Summer Reads for Your Career

Summer is prime reading season for me. Sitting by the lake or lying on the beach are perfect locations for digging into a good book.

As you can imagine, I actually enjoy reading books about personal and professional development. There are a number of books I recommend constantly to clients or others I meet who really want to accelerate their own growth and spend time reflecting on their career.

I thought I’d share with you some of my favorites if you’re looking for some good book suggestions for the rest of summer.

Better Than Before: Mastering the Habits of Our Everyday Lives

by Gretchen Rubin

I just finished reading Gretchen Rubin’s most recent book. You might remember her Happiness Project book from 2009, which I thought was fun but didn’t find nearly as interesting and helpful as this recent book on habits.

She aims to answer and discuss why are there some things that you can easily make part of your routine, and other goals you struggle to achieve in your everyday life. (Eating well and exercise, anyone?...)

Throughout all my work with clients who are trying to make a career transition, part of what they really need is simply accountability and someone externally helping them meet their goals. A lot of what I do with people is help them form structures and practices around their job search. This book gave me a whole new way of thinking about how to help my clients form habits that will work specifically for them.

Plus, understanding how and why people are able to create and follow through on habits provided so much insight into how to pick and choose habits that work for me personally.

Drop the Ball

by Tiffany Dufu

Written by a woman I was lucky enough to work with a few years ago, this book is a must read for anyone who feels like at times they just can’t handle everything on their plate – especially anyone with kids.

You will be hooked from the story she tells in the first few pages about her first day back at work after maternity leave. I don’t have children, and yet her book resonated with me in such a powerful way that I continue to think about and reference months after reading it.

Dufu’s story and suggestions are so useful for your personal and professional life - you'll find yourself saying '#droptheball' everyday. I cannot recommend this book highly enough for every professional woman out there. And if you’re a guy, it can be incredibly helpful for you as well.

Managing to Change The World: The Nonprofit Leader’s Guide to Getting Results

by Alison Green & Jerry Hauser

Ok this may seem more like a text book or something you’d read in graduate school course on management, but if you’re currently managing someone at work and you think your skills could use a boost or a tune up, this is the book for you.

It’s very prescription heavy so it’s not really one you’re going to want to sit by the pool with. But if you are struggling with an employee you manage then you're sure to find some helpful tips and guidance for managing.

Even if you don’t work for a nonprofit, this book is full of ways to conduct helpful check-ins, and approaches to giving difficult feedback or firing people in a way that limits the stress and frustration for both you and your team.

A close friend of mine keeps two copies on hand – one at home and one at the office – and from people I know who have worked with him, they say he’s one of the best bosses they’ve ever had.

Designing Your Life: How to Think Like a Designer and Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life

by William Burnett and Dave Evans

If there is one book that you should read this summer that’s fun and is sure to help you navigate any career transition you find yourself in, this is the one!

I've been joking that I should get a sales commission from the authors for all the people I’ve suggested it to who have bought it and loved it.

This book, written by two Stanford professors, helps you see your career and your life in general in the most positive and inspiring way – but not in a fake 'dream big' way. They make you feel like the impossible might really be possible – with concrete, realistic exercises and tools to create a life and career that work for you.

It's all about applying the same design thinking approach to our career that we apply to innovating and problem-solving for companies. And I guarantee it will change your outlook on your life and work, all for the better.


Looking for suggestions of more 'fun' reads that still might inspire some thoughts about your career path and life goals? How about an entertaining celebrity memoir?

Here are my fav's:

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

Talking As Fast As I Can by Lauren Graham

The Bassoon King by Rainn Wilson

The Bassoon King by Rainn Wilson

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling

Happy Summer Reading!