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HR Summer Reading List: 5 New Books to Raise the Beach-Reads Bar

Posted by Heidi Erdmann-Sullivan on 22 Jun 2017

5 Great HR Reads for Summer

Make some room next to the sunscreen, water bottle and towel, because here are five new books worthy of beach bag real estate this summer.

From awakening compassion at work, to using solitude to become better leaders, to unleashing original ideas, to the new career playbook for women, each one offers something innovative, insightful and meaningful to HR professionals seeking to better understand their employees - and themselves.  

And there’s nothing like the summer season to remove, regroup, and return to the office refreshed with a new perspective that will help evolve work – and our lives -  for the better.

1. Awakening Compassion at Work: The Quiet Power That Elevates People and Organizations by Monica Worline and Jane Dutton 
We need more compassion to counter the pain, suffering and negativity in the world – and the workplace.  Worline and Dutton not only make a persuasive case as to why workplace compassion is so integral to the success of organizations, but also the critical role organizations must play in keeping the workplace and their employees “human.”  They offer four key steps for integrating compassion into practices, policies and culture. 

2. Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude by Raymond Kethledge and Michael S. Erwin
Are we ever allowed to be left alone with our own thoughts anymore? Technology, media and handheld devices are stealing our solitude, filling our heads with the thoughts of others,  and along with it, our clarity and conviction. Kethledge and Erwin show us how leaders and trailblazers throughout history - from Martin Luther King, Jr., to Jane Goodall - have used solitude to find, define and guide their paths. Whether you are leading others, or simply want to do a better job of leading yourself, this book will motivate you to reclaim your solitude, and with it,  greater focus, creativity and the courage to overcome adversity. 

3. Option B by Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant 
Are there are any “best books” or “must-read” lists that Option B hasn’t been on this year? Not really, and with good reason.  Sandberg and Grant are breaking barriers, shifting attitudes, and acknowledging that we simply need more help, more support, and more resources when it comes to managing adversity in life.  Sandberg’s honesty, insight and personal experience, combined with Grant’s unmatched research prowess and illuminated writing style, make this a compelling must-read. 

4. Own It: The Power of Women at Work by Sallie Krawcheck
Krawcheck tells it like it is and we love her for it. Smart, candid, funny and insightful, she’s written the new career playbook for women. She shares many of her own relatable stories of failure and success, and sheds light on how women can tap into their natural strengths, hone their leadership skills and advance their careers. Be it confronting the "Queen Bee,"  learning to be a better networker, or seeking and accepting more feedback (even the cringe-worthy kind), Krawcheck is helping women find and claim their power in the workplace. 

5. Sensemaking by Christian Madsbjerg 
Liberal Arts grads, rejoice! This one’s for you. Madsbjerg makes a passionate, well-argued case for the value and role of the humanities in our increasingly tech-focused, machine-driven age.  Technology might be able to take us broad, but only the human brain can take us deep – and now more than ever, do we need to defend and celebrate human intelligence and the cultural experiences that bind us together.  Using insights gained from years of consulting at some of the world’s largest companies, Madsbjerg reminds us to never forget who we are - and that the organizations and leaders who remember it will ultimately come out on top in this brave new world. 

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