Summer round-up: 10 transformational books to read in the sunshine

It’s officially summer! That means family outings, BBQs, endless days, and for me, a big uptick in reading. There’s something about the gorgeous light and warmth that makes me want to sit and read as many books as I can get my hands on in the summer.


Summer reading tends to be light, fun, and delightful — made to match the spirit of the season. But that’s likely not how you’d describe most books on leadership, business, or self-improvement. They could feel more like a chore than a joy to read if you’re on a beach, for example, surrounded by folks having fun. But not with the list I’ve curated for you!


Below is a list of 10 books on leadership, business, and transformation that manage to do the impossible: they capture the spirit of summer. They’re heart-warming, delightful and (in some cases) light, and will also bring you closer to achieving your big, transformational goals. Best of both worlds!


Check out my top 10 transformational summer reading list below. Share your thoughts in the comments – have you read any of these? What other books belong on this list?





Mindful Work: How Meditation is Changing Business From the Inside Out

by David Gelles


Written by a New York Times journalist, this book shows readers how mindfulness makes us better – and happier – at work. It focuses primarily on meditation as a mindfulness practice. I found it inspiring, thought-provoking and practical.





A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

by Eckhart Tolle


If you’re looking for truly magical, inspirational words that will change the way you see the world, look no further than Eckhart Tolle. His fourth book, A New Earth, helps readers focus on the beauty of the present moment. Presence – or mindfulness – is one of the most valuable assets at work and in life, Tolle shares, and will help bring humanity into a new era, a “new earth.”





The Innovator’s Dilemma

by Clayton M. Christensen


Professor Christensen is one of the people from whom I’ve learned most – not just about innovation, as he dissects here, but also about how to live life, as he discusses in another book (listed below). This book is a great read over the summer, when your mind is more open to thinking big and beyond traditional approaches. Powerful for entrepreneurs and general managers alike.





The Power of Now

by Eckhart Tolle


Eckhart Tolle’s first book, The Power of Now, is about being aware of the present moment rather than “spacing out” and worrying about the past or the future. Being present allows us to feel true inner peace according to Tolle (as well as according to countless spiritual traditions). It also allows us to perform at our best at work and in life. This book is a perfect accompaniment to summers that feel so sweet but always all-too-short. Being present in those moments is a gift.





How Will You Measure Your Life?

by Clayton M. Christensen


Another Clay Christensen work, another favorite. This book discusses Professor Christensen’s framework on how he and others he admires live life. This is “an unconventional book of inspiration and wisdom for achieving a fulfilling life;” it also was apparently greatly influential on Steve Jobs.





The Book of Joy

by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Douglas Abrams


It is an incredible gift to be able to read any words that have been uttered by His Holiness the Dalai Lama or Archbishop Desmond Tutu. But this book had an even bigger, more surprising gift on top of that – its levity. The book made me laugh, smile, cry with joy, made my heart soar. It is at once profound and light, just like summer itself. A must-read!





Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office

by Lois P. Frankel, Ph.D.


NOT just for women – let me start there – but another must-read. It’s filled with practical tips, fun quips, and “a ha” moments that will transform your work and life.





Presence: Bringing your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges

by Amy Cuddy


Amy Cuddy’s book discusses many of the same themes of presence, mindfulness and the “power of now” referenced throughout this list. What’s unique about Presence is Cuddy’s super-practical and brilliant take on “power poses” – essentially, highlighting the mind-body connection, and how easy it is to use your body to ease stress in your mind.





Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success

by Adam Grant


This book changed my life. Adam Grant shows readers – with anecdotes, scientific studies, hard data, and great writing – that it’s OK to be a giver, not a taker, at work. In fact, he argues, it actually makes leaders MORE successful. This encourages readers to unmask their true selves, and to ask the same of those they lead.





You are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life

by Jen Sincero


I saved this gem for last – it’s the ultimate amalgamation of inspiration, science, transformation, and applicability to work and life. This book also was the catalyst of one of my biggest leaps – leaving Amazon to start Haven Coaching! Jen Sincero is hilarious and brilliant, and if you read nothing else this summer, READ THIS BOOK!


Happy Reading!

Haven Coaching