It is hard to imagine in our lifetimes a summer more anticipated and full of promise than the summer of 2021. Opportunity and possibility are everywhere we look, especially when compared to last year when the world seemed so closed and unpredictable.
Books may be a part of your plans for a sweet summer or may be the last thing from your mind as you re-engage with friends and family and travel. The last 18 months have certainly offered time and space for introspection – how and why we do what we do, and what changes we can drive in ourselves and our communities. Our reading logs and wish lists reflect this potential and drive for positive change.
Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know, by Adam Grant may be our most favorite read so far in 2021. His provocative book focuses on questions and gaps in knowledge. According to Grant, rethinking and unlearning are skills that matter most in our rapidly changing world. Gravitating to people who challenge us helps us to rethink and reconsider ideas that no longer serve us or our organizations well. If you are not ready to tackle his book – check out a TED talk he did in April.
Continuing with our introspection, we were anxiously awaiting How to Change: The Science of Getting from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, by Katy Milkman. The Wall Street Journal calls it “A science-based blueprint for achieving your goals, once and for all” and we are all about that! Dr. Milkman is a behavioral economist who has studied how people can sabotage their own interests and her book includes clear direction for tracking improvements in yourself and those around you.
Our annual Women’s Economic Development Network book was by another inspiring woman, Brené Brown. Her Dare to Lead resulted in several lively discussions during our virtual WEDN conference about the prospects for brave leadership in every phase of your career and in a variety of settings.
Since we led off this blog with books by scientists, you already know we are data-geeks here at Creative EDC – The Data Detective by Tim Harford is a great read with ‘Ten easy rules to make sense of statistics’. Maybe this is one to buy for your office and pass around? He begins with an homage to a little book all those of a certain age were sure to read in high school or college – How to Lie with Statistics. This book will be a great reference for years to come.
We are huge fans of Nobel-prize-winning author Daniel Kahneman, who writes about decision making and motivation. His latest book, Noise: A Flaw in Human Judgement, examines the relationship between noise and external distraction and bad decisions. If you are not sold on Dr. Kahneman yet, check out this conversation with him about the new book published last month.
Fans of the podcast “Strong Towns” are sure to enjoy Charles Marohn, Jr’s new book of the same name. The Strong Towns book looks at his philosophy on the ROI of development for public agencies and ill effects of ‘car-centric’ transportation planning. His approach is in some places but sparks important conversations for planners and administrators as well as the private sector investors.
If your ‘to do’ list is never-ending and taking up all the space both in your head and on your desk, you might be a candidate for the popular ‘Bullet Journal Method’. The book of the same name by Ryder Carroll is a resource to help you capture and prioritize your tasks and goals for increased productivity and peace of mind!
We were so enamored with Amor Towles and A Gentleman in Moscow we went back to his first novel: Rules of Civility. Towles skillfully builds and unfolds characters over beautifully written chapters, offering glimpses into long ago worlds of wealth, power, and social classes.
If you enjoy the conflicts and characters of the World War II era Code Name Hélène: A Novel by Ariel Lawhon is sure to please. This historical fiction based on the true story of Nancy Wake, one of the most powerful leaders in the French Resistance during WWII, will draw you in and wrap you up in her inspiring story.
Two British thrillers that have just dropped are by some of our favorites. As a follow up to Girl on a Train and Into the Water, Paula Hawkins has A Slow Fire Burning and promises the surprise ending you have come to expect. And, speaking of surprise endings, if you loved 2019’s The Silent Patient, go get on the waiting list for Alex Michaelides’ new thriller: The Maidens. If you prefer a tried-and-true author, Dean Koontz’s latest twisty thriller is Devoted and out just in time for summer!
Finally, a few more with promise that we are looking forward to as the summer unfolds: Susan, Linda, Nina, and Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR by Linda Napoli, is about the early days at National Public Radio. The Price of Peace: Money, Democracy, and the Life of John Maynard Keynes by Zachary D. Carter is a page-turner of a biography of one of the pre-eminent thinkers of the twentieth century. We are also looking forward to one that Brene Brown calls ‘an urgent read’ How the Word is Passed by Clint Smith.
To add variety to our recommendations, we have gathered a few more lists for your review below. What are you saying ‘yes’ to this summer? Write back or comment and tell us what you are up to and what you are reading!
More Reading Lists for Inspiration
- 15 Great Leadership Books on Adam Grant’s Summer Reading List
- Summer Reading List for Business Leaders: University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business
- It’s Been a Minute with Sam Sanders – Hot Books Summer
- Radical Reads: 5 Books Recommended by Kamala Harris
- New York Times Book Review – Summer Reading 2021
- The Atlantic Magazine Summer Reading Guide
- Atlanta Journal Constitution: Hot New Southern Books to Put the Sizzle in Summer 2021
- Marie Claire: 35 Must-Read 2021 Book Releases by Black Authors
- ShondaLand: Your Summer 2021 Reading List
- BuzzFeed News: 28 New Books To Add To Your Summer Reading List ASAP
- Vulture: 35 Books We Can’t Wait to Read This Summer