Do you have your summer books stacked and ready to read? I do. I typically go into the summer with an ambitious pile of books to read that usually carry over into the fall and the end of the year. For my entire adult life, I have kept a three-subject stack of books going at the same time: business related, theologically relevant (faith based), and a mindless fiction suspense novel. I often travel with all three and have one book in each category going at the same time.
Like last year, I asked a couple dozen friends to share what they have been reading or planning to read this summer. The list of friends included pastors, CEOs, physicians, an artist, entrepreneurs, NFP leaders, university professors, and a few fellow fishermen.
It is a noisy, busy, crowded globe we live in, and filtering (i.e., discerning) has become one of the greatest attributes any leader can possess. Time and attention are among our most prized resources. Be wise with those expenditures. We will become what we love and give our attention to. Without exception.
Back to the books.
I recognize that reading is not everyone’s primary learning style. It actually isn’t mine. Some people learn best by listening (we’re fortunate to be living in a podcast-rich world) and others learn best by doing. Your primary learning style is the one you default to, the one with the best cognition and recall. But regardless of your hard-wired style, make sure you are learning and implementing fresh thinking and insights every year of your life. Otherwise, life just repeats itself until the end.
Back to the books.
Here are some considerations for your summer stack:
- Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight
- Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice by Clayton M. Christensen
- Boundaries for Leaders: Results, Relationships, and Being Ridiculously in Charge by Henry Cloud
- A Man of the Word: The life of G. Campbell Morgan by Jill Morgan
- The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace by Ron Friedman
- The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google by Scott Galloway
- Corporate Religion: Building a Strong Company Through Personality and Corporate Soul by Jesper Kunde
- Playing God: Redeeming the Gift of Power by Andy Crouch
- Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
- Cultural Strategy: Using Innovative Ideologies to Build Breakthrough Brands by Douglas Holt
- A Seat at the Table: IT Leadership in the Age of Agility by Mark Schwartz
- Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations by Amy Chua
- David: A Man of Passion and Destiny by Charles Swindoll
- The Story of Purpose: The Path to Creating a Brighter Brand, a Greater Company, and a Lasting Legacy by Joey Reiman
- The Joe Pickett Series by C. J. Box
I’ve already read some of the books and some I haven’t. Some are hot off the press and some are decades old. A couple are repeats for me. I ascribe to what Gail Levine argued—“There’s nothing wrong with reading a book you love over and over. When you do, the words get inside you, become a part of you, in a way that words in a book you’ve read only once can’t.” Some are books that I need to read but they’re not thrilling page turners—just more hard work. Some of them I don’t fully agree with, but they help sharpen my thinking with an alternative view. Some are just fun and don’t require a lot of in-the-moment thinking but later creep back into my thinking with surprising deep reflection.
Perhaps you have a better list that fits your taste. Go for it.
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.” –Oscar Wilde