My 2022 Summer Reading List

Written by: Ron Scheese

One of my most-read blogs each year is my Summer Reading List. If you believe leaders are readers, here’s what’s been piling up on my nightstand and in my Kindle library for your consideration.

I love to save books for those lazy beach weekends between May and September. I invite you to grab a chair, your favorite beverage, perhaps a beach towel, and join me as I dive into one or several of these books.

Race for the Net: When African Americans Controlled the Internet and What Happens Now?
By Albert E. White

I met the author of this book at an event and was surprised to learn the stories of the early internet. Race for the Net is a fantastic story of Network Solutions, Inc., an African-American company that created the access platform to enable the world to utilize the internet. As a member of the management team responsible for commercializing the internet, Albert White recalls the story and insights of how they accomplished this significant achievement and why they relinquished the rights to the technology.

Fearless Leadership: High-Performance Lessons from the Flight Deck
By Carey D. Lohrenz

The author is a former lieutenant in the U.S. Navy and one of the first fully qualified female fighter pilots to fly the F-14 Tomcat. She translates her military experiences into the leadership skills necessary to direct high-performing business teams. Grounded in core values like courage, tenacity, and integrity with the right blend of practical execution tips, Fearless Leadership promises to be a great read that’ll continue to develop my own leadership abilities.

The Heart of Business: Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism 
By Hubert Joly & Caroline Lambert

The Heart of Business is a timely guide for leaders ready to abandon old paradigms and lead with purpose and humanity. When I received this book as a gift from The Tugboat Institute, I instinctively knew purpose- and people-first elements would be at the forefront of this retelling of the Best Buy turnaround. I’m looking forward to examining this story, which closely aligns with my leadership philosophies.

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood
By Trevor Noah

A biography usually makes my summer reading list. This year, Trevor Noah’s memoir, Born a Crime, came highly recommended to me. As the child of a white father and a black mother in South Africa during apartheid, Trevor tells stories of the challenges, obstacles, and perseverance involved in overcoming poverty and oppression. We can learn a lot about leading through difficulties when we examine the lives of those who overcame tremendous hardships. Despite rave reviews and recommendations, I have let this book sit on my shelf for far too long.

Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends, and Colleagues
By Carole Robin & David Bradford

Based on the lessons from the famous “Touchy Feeley” course at Stanford, these authors share their wisdom for building more meaningful relationships with colleagues, friends, partners, and family. So much of what we do is social and collaborative. Relationships matter. Connect is filled with stories and research-backed insights on how to improve relationships. Dr. Bradford spoke at a recent Tugboat Institute event and shared some of his insightful perspectives. I’m looking forward to diving deeper into this data and research.

Move to the Edge, Declare it Center: Practices and Processes for Creatively Solving Complex Problems
By Everett Harper

Everett has one of the most creative and innovative minds I know. I’m confident that his new book will contain practical guidance on decision making and problem solving in uncertain and complex environments. I learn something from him every time we talk or I listen to one of his interviews or podcasts. Move to the Edge will be full of leadership lessons that I intend to add to my own toolkit.

The Voltage Effect: How to Make Good Ideas Great and Great Ideas Scale
By John A. List

How can an idea reach its full potential? Full of research, stories, and practical guidance, The Voltage Effect by economist John List offers advice on the how and why of scaling. I find myself reading more books by economists these days. My favorite economist, Dr. John Walker, Andesa’s Founder, recommended this book.

Raise a Fist, Take a Knee: Race and the Illusion of Progress in Modern Sports
By John Feinstein

I’m never disappointed with the well-researched works of best-selling and award-winning author John Feinstein. His interview techniques and writing style weave deep and compelling narratives. His latest take on the continued issue of racial inequity in professional sports decades after the color barrier was broken should be eye-opening. Recommended by a CEO friend, this book promises to be an intriguing read.

People over Profit: Break the System, Live with Purpose, Be More Successful
By Dale Partridge

Serial entrepreneur and business visionary Dale Partridge built a multimillion-dollar company differently than how typical enterprises are built. He did so using seven core beliefs that he offers as the secret to creating a sustainable world. Since this book sings to my tune about values-based leadership, Dale’s contribution to the growing library of leadership literature is ciritcal.

Company of One: Why Staying Small is the Next Big Thing for Business
By Paul Jarvis

Company of One offers an entrepreneurial business strategy focused on a commitment to being better instead of bigger. I enjoy examining contrarian strategies to conventional wisdom for the nuggets which can provide insights into business success. Recommended by a leadership consultant, I look forward to reconciling these concepts to my own beliefs of paced growth.

Barefoot in Babylon: The Creation of the Woodstock Music Festival 1969
By Bob Spitz

I love music, and I love biographies. So, I guess it is safe to say I love music-related biographies. Fellow Albright College alum, Bob Spitz, is becoming one of my favorite storytellers in this genre. I’ve read his more recent offerings on the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and Ronald Reagan, and Barefoot in Babylon promises to be just as thoroughly researched. I can’t wait to read this definitive, behind-the-scenes peek into a moment in rock and roll history.

As always, a couple more books will likely be squeezed onto the list as the calendar pages turn through the summer. I’d love to hear your latest recommendations—so please share. Thanks for listening!

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