My summer weekends are all booked up. -Anonymous
Have you noticed how contagious reading is? It is like walking or cooking, singing or dancing. When we have to do it, we stop when we are done. When we choose it, we find ourselves in the pure joy of it without even knowing how much time has passed. Reading has been proven to build empathy, strengthen problem-solving skills, improve brain health, and widen our vocabulary and yet nearly 25% of American adults didn’t read a book last year (survey conducted by Pew Research Center).
We have probably all said at one time, “I really should read more” or “I wish I had the time to read that book you recommended.” This summer, throw the shoulds out the window and “book” up your weekends.
Here are my summer reading list invitations. They are not required, nor are they something you should do. They are simply waiting here to see if the dipping sun, and the cool breeze on the porch, whisper for you to pick one of them up and see what unfolds within the pages, and perhaps what unfolds within you, as a result.
Martha Beck addresses one of the most pressing topics of our day, leading with integrity. The questions Beck poses in this text that we can ask ourselves in pivotal moments we are facing are life-changing. One of the most powerful quotes that stood our for me is, “To be in integrity is to be one thing, whole and undivided.” -Martha Beck
The next book opens with the concept that there are moments in just about every leadership journey when the path forward suddenly feels unclear. The authors explore that the way to restore clarity is through rediscovering and connecting with our personal leader narrative and our reason for doing the work we do. “As you edit and upgrade your internal narrator, you’ll develop a personal story that is more grounded and anchored in your true self: one that is less fragile, more resilient, and able to withstand the relentless pressures of leadership—and life.” -Lash and Miners
My copy of this book by John O’Donohue has so many highlights that it looks like I marked every paragraph. I am going to read it again this summer with no pen in hand and wonder at is gifts. This is a beautiful book in any season but particularly when we have an expanse of time to dive in. It only takes a moment to be fully captivated. I love how this quote is so counter to so much of what we have learned about productivity, “All thinking that is imbued with wonder is graceful and gracious thinking.”
If you are someone that likes to wrap your head around complex leader paradigms, even on a beach day, this is your book. It will stick with you for years once you read it because there is so much to turn over in one’s mind. “It is a practice. It relies on a way of being and doing that most of us were never taught. It requires that we pause and look inward to discover how old habits and hidden assumptions undermine the results we seek. It requires self-awareness, conscious choice, and courageous action.” -Brian Emerson
Did I save the best for last? Perhaps, although I hope all of these books are compelling for their own reasons. This book continues to teach me so much and that is why it keeps inviting me back. Here is one example of something I have said so many times, that I now say differently because of this book: “We need to dispel the myth that empathy is “walking in someone else’s shoes.” Rather than walking in your shoes, I need to learn how to listen to the story you tell about what it’s like in your shoes and believe you even when it doesn’t match my experiences.” -Brené Brown.
While summer tumbles along, books may pile up as you save lists that come across your desk. Instead of powering through them, see which one is inviting you in and simply accept the invitation. It is a gentle way to create space and time to let the summer rush in.
Here are some book lists I have curated from summers gone by: