politics, hidden agendas, and imperialist traditions, offering a better understanding of the U.S. territories and how these unique jurisdictions contribute to American history.

Leadership: Theory and Practice by Peter G. NorthouseLeadership: Theory and Practice
Peter G. Northouse

This isn’t exactly your typical beach read, but it’s a must for any student of leadership. Northouse’s textbook, taught at more than 1,600 institutions in 89 countries, is the authoritative guide for anyone looking to identify and incorporate effective leadership and management practices. Sure, the text is a bit academic and that’s not exactly something you might find yourself jumping to stuff in a beach bag, but the information is also practical, accessible, and tremendously helpful for thinking about how to incorporate leadership best practices in your own work and the work we do with our partners.

The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World by Stephen BrusatteThe Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World
Stephen Brusatte

Ever since I was a kid, I have always loved dinosaurs. But aside from a passing fascination in these wonderful, magnificent creatures, I have never really stopped to learn more about them: how did they come to roam the earth, what exactly caused their extinction, what are the different eras—Mesozoic, Paleozoic, etc. In The Rise and Fall of Dinosaurs, Brusatte describes the surprising history of dinosaurs (it’s not what we learned in middle school) and how the history of these long-extinct creatures has significant implications for human existence and evolution today.

Well: What We Need to Talk About When We Talk About Health by Sandro GaleaWell: What We Need to Talk About When We Talk About Health
Sandro Galea

As Americans, we spend more money on healthcare than any other country in the world. And what do we get for it? In Well, physician (and friend of public health) Sandro Galea shows us: not much. In a series of themed chapters, Galea argues that Americans often focus on the wrong things when they think about health—a truth that we in public health know well and spend our time and resources advocating to correct. Galea is compelling and insightful when describing the challenges we face in public health and the importance of adopting an upstream, preventive approach to healthcare. The book falls short on offering recommendations for implementation. It is our task, as public health leaders, to move that practice forward.

Hope one of these books makes your summer reading list!

Have a great holiday weekend!


Michael Fraser, Ph.D.Michael Fraser, Ph.D., M.S. is the CEO of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials.