My Summer Reading Picks

From summer road trips to summer internships, summer barbeques to summer blockbusters, the warmer weather means there’s no shortage of activities to fill our longer days.

You might notice a pattern. A lot of these choices focus on new approaches – new ways of thinking – that counter established facts we often take for granted.

Arianna Huffington tackles the urge for over-productivity and offers a reminder on the benefits of prioritizing self-care when so many business leaders ask for self-sacrifice.  Fiona Hill and Cliff Gaddy break down widespread myths and fallacies about Russian President Vladimir Putin, clarifying the man’s real ambitions and what they mean for the West.  Steve Case pushes possibilities of the technology revolution past anything we may have previously imagined . . .

I hope you find something to your own liking among these picks presented here in no particular order. Tell me, what’s missing from my list that you would recommend? As always, I look forward to your comments and suggestions.

Mr. Putin: Operative in the Kremlin, by Fiona Hill and Clifford Gaddy
The Brookings Institution just completed working group with our Finnish friends   on Russia’s implications for the West. The man at the center of every conversation: Vladimir Putin. This multidimensional portrayal puts Putin’s ambitions and priorities in perspective with his past and purely Russian way of thinking.

The Sleep Revolution, by Arianna Huffington
In an age when work and personal lives are blended together more and more, Huffington makes a compelling case that sleep and self-maintenance have even greater affect on your performance in both worlds.

The Third Wave, by Steve Case
Technology today has the potential to enable entrepreneurs to revolutionize every sector of the economy. What’s to be gained? What’s to be lost? And what does it all mean for you?

Smarter Faster Better, by Charles Duhigg
From the author of the Power of Habit comes a probing – yet applicable – examination of the science of productivity. With an appendix of real-world lessons, Duhigg teaches his readers to manage how they think, instead of trying to control what they think, for meaningful, measurable advantages in navigating daily life.

Are We Smart Enough To Know How Smart Animals Are?  by Frans de Waal
Many of de Waal’s scientific aims simply come to prove what so many pet owners already instinctively understand. Animals have surprisingly rich inner lives and strong intellects.  But just how rich, and exactly how strong, might surprise even you.

The Road to Character, by David Brooks
As a Democrat, I don’t always agree with the New York Times columnist’s politics, but I always appreciate his insightful looks at the values, desires, and machinations that motivate Americans today. Brooks looks at how society does a good job of cultivating the “résumé virtues” (the traits that lead to external success) but not our “eulogy virtues” (the traits that lead to internal peace of mind). Worth reading for anyone reflecting on what it means to live well.

Grit, by Angela Duckworth
This MacArthur Fellow – better known as a recipient of the “Genius Grant” – argues that passion and perseverance are the keys to success over intelligence, happenstance, or luck. Dwelling on her own experience as a pioneering psychologist, in education research, and clinical look at the most successful American CEOs, she unlocks the path to achievement. Her takeaway? Success isn’t a function of ‘genius,’ but of ‘grit.’

Ted Talks, by Chris Anderson
We’ve all heard that more people fear public speaking than death itself. But since taking over TED in the early 2000s, Anderson’s unspooled the secrets of delivering an applause- worthy speech without turning green. For anyone who’s marveled at the presence and poise of a TED speaker, this book is for you.

The Code of the Extraordinary Mind, by Vishen Lakhiani
For the goal-driven, this book packs a powerful punch. By looking at unconventional leaders and non-conformist ways of thinking, Lakhiani will have you asking yourself: “what does it really mean to think on your own terms?”

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