Summer Reading List 2019

I first got into summer reading lists in high school. Back then the lists were assigned and geared towards prepping for the SAT and AP exams. I still remember – vividly – reading Oedipus Rex by Sophocles and Henry David Thoreau’s Walden during my AFS summer in Tunisia between my junior and senior years.

The habit stuck, more or less.

Some summers I’ve had lofty goals, like Proust (I swear to god) or the books of John Le Carre (which took me two years to complete) but most typically I have happy memories of getting lost in the historical fiction of Phillipa Gregory or the Bernie Gunther detective series by the late Phillip Kerr.

It speaks volumes (I’m here all summer…) that summer 2019 is dedicated to reading or completing what’s been on my nightstand and in my kindle queue for months.


There is a truism in coaching that we learn as much from our clients as they may learn from us and my book shelf is testament to this.

The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. The subtitle is Conquer Your Hidden Fear and Take Life to the Next Level. I’m reading this with a client.

Brain Food by Dr Lisa Mosconi. She had me at: At the intersection of neuroscience and women’s health, my research is focused on how our genetics, environment and lifestyle literally shape the brain (the female brain, in particular). Right now, tomorrow and over the course of a lifetime.”

Creative Quest by Questlove. A client gave me this unique guide to creativity and it has been sitting on the edge of my desk for two years. The cover makes me smile. Time to dive in.

Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy – 21 Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time. FYI – the frog refers to doing your hardest task first so the rest of your day flows. It’s a lot of common sense presented simply and succinctly.

Free to Focus by Michael Hyatt. This book is actually part of a smart, easy to implement, total productivity system that includes excellent free downloadable worksheets and templates on the website and a detailed daily planner that would be darn close to perfect if it came in pink.

Hustle Believe Receive by Sarah Centrella. One of my all-time favorites and the best I’ve read on creating future (vision) boards that work – now in paperback.

It’s Never Too Late to Begin Again by Julia Cameron. The New York Times calls Cameron “the Queen of Change” and The Artist’s Way is a classic. This version is focused on discovering creativity and meaning at midlife and beyond, which I think is kind of awesome.

What to Say When We Talk to Ourselves – by Shad Helmstetter. If life is like the Netflix algorithm, I cannot fathom how this book did not come up as a 100% match for me years ago. I am grateful to a client for mentioning it to me in a session months ago. It frames the science and power of self-talk in a way that is easily understood and implemented (Chapter Thirteen: If it isn’t simple, it won’t work.) It’s a game changer.


I am firm believer in reading fiction. First of all, it’s a joy. Reading fiction improves your vocabulary, boosts creativity + narrative/storytelling skills, increases empathy and hones your point of view.

Amerikanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been on my nightstand since summer 2017 when the borough of Brooklyn voted to read it together. I finally cracked the spine on a recent flight and now I had to put it down to type this.

Mambo in Chinatown and Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok. I was deeply drawn into her debut novel, Girl in Translation about a young girl and her mother – recent immigrants from China – leading a double life between school and sweatshop – and am now all in on Jean Kwok.

I’d love to hear what you’re reading. Please add your suggestions in the comments section or shoot me an email.