By Cathy Salit

For me, one of the best things about summer is the bit of extra time you get to do some non-required reading. If you feel the same way, have a look at the Performance of a Lifetime list of summer reads — first, the business books we’ve been finding helpful this year, and then some recommendations from the staff.

SOME FAVORITE BUSINESS BOOKS:

Thanks for the Feedback by Douglas Stone and Sheila Heen
This delightfully written book provides a simple framework and powerful tools to help you craft a new, and much more effective performance of receiving feedback.

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh
Zappos is all about selling shoes, right? Actually, in this book Zappos’ CEO shows how customer service, and focusing on the happiness of those around you, has been crucial to the company’s success.

Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader by Herminia Ibarra
Change is hard. Leading during change can be even harder. If you want to show up as a leader in new ways and/or if organizational change requires you to do so, take a deep breath and dive into this book.

Wired to Create by Scott Barry Kaufman and Carolyn Gregoire
One of the wonders of creativity is its messiness, which is also what makes it such a challenge. But when Kaufman and Gregoire unpack the “mysteries of the creative mind” via this book, these challenges feel a little less scary and even more meaningful.

 

A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE BEACH READS:

Amanda, project manager/designer and our office’s own personal stylist, loved What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan. “It’s a novel about a mother’s search for her missing son and if you liked The Girl on the Train then you must read this book!”

Jeff, project manager/designer and comic improviser who sometimes comes to work as Rick, his bro-like alter ego, highly recommends American Gods by Neil Gaiman. Now an incredibly popular TV show, the book pits old country gods like Thor and Odin against a new crop of “American gods,” including media, technology and small town roads. It’s one percent fantasy, one percent action and 98% Rick!

Kris, another of our project manager/designers, who has never met a conversation he didn’t think he could turn into a screenplay, can’t seem to get enough of Architecture and Surrealism by Neil Spiller. He says it speaks to the ways we can use art to explore the deepest, strangest, most exciting aspects of being human, by connecting disparate lines of emotion and imagination.

Robin, our director of client solutions, is a business development maven by day and cabaret singer by night. She’s been loving Laurie King’s “Russell & Holmes” mystery series featuring Mary Russell, an invented much younger sleuthing partner and spouse of Sherlock Holmes. This interesting historical fiction series is a fun, feminist take on the famously curmudgeonly detective.