Further Reading: Troublesome CEOs


After a 2013 memo about sexual harassment was leaked to the press, newspapers at home and abroad have been speculating on whether or not Uber CEO Travis Kalanik—no stranger to controversy—might lose his job. Kalanik has been accused of poisoning company culture with laddish (some might say horribly sexist) behavior.

Fictional CEOs are no strangers to trouble. In the following contemporary novels, linked to their Booklist reviews, CEOs (always men—go figure!) stir up trouble for the women in their lives.


Beautiful Crazy, by Kasey Lane

Manix Curse is the hottest metal band in Portland, Oregon, and Kevan Landry is determined to sign them. Her new marketing firm could use the work, not to mention the money. Unfortunately, Kevan isn’t the only person vying for the band’s attention. Mason Dillon is the CEO of Portland’s largest music PR firm, and his job is contingent on signing Manix. Too bad they didn’t know this before they slept together after a Manix show. Kevan’s rockabilly style and Mason’s suit-and-tie look don’t seem compatible, but the chemistry between the two is undeniable.





Heat and Light, by Jennifer Haigh

Neighbors and friends find themselves at odds as farmland is snapped up around them by unscrupulous developers, who sweet-talk their way into the rural area and lay waste to the land.  There’s Gia, the party-girl barmaid; Shelby, a neurotic young mother who fears the fracking is making her daughter ill; Shelby’s husband, Rich, who desperately wants the money the developers promise; Kip, the outspoken, Trump-wannabe CEO of the fracking company; and Mack and Rena, a lesbian couple who find their organic dairy farm’s certification at risk from the damage to the land.


Our Little Racket, by Angelica Baker

Five very different women orbit Bob D’Amico, the CEO of a high-profile investment bank: his wife, Isabel; his wife’s friend Mina; his daughter, Madison; her best friend, Amanda; and the nanny, Lily. While Bob is off in Manhattan attempting to steer Weiss & Partners out of a complete financial meltdown, the women all respond to the fallout in their own ways.






Star’s End, by Cassandra Rose Clarke

The action here takes place in a future when people and events are rarely what they seem. Esme Coromina is heir to the Coromina Group, which owns a small planet system, the Four Sisters. Her father, the CEO, is a master manipulator, often using fear, intimidation, lies, and ambition to get what he wants.


Tailored for Trouble, by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Taylor Reed is fed up with know-it-all, alpha-male business execs like Bennett Wade, the maddeningly arrogant CEO who once got her fired. So when he comes knocking as a potential client, Taylor is tempted to slam the door in his face. However, her new business isn’t exactly raking in the big bucks, so she agrees to help him. As Bennett and Taylor travel the world on business, she begins to see a side of Bennett she never imagined, and she begins to realize that he may not be a heartless android after all.



About the Author:

Eugenia Williamson is the Associate Editor of Digital Products at Booklist. She worked in bookstores for twelve years, reviews books for The Boston Globe, and writes about books, culture, and politics for several other publications. Follow her on Twitter at @Booklist_Genie.

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