As we move to a new decade, businessmen and professionals are developing their reading lists to propel them to the next level of success. Here are three books on corporate leadership and business wisdom that will serve as executives’ guides for expansion and evolution:

Renowned as the pioneer in modern Indonesian accounting and founder of the SGV-Utomo auditing firm in Jakarta, the man born of Chinese and Dutch parentage chose his Indonesian name through the help of a spiritual person with a third eye for special sensing when it came to people’s auras.

In the Bahasa language, Utomo means “number one” and Josodirdjo is a combination of two words denoting “great service.” The fascinating story of how Mr. Utomo lived up to his name and revolutionized Indonesia’s accounting industry is told in this 272-page volume authored and edited by award-winning Filipino writer Alfred Yuson.

Last month, the biography was launched at the Grand Ballroom of Fairmont Hotel Jakarta in celebration of Mr. Utomo’s 90th birthday. No longer around was his mentor-cum-business-partner, the venerable SGV Group Founder Washington SyCip, who had passed on in 2017.

Mr. Yuson’s interviews of the quintessential Indonesian accountant himself as well as his friends, associates, and clients such as tycoons Anthoni Salim, Manny Pangilinan, and Bobby Ongpin provide the reader with first-hand accounts on the extraordinary life of the nonagenarian icon originally nicknamed “Balok” who later became known as “Pak Utomo” — a towering figure literally and figuratively in Southeast Asia’s accountancy profession.

Not a lot of organizations reach their sesquicentennial anniversary, but in the case of the Manila Jockey Club (MJC), it spans the country’s history from the tailend of the Spanish era to the Philippine Revolution, American colonization, Japanese occupation, post-war independence, martial law regime, and People Power Revolt — all the way to the early 21st century.

It is only fitting to mark MJC’s milestone through a 300-page coffee-table book that traces the history of horse racing in the Philippines. The Front Runner was produced by Media Wise Communications, a multi-awarded book publisher headed by Ramoncito Ocampo Cruz, with Achilles Mina as editor and a team of writers that explored the many facets of the sport and the spectacle.

During the book launch at the Manila Golf and Country Club last December, MJC President Alfonso Victor Reyno III said no such chronicle of Philippine horse racing has ever been published before. The Front Runner also contains an extensive pictorial essay depicting the exquisite beauty of horses. It talks not just about horse owners and racing enthusiasts, but also of the men and women who worked at the two San Lazaro hippodromes in Manila and Cavite while building communities around both racetracks.

Over the past eight decades, the Fookien Times Philippines Yearbook (FTPY) has documented social and economic changes in the country where and when they happened. Its latest edition presents a panorama of structures that are linked to political change like the Ayuntamiento in Intramuros, the old Legislative Building in Luneta, and the Nielson Tower in Makati.

FTPY Editor-in-Chief Paulo Alcazaren wrote in his foreword: “Such places of memory are linked also with the personalities that populated key events or who are associated with them to such a degree as to make them inseparable.” He cited former Presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos whose images are forever intertwined with Club Filipino in San Juan and Camp Crame in Quezon City, respectively, due to their historic photos taken at those sites during the 1986 EDSA Revolution.

Fookien Times Yearbook Publishing Co. (FTYPC) Chairman and CEO Grace Glory Go unveiled the 2019 yearbook at the Peak of Grand Hyatt Manila. Her father, Dr. Jimmy Go Puan Seng, started publishing the annual FTPY in 1936, while her son, FTYPC President and Publisher Vernon Go, described Then and Now as a story of our country and our lives.


J. Albert Gamboa is CFO of the Asian Center for Legal Excellence and chairman of FINEX Publications.