Summer Reading Lists

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After the year of COVID, many of us are craving some time away from work when we can relax, spend time with loved ones, and read. Here are reading lists that suggest more than 100 possibilities for what to read, along with a word of advice.

Here are reading lists by PaySimple, Kerry Hannon, Brooke Vuckovic, Jessica Stillman, the NY Times, and Greg Satell.

From PaySimple: The 2021 Summer Reading List: 10 Best Books for Business Owners

“When you’re running a business, it’s never a bad idea to learn from the experts. In fact, most of the world’s top business leaders have one thing in common: they read (a lot). So, in that spirit, we’ve put together a list of 10 must-read books for business owners, covering topics ranging from effective team management to improving your problem-solving skills.”

From Kerry Hannon: Summer reading: Get better at work, money and retirement

“With that as a backdrop, here are a handful of fine work and money books for your summer reading list consideration. I have read each of these in recent months.”

From Brooke Vuckovic: Skip the business books this summer: 7 fiction reads to give you fresh perspectives

“I read and recommend fiction when challenging issues arise. Great fiction challenges me with its multifaceted characters in the context of different cultures, identities, conflicts, and time periods; this complexity is what many leaders need most to alter their point of view in positive ways. As a professor of leadership, here are seven literary gems from a diverse set of authors that I’ve read and enjoyed. They make for compelling summer reading and offer some surprising leadership lessons.”

From Jessica Stillman: 12 New Books Every Leader Should Read This Summer, According to Adam Grant

“Read some of these gems while you’re sitting by the beach and you just might end your vacation not just more relaxed, but also smarter than when you started it.”

From the New York Times: 73 Books to Put On Your Summer Reading List

“One summer, 73 books. No matter what you like — thrillers, audiobooks, cookbooks, historical fiction, music books, sci-fi, romance, horror, true crime, sports books, Hollywood tell-alls — we have recommendations for the perfect literary escape.”

From Greg Satell: Summer Reading List: 16 Books That Will Help You Understand The Next Decade

“Ahhhh…Summer! After more than a year of quarantine, we finally seem to be getting a grip on the pandemic. Things look infinitely more bright than they did a year ago and, almost against all odds, we can look forward to taking our masks off as we put our sunblock on. Hopefully, we can move back to some semblance of normalcy.”

From Strategy+Business: Summer reading suggestions 2021

“Whether it’s half-day Fridays, vacation weeks, or simply a few extra hours of daylight, the summer is an ideal for time for burrowing into a good book. Here are eight great reads from our recent coverage that challenge conventional wisdom and offer fresh perspective—on yourself, your company, and the economy at large.”

A Word of Advice

It’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the possibilities. It’s easy to choose far more books to read than you can read in twenty summers. It’s equally easy to just look at all the options, throw up your hands, and not choose anything.

Every year I put four books on my list. It’s inspired by the way my father decided what to read every summer. You can read more about it here.

I choose a book I’ve always wanted to read. This year is Ron Chernow’s biography of Ulysses Grant.

I choose something to read for fun. This year I’ll pick up reading the Joe Pickett series by C. J. Box. The link is to the first book in the series.

I choose a “pump priming book” every summer. It’s something outside my normal reading. This year I chose Breakfast at the Victory by James Carse.

I choose one great book to re-read every summer. This year it’s Mere Christianity by C. S. Lewis.

I use a worksheet to help me choose books for summer reading. You can download it here.

Have a great reading summer!

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