Top Summer Reading for Business Leaders


September 24, 2013

The thing I like to do most is write.  A close second for me is reading.  I’m currently reading two books and plan to write about each of them in future posts.  The first is ‘The Traveler’s Gift‘ by Andy Andrews.  It’s an amazing book that I just can’t put down.  The second is ‘Do More Great Work‘ by Michael Bungay Stanier.  I just started this one, so time will tell if I can find some good nuggets of value in it.

I recently read an article in Fortune called the ‘CEO Summer Reading List‘ and there were some good suggestions.  Many were books I’ve either read or have heard reviewed so many times I feel like I know what the book says without reading them.  I thought it would be fun to reach out to some thought leaders in the HR, recruiting, and academia and ask what they are reading this summer.  Here are some great recommendations to add to your list:

Steve Boese–  Steve is a HR technology professor at RIT, leads HR technology in a telecommunications company, is the host of the HR Happy Hour show on BlogTalk radio, and authors the blog ‘Steve’s HR Technology Journal‘.  He recommends some business reading as well as a fun read:

Paul Hebert–  Paul is a good friend and the owner of i2i– A Marketing and Incentive Consultancy.  If you need help in your organization with design, training, and implementation of reward and recognition strategies, Paul is your man.  Since he is not in the HR/ recruiting industry but orbits around it in the incentive and reward space, I thought his recommendations were appropriate:

Laurie Ruettimann– Laurie is a speaker, writer, and all-around radical who shakes up the Recruiting/ HR world every day.  She has one of the top blogs in the space, Punk Rock HR, where she dishes up the truth about careers and the people who are looking and working.  She’s also someone I respect and her reading selections are diverse.  Check them out to see what’s influencing Laurie this summer:

Matt Stollack–  Ever wonder who is training and inspiring the future HR leaders of the world?  It’s Matt.  He’s an Assistant Professor at St. Norbert College and a District Director for WI SHRM.  He is using social media to enhance the communication between students and business practitioners.  He’s also author of the True Faith HR blog.  Here are his recommendations to give your summer a kick-start:

  • Stieg Larsson Millenium Trilogy:  The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest (Stieg Larsson)

Mike Krupa–  HR technologist extraordinaire and Technical Director at Charles Schwab, he also keeps busy keeping us informed on the latest technical news at his blog, Infobox.  Mike is a down-to-earth kind of guy, but his reading recommendations are out-of-this-world:

Lisa Rosendahl–  Lisa is a HR practitioner I listen to.  Recently named one of the Top 25 Digital Influencers in 2009, Lisa’s experience with blogging and social media has been for personal and professional development. She is now taking what she’s learned into the workplace to positively impact business results and to bridge the gap between what HR currently is and what it can be.  She’s also the co-founder of Women of HR with Shauna Moerke and me.  Be sure to check out her blog, Simply Lisa, and also her summer book recommendations:

Mervyn Dinnen–  My good friend Mervyn may be across the pond in London, but he’s always close thanks to his involvement in social media and blogging.  He’s a recruiter by trade and someone who has a lot of insight to share in our industry.  You can follow his sage business advice at his blog, T-Recs.  No wonder this business man has a business book to recommend:

Benjamin McCall–  Ben is an OD and Training consultant with passion for his work.  He’s currently looking for a new opportunity to work with organizations to bring clarity to areas such as business strategy and marketing, performance management, diversity, and media and networking, to name a few.  Be sure to check out his LinkedIn profile and see his work in action at his blog, ReThinkHR.  Ben is also the busy dad of a toddler but finds some time to catch up on reading for his own benefit.  Be sure to check out:

Ben Eubanks– Ben is the future of HR.  As a solid practitioner, he also is active with SHRM locally and nationally.  He keeps busy with multiple social media and HR projects at all times and finds time to write on several business sites including his blog, UpStart HR.  He’s also going to become the father of twin girls any day now which will keep him even busier.  Check out his book choices- you’ll find how to lead, succeed, and put a baby to sleep:

Peter Lanc–  Peter is the Chief Human Resource Officer and Business Partner at Core Leadership and Communications.  He improves business performance through profit growth, higher engagement, lower costs,  and focused alignment.  I’ve recently started reading his blog, the HRM Explorer’s blog, and always find nuggets of info I can use.  I’m looking forward to checking out his favorite summer reading:

Bryan Wempen– Always the consummate professional, Bryan is a connector.  By day, he is the Vice President of Strategic Alliances at PeopleClues.  He is actively involved in his local and state SHRM chapters, he writes the Drive Thru HR blog, AND he has a radio show called Drive Thru HR.  Does he sleep?  I don’t know.  What I do know is he still finds time to stretch his brain with reading and has a classic pick for this summer:

Thank you to all my friends on my personal advisory board for their recommendations.  I know I’ve found many new books I want to read now and plan to get started.   Do you have a recommendation to share?  Be sure to add it in the comments.


  • I am currently reading the Girl with the Dragon tattoo. wOnderful writing. I also liked Tony Hsieh’s book, Delivering Happiness. My next two reads are likely Rework and Freakonomics.

  • Thanks for the reading list. It’s great to get recommendations from others and my summer list has just gotten longer. My list this summer includes: The 2020 Workplace by Jeanne C. Meister and Karie Willyerd, Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn and World Without End by Ken Follet

  • I’m almost through Switch by Chip and Dan Heath and loving it. Also currently reading Exceptional Service, Exceptional Profit by Leonardo Inghelleri and Micah Solomon.

    I am a part of Bookswim.Com which is like Netflix for books. And just like my Netflix, I feel an obligation to read the books that arrive on my doorstep. There are a few companies offering this service, but Bookswim seems to best fit my needs because it has newly-released hardbacks instead of just paperbacks, and they let me keep the books I love and just add it to my bill. It definitely keeps me reading.

  • Working all day, each day, on the Internet, I thought I should read The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains by Nicholas Carr. And just to be on the safe side (having read some brief reviews), I carry a hard cover book with me at all times!

  • “Cat in a Hat” by Dr. Suess. I also recommend “Green Eggs and Ham” by the same author. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” also rings true to me EVERY time I read that tome. These are the books which are very most pleasurable to read, and I go back to these to show appreciation to the man who made it so pleasurable to read even at the age of three years old. Dr. Suess dealt with racism, Dr. Suess dealt with curmudgeons, Dr. Suess was just the most influential author for me.

    Without Dr. Suess, I could not have ever read one bloody word. I implore everyone to read the entire body of Dr. Suess’ work and comment.

    Dr. Suess is a GOD.

  • Michael – Freakonomics is fantastic! I had it as a book on tape before my iPod died. I never got to finish it, but I loved every bit that I heard (2/3s of the book).

    I love this readng list! I’ve read a few of the books (Delivering Happiness and Murder on the Orient Express) but my reading list has just expanded.

    Currently, I’m reading Twitterville and I just finished The Drunkard’s Walk, which was an amazing read.

  • Great to see my book, The 2020 Workplace: How Innovative Companies Attract, Develop & Keep Tomorrow’s Employees Today on Best Business Book Summer Reading list
    Let me know your feedback on the book. Read more on the book web site at

  • Thanks for including me in your post. Lots of great books out there to read. Guess I need to add some to my wish list.

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About Trish

A former HR executive and HCM product leader with over 20 years of experience.


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