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5 Books for Your Summer Reading List: What Would You Add?

Each week, GovLoop partners with the Washington Post to ask a “Question of the Week.” This week’s question is:

What books are on your summer reading list?

With Memorial Day behind us, it’s time to focus on your summer reading list. But your beach books don’t have to be trashy romance novels, you can actually learn something. You can grow as a leader while applying sunblock on the beach.

Tom Fox is the Vice President for Leadership and Innovation at the Partnership for Public Service.

He told Chris Dorobek on the DorobekINSIDERprogram about his five favorite summer reads, including It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership by Colin Powell.



Tom’s 5 Summer Picks:

  1. It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership by Colin Powell: With his decorated military experience, principled leadership at the Department of State and experience working with both the private and nonprofit sectors, Powell is considered a leadership role model among a large number of the federal leaders and employees whom I have come into contact with over the years. In his book, Powell shares lessons learned from his public service career, including his “Thirteen Rules,” which range from “Get mad, then get over it,” to “Don’t let adverse facts stand in the way of a good decision.”
  2. How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christensen: Based on his popular Harvard Business Review article, innovation expert Christensen asks readers to answer some deceptively simple questions about fulfilling work, family relationships and ethics that may cause federal managers to reexamine their approach to life at work and at home. To help provide insight, Christensen shares lessons from some of the world’s greatest business leaders.
  3. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek: Based on a TED Talk he delivered that went viral, Sinek offers ideas for how leaders can better communicate their vision and connect with their employees. Sinek examines leaders who’ve had great influence — from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to the Wright Brothers to Steve Jobs — and finds that despite the differences in their times and missions, they all think, act and communicate in the same way. This book can be a great resource for federal leaders who are trying to find classic ways of inspiring their teams and keeping them focused on achieving their agencies’ goals and mission.
  4. Talk Inc.: How Trusted Leaders Use Conversation to Power Their Organizations by Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind: This book provides tips for how leaders can communicate more effectively by making their agency’s culture more intimate, interactive, inclusive and intentional. At the heart of the book is the fundamental idea that the power of conversation can help drive employee engagement.
  5. Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization by Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey: Given the difficult budget environment facing federal managers, you may be struggling with how best to adapt to the changing landscape both personally and organizationally. This book looks at the barriers to fundamental change and why crucial change efforts fail. It offers ways for leaders to overcome their resistance to change and transform both their life and their work.

What would you add to this list? (It doesn’t have to be just leadership!)

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9 Comments

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John Lucien Grillo

I’m currently reading 18 Minutes: Find Your Focus, Master Distraction, and Get the Right Things Done by Peter Bregman. I would highly recommend it for anyone that wants to gain insight into how to focus their career and personal goals. It’s also an enjoyable read, because Bregman is an engaging story teller.

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Samuel Lovett

I’ve been enjoying “The Innovator’s DNA: Mastering the Five Skills of Disruptive Innovators” by Jeff Dyer, Hal Gregersen, and Clayton Christensen. It’s got some great insight that makes me want to tackle some new challenges.

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Corey McCarren

It’s certainly not about leadership, but for a great fiction I’d recommend The Regulators by Stephen King under the pseudonym Richard Bachman.

A great nonfiction which has leadership examples in it would be Running with the Buffaloes by Chris Lear. Lear follows the University of Colorado’s cross country team on its championship season.

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