Summer is a season of lazy pool days. It's no surprise businesses adhere to "summer hours" or encourage employees to take time off when school's out. It's hard to stay focused, and the heat wears you down.
But summer as an entrepreneur isn't the same. It's easy to let a summer slump or a packed schedule derail your best-laid plans. Instead, you need to take advantage of summer's slower months to fuel growth.
I set a goal to read more this summer. When I absorb others' insights, I'm more mindful of my team's needs. Others' experiences serve as great reminders or cautionary tales. Here's what I recommend adding to your own summer reading stack:
1. The 5-Day Turnaround by Jeff Hilimire
The 5-Day Turnaround is a fable about an established company that's grown to a place where it no longer takes chances. I got an early copy of this book. It won me over because it contradicts the belief that a team's approach is unchangeable.
2. Lost in Startuplandia by E. Keller Fitzsimmons
Failure doesn't always have to be a bad thing. Lost in Startuplandia gives advice about what to do after you've failed and how to learn from your mistakes. (I find tactical steps helpful in staging a comeback.)
3. Friction by Roger Dooley
When the business clock never stops, it's easy for errors to add up. Friction encourages you to look at the areas in your business that create friction and offers steps for changing them to create happier customers and employees. This helped me revamp existing processes to eliminate frustration.
4. Your Next Adventure by Marshall Rowe, Jim Fitts and John Weeks
Making the choice to sell your company isn't an easy one. Your Next Adventure reminds entrepreneurs to see the sale as an opportunity for adventure, rather than the end of their careers -- something I've seen many struggle with as a coach.
5. Brand Currency by Steve Susi
Brand Currency takes you inside Amazon to reveal four strategies influencing each company decision. While entrepreneurs don't have Amazon's resources, I tweaked bits of Amazon's decision-making approach to apply to my own business.
6. None Of Your Business by Shawn Dill
None Of Your Business illustrates how Dill's moved beyond the day-to-day of his service business to expand to more than 15 locations. I've shared this book with business owners struggling to expand.
7. Mind, Money, and Wealth by Robert Luxenberg
In just three years, Luxenberg went from a zero-balance account to multimillionaire status. Mind, Money, and Wealth breaks down how you can capitalize on your own talents. I find this helpful when I've lost sight of my options.
8. Future Proof by Diana Wu David
Future Proof highlights how to take advantage of shifting trends that can help reinvent yourself. I'm a big proponent of pivoting when needed, whether it's a new theme for my podcast or a new onboarding approach.
9. Be Wise Now by Gael McCool
McCool believes trusting yourself is essential; Be Wise Now offers insights to cultivate your intuitive wisdom. While reading, I recommend evaluating situations with positive or negative outcomes and working backward to pinpoint moments when you questioned yourself.
10. Master the Key by Michael Flynn
Master the Key tells the story of a man named Steve, an overworked father who suffers a major heart attack that forces him to rethink life. This book reminded me of my full potential in every aspect of my life.
11. The Scribe Method by Tucker Max and Zach Obront
Everyone has his own unique story to tell, but we don't always have the language. The Scribe Method offers simple and effective techniques to write your own story. Writing my first book would have been a lot easier with these tools at my disposal.
12. Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief by Chris Cooper
Remaining averse to change can keep you stuck in an entrepreneurial hamster wheel. Founder, Farmer, Tinker, Thief breaks down the four stages of entrepreneurship to offer a way out. This was helpful for me when I got stuck ruminating on the same solutions.
13. It's Never Just Business by J. Scott
Scott's techniques have the power to shift employees into a team and build an adaptable culture that seeks growth. I find It's Never Just Business helpful for encouraging people to feel the bigger purpose of building themselves.
14. Connected to Goodness by David Meltzer with Harrison Lebowitz
Connected to Goodness trains you to empower others through seven principles for sustainable growth. The thesis is based on Meltzer's goal of making money while helping people and having fun, which helped me reframe work-life balance.
Growth doesn't have to slow to a crawl during summer. By adding thought-provoking books to your reading list, you can remain focused on your growth during the summer.