Summer is nearly here. And that means figuring out what books you'll be reading by the poolside. Now if you're looking for books that unravel mysteries of murder, or spy books, this isn't a list for you. If, however, you're looking to fill your mind with how to be better at business or leadership, then get your credit card ready.
These are my top picks for reading during this pool and beach season:
1. Disrupted: My Misadventure in the Start-Up Bubble, by Dan Lyons
Reportedly, HubSpot attempted to stop the publication of the book. Lyons worked there and uses his experience to analyze life in the tech bubble. Keen insights. Delicious stories. Worrisome and compelling. Disrupted has it all.
2. Managing for Happiness: Games, Tools, and Practices to Motivate Any Team,by Jurgen Appelo
Appelo's book is a treasure trove of insights and actionable tips to make the workplace work again. Rare is the book that is solely dedicated to helping you tangibly figure out how to make a difference as a leader. As you read the book, you can literally put together a plan of action that could very well bring happiness to your workplace.
3. Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time, by Arianna Huffington
Picking up a theme from her previous book, Thrive, Huffington goes deep into why sleep is a performance maker. Sleep has consequences, and you need to know what they are--without it and with plenty of it. This is essential reading for the busy entrepreneur who sacrifices sleep for perceived progress.
4. Ego Is the Enemy, by Ryan Holiday
I consider Holiday to be a modern-day philosopher. Drawing on wisdom of the Stoics, Holiday gives us a thought-provoking book on how ego messes with our minds and affects our performance. Go straight for this one. It's well written and will have you doing some critical self-analysis. This is a good thing to do.
5. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World, by Adam Grant
What I love about this book is how Grant explores topics that we blindly accept as truth: Follow your passion; don't have a side gig when trying to launch a business, a.k.a. don't have a Plan B, for example. This is a fantastic read, backed by Grant's research, on bucking conventional wisdom and succeeding doing so.
Sanders challenges the outdated belief that sales professionals need to work in an environment like that of Glengarry Glen Ross. Instead, Sanders advocates that cross-collaboration with people outside sales to win is key in today's business environment. The lone wolf is no longer your top performer. In sales, you need to work with people to win. Dealstorming is a refreshing take on sales in the 21st century.
7. Business for Punks: Break All the Rules--the Brewdog Way, by James Watt
I love the rebelliousness in Watt's take on business. It's also one of my favorite designed books this year. With an in-your-face logic that is hard to argue against, Watt will introduce you to beliefs that encourage you, much like Adam Grant's, to not conform to society's expectations of you and your business. Follow your instincts, but be methodical. This, too, is a refreshing read.
8. The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur's Vision of the Future, by Steve Case
Case gives us an analysis of pivotal business decisions that shaped companies' destinies. Mining these decisions, he gives the reader keen insights that are thought provoking. If you're not familiar with Case, he is the co-founder of AOL. He's got the chops to analyze for us good and bad business decisions.
9. The Purpose Effect: Building Meaning in Yourself, Your Role, and Your Organization, by Dan Pontefract
As Pontefract acknowledges in his second book, purpose isn't new. It's the topic du jour. More than being trendy, purpose is a key principle to give direction to your life and your work. Pontefract's offering is one that will guide you to analyze and determine your purpose. It's a worthy examination.
10. TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking, by Chris Anderson
Anderson is the "Head of TED." So he has the credentials to give us insights on what makes a great TED talk. It doesn't matter if you're a speaker or giving a key presentation, there are nuggets to gain from Anderson's analysis of great public speaking.
11. Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg
In our insanely busy world, it's too easy to confuse busyness with productivity. Duhigg identifies eight productivity concepts that can help hack ineffective habits.
12. The 10 Laws of Trust: Building the Bonds That Make a Business Great, by Joel Peterson
Peterson is the chairman of JetBlue. Aside from being a short read, Peterson packs a punch with 10 laws that can help you make a difference in leading your people to greatness. Some of my favorite points in the book are powers of trust, what your budget says about priorities, and collecting and celebrating "hero stories."
13. Learning Leadership: The Five Fundamentals of Becoming an Exemplary Leader, by Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner
Leadership can be developed. Kouzes and Posner reveal a concrete framework to help the knowledge seeker in you become exemplary. Anything that Kouzes and Posner pen is worth your time reading.
14. The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever, by Michael Bungay Stanier
I love this book. It's not just for the executive coaches out there. This is for the leader who wants to improve how she helps her team members be more effective at work. Bungay Stanier centers the book on seven questions and then goes into how to use them as part of your leadership practice. It's not what you tell people, but what you ask them that makes the biggest difference.
15. That's Not How We Do It Here: A Story About How Organizations Rise and Fall--and Can Rise Again, by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber
Kotter is world renowned for his change practices. So this fable sets him up to explain the one killer of change: "That's not how we do things around here." Perfect for poolside reading, Kotter and Rathgeber's book will enlighten and satisfy the change maker in you.
There you have it. The summer season's top picks, at least for the first part of summer. Plenty of ways to boost your business and leadership acumen. Happy reading!