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Summer Reading (and Listening) Lists

Updated: Jun 3

summer reading

School might be out for summer, as the Alice Cooper song goes, but continuing education never takes a break. That's the way it is for those of us in professional services who seek to stay sharp and fresh in our respective disciplines.

Here are several book and podcast recommendations to consider as you plan your summer feast of learning.


Think Faster, Talk Smarter: How to Speak Successfully When You're Put on the Spot, by Matt Abrams

This book was recommended by one of my podcast guests, Cooper Camak, during a recent North Fulton Business Radio episode (thanks, Cooper!). While so many books on communication focus on carefully planned presentations and speeches, this book offers insights on how to handle those spontaneous situations that require you to think and speak clearly on your feet. As professional service providers, we all know these situations happen every day. I'm halfway through, and it's terrific.

Infectious Generosity: The Ultimate Idea Worth Spreading, by Ted Anderson

I haven't started this one yet, but it looks great. Ted Anderson, the curator of TED, explores generosity and how we can amplify it to build a more hopeful future. It's described as "the first page turner ever written on human generosity," and I can't wait to dive in.

The Secret of Selling Anything, by Harry Browne

This classic volume completely debunks the notion that the best salespeople are fast-talking extroverts. Browne convincingly argues that not only do introverts have the edge in sales, but their lack of aggressiveness actually makes them more effective. The best part of the book, though, is his explanation of what constitutes value. I quoted Browne in my own book, The Generosity Mindset, and I can't think of a better recommendation than that.

Courage is Calling, by Ryan Holiday

I was gifted the Audible version of this book by Patrick O'Rourke (thank you, PO!), and it's outstanding. It's a stirring call to stay true to our values and principles in the face of uncertainty, criticism, and adversity. A much-needed message given the world we live in today.

The Diary of Anne Frank

We are traveling to Germany this summer to see my son, who is serving in the Air Force and stationed there. He’s taking some leave, and we’ll be buzzing around Germany and the Benelux region of Europe. One of our stops will be the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, and I'm getting ready to reread this poignant and moving first-hand account of a young Jewish girl's harrowing experiences while hiding with her family from the Nazis during the Holocaust. You might have read it in school for an assignment, but if you somehow missed it, I strongly encourage you to read this important book.


If you're a service provider for whom writing is part of your job, then you need to read fiction, in my opinion. Reading fiction expands your ability to craft and tell stories, deepens empathy, sparks creativity, and gives your mind a stress break, to name just a few benefits. Whatever your fiction interests, don't hesitate to set aside that non-fiction book for a bit and dive into good stories.

For myself, two of my favorites are Daniel Silva and Michael Connelly. Silva is the author of the long-running Gabriel Allon series, and his next novel, A Death in Cornwall, will be released in July. Connelly is an author of detective novels and crime fiction mostly situated in Los Angeles, and his two most well-known series, thanks to Netflix, are the Harry Bosch and Lincoln Lawyer chronicles. The next installment in the Bosch line, The Waiting, will come out in October. It features the smart, quirky Renée Ballard as Bosch's partner on the case, and she's my favorite character in all of Connelly's novels. The latest Lincoln Lawyer tale is Resurrection Walk, released late in 2023. It's a good one.

In both cases, I race through the book and am then saddened at the end, because I have to wait for the next release.


The Economics of Everyday Things

This podcast series examines interesting and often overlooked market segments and industries and the economics behind them. The episodes are short (about 20 minutes or so) yet packed with fascinating insights into such topics as ATMs, carnival games, personal injury law, used hotel soaps, and Girl Scout cookies. I invariably learn something from every episode.

Think Fast, Talk Smart: The Podcast

Yes, a podcast series by the same Matt Abrams mentioned above. Abrams interviews a variety of well-known communicators on how to handle a variety of situations in which we're called upon to express ourselves well or to listen more effectively.

Feel free to offer your own book or podcast recommendations in the comments.


The Generosity Mindset book

Business consultant and coach, author, and podcaster John Ray advises solopreneurs and small professional services firms on their two most frustrating problems: pricing and business development. John is passionate about how changes in mindset, positioning, and pricing change the trajectory of a business and the lifestyle choices of a business owner. His clients are professionals who are selling their expertise, such as consultants, coaches, attorneys, CPAs, accountants and bookkeepers, marketing professionals, and other professional services practitioners.

John is the author of the national bestselling book, The Generosity Mindset: A Journey to Business Success by Raising Your Confidence, Value, and Prices. The book covers topics like value and adopting a mindset of value, pricing your services more effectively, proposals, and essential elements of growing your business. The book is available at all major physical and online book retailers.


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