Best Books That Have Shaped Me This Summer

Photos by x_miinzi_21.

My favorite thing about summer is that I get more relaxed time with our kids.  No homework.  Fewer commitments.  Time traveling together as a family.

While that’s a constant summer after summer, one of the additional highlights of summer 2014 has been the amazing books I’ve read.  They have been so interesting and transformative that I find myself recommending them in meetings and over coffee.  So if you’re looking for some good reading this fall, I have a few suggestions.

Listed in no particular order (other than how they came to my mind) here are my favorites from the summer…

Creativity, Inc., by Ed Catmull, the President of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation.  A great behind-the-curtain look at what has made Pixar great, which has helped me think more about the power of collaboration and honest feedback in our FYI team. 

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown.  I can’t remember a book that I’ve thought about more after I read it.  Brown’s distinction between “shame” (meaning feeling like I am bad) and “guilt” (meaning feeling like I do bad things) explains so much of my own struggles and insecurities.

Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley.  After two different friends recommended this to me in one day, I knew I had to read it.  Stanley speaks so honestly about the reality that we can’t do it all and we have to choose where (or who) we are going to cheat with our time.  For the two weeks after I read it, I kept telling myself, “I’m going to cheat work, not my kids.”

One Summer:  America, 1927 by Bill Bryson.  A fantastic exploration of summer of 1927 in America, and how Charles Lindbergh, Babe Ruth, Al Capone, and a host of other lesser-known Americans shaped not only that summer, but the America that we know and experience today. 

Crucial Conversations by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, and Switzer.  After hearing Joseph Grenny at the Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit, I immediately ordered the book.  Thanks to this book, I’ve got a better grasp of how to create a safe environment for tough personal and professional conversations.  I’ll be re-reading this one multiple times.

I’m always looking for good books to read, so what other books have shaped your summer?