When I have time to read, it’s not the romance novels calling my name—it’s non-fiction business and leadership, DUH!
With summer finally here in for many of us, reading is a wonderful companion for the following activities–travel layovers, weekends by the lake/beach, or perhaps a long afternoon in the shade.
Wherever you are and whichever your preference, below is a list of my personal top 5 books for your summer reading.
Please note, these are my personal book recommendations. I chose each book carefully as an opportunity for you to reflect on your daily habits and attitudes towards work and life. Each summary is a brief description provided by the author or publisher and an amazon link.
What are your must reads this summer?
- “Rising Strong” Brene Brown
Social scientist Brené Brown has ignited a global conversation on courage, vulnerability, shame, and worthiness. Her pioneering work uncovered a profound truth: Vulnerability—the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome—is the only path to more love, belonging, creativity, and joy. But living a brave life is not always easy: We are, inevitably, going to stumble and fall.
It is the rise from falling that Brown takes as her subject in Rising Strong. As a grounded theory researcher, Brown has listened as a range of people—from leaders in Fortune 500 companies and the military to artists, couples in long-term relationships, teachers, and parents—shared their stories of being brave, falling, and getting back up. She asked herself, What do these people with strong and loving relationships, leaders nurturing creativity, artists pushing innovation, and clergy walking with people through faith and mystery have in common? The answer was clear: They recognize the power of emotion and they’re not afraid to lean in to discomfort.
Walking into our stories of hurt can feel dangerous. But the process of regaining our footing in the midst of struggle is where our courage is tested and our values are forged. Our stories of struggle can be big ones, like the loss of a job or the end of a relationship, or smaller ones, like a conflict with a friend or colleague. Regardless of magnitude or circumstance, the rising strong process is the same: We reckon with our emotions and get curious about what we’re feeling; we rumble with our stories until we get to a place of truth; and we live this process, every day, until it becomes a practice and creates nothing short of a revolution in our lives. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness. It’s the process, Brown writes, that teaches us the most about who we are.
- “Presense” Amy Cuddy
Have you ever left a nerve-racking challenge and immediately wished for a do over? Maybe after a job interview, a performance, or a difficult conversation? The very moments that require us to be genuine and commanding can instead cause us to feel phony and powerless. Too often we approach our lives’ biggest hurdles with dread, execute them with anxiety, and leave them with regret.
By accessing our personal power, we can achieve “presence,” the state in which we stop worrying about the impression we’re making on others and instead adjust the impression we’ve been making on ourselves. As Harvard professor Amy Cuddy’s revolutionary book reveals, we don’t need to embark on a grand spiritual quest or complete an inner transformation to harness the power of presence. Instead, we need to nudge ourselves, moment by moment, by tweaking our body language, behavior, and mind-set in our day-to-day lives.
Amy Cuddy has galvanized tens of millions of viewers around the world with her TED talk about “power poses.” Now she presents the enthralling science underlying these and many other fascinating body-mind effects, and teaches us how to use simple techniques to liberate ourselves from fear in high-pressure moments, perform at our best, and connect with and empower others to do the same.
Brilliantly researched, impassioned, and accessible, Presence is filled with stories of individuals who learned how to flourish during the stressful moments that once terrified them. Every reader will learn how to approach their biggest challenges with confidence instead of dread, and to leave them with satisfaction instead of regret.
- “Developing the Leader Within You” John Maxwell
Developing the Leader Within You is Dr. Maxwell’s first and most enduring leadership book, having sold more than one million copies. In this Christian Leaders Series edition of this Maxwell classic, you will discover the biblical foundation for leadership that John Maxwell has used as a pastor and business leader for more than forty years. These same principles and practices are available for everyday leaders in every walk of life. It is a lofty calling to lead a group―a family, a church, a nonprofi t, a business―and the timeless principles in this book will bring positive change in your life and in the lives of those around you.
You will learn:
The True Definition of Leader. “Leadership is influence. That’s it. Nothing more; nothing less.”
The Traits of Leadership. “Leadership is not an exclusive club for those who were ‘born with it.’ The traits that are the raw materials of leadership can be acquired. Link them up with desire, and nothing can keep you from becoming a leader.”
The Difference Between Management and Leadership. “Making sure the work is done by others is the accomplishment of a manager. Inspiring others to do better work is the accomplishment of a leader.”
God has called every believer to influence others, to be salt and light. Developing the Leader Within You will equip you to improve your leadership and inspire others.
- “Extreme You” Sarah Robb O’Hagan
As a child, Sarah Robb O’Hagan dreamed she could be a champion. Her early efforts failed to reveal a natural superstar, but she refused to settle for average. Through dramatic successes and epic fails, she studied how extraordinary people in sports, entertainment and business set and achieve extremely personal goals. Sarah became an executive at Virgin Atlantic and Nike, and despite being fired twice in her twenties, she went on to become the global president of Gatorade and of Equinox—as well as a wife, mother, and endurance athlete.
In every challenging situation, personal or professional, individuals face the pressure to play it safe and conform to the accepted norms. But doing so comes with heavy costs: passions stifled, talents ignored, and opportunities squelched. The bolder choice is to embrace what Sarah calls Extreme You: to confidently bring all that is distinctive and relevant about yourself to everything you do.
Inspiring, surprising, and practical, Extreme You is her training program for becoming the best version of yourself.
- “The Highly Sensitive Person” Elaine N. Aron
Are you a highly sensitive person?
Do you have a keen imagination and vivid dreams? Is time alone each day as essential to you as food and water? Are you “too shy” or “too sensitive” according to others? Do noise and confusion quickly overwhelm you? If your answers are yes, you may be a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP).
Most of us feel overstimulated every once in a while, but for the Highly Sensitive Person, it’s a way of life. In this groundbreaking book, Dr. Elaine Aron, a psychotherapist, workshop leader and highly sensitive person herself, shows you how to identify this trait in yourself and make the most of it in everyday situations. Drawing on her many years of research and hundreds of interviews, she shows how you can better understand yourself and your trait to create a fuller, richer life.
In The Highly Sensitive Person, you will discover:
* Self-assessment tests to help you identify your particular sensitivities
* Ways to reframe your past experiences in a positive light and gain greater self-esteem in the process
* Insight into how high sensitivity affects both work and personal relationships
* Tips on how to deal with overarousal
* Information on medications and when to seek help
* Techniques to enrich the soul and spirit