Summer is for Reading Good Books

Temperatures are already rising and summer is in sight – time to round up some of our recommendations for summer reading. Whether your book is for relaxing on the beach or for your earbuds during a workout, books can challenge us; comfort us; propel us on journeys to far away and foreign places or on journeys inward and intimate. These are the books we have enjoyed recently – please be in touch to tell us what you are reading, too!

As faithful followers of Daniel Pink, we love his latest book “The Power of Regret : How Looking Backward Moves Us Forward” This is a fascinating read out from his research about the regrets people reported and their attitudes toward them. He delivers a handy typology of four categories of regrets and food for thought on the most-cited type – spoiler alert – it is regrets around not making or maintaining ‘connections’. This is a great read, especially for the overly-analytical who can learn from others’ experiences.   

Another of our favorite authors, Brené Brown, is out with Atlas of the Heart, which explores making connections, mapping out and sorting through emotions that move us toward and away from others. As always, she brings a mix of storytelling, research, and interviews to share the language, tools, and framework for meaningful connection. While the title may evoke a ‘softer’ topic, this is a terrific primer for building a business network or working through difficult relationships. If you have HBOMax, you can check out the streaming series of the same name.

Though published back in 2015, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma has experienced a resurgence, spending more than 188 weeks on the NY Times Bestseller List for NonFiction. Author Bessel van der Kolk documents in a scientific manner the biological, physiological, and neurological effects of trauma on individuals and their communities. He explores the pathways to healing and the effects on individuals and communities when healing is absent. This is fairly dry writing, on a thought- and emotion-provoking topic. 

Julia Galef feels like an old friend and her first book, The Scout Mindset, puts into words and checklists much of what is currently understood about cognitive biases and approaches to eliminate them. Stated simply, she does not write about what you *should* think, she writes about *how to* think and her advice and illustrations will be helpful to any analyst and especially enjoyable for followers of behavioral economics.

If you doubt the need to think more clearly and accurately, turn to Oliver Burkeman and his book: Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals where he schools us on prioritizing and letting go of our sense of anxious hurry which may keep us busy and also keep us from our goals.  His writing combines psychology, philosophy, and time management to share tools for constructing a meaningful life and making the most of our “four thousand weeks”.

And if the title of Burkeman’s book drew you in to learn more, then you will really enjoy Chip Heath’s  Making Numbers Count – The Art and Science of Communicating Numbers. Successful economic developers are constantly putting numbers and data in perspective – both to promote communities and to explain or provide context for numbers that cast communities in an unfavorable light. This practical guide uses clear principles to help translate static numerals into perspectives and meaning. This one might belong in your E.D. office library!

We want to give one more plug for Adam Grant’s Think Again – which we gave to attendees at our April Women’s Economic Development Network conference. Beyond Julia Galef’s advice about how to approach thinking and decision-making, Grant believes that examining our beliefs and conclusions in a more critical way, including studying ideas and perspectives we disagree with, will lead to true wisdom and ‘evolving our beliefs’ rather than ‘confirming our beliefs’. In an economy that is fast-changing, along with technology innovations, the skill to change your mind and incorporate new information and experiences will serve you well.

Now, we do read for pleasure quite a bit and have a few recommendations for fun.  Music Is History by Questlove is a delightful timeline of American history through music. He takes just one or two songs per year – beginning in the year of his birth, 1971, and  provides commentary and observation on the way that our music has reflected and reinforced American culture and historical touchpoints.

If you like a mystery with keen character development and sense of place, you should check out Colson Whitehead’s follow up to his two Pulitzer Prizes for previous novels with The Harlem Shuffle. Called ‘a family saga masquerading as a crime novel’ it takes you to 1960’s Harlem and another time.

Up-and-coming novelist SA Cosby is from rural southern Virginia and his characters and settings will be familiar to folks from ‘around here’. Two novels, Blacktop Wasteland and Razorblade Tears have garnered attention for his ‘Southern Noir’ and allowed him to quit his day job. Check them out here   

These are our favorites to whet your appetite. Reach out and tell us what you are reading – or planning to read. For further inspiration – here are some noteworthy lists to consider:

Traveling this summer? Here are book picks for all 50 states (and then some).   -NPR

21 Books to read this summer. -Washington Post

10 new page-turning novels you should read this summer. -Fortune Magazine

88 Books to Bring Your Summer Alive.   -New York Times

10 books to add to your reading list in June. -LA Times

The 12 Hot Nonfiction Books to Read This Summer. -Adam Grant

10 Summer Reads for City Innovators -Bloomberg Cities Network

JPMorgan released its 10 must-read books of the summer on everything from NFTs to Greek myths.  -Business Insider

5 great books for the summer- Bill Gates -GatesNotes

The Best Music Books of 2021.   -Rolling Stone Magazine

Beach Reads Perfect for Summer 2022.   -Southern Living Magazine

The books to read in 2022.    -The Financial Times

Books from Top Political Thinkers – a cool interactive feature.    -Politico

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