Olympic showjumper. Kingsland Model. Former teen prodigy.
American wunderkind Reed Kessler is well known for the many accomplishments she’s achieved in her 23 years, but did you know she’s also an avid reader? And, unlike a certain Horse Network writer who is currently re-reading the Harry Potter series for the fourth time, Reed is bettering her mind with a rather impressive set of non-fiction tomes.
In fact, judging by her growth-minded summer reading list, you might say Reed is home schooling herself in business, which is precisely the kind of overachieving ridiculousness you’d expect from the youngest show jumper to ever make an Olympic team.
Here’s a sampling of what Reed “the reader” currently has stacked on her bedside table, according to Instagram:
What They Don’t Teach You in Harvard Business School by Mark H. McCormack
A book about how to work a deal, manage people, and get ahead in the business world. I assume Reed is studying up on ways to build her showjumping empire. While many say the author is responsible for the beginnings of the sports marketing industry, I bet she could still teach him a thing or two about the importance of running a successful social media campaign. Seriously, have you seen her Instagram?
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
No business education is complete without a little Malcolm Gladwell. The Tipping Point reveals how one small event can reach an apex and turn into something huge. With a U.S. National Open Jumper Championship, 2013 FEI Rising Star award, and 2012 London Olympics under her belt, it’s a book that probably speaks to Reed. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that the tipping point in her fledgling career was probably that time she came second in the Lead Line class at the Capital Challenge and it unleashed her inner beast.
Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Thinking Fast and Slow introduces the idea that there are two systems of thought—a fast and intuitive response and a logical and thoughtful approach. We can use each system in a variety of situations to deal with problems or plan for our future. In his research, Daniel has obviously missed the third system: Thinking at Reed Kessler speed. Split second decisions evaluating distance, speed, and making corrections to negotiate a thousand pounds of animal around a demanding course. And all of that backed up by a burning desire to kick butt.
Super Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Freakonomics wasn’t good enough for Reed (which she already read a while ago. Probably twice). Now she’s on to SUPER Freakonomics. This book continues the topics of its predecessor, pulling statistics from the real world and translating them into the cost-benefit analysis terms of the economic world. I wonder what Steven and Stephen would think of the show jumping universe? I’d like to see the statistics on how many under 25 show jumpers have placed in the top 3 of 34 Grand Prix classes, took 1st and 3rd at the 2012 Olympic Selection trials, and are the recipient of multiple talent and rising star awards. And what the cost-benefit analysis is of a really expensive saddle is. Surely, they can’t help that much, right? My wallet is hoping no.
The Personal MBA: Master the Art of Business by Josh Kaufman
This book serves to teach readers all the real-life knowledge they need to know to run a successful business, without the many hours of Powerpoints (and many, many student loans) you’d need to suffer through to get an MBA at a university. It seems to me though, that Reed doesn’t need much help here. She’s been gaining real-life experience running her training business with her parents since 2015, including two Kessler Show Stables locations in both Kentucky and The Netherlands. At 23, she’s basically the Doogie Howser of the showjumping business. Maybe Reed should write her own book, The Personal Showjumper: Master the Art of Being Awesome.
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell
Finally! A book I’ve actually read! And by read, I mean I have the audiotape. And by “have the audiotape,” I mean that it’s been sitting on my kitchen counter, mocking me, for several months. (Hey! I’ve been busy, I swear). In this book, Gladwell looks at “outliers,” people who are worlds above others in intelligence, success, and/or just being great and what makes those people different from the rest of us. Reed could have saved herself a few bucks on the book and just read over her own accomplishments, because it seems to me she’s an outlier herself.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
It’s not all books by Malcolm Gladwell or learning about how to take over the world, Reed also spares time for a little “lighter” fare as well. With themes such as betrayal and redemption, and familial relationships, this fictional tale is still a much smarter read than anything I’ve picked up in recent history. (Harry Potter notwithstanding).
Leave it to Reed to win at reading, along with everything else.
About the Author
When Aubrey Moore isn’t riding her horse Flynn or doing near-constant maintenance on her truck, she can be found with a glass of wine in hand, chatting happily with her cat Frankie.