Every month, our team participates in a book discussion (usually held via a virtual meeting platform). The book is chosen by  team members on a rotating basis, and the book must meet the following criteria:

  • Non-fiction
  • Must relate to our clients, our company, and/or what we are doing

You can find our previous book club selections here, as well as some corresponding blog posts created from the discussion following each book. For this post, we are taking a bit of a different approach and asking our team members what books they recommend that were not on our reading list. Check out our list below (in no particular order) for a brief summary, as well as why each book was chosen for this list.

The Fifth Risk, Michael Lewis: A look inside multiple areas of the government, including several departments, after the 2016 election. Lewis shares the view of those coming into positions that they were not prepared (or qualified) for and seemed to have no desire to learn the proper procedures. (Amazon)

Why read it: The qualitative interviews with former agency leaders about the real issues and risks our nation faces are worth learning more about. 

A Gentleman in Moscow, Amor Towles: A novel about a man who must spend the rest of his life inside a luxury hotel. (Amazon)

Why read it: It has a compelling narrative arc; a great ending; and bedrock civility.

The Audacity of Hope, Barack Obama: A call for a new kind of politics, built upon the shared understandings that pull us together as Americans. (Amazon)

Why read it: It highlights a different time in politics.

Braving the Wilderness, Brené Brown: This book challenges what we think we know about cultivating true belonging in our communities, organizations, and culture. (Goodreads)

Dare to Lead, Brené Brown: This book looks at how you create good leaders as well as some of the qualities that make strong leaders. (Goodreads)

Why read them: Brown is a strong storyteller, and she’s only getting better.

iGen, Jean M. Twenge: A look at the generation born from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s and the effects of technology on their upbringing, their evolving viewpoints, and how to work/live/interact with them. (Amazon)

Why read it: I love demographics and Twenge is a generational researcher who puts 70+ years of generational data into historical and current context. The data is compelling and the stories helped me understand some of what I was seeing in the news (e.g., colleges and universities uninviting speakers) and hearing from younger colleagues (e.g., lack of teenage/college/early adult work experience).

Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, Jon Kabat-Zinn: A look at how to map out a plan for mindfulness in one’s own life, for both beginners and those who have been practicing mindfulness for a long time. (Goodreads)

Why read it: It is helpful for anyone new to meditation, as he explains how to meditate and the benefits of meditation. It is also fantastic for experienced meditators, and the author is a Zen Buddhist Monk and gives helpful advice for how to be consistent with your meditation practice, and how to go deeper into your practice. Each chapter is a brief, contemplative commentary on meditation and can be read independently of other chapters. The prose is also very soothing to read.

Year of Yes, Shonda Rimes: A glimpse into the life of Shonda Rimes, creator of several successful television shows, and her self-imposed challenge to say “Yes” to everything for a year. (Goodreads)

Why read it: This book is eye-opening, especially when Rimes takes a step back from her life and allows the reader to see why she’s taking this challenge: Her unhappiness has led her to a time in her life where it’s both easy and comforting to just say “No” and not have to deal with anything. Following Rimes on her journey to not only saying “Yes” to everything but also seeing how each yes propels her forward to a new level of confidence and happiness is inspiring, poignant, and real. 

Our team is full of avid readers, and these are just a few of the titles we dug into last year. We hope to do this a few times throughout the year to help illustrate the impact (and importance) of reading on continuous learning. 

Happy reading!

  • Brown, Brené. Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone. Random House, 2017.
  • Brown, Brené. Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.Random House, 2018.
  • Kabat-Zinn, Jon. Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life. Hachette Books, 2005.
  • Lewis, Michael. The Fifth Risk. W.W. Norton Company, 2018.
  • Obama, Barack. The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream. Crown, 2006.
  • Rimes, Shonda. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person. Simon & Schuster, 2015.
  • Towles, Amor. A Gentleman in Moscow. Viking, 2016.
  • Twenge, Jean M. IGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy–and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood–and What That Means for the Rest of Us. Atria Books, 2017.