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11 Must-Read Books for Your 2018 Summer Reading List

by Allison Stadd
featured, money & life

There’s no better time than summer to clock some serious reading mileage, be it poolside, at the park or on a long flight.

But these leisurely warm-weather months fly by; so it’s best to be strategic when it comes to your summer reading list. Below, 11 books well worth your hard-earned vacation hours. From building self-confidence to managing your time, the topics these selections masterfully cover will equip you for all your creative endeavors.

1. The Creative Curve, by Allen Gannett

Allen Gannett, CEO of analytics firm TrackMaven, has shepherded clients like Microsoft and Marriott to marketing mecca. He’s an expert at leveraging complex data to uncover actionable insights. With his first book, Gannett demonstrates how anyone, in any creative field and regardless of natural-born talent, can architect commercial success by tapping into “the creative curve”: the point of optimal tension between the new and the familiar.

Gannett argues that creative genius isn’t something you simply have or don’t have; anyone can achieve mainstream success through the four laws of the creative curve: consumption, imitation, creative communities and iterations.

Akin to Malcolm Gladwell’s style of transforming a pop science thesis into digestible nuggets of inspiration, Gannett shares stories from creative entrepreneurs ranging from the Beatles and J.K. Rowling to Michelin star chefs and the Chief Content Officer at Netflix, making for a highly readable business manual that will inspire you.

2. Captivate, The Science of Succeeding with People, by Vanessa Van Edwards:

People skills are a critical component of personal and professional success. But how can you perfect your interpersonal acumen if you’re naturally shy, find it hard to read people or hate making small talk?

Human behavior investigator Vanessa Van Edwards has cracked the code on building human connections. Backed by research from her human behavior lab, the Science of People, she presents easy-to-implement tricks for everything from decoding the seven universal facial expressions to telling a great story. Whether you need practical advice for getting what you want at the negotiating table, or are looking for insights into how to work a room at any networking event, this real life guidebook on how to captivate anyone will not disappoint.


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3. When to Jump: If the Job You Have Isn’t the Life You Want, by Mike Lewis:

Mike Lewis is the founder and CEO of When to Jump, a global community of people who have left their mainstream path to pursue a major change.

His first book is a collection of 40 case studies on people who have taken the plunge to chase their dreams. Lewis himself left a corporate career at Bain Capital to become a professional squash player. Others he profiles include a banker turned brewer, a garbage collector turned furniture designer and a publicist turned bishop.

Have you ever fantasized about closing your current professional chapter to start a new one? Not sure where to start, how to prepare or what to expect? When to Jump will give you the information and inspiration you need.

4. Future Crimes, by Marc Goodman:

The Internet used to be all fun and games. With the emergence of cyberspace, we could connect with each other in seconds, stay up-to-date on news from the other side of the globe and get pages of answers to any questions we could dream up at the click of a mouse. But in recent years, a darker side of the Internet has materialized. Hackers, viruses and malware abound. User data privacy is no longer a given.

Enter: Marc Goodman. Goodman is a former cop, undercover investigator and counter-terrorism strategist who’s advised Interpol, the White House and the FBI on cybercrime. Here he shares alarming but empowering insights into how our technology gets hijacked and what you can do to protect your digital life.

5. The Productivity Project: Accomplishing More by Managing Your Time, Attention, and Energy, by Chris Bailey:

Each of us only has 1,440 minutes in a day. But how we use them differs widely. Chris Bailey spent a year experimenting with his habits in order to hack his productivity. He did everything from eliminating caffeine and sugar from his diet to living in isolation for 10 days.


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If you’ve ever felt like you don’t make the most efficient use of your time, or are simply curious to discover ways to boost your energy, Bailey’s collection of 25 best practices for productivity will be a worthwhile read.

6. Exponential Living, by Sheri Riley:

Though it may seem daunting, it’s possible to integrate your deepest personal desires into your life without sacrificing professional achievement. Take it from Sheri Riley: she left a high-powered marketing career launching iconic artists like Usher, TLC and Outkast because she didn’t feel like it fit who she truly was.

Over the years, she’s figured out how to balance a sense of self with professional purpose. And she’s sharing her wisdom — specifically, 9 principles of exponential living — so you can stop spending 100% of your time on 10% of who you are. It’s the perfect easy-read addition to your summer reading list.

7. Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life, by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans:

Life doesn’t just happen to you. You make it happen. You craft it to your personal specifications and mold it into what makes you feel your best.

In this compact manual, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans of Stanford’s hallowed Design Impact Program show how design thinking — approaching life as a designer approaches a creative challenge — can create a meaningful life. You’ll learn how to align your life and work views, parse the life story that’s brought you to where you are today and understand what gives you energy. Through fact-finding exercises and accessible advice, these design masters give you a front row seat in their real-world classroom.

8. Kick Ass With Mel Robbins, by Mel Robbins:

If you’ve always been curious about having a business coach, but haven’t taken the plunge, start here. Mel Robbins is an expert on confidence and courage and has coached powerful executives at hundreds of companies like Chase, Microsoft, and AT&T.

In this audiobook, she lets you eavesdrop on private coaching sessions on topics like improving relationships and getting unstuck from destructive habits. You can binge-listen to all 6-plus hours in one sitting, or sample one at a time. You’ll pick up tips and tools for everything from battling self-doubt to taking action towards your goals.

9. The Perfection Detox: Tame Your Inner Critic, Live Bravely, and Unleash Your Joy, by Petra Kolber:

Many women work towards an often unattainable or unrealistic level of perfection. Juggling work, kids, self-care and financial responsibilities, they can feel like failures if they don’t meet all their goals. As a fitness professional and health expert, Petra Kolber has met this challenge herself. This is why she created her Perfection Detox program — to help women replace these destructive narratives with more productive ones.

With simple wellness strategies and positive psychology, Kolber creates a guide to live a healthy and fuller summer and life.

10. A Life Less Throwaway: The Lost Art of Buying for Life, by Tara Button:

How many things do you own? How many books, pots, pairs of pants, tote bags, dog toys, candles, coasters, neckties, necklaces? How many things do you possess that have lasted more than a year? What about 10 years? 25 years?

In A Life Less Throwaway, former advertising executive Tara Button advocates for a return to mindful purchasing. No more impulsive online shopping, or settling for products that don’t exactly suit your purposes. No more useless clutter at home. No more overspending.

Button lays out her philosophy of buying sustainably and ethically and shares practical steps for adopting this fresh way of thinking. Add it your summer reading list so you’re prepared to resist the siren call of Labor Day sales.

11. How to Break Up with Your Phone: The 30-Day Plan to Take Back Your Life, by Catherine Price:

We spend more time on our smartphones than ever before — and the usage rate rises year after year. Whether scrolling through Instagram, playing Fortnite, texting friends, browsing the news or reading email, we have our smartphones just an arm’s reach away throughout most of every day (and, for many, every night!).

Journalist and self-proclaimed recovering phone addict Catherine Price lays out a practical 30-day plan to break up with your phone. You’ll learn how apps are built to be addictive, and what you can do to break the cycle. You’ll learn how to make adjustments to your phone settings and your personal environment to take back control of your everyday. Most importantly, you’ll learn how to create a healthier relationship with technology. Next time you’re about to check your phone without thinking, you’ll think twice.


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Allison Stadd