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What the rich are reading this summer

Elke Selzle | Photographer's Choice RF | Getty Images

When it comes to their summer reading list, the rich are focused on improvement—in technology, philanthropy, their investments and their own brains.

J.P. Morgan Private Bank has released its summer reading list, which has become an annual rite of summer for the super rich and offers a peak into what books or Kindle titles will sit on the verandas of the Hamptons, Cape and Mediterranean this summer.

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The list suggests that the rich are hungry for information on technology, especially when it comes to investment opportunities and start-ups. They're also more interested in developing their minds than their beach bodies.

"We see clients looking for opportunities across public and private markets to invest in select technologies that are likely to revolutionize business and industry, health care and the overall human experience," said Darin Oduyoye, chief communications officer for J.P. Morgan's Asset Management.

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"There's been a return to the entrepreneurial spirit not only in Silicon Valley, but in pockets all over the globe. And, philanthropists are moving beyond the 'spray-and-pray approach' and partnering with the private sector, not-for-profits and governments to help advance the economy and viability of many of the nation's largest cities. These themes are mirrored in the books selected for this year's list," he said.

Here is the list:

"Art & Place: Site-Specific Art of the Americas," by Editors of Phaidon. Art & Place takes readers to 60 cities across the Americas to some of the most provocative and fascinating site-specific artworks in the Western Hemisphere—illustrating the inexplicable link between the chosen artworks and the places they reside.

"Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder," by Arianna Huffington. Executives around the globe know that money and power can often only make someone so happy. It's finding the "third metric" that truly provides the keys to passion, joy and fulfillment in one's life. In Thrive, Arianna Huffington takes the reader on her own journey of self-realization.

"Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World's Top Minds," by Carmine Gallo. Go inside the mind of TED's online presenters. Public-speaking coach Carmine Gallo pinpoints the top tips of the celebrated community's most popular presenters. With advice to hone the skills of even well-seasoned executives, Talk Like TED is a fascinating and infinitely helpful look at one of the world's most common fears.

"The Metropolitan Revolution: How Cities and Metros Are Fixing Our Broken Politics and Fragile Economy," by Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley. Philanthropists, endowments and foundations are often presented with lists of challenges in American cities—political barriers to growth, lack of economic diversity and immigration. But Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley carry the banner for cities that are getting it right.

"The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies," by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee. As societies progress, those who can best adapt to change have the highest chance of success. MIT's Brynjolfsson and McAfee detail the vast technological changes that are already underway and provide a look at the potential changes to come.

"Things a Little Bird Told Me: Confessions of the Creative Mind," by Biz Stone. The co-founder and co-inventor of Twitter provides invaluable insights, combining examples from his own life, principles he's learned along the way, and true stories from his experiences at Google and Twitter.

"The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind," by Michio Kaku. The secrets of the human brain are revealed in this powerful work by renowned physicist and futurist Dr. Michio Kaku. The Future of the Mind guides the reader on a journey of scientific discovery, illustrating that many facets of the world's most intriguing science fiction stories—such as telepathy, telekinesis and mind control—may, in fact, already exist.

"Olives, Lemons & Za'atar: The Best Middle Eastern Home Cooking," by Rawia Bishara. Bishara will always be quick to point out that her first name means "storyteller" in Arabic. She deftly lives up to it, taking the reader through tales of her own life and culture, with her beloved cuisine serving as a guide.

"An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth: What Going to Space Taught Me About Ingenuity, Determination, and Being Prepared for Anything," by Col. Chris Hadfield. Journey with Colonel Chris Hadfield as he breaks into a locked space station, and learn how his NASA training prepared him for the seemingly impossible. Hadfield shares his insights into thinking on your feet and maintaining calm during even the direst crises.

"The Billionaire and the Mechanic: How Larry Ellison and a Car Mechanic Teamed Up to Win Sailing's Greatest Race, the America's Cup," by Julian Guthrie. The 34th America's Cup will be remembered as one of the most exciting and improbable comebacks in the history of offshore yacht racing. But for Larry Ellison, his Oracle Team USA's first win in 2010 will always be epic. This story of an equally improbable partnership between an auto mechanic and one of the world's wealthiest individuals will captivate sports enthusiasts, amateur yachters and fans of Ellison's helmsman Ben Ainslie.

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—By CNBC's Robert Frank

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