There’s nothing better than a hammock or Adirondack chair and a good book during the summer.
A lot has been shared recently on how much time uber successful people spend reading – and it’s a lot! These leaders - in a variety of industries - chose to read things that are educational as opposed to just entertaining.
Take your professional growth and learning into your own hands this summer with a few of our favorite books of the last year.
Here’s what I recommend if you want to thrive in your current work:
Radical Candor by Kim Scott
I cannot recommend this book enough. Scott has great stories from working at a variety of organizations, including Apple and Google, that demonstrate how you build great teams and great relationships with those you manage. Her framework of caring personally and challenging directly is something so many managers and organizational cultures could use more of.
And there’s even a Radical Candor Podcast that compliments the practical, action-oriented, and specific advice she recommends.
Give and Take by Adam Grant
I love Adam Grant’s WorkLife Podcast. His research and analysis of what sets great places to work apart from the rest is super interesting.
His Give and Take book talks about the difference between Takers, Matchers, and Givers – three different kinds of approaches to human interaction that influence how we thrive in our careers. You will re-evaluate all the networking interactions, business relationships, and team member dynamics differently as a result of this book. Grant’s research and takeaways stick with you long after you finish reading.
Managing Transitions by William Bridges
This book is for those of you who work in a change management environment.
It may seem a bit text-booky, but I promise that once you pick it up you will zoom through it and start to see the idea of managing change as more about managing the various phases of transition and what that involves.
Bridges has practical steps and checklists for how to approach transitions. He breaks it down into clear stages, and helps you see what parts are the most critical to making that transition successful.
Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith
If you’re a coach, you probably aspire to be as effective and impactful as Marshall Goldsmith (I certainly do!). This is the second book I’ve read of his, but by far the most helpful.
Goldsmith shares experiences and insights on managing negative emotional triggers that influence our ability to create positive personal relationships and personal habits. The most powerful part of the book is his strategy for creating behavioral changes that last.
If you’re struggling with a challenge at work, or are looking to make personal or professional changes, this is a great read.
Here’s what I recommend if you’re looking to navigating a career change:
Designing Your Life: How to Think Build a Well-Lived and Joyful Life By William Burnett and Dave Evans
I’ll fess up that this book has been on this list the last two years, and I didn’t even think twice about whether to include it this year. This is the #1 book suggestion I make to almost every client I talk to. And it’s what inspired the Pivot Life Design Series.
Written by two Stanford Design School professors, Designing Your Life helps you see your career (and your life in general) in the most positive and inspiring way – but not in a fake 'dream big' or ‘find your passion’ way.
They walk you through exercises and tools to apply a design thinking framework to your career and life. They argue that the same approach that helps companies problem-solve a new product or service should be easily applicable to your life and career – and it is. There’s a reason this book is an international bestseller and that Bill & Dave are working on a second book right now.
Decisive: How to Make Better Choices in Life and Work By Dan & Chip Heath
I love Chip and Dan’s work – all of their books are fascinating and so practical in their guidance.
In Decisive, the Heath brothers take you through a clear process on how to make better choices in your life and career. The WRAP process includes these stages: Widen your options, Reality-test your assumptions, Attain distance before deciding, Prepare to be wrong. They frame GREAT questions and immediately have you thinking differently about your decisions.
If you find yourself trying to make a decision about a job offer, or feel a bit stuck in your current options, this is a quick recording that can walk you through their process, but the whole book is definitely worth reading.
What’s on my list for the next few months?
Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen
I loved Difficult Conversations, also by Douglas Stone, and am excited to finally check this one off my list. It’s about turning evaluations, advice, criticisms and coaching into productive listening and learning.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
A number of people have raved about this book, which is about how the challenge with changing our habits isn’t ourselves, but the systems we’re in that get in the way.
Strategize to Win by Carla Harris
After seeing Carla Harris speak at an event earlier this year, I’m excited to read this book. Harris, a Wall Street superstar, shares career strategies and tools to get unstuck, to get out of bad situations, or get back your momentum.