It’s been a challenging year on many levels—so for many of us, summer couldn’t come fast enough. But if you’re looking for something other than detective novels and bingeable page-turners (though we love those too), here are some of our favourite business books of the year (so far) that also make for great summer reads.
This year’s list covers everything from timely topics like the future of work to new ways of thinking about leadership, strategy and regret. But a common thread runs through them: hope. So as you head to the cottage or vacation rental—or even just the backyard—consider these summer reads to stimulate and inspire your mind.
The Power of Regret: How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward
The pandemic got a lot of people thinking about paths not taken, at work and in life. But the best-selling author of When and Drive is back with a new book that explains the power of regret, loss and disappointment—and how this can help us make smarter decisions and bring greater meaning to our lives. With examples and practical takeaways, Pink shows us how re-imagining regret can help us find a better path forward. So don’t live a life without regrets—embrace them.
The Nowhere Office: Reinventing Work and the Workplace of the Future
Hybrid work is here to stay, along with automation and the fourth industrial revolution—which is no surprise to IT pros. But in this lively read, Hobsbawm offers practical advice on how to navigate this pivotal moment in history. She also provides insight into how the way we work is being transformed by larger issues, such as hierarchy, bias, identity and security. And, if handled correctly, it could serve as a springboard for positive transformational change in the workplace.
The Science of Stuck: Breaking Through Inertia to Find Your Path Forward
We all experience ‘stuckness’ in our lives—perhaps even more so during global crises such as a pandemic. And while we may know how to move forward, we find ourselves unable to take that leap … and end up in a loop of self-doubt. Frank, a psychotherapist and educator, posits that you’re not lazy or unmotivated. In fact, we can’t ‘think’ our way forward. This hands-on roadmap brings together research-backed solutions to help you break old habits and patterns, move forward with purpose and take control of your choices.
The Power of Crisis
If you’ve been feeling anxious about the state of the world, you’re not alone. So why add a book about global crises to your list of summer reading? Renowned political scientist Bremmer details how domestic and international conflicts have left us unprepared for a trio of looming crises: global health emergencies, transformative climate change and the impacts of the AI revolution. But he also draws lessons from the global challenges of the past 100 years to deliver “a dose of insight and a dash of hope,” and helps us understand how global crises open windows of opportunity.
The Earned Life: Lose Regret, Choose Fulfillment
As renowned leadership coach Goldsmith explains it: “We are living an earned life when the choices, risks, and effort we make in each moment align with an overarching purpose in our lives, regardless of the eventual outcome.” Here’s the problem: most of us are attached to the “eventual outcome.” Letting go of that goes against everything we’re taught about achievement and fulfillment. Taking inspiration from Buddhism, Goldsmith explains how to avoid wallowing in regret and instead ground our achievements in a higher purpose.
Don’t Trust Your Gut
Considering the title, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this book was written by a data scientist. Economist and former Googler Stephens-Davidowitz argues that while we often think we know how to better ourselves, the numbers disagree. We usually consult friends and family, maybe even seek out expert advice, but in the end we do what feels right. Using troves of big data research, Stephens-Davidowitz explains how hard facts and figures consistently contradict our instincts, from careers to marriage—and how the right data can teach us what will actually make our lives better.
The Crux: How Leaders Become Strategists
Strategy is more often akin to wishful thinking, something we “do” based on policies. But Rumelt describes strategy as more of a journey “through, over, and around a sequence of challenges.” Leaders who are true strategists focus on challenges; they’re able to pinpoint and tackle the crux (for climbers, a crux is the hardest part of a boulder climb). With plenty of real-life examples, like Elon Musk and SpaceX, Rumelt illustrates this alternative way of looking at strategy.
How Minds Change: The Surprising Science of Belief, Opinion, and Persuasion
Why do some people change their minds on a whim, while others never change them? McRaney delves into the latest research of psychologists and neuroscientists, exploring “the limits of reasoning, the power of groupthink, and the effects of deep canvassing”—all told from a perspective of humor and scientific curiosity. In an age of conspiratorial thinking, McRaney explains how we can rethink our own views and motivate others to rethink theirs—and rise to the occasion with empathy and compassion.