During the summer, I like to have several audible books in the queue as well as hard copies to read on days off. Reading in the summer somehow seems a little easier, and I think most people would agree it's a great time to devour some fascinating reads. Below is a well-rounded list of titles, including some self-help and more traditional business books, that may serve to inspire and educate. The books on this list incorporate some common themes that affect us all -- facing fears, busting through stale belief systems, getting through hardships, connecting with people, improving relationships, and leading life on your own terms. Hopefully, they will uplift your heart and mind, and move your soul.
1. The Simple Truths About Leadership: Creating a People-Centric Culture, Second Edition, by Larry Peters
The truths uncovered by Peters in the second edition of his book The Simple Truths About Leadership may be straightforward in theory, but they are also compelling and timeless. Traditionally, businesses have placed profit before people. However, there is a significant cost to this paradigm in the form of stress-related illness, loss of top talent, and more. Peters presents the case that the present -- and future -- belongs to organizations that can manage a flexible, motivated workforce, and that making your employees the ultimate priority will pay you more "dividends" than you ever thought possible. The book is brimming with unconventional heart-centered wisdom offering a more mindful approach to leadership.
2. On Being Human: A Memoir of Waking Up, Living Real, and Listening Hard, by Jennifer Pastiloff
On Being Human is Pastiloff's first book, and it has received support from an elite community of writers such as Cheryl Strayed and Elizabeth Gilbert. It's a memoir, beautifully wrapped in inspiration and self-discovery that can speak to almost anyone. Through the power of yoga and the courageous unearthing of her often messy and humorous story of discovering her self-worth, Pastiloff chronicles her journey of overcoming anorexia, hearing loss, and depression. It's raw, real, and truly a story on "being human." There are universal messages revealed in this book about waking up and genuinely living your truth.
3. Win the Heart: How to Create a Culture of Full Engagement, by Mark Miller
I've always admired Miller's approach to leadership, especially his heart-centered impact at Chick-fil-A. His latest book in the High Performance series, Win the Heart continues the conversation of servant leadership practices through the eyes of CEO Blake Brown. It is written in a fictional format, depicting the story of Brown's path of discovery that uncovers essential principals of a more engaged workforce. It is a beautiful story with an abundance of spirit that champions the message that putting people first is an enduring and successful way to lead any organization.
4. Master Your Motivation: Three Scientific Truths for Achieving Your Goals, by Susan Fowler
Fowler affirms the message that discipline, willpower, and rewards will only take you so far when it comes to staying motivated. In Master Your Motivation, Fowler, a longtime member of the Ken Blanchard Companies, lays down three important science-backed methods to reframe your approach to motivation: choice, connection, and competence. Through storytelling and exercises, this book is a great tool that will help you and your teams remain motivated and ultimately achieve your goals. I love this method that guides you to intrinsically "go deep" within to tap into your own unique source of motivation.
5. When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, by Pema Chödrön
Anything written by renowned American Buddhist nun Pema Chödrön is worthy of your attention -- her books and teachings deliver powerful, life-changing messages. However, When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times is a book I refer to often. It's a carefully curated collection of talks Chödrön gave between 1987 and 1994 that demonstrate myriad ways to overcome pain and difficulty. You don't have to be a Buddhist -- or falling apart -- to recognize some immense pearls of wisdom in this book. From facing your fears to understanding them enough to let them go, this book is brilliantly accessible and straightforward. I learn something new each time I pick it up.
6. Three Keys of Execution: Simple Ideas, Extraordinary Results, by Kent Vaughn, David Williams, and Brian Cox
When it comes to launching any new project, business, or idea, to be successful, you must have a sound execution strategy in place. Three Keys of Execution is here to help you with a simple, laid-out plan, from beginning to end. The keys? Vaughn, Williams, and Cox recommend simplicity, visibility, and accountability. The co-authors recognized that most people tend to complicate execution strategies. They may begin with good intentions, but when things become problematic, end goals are rarely achieved. Bringing any new idea to the market or launching new products, systems, and platforms is no easy task. It takes stamina, patience, and thoughtful planning. This book will help you understand complex strategies and refine the steps you need for success. Employing them will help you see your ideas through with fewer headaches -- and less heartache.
7. Take Control of Your Life: How to Silence Fear and Win the Mental Game (audible only), by Mel Robbins
Robbins is known for her ability to help you get to the crux of any matter quickly and see the steps to get out of any "rut." Take Control of Your Life is an audiobook that features a selection of one-on-one coaching sessions touching on a variety of relatable life challenges. It's a great way to instill change by learning how others realized their fears and have overcome them with honesty and grace.