Spring break means different things to different people.
For kids, it's the Easter Bunny. For college students, a Mexican booze cruise.
But for many overworked Wall Streeters, it may just be a good book.
"I'm sitting here reading about finance 12 hours a day, so that's the last thing I want to pick up when I go home," said David Lutz, head of exchange traded fund trading at Stifel Nicolaus in Baltimore, Maryland.
About three years ago, Lutz was looking for book recommendations, and someone suggested he survey his clients, who are mostly made up of portfolio managers, traders, and analysts from mutual funds and hedge funds.
The feedback was huge, and spawned his annual "Spring Break Reading List."
The first year, Lutz received 250 responses, the next year 750, and this year over 1,000.
"I had to begin breaking it down by genre with a description from Amazon," Lutz said. "It takes a tremendous amount of work, but I have people talking about it year around."
So what is Wall Street reading in its down time?
Here are a few of the most popular names on Lutz's list, which includes around 500-600 titles:
"Boys in the Boat," the story of the American rowing team that won gold in the 1936 Olympics in the Berlin Olympics.
"Unbroken," a tale of survival in the Pacific Theater of World War II.
"Bad Monkey," a witty and funny crime novel with a rotating cast of characters from author Carl Hiaasen.
"Thinking Fast and Slow," the international bestseller from Daniel Kahneman, the prominent psychologist who won the Nobel Prize in Economics, about what guides people's decision making.
"The Buy Side," a first-person narrative of of drugs, sex, and insider trading on Wall Street, told by former Galleon Group trader Turney Duff.
Since Lutz's book compilation came out in late February, there's one book that isn't on since it came out only a few weeks ago. That's Michael Lewis's much-hyped, "Flashboys," which claims the market is rigged by a shadowy network of high frequency traders.
"I've had a lot of people talking about it over the last few weeks," Lutz said of "Flashboys". "I would have to assume that would be one of the top ones right now."
Still, for stressed out out finance wizards used to dealing with numbers, Lutz's categorical approach is much appreciated.
"Most people in finance have ADHD, so you need to break it down by genre so they can pay attention long enough," he quipped. "I'm guilty of that myself."
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