Whether your store is closed, going to be closed soon, or you’re lucky enough to remain open, it’s always a great time to open a new book. Personally, I am an ardent believer in learning and always expanding your knowledge. Understanding new perspectives and listening to the stories of other people are incredibly effective ways to help you grow and become a better leader and business person. I also find that in this age of technology and constant distraction, getting into a good book is an excellent mental exercise.
So without further adieu, this is my personal shortlist of books I have either recently read and loved or have been wanting to read. It’s a good mix of informative and influential business books, some self-help and focus books, and a few novels and all-around good reads.
I would also love to hear what others you would recommend, or if your thoughts on any of the books listed.
Kicking off our list is this fantastic book by Ryan Holiday. You may have read or heard of his previous best-selling book “The Obstacle Is The Way.” Holiday has been an incredibly influential entrepreneur and writer in the modern era and I love his philosophy of focus, stillness, and stoicism. We’ve never lived in a more distracted era of history, and this book does an excellent job of pulling you back and giving you the mental capacity to calm your business anxieties and focus on what’s most important in your life.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
So, I have a small confession here. I’m a big fan of Cal Newport. I’ve listened to a few podcasts with him, read this book, and done my best to follow his work and achievements. Continuing our theme of focus, Newport lays out a really practical and challenging guide to building constructive habits and practices to make you a more effective individual. Whether it’s part of your business or family life, his theories about distinguishing “shallow” and “deep” priorities have been a really impactful part of my daily routine.
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
If you’re more of a video learner than a reader, you might be really familiar with Simon Sinek’s work. He’s been working with businesses all over the world for many years now, but his groundbreaking work on “why” really took off when his TED Talk went viral in 2009.
“Start With Why” is one of those books and philosophies that seems so obvious and simple, you’ll wonder why you haven’t been thinking like this your entire life.
Shifting gears quite a bit, no summer reading list would be complete without a few good novels. After all, most of the United States is still in quarantine, so a good entertaining read is a nice break from the busyness of everything.
Exciting Times tells the story of a young Irish expat to Hong Kong who gets caught up in a crazy love triangle. If you ever watched and enjoyed the show “Crazy Rich Asians” you’ll see a lot of similar themes here.
Range: Why Generalists Triumph In A Specialized World
As business owners, it’s often that we feel like we have so much variance in our skills but no specializations. Unlike more dedicated professions, there are so many store owners that are talented leaders, creatives, financial experts, speakers, and other skills that often get overlooked. In Range, David Epstein expands on his previous book “The Sports Gene: Inside the Science of Extraordinary Athletic Performance” to discuss the value and extraordinary ability that generalists contain. This meaty book is really in-depth and a powerfully thought-provoking read for any entrepreneur.
How to Get Sh*t Done: Why Women Need to Stop Doing Everything so They Can Achieve Anything
I always feel like the title of this book basically sells itself. There have been hundreds of books about getting things done. The mystery of efficiency and effectiveness has been discussed over and over again. But Erin Falconer, an incredibly talented writer and businesswoman, really takes this to a new level. Challenging the constant patriarchal standards imposed on women, she joyfully covers challenges and empowering ways for women to move beyond their expected standards of success and pursue big goals and achieve things they never thought possible.
Named the Most Anticipated Book of 2020 by Vogue, Pizza Girl is a humorous and quirky coming of age story. You’ll laugh, cry, and want to tell your friends with each chapter you get through. If you’re looking for a fun, summer read, this should easily be on the top of your list.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
There are few business books that have sold as many copies as this. Covey is one of the most influential authors in the self-help and business strategy arena. His tactics and techniques will enrich your life with more time, joy, and accomplishments.
Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future
The last two on this list are more focused on leadership and some of the pains and gains of building a startup. Slightly different than any consignment store, it’s always a really interesting journey to read how some of the most successful leaders in the tech world have built their empires. Thiel is uniquely fascinating as he poses the idea that we are living in an era of technological stagnation. He goes through the history of tech entrepreneurship and how the next great leaders will navigate their way through and build the future of business.
Lost and Founder: A Painfully Honest Field Guide to the Startup World
This is my last fanboy author. Rand Fishkin is probably my most favorite entrepreneur of my lifetime. Ever since the founding of MOZ, his weekly webinars covering the aspects of SEO and building effective websites captivated me like none other. He’s an incredibly honest and truthful author and speaker. This book, “Lost and Founder” talks through the various myths of entrepreneurship and starting a tech company. Relevant to any business, Fishkin’s book is a refreshing and encouraging read for any business person.