Our Top 5 Reads for Summer

It’s finally summertime, a time for rest and relaxation for many. 

Whether you’re going on holiday or simply spending some time relaxing on your sofa at home, we’ve got some excellent reads to keep you entertained and engaged throughout the holidays. 

Here are 5 summer reads, as recommended by our team. Not exactly the next big ‘Who done it’ but aimed to inspire you, and cause you to reflect on your personal and professional development whilst not bogged down by the day-to-day, so you can feel recharged and ready to go come September! 

Caroline’s pick: Everything I know about life, I learned from PowerPoint by Russell Davies. 

“This is one of my favourite ‘business’ books. As our Digital Minds delegates may tell you, I recommend it and gift it often!”

Russell has created one of those surprise gems that’s a great example of the “don’t judge a book by its cover” metaphor. It isn’t a ‘how to use PowerPoint guide’, rather it emphasises understanding the audience, using the right tools, communication and language for the job. It aligns perfectly with the Design Thinking principles we use here at EDII about keeping the customer at the heart of everything you do.

Caroline, a strong advocate for the power of PowerPoint, states, “Putting my cards on the table, I love PowerPoint. It’s a great tool, and like any other, if used correctly, it’s a marvellous addition to your speaker repertoire. This book understands and celebrates that. Anyone who advocates banning PowerPoint, or berates its use will get short shrift from me!”

Speaking of the origin of her love for this book, “I came across it originally when I was looking for metrics about how long it takes to prepare a brand-new talk, speech, or presentation from scratch. Not surprisingly, there is very limited data on this, and the author, Russell Davies, was one of the few people I could find who was prepared to put a figure to it – 1 hour preparation per 1 minute presentation, if you’re interested. Having written many keynotes and presentations, I concurred wholeheartedly with Russell, and just like that, a fan was born!”

Eni’s pick: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey.

“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has not only helped me to be more productive but to lead a happier and more meaningful life.”

This book by Stephen Covey is a classic in personal development and leadership, inspiring millions of readers worldwide to transform their lives and achieve lasting success. The ideology behind the book draws upon timeless principles and presents a holistic approach to both personal and interpersonal effectiveness.  

Eni tells us “another reason why I like this book is because it is so relatable. The content is universal although the meaning and interpretation can be subjective. I say this because since I began my Design Thinking journey with EDII, I have been able to link habits back to the stages and principles of Design Thinking. Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood (Empathise). Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind (Define) Habit 6: Synergize (Ideate). Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw (Iteration).”

Eni recommends this book because it promotes a positive mindset and has had a lasting impact for her. It is an excellent book for anyone who wants to be more productive but also to any individual who seeks to understand and empathise with others, foster better communication, collaboration, and synergy in personal and professional relationships. 

“And if you don’t believe me, the 40 million copies sold worldwide might persuade you to add it to your reading list.”

Hélène’s pick: One from Many by Dee Hock.

“What I most enjoyed about this book was the blend of storytelling, the business lessons and his thinking (his monkey brain).”

One from Many is the story of how VISA came about.  The book describes Dee Hock’s experience and is a first-hand account of the creation of one of the world’s largest multinational financial services corporations.  The book also explores the innovative concept of ‘chaordic’ organisations — a blend of chaos and order.

Hélène states, “From this book, I learned how he challenged conventional wisdom ‘the way we have always done it around here’ and how we were able to change CEOs’ thinking to collaborate with competitors.  Dee Hock’s vision was to balance control and creative freedom within organisational design and strategy and the sheer magic of empowering people to come up with answers & solutions.”

Hélène would recommend this book to anyone with a keen interest in innovation, leadership, and organisational structure.

“Whilst it wasn’t the easiest read, I would still recommend “One from Many”… it makes readers rethink the way businesses can be led and organised.”

Paul’s pick: The High Performance Podcast by Jake Humphreys. 

“Being asked about my Summer read was a bit of a challenge, mainly due to the fact that I just don’t consume information that way… And then I remembered that I do listen to podcasts”

Paul goes on to explain “most of these [podcasts] are about cars as I am a huge petrolhead. But the one that I listen to a fair amount is the Jake Humphreys Podcast called “The high performance podcast”. 

Jake interviews someone famous from the world of sport, business or entertainment, and they talk about what drives them. What Paul finds most interesting is that a lot of the people who seem to have it all, have very similar struggles to the rest of us. Imposter syndrome comes up a lot, and many aren’t satisfied and are looking for the next thing, the next challenge.

“It’s encouraging when you hear how someone was completely unsure of what they wanted to be or do, and they’ve ended up as a world champion or they run a huge business empire.”

Jasmine’s pick: Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull.

“I have always been a huge Disney fan, and growing up, I was obsessed with drawing, although I didn’t quite have the talent for it. “Creativity, Inc.” is written by Ed Catmull, the co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and the president of Walt Disney Animation Studios and brings together my love of Disney and drawing, and my passion for creating a creative culture in an organisation.”

In “Creativity, Inc.” Catmull shares some of the inner workings of Pixar Animation Studios, personal anecdotes, management philosophies, and lessons learned from his experiences. It offers an engaging exploration of how to cultivate and sustain creativity within an organisation. By embracing honesty, valuing failure as a stepping stone to success, and adopting effective leadership and management practices, we can drive creativity and innovation in our own endeavours.

Jasmine states, “Anyone in the innovation space will know that failure is part and parcel of the journey, but for a risk-based industry, we are very risk-averse. Catmull highlights the idea that failures are inevitable in any creative endeavour, and it is through these failures that valuable lessons are learned. By viewing failure as an opportunity for growth and learning, rather than as something to be avoided or feared, individuals and organisations can push the boundaries of what is possible and ultimately achieve greater success. And I think it would be fair to say that Pixar has achieved this success.”

So, whether you consider yourself something of a Disney fan like Jasmine, perhaps you’re more pulled in by the lessons of PowerPoint, or you prefer podcasts like Paul, there’s bound to be something for you in this top list of reads this summer.

Happy reading! (or listening)

Related Posts