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Les McKeown's Predictable Success Blog

  • June 16, 2016
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Summer Reads Suggested By Our Team 

Summer’s beginning here in the northern hemisphere. For most, it’s a time to relax and recharge.
Whether you have vacation plans, or are hoping to catch up while your team members take off, it’s a perfect time to fit in some summer reading.
Since there are so many great titles to choose from, we thought we’d share some of our favorites – both for business and for fun.
Take a look at the suggestions below, and let us know which ones make it on to your list of “must-reads”!

Suggestions from Les 

Les McKeown – CEO

The Power Broker: Robert Moses and the Fall of New York 
By: Robert A. Caro
About: This Pulitzer-prize winner examines the “hidden story behind the shaping (and mis-shaping) of twentieth-century New York (city and state)” and how one man’s legacy continues to affect and plague us to this day.
Why Les recommends it: “I’ve been reading this book for almost three years now and I’m still only half way through. Ostensibly the biography of Robert Moses, the man most responsible for the city of New York as we see it now, it’s in actuality a vivid, dense, extraordinarily detailed examination of how power corrupts people first, then entire institutions.”
My Brilliant Friend
By: Elena Ferrante
About:  Written by one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, this is a “rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila”. Not only does it paint a portrait of friendship, it also tells the story of a nation.
Why Les recommends it: “Wonderful prose, deep insights into why we are who we are, and the first in a ‘trilogy’ that actually comprises four books – what more could you want for the summer?”

Suggestions from Dave 

Dave McKeown – President

The Sales Development Playbook
By: Trish Bertuzzi
About: Building a robust, scalable, repeatable outbound sales strategy.
Why Dave recommends it: “The world of sales is constantly changing. This book is a great ‘how to’ on building a team for the future.”
Elon Musk: Tesla, Spacex and the Quest for a Fantastic Future
By: Ashlee Vance
About: Story of Elon Musk’s journey from South Africa, his early days at PayPal and using his wealth to build things to benefit the world.
Why Dave recommends it: “A good look at an arsonist Visionary trying (and at times struggling) to use his talents to build a better world.”

Suggestions from Carissa 

Carissa Figgins – Consultant

Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average and Do Work that Matters
By: Jon Acuff
About: In the past, the road to success has been obtainable through a predictable path. However, what we’re seeing now are a lot more people stuck in careers and jobs that don’t matter to them and are certainly not leading to success. Acuff addresses how fear can be escaped to do work that really matters.
Why Carissa recommends it: “I’m a huge Jon Acuff fan. Admittedly I’m addicted to his blog and Instagram feed. He is a highly relatable and transparent author with solid honesty, advice and motivation for anyone.”
Outlander Series
By: Diana Gabaldon
About: In the midst of reuniting with her husband after returning from WWII, former British combat nurse Claire Randall walks through a standing stone and finds herself suddenly “a Sassenach — an ‘outlander’— in a Scotland torn by war and raiding clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.”
Why Carissa recommends it: “I am absolutely losing sleep over this series. I love historical fiction and this series fits every genre within historical fiction with steamy love scenes, epic Highlander battles, archaic medicinal treatments, and blips of historically accurate events. I’m not even bothering with the TV series at this point. Gabaldon is a master word painter!”

Suggestions from Scott 

Scott Propp – Consultant

Opposable Mind: Winning Through Integrative Thinking
By: Roger L. Martin
About: How can you become a more open and critical thinker? The author’s thesis is that great insight comes from holding two opposing ideas and creating a better way forward by synthesizing a third way.
Why Scott recommends it: “When working with leaders to build their vision muscles, this book lays out in practical terms and with specific examples how to see more, form stronger insights and develop more robust and unique responses.”
The Emperor’s Revenge
By: by Clive Morrison and Boyd Cussler
About: Historical action fiction, anchored in Napoleonic history with present day drama.
Why Scott recommends it: “I’ve read 99% of the Cussler series, and honestly wondered if the current one would have the juice to span 400 pages. I’ve been delighted to find that it’s just good clean fun, with lots of nautical action taking place in western and central Europe. A great kindle vacation read.”

Suggestions from Kris 

Kris Casariego – Marketing Director

Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom
By: Rick Hanson Ph.D. (Author), Richard Mendius MD (Contributor)
About: Buddha’s Brain draws on the latest research to show how to stimulate and strengthen your brain for a greater sense of inner confidence and worth. This clear, down-to-earth book is filled with practical tools and skills that you can use in daily life to tap the unused potential of your brain and rewire it over time for greater well-being and peace of mind.
Why Kris recommends it: “I’m a firm believer that strengthening your brain/mind connection in ways typically thought of as spiritual is immensely useful in one’s business life.”
The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
By: Sue Monk Kidd
About: Inspired by the remarkable historical figure Sarah Grimke, the author takes us into early nineteenth century Charleston where we meet “Hetty ‘Handful’ Grimke, an urban slave…who yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women…”
Why Kris recommends it: “Exquisitely written, this book will completely sweep you away.”

Suggestions from Heidi 

Heidi Overman – Client Delivery Manager

First You Have to Row a Little Boat: Reflections on Life & Living
By: Richard Bode
About: Whether you’re a sailor or not, the good-natured parables in this book will teach you valuable insights about yourself and your approach to life’s challenges, both great and small.
Why Heidi recommends it: “As a kid, my dad sailed a lot on Lake Michigan and my sisters and I learned how to sail at a pretty young age. I first read this book twenty years ago but have reread it several times since, and it always reminds me of summers in Wisconsin. The author is really great at pulling messages out of ordinary experiences, and relating learning to sail lessons to simple and clear life lessons that can be applied to both home and work settings.”
Gumption: Relighting the Torch of Freedom with America’s Gutsiest Troublemakers
By: Nick Offerman
About: This book offers a humorous, educational and engaging look at twenty-one heroes from throughout America’s history – ranging from George Washington to Willie Nelson.
Why Heidi recommends it: “Nick Offerman played the role of Ron Swanson on Parks & Recreation and, if you don’t know already, is an incredibly smart and funny man. I had the opportunity to attend a book reading of this book a few months ago, and was blown away not only by his humor and storytelling abilities, but also by his spirit, optimism, and pride in the hard-working, courageous pioneers he describes throughout the book. Not your typically comedian-written book, I learned a ton and was motivated by what I read. It was extremely fun to read as well!”

Suggestions from Paris 

Paris Connolly – Creative Manager

Enchantment: The Art of Changing Hearts, Minds, and Actions
By: Guy Kawasaki
About: Every business wants to be as enchanting as Apple. Executing tactics of traditional communication rarely garners this result. As explained by Kawasaki, enchantment is not about manipulating people. It’s about discovering shared passions and evoking personal goals and desires to not only get what you want, but to transform any situation into an enchanting cause that others can believe in.
Why Paris recommends it:  “As simple as the principles are, the golden nuggets of real-world application make the concept of Enchantment feel easily achievable. Kawasaki uses a combination of anecdote, relevant quotes and quick, actionable advice, along with a ‘My Personal Story’ section featuring a different contributor at the end of each chapter to drive home the teaching. This is an easily digestible read I can absolutely see being enjoyed with toes in the sand. You’ll feel inspired and want to get started enchanting right away!”
Tales of Accidental Genius
By: Simon Van Booy
About: Van Booy gorgeously fastens together this collection of short stories to capture the notion that the most spontaneous acts of genius happen all around us by average individuals showing kindness to others. Each story focuses on the everyday-ness of a particular character and his or her life, and how a series of circumstances leads to an opportunity for generosity and second chances.
Why Paris recommends it: “Mr. Van Booy is a beautiful writer who has found a way to draw his reader in through minimalistic detail and relatability. His stories are so honest and real, it’s hard to find a way around them when you can so easily envision each situation unfolding in your head. Through the imperfection described in each character, there’s a sense of humility that’s refreshing, resulting in a feeling of pride as they each show their true genius and heart.”

Suggestions from Sarah 

Sarah Berger – Content & Community Manager

Ready for Anything: 52 Productivity Principles for Getting Things Done
By: David Allen
About: Known for his ground-breaking Getting Things Done methodology, David Allen takes his productivity principles and distills them down into 52 quick, easy-to-digest essays, complete with questions to help guide you.
Why Sarah recommends it: If you’re feeling overwhelmed and have no idea how to fix it, this book will put you on a positive path, one chapter at a time. For followers of GTD, this book provides good weekly reminders of how to regain clarity and focus.
Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend
By: Matthew Dicks
About: Budo is an imaginary friend to an 8-year-old boy named Max. He narrates this creative and gripping story about the challenges of childhood, relationships and putting others first – even when it could cost you everything.
Why Sarah recommends it: “Whether you had an imaginary friend growing up, or know a child who does, this book will make you laugh, bring tears to your eyes, and stay with you long after you finish it.”

We hope you enjoyed this inside look at some of our top book suggestions! If you want even more inspiration, check out our recommendations from last year.
Here’s to a wonderful summer.


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