Coco’s summer reading list

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With summer holidays and vacations upon us, it’s a good idea to have a book (or an audiobook) handy for long flights or quiet moments.

Here’s a list of my favourite reads that I’m sure you’ll find intellectually stimulating.

Work

Steven R. Covey, The 7 habits for highly effective people: Powerful lessons in personal change

This was one of the first business books I ever read and it remains high on my list of favourites. No matter where you are in your career or how often you read it, you can draw enlightening conclusions or find a new approach to a challenge you’re facing. In addition, it introduces vivid shared vocabulary that can become quite meaningful when you and others on your team begin to use it.

Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In

Both women and men can benefit from reading this book. For women, it’s a call to action: too often we have the chance to step forward or take a seat at the table and yet for a variety of reasons, we step back instead of leaning in. For men, if you’re trying to gain an understanding about what women are referring to when they speak of the glass ceiling, it provides clear and simple insights as well as action you can take. This book invites us all to take part in creating a more equal workplace, because the most prosperous companies are ones where both men and women have a voice.

Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter, What got you here won’t get you there: How successful people become even more successful

This book can help you to see those little areas that could be holding you back in a big way. It can be hard for us to gain insight into areas where we can improve, especially when we don’t know what we’re looking for or we have a hard time seeing what others are referring to when they give us feedback. This book lays out common areas that limit growth in plain English and can act as a catalyst to help us improve those areas and move to the next level.

Kerry Patterson and Joseph Grenny, Crucial Conversations: Tools for talking when the stakes are high

As an HR professional, this was an important read for me because my words held weight whether I was speaking with a hiring manager, an employee or a candidate. It helped me not only with what to say: it allowed me to understand where the other person was coming from and develop a deeper sense of listening and empathy, which in turn changed how I communicate. If you manage a team or find yourself in situations where you must communicate when the stakes are high, this can be a useful read.

Life

Shonda Rhimes, Year of yes: How to dance it out, stand in the sun and be your own person

While I’m not a huge fan of her TV shows, I found Shonda Rhimes’ memoir to be an inspiring read. She speaks of a year in her life when she made the decision to truly say “yes” to the opportunities that came to her. This forced her to confront her internal challenges and helped her grow when she was already an unparalleled powerhouse in her industry. For anyone who wants to walk their talk, and truly live their values, Year of yes can be an insightful read on how to take action towards that in the real world.

Michael A. Singer, The untethered soul: The journey beyond yourself

I believe that your life is the result of how you manage yourself and your emotions. In this short and simply written book, Singer guides you through managing your inner world. Whether you are a veteran in to this type of material or if you’ve never read anything “spiritual” but you’re aware that there’s more to life than what we see, this can be a thought-provoking and practical read.

The Between

Ron Chernow, Alexander Hamilton

Okay, I’m cheating a little bit because I’m technically still reading this. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash Broadway hit Hamilton: an American musical was transformational for me and Chernow’s book served as Manuel’s source material. In fact, Chernow acted as the historical advisor for the musical.

Chernow’s style is vivid and empathetic; you literally feel the characters jump off the page and come to life in your mind. It comes as no surprise that Manuel was moved by the work.

I studied Art History because I was always interested in the societies of a bygone era, but I could never have studied straight History because I always found myself bored to death by the material. Chernow’s work is a refreshing exception to this stereotype. It’s an 800-page read, so if you’re the practical type who only wants to bring one book on vacay, you won’t regret betting on this one.

Additional material

I wanted to share books that I had never discussed before, but I obviously stand firmly behind the books I had previously dedicated full articles to: