Entrepreneur, author, speaker, philanthropist, founder of Adaptively Education and Best in Class Educational Center.
Leadership circles agree that reading is one of many success habits. In reality, many famous namesincluding Warren Buffet, Oprah Winfrey and Elon Musk, attribute their success in part to spending time reading.
The professional development benefits of reading are vast and profound. Studies have shown that reading fuels innovation and creativity, deepens insights, and improves general knowledge and problem-solving skills.
While you may have heard about the benefits of reading for leadership, the pace of your daily life can present a challenge to establishing a regular reading routine. However, it is summer and you may be planning to go on vacation or leave the office a little early during this generally slower business season. Whether you’re taking a long plane trip to the tropics, a lakeside hideaway, or a seat next to your pool, this summer might just be the perfect time to indulge in reading.
There are so many books that it is difficult to know where to start. To help you out, here are six executive-approved books that are perfect for summer reading. I also shared personal reflections on each recommendation. The books on this list can help you develop new skills and gain new perspectives.
Books for personal growth
These two book suggestions have either challenged or influenced my way of thinking. Whenever colleagues or team members ask me if books have influenced my leadership, these two always come to mind to recommend.
1. The one thing by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan: This captivating lecture asks the question, “What’s the one thing that if I do it makes everything else easier or unnecessary?”
I’ve applied this “one thing” concept to my business, my family, and myself. By focusing on one thing, extraordinary change is possible. It may not seem like a very new or complex idea, but it is presented in a very accessible and thoughtful way.
2. The power of now by Eckhart Tolle: Living in the present is the central message Tolle conveys, and it’s one that I’ve become more aware of lately through some family challenges. By living in the present, I like to spend quality time with the people I love without thinking too much or focusing on the past or the future.
Books to learn marketing strategies
No matter how long someone has been in business, there are always new marketing strategies to learn or refine. These book recommendations are sure to take your marketing to the next level.
3. Never lose a customer again by Joey Coleman: A well-designed customer experience can earn loyal, enthusiastic fans who are happy to recommend your services to everyone they meet. Coleman identifies eight emotional phases that customers go through in the 100 days after a purchase that, when they receive attention, create loyal customer relationships. I’ve found this book to be an invaluable reminder to consistently track my companies’ customer experiences. The main idea is to focus resources and efforts on retention and remain aware that this focus on retention can easily be lost in acquisition.
4. Crushing it! by Gary Vaynerchuk: According to contemporary marketing guru Gary Vee, developing and leveraging your brand on social media can open new avenues to entrepreneurial success. This book highlights seven principles for growing robust social media platforms: authenticity, passion, patience, hard work, attention, speed and intention. My team and I have found many of his methods valuable in helping our educational companies scale and increase their visibility.
Memoirs for inspiration
Memoirs give us as leaders insight into the journeys of influential people. Reading these personal accounts can help us find common threads to think about and get inspired to keep going.
5. Become by Michelle Obama: From her humble beginnings on Chicago’s South Side to her glamorous life as America’s first African-American First Lady, Michelle Obama shares how the challenges and triumphs of her life journey contributed to her strength to defy expectations. As a refugee who recorded my experience in my own memoirs, From Bad to Worse to Best in Class: A Refugee Success Story, I resonated with one of the themes of the book: that passion and persistence can overcome a lack of privilege or position. Become is a call to action for those who strive to work harder and become more.
6. My life completely by Indra Nooyi: While her story was not an immigrant tale of hardship, I empathized with our parallel paths, coming from Southeast Asia, where our lives could have taken very different trajectories. Nooyi, the first immigrant and woman of color to run a Fortune 50 company, shares a moving tribute to her closest relationships and leadership insights through how she transformed PepsiCo. Her story can inspire all audiences, but most importantly, it can empower color leaders to use their beliefs and experiences to effect positive change.
Whatever your goals, I hope this list provides resources to help you on your way to achieving them. I invite you to find a comfortable place on your next vacation, open a book, pour yourself a refreshing drink and get inspired to reach your potential.