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  • Teresa George

Engaging Summer Reads – For Fun and For Business

It’s almost summer and who doesn’t love a good read! So many choices, so little time! Here’s

what’s going in my tote bag this summer! And a few of these books would make easy

graduation gifts too. If you want the perfect tote to haul your books around, we’ve included a

few of those too.

Need some encouragement to do more reading this summer? Some of the world’s richest, most creative and busiest people still find time to read:

  • Billionaire Mark Cuban says he reads three hours a day.

  • Oprah reads at least a book a month.

  • Facebook entrepreneur Mark Zuckerberg reads two books a month.

  • Warren Buffett says he devotes 80 percent of his time to reading.

These five great books are at least somewhat business-y but page-turning enough you’ll enjoy them, even while sipping an iced lemonade on a warm Saturday.


1. How Will You Measure Your Life - by Clayton M. Christensen, James Allworth, Karen

Dillon. I saw Clayton Christensen speak at a Startup Grind conference in Silicon Valley a

few years ago and was floored by his wisdom. He’s a Harvard professor, but his

likeability makes you feel like you’re chatting to a friend, not sitting in a lecture hall. His

most famous book, The Innovator’s Dilemma, is a business staple. How Will You Measure Your Life is equally profound. If you have graduates to buy for, this is a good one to grab for them too. Combining research and common sense, he offers up how to find happiness in our relationships and how to make good choices and stay out of jail.

(Convicted felon Jeffrey Skilling, former Enron CEO, was in his graduating class.)



Benefit – Some books you can thoroughly enjoy and forget. Not this one.

You’ll be thinking about this one long after the summer’s over – in a good way.


2. Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success – by Adam Grant. He’s also the

author of another great book I could’ve easily put on this list – Originals: How Non-

Conformists Move the World. With a surprising amount of research, he makes the case

for why “givers” are successful in everything from sitcom writing to Corporate America.

While I was reading it, I couldn’t help but think of Jesus’ words, “It’s more blessed to

give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) Grant will show you exactly.



Benefit – You’ll see the benefits of generosity in ways you haven’t thought about

before. And if you’re prone to burnout by giving too much, this book will help.


3. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup - by John Carreyrou. This is a

highly-acclaimed true thriller of intrigue and deception. It’s also the story of how savvy

Silicon Valley investors and big companies like Walgreen’s got bamboozled by Elizabeth

Holmes, a college dropout with no medical experience who claimed she was going to transform blood testing with her startup company Theranos. If you’re thinking about

creating a startup or investing in one, this is how not to do it. And if you think your office

is Dysfunction Junction, take heart. It will pale in comparison to Theranos’ dark culture.

Regardless, once you start this book, it’s hard to stop. I stayed up until 1 a.m. reading it.



Benefit – You’ll be appalled and engrossed at the same time.


4. The Road Back to You – by Ian Morgan Cron and Suzanne Stabile. You probably won’t

find this in the business section of your local bookstore. But it should be there. Because

the relationship you have with yourself and with others – will make or break your

business career, your family relationships and friendships. And the honest, relatable

stories will make you laugh. This book takes the Enneagram, an ancient personality

grouping, and shows you how to use it. Be prepared for two things:


a. Some disappointment. Most people don’t like whatever number they are

(Personality types are listed 1-9.).


b. Experiencing a little FOMO (fear of missing out) as you read the other numbers.

Skeptics say personality typing puts people in a box. The authors’ response to that is

people are already in a box. This helps them recognize it. The authors believe whatever

number we are, we all need God to save us from the darker parts of ourselves.

The Enneagram showed me things about my husband and my kids that I didn’t realize

from years of living with them. (That makes me sound a little dense, I know.) But you

too might be surprised about the insights you glean. It also helped me better

understand some of my work colleagues. Hopefully, I love my family, friends and

colleagues a little better now because of what I learned from this book.



Benefit - You’ll have more compassion for yourself and others. And you’ll be using the

insights just as much at home and at work. A great gift for a graduate too!


5. Fredrick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom -- by David M. Blight. If you’re looking for a

summer biography, this one won the Pulitzer Prize. Douglass was Martin Luther King Jr.

before Martin Luther King Jr. Why put this on a business-y reading list? Because he

courageously fought for racial equality in business, education and politics. As America’s

most famous orator, he changed public discourse during the Civil War and for decades

afterward. His work is still felt today.



Benefit - At 888 pages, you may feel a sense of accomplishment at finishing it or sadness

that it’s over.


I hope you have a little extra time to tuck into a book this summer. It’s a luxury we don’t

indulge in enough.


And if you need a great tote to put them in, then here are a few great ones:


For guys, Portland Leather has a rugged Dakota Urban Travel Backpack made of full-grain

leather (which they tout is six times stronger than regular leather) and a magnetic snap closure. It’s handcrafted in Portland, Oregon and right now is $120.


And here’s another tote that’s American made and oh so cute! $43. Kim Adams started her sewing business in her family’s garage in rural Van Wert, Ohio in 1984, and it’s grown since then to include various bags, weekenders and purses.



Draper James, Reese Witherspoon’s brand, has a lightweight cream and blue canvas bag with the perfect saying, “Gal with Grace” for $30.



Happy reading!


And we’re curious…

What book has benefited you and why?

What book would you add to this list?

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