Reading list recommendations for the summer break

stencil-default-30The summer holidays are a great time to catch up on the reading you wanted to do during the year, but never found the time for.

I hoard books so there’s always a stack to read – both on my kindle and in the traditional paperback format. The books range from those that are designed to stimulate thinking, to ones where I want to chill out and relax.

I love the idea of alternating between a book that’s purely for pleasure and one that’s good for your mind. If you are looking for some books to add to your summer reading list that will get you thinking, here are some suggestions:

The Power Paradox – Dacher Keltner

I mentioned this recently in a weekly update. A fascinating look into what gives a person power and what erodes their power. One of my books of the year!

Becoming Wise: An inquiry into the mystery and art of living – Krista Tippett

Krista is the host of the NPR show “On Being” where she interviews astronomers, neuroscientists, religious leaders, poets and philosophers about their views on the world and life. In this book she distils those conversations into a perspective on the core questions of our humanity – questions about happiness, justice, love and well-being.

The Geography of Genius: A search for the world’s most creative places from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley – Eric Weiner

Eric takes the reader on a journey around the world and back in time to discover why creative genius flourishes in certain places at certain times, and then burns out. At a time when all organisations want to be more creative it’s a useful read.

Gut: The inside story of our most under-rated organ – Giula Enders

A fascinating insight into an organ that can be the key to our health and vitality. There’s lots of books available on the brain, and not many devoted to the gut. You’ll never take your gut for granted again!

Planet Jackson: power, greed and unions – Brad Norrington

I’m a big fan of Brad Norrington’s writing.  It’s accessible and always entertaining. A fascinating read on corruption and power.

Grit: The power of passion and perseverance – Angela Duckworth

In this book Angela explains through her research how the defining characteristic of success isn’t talent, but determination and passion and how you manage the thoughts in your head. It’s what she defines as grit.

The first 90 days – Michael Watkins

This book has been in my bookshelf for years. It’s a great book to read when you are moving to a new role.  It provides simple ideas and reminders of the key points to focus on to set you up for success in your first 90 days.

Man’s search for meaning – Viktor Frankl

An amazing book. Based on Viktor’s own experience during his time in World War II Concentration Camps (and that of others) he found that we cannot avoid suffering in life. We can however, choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and to then move forward with purpose.

Happier: Learn the secrets to daily joy and lasting fulfilment – Tal Ben Shahar

An easy book to read that provides a set of helpful principles you can apply to your daily life.  This has been around for a while, but is still worth spending time on.

Reading is one of the great pleasures in life, so hopefully these suggestions have stimulated some ideas for the summer days ahead!


Change happens.  Make it work for you.


Michelle Gibbings is a change and leadership expert and founder of Change Meridian.  Michelle works with global leaders and teams to help them accelerate progress. She is the Author of ‘Step Up: How to Build Your Influence at Work’.  For more information: or contact

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