Summer Reading List 2018

by Jun 8, 2018Insights

Summer vacations provide a great opportunity to unplug as a leader and reset your thinking a little bit on how you lead. Here are some great reads (and listens) to check out.

Books for Fun

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Why I recommend this book:

This has been on past lists. If you love dogs you will love this book. If you love cars you will likely love this book. If you just want to read a story of what life might look like through the eyes of a dog living with a family you will like this book. Empathy is also a critical skill for people-centered leaders, and this book provides a great perspective on that.

Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand

Why I recommend this book:

The second movie about his book is out this summer. A World War II story that is hard to believe, but it’s true. The part that I remember the most is the end when I learned a little bit about forgiveness and redemption. Lots of leadership lessons in this one.

The Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics by Daniel James Brown

 Why I recommend this book:

Another great story that does a great job capturing the courage of that generation and is another true story that is told well. As a bonus, you can find the propaganda video that Hitler made, which is referred to in the book, on YouTube when you are done and watch footage of the actual race. Watch the video after you read the book so it doesn’t spoil the ending.


Books to make you think

Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam Grant

Why I recommend this book:

The two things I like about this book is the research the author shares and the actionable things he presents at the end that anyone reading this book can practice. I really like this book because it puts a new voice behind the topic of being a servant leader.

Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant

Why I recommend this book:

I loved Lean In, and this book is very different but speaks to all people about what we can do each day to find joy and be more resilient.

Anything by Mitch Albom!

Why I recommend these:

Easy reads and very thought provoking, especially for anyone facing a live transition that is making you rethink your purpose and what’s important. My two favorites are Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven, but I have not read a bad one yet. The Time Keeper is also a good one.

Listening & Leadership

Podcast: How I Built This with Guy Raz – There is nothing like an entrepreneurs story, and this has a bunch of them. All of them are under an hour and they are appropriate for all ages, so listening in a car or on a beach with people of various ages should not be difficult. Lots of leadership lessons too.

Favorite episodes:

  • Clif Bar: Gary Erickson
  • Patagonia: Yvon Chouinard
  • Starbucks: Howard Schultz
  • Teach for America: Wendy Kopp
  • AirBnB: Joe Gebbia

Podcast: Radical Candor with Elisse Lockhart – Elisse wrote a book by the same name, but I like the podcasts because they talk through common situations at work that we run into around performance and feedback. Lots of personal stories and great advice on how to handle things. Episodes are less than 30 minutes and the advice is very sharable.

Favorite episodes:

  • Help! My Boss is an Absentee Manager
  • Take Feedback Like a Boss
  • What’s Your Body Language Telling Me?
  • Help! My Boss is a Micromanager
  • How to Give Feedback to Your Boss
  • Can I Give Feedback to Peers? Should I?

Kids & Leadership

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crocket Johnson

Why I recommend this book:

A great little story about resilience and imagination. If you have any young visitors this summer order this book and some purple sidewalk chalk.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Why I recommend this book:

Another great little story about giving. I could totally see doing a few little projects with wood after this story to write your own ending to the story.

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