Summer Vacation Reading for 21st Century Leaders

For this edition, I am recapping some of the great books and articles I read over my recent vacation and thoughts and reflections that inspired me. As always, happy reading! Enjoy the summer. Rest, recharge and continue your leadership journey.


The Extended Mind: The Power of Thinking Outside the Brain, by Annie Murphy Paul
The Extended Mind outlines the research behind this exciting new vision of human ability, exploring the findings of neuroscientists, cognitive scientists, psychologists, and examining the practices of educators, managers, and leaders who are already reaping the benefits of thinking outside the brain. She excavates the untold history of how artists, scientists, and authors—from Jackson Pollock to Jonas Salk to Robert Caro—have used mental extensions to solve problems, make discoveries, and create new works. In the tradition of Howard Gardner’s Frames of Mind or Daniel Goleman’s Emotional IntelligenceThe Extended Mind offers a dramatic new view of how our minds work, full of practical advice on how we can all think better.”

The Great Mental Models: General Thinking Conceptsby Shane Parrish and Rhiannon Beaubien
“The Great Mental Models: General Thinking Concepts is the first book in The Great Mental Models series designed to upgrade your thinking with the best, most useful and powerful tools so you always have the right one on hand.

This volume details nine of the most versatile, all-purpose mental models you can use right away to improve your decision making, productivity, and how clearly you see the world. You will discover what forces govern the universe and how to focus your efforts so you can harness them to your advantage, rather than fight with them or worse yet— ignore them.”


The Book of Form and Emptiness, by Ruth Ozeki
“With its blend of sympathetic characters, riveting plot, and vibrant engagement with everything from jazz, to climate change, to our attachment to material possessions, The Book of Form and Emptiness is classic Ruth Ozeki–bold, wise, poignant, playful, humane and heartbreaking.”

The Muralistby B.A. Shapiro
“Entwining the lives of both historical and fictional characters, and moving between the past and the present, The Muralist plunges readers into the divisiveness of prewar [WW II] politics and the largely forgotten plight of European refugees refused entrance to the United States. It captures both the inner workings of today’s New York art scene and the beginnings of the vibrant and quintessentially American school of Abstract Expressionism.”

Northern Spy, by Flynn Berry
“A riveting and exquisite novel about family, terror, motherhood, betrayal, and the staggering human costs of an intractable conflict, Northern Spy cements Flynn Berry’s status as one of the most sophisticated and accomplished authors of crime and suspense novels working today.”

People From My Neighbourhoodby Hiromi KawakamiTed Goossen (Translator)
“In twenty-six ‘palm of the hand’ stories—fictions small enough to fit in the palm of one’s hand—Hiromi Kawakami creates a universe ruled by mystery and transformation.”

Arts, Music, Culture, Literature & Humor Corner

The New Yorker: Happy-Go-Lucky. “‘Who are you?’ I want to ask the gentle gnome in front of me. ‘And what have you done with [my father] Lou Sedaris?'”

The New Yorker: How the Creator of ‘Derry Girls’ Found Humor in a Troubled Time. “Lisa McGee had always found depictions of the Troubles unrecognizable. ‘There were never any jokes,’ she said. ‘I don’t know any Northern Irish person that isn’t funny.'”

The Washingtonian: The Untold Story of the White House’s Weirdly Hip Record Collection. “Jimmy Carter’s grandson is unlocking its mysteries.”

The Atlantic: How San Francisco Became a Failed City. And How It Could Recover.


“The self you know, the you deep inside, is obscured by a stack of untold stories.” — Janet Mock

“Quality of life is having the freedom to make choices that are not fear based. Whether it’s the ability to choose the kinds of projects I want to take on and can learn from, or the ability to take a month off to travel. Freedom to choose is the ultimate luxury.” — Danielle Colding

“As I came down from the mountain, I recalled how, not many years ago, it was access to information and movement that seemed our greatest luxury; nowadays it’s often freedom from information, the chance to sit still, that feels like the ultimate prize. Stillness is not just an indulgence for those with enough resources—it’s a necessity for anyone who wishes to gather less visible resources.” — Pico Iyer


This article was originally published here.

Kevin Jordan

Kevin Jordan is an International Coach Federation-certified executive coach who serves as a strategic advisor, mentor and facilitator to executive leadership teams and private clients to achieve peak performance and agility resulting in sustained engagement and value. Drawing upon a career as a leader and consultant, Kevin is able to work with clients on personal and professional development, relationship optimization and team and leader dynamics. He has deep expertise and experience developing and realizing strategic vision through a relentless focus on optimized business operations. He is also skilled at building sustainable culture and workforce engagement through the power of people and organizational partnership, as well as delivering results and value with high performing teams during periods of intense change.

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