Build your brain, work on your relationships, or makeover your work life—while staying right by the pool. These worthwhile books are enjoyable enough to read on the beach—or in the backyard.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard

This latest book from the authors of Made to Stick examines why change is sometimes hard--and what to do about it. This story-driven book is fascinating and dead-practical, focusing both on huge issues (cutting a hospital’s death rate) and small ones (getting employees to turn in expense reports on time. Switch provides lots to fascinate, and lots to apply to your personal life. More info →
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The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had

The Well-Educated Mind: A Guide to the Classical Education You Never Had

The book provides a roadmap aka The Mother of All Reading Lists for adults who long for the classical education they never had. Bauer provides numerous suggestions for reading across 5 genres—fiction, autobiography, history, drama, and poetry—as well as numerous hows and whys. This is the grown-ups’ counterpart to The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home (one of the books I read over and over again). More info →
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Entreleadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom From the Trenches

Entreleadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom From the Trenches

Author:
Financial guru Dave Ramsey marries the concepts of entrepreneurism and leadership in this practical book of business advice. Ramsey reflects on 20 years in small business, exploring what leadership strategies have worked for his organization--and which ones have flopped, and why. You don’t have to be a business leader to benefit from this book. More info →
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Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job

Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job

Author:

Jon Acuff pioneered the successful website Stuff Christians Like while he was working IT at autotrader.com. He was tired of doing the “reverse Superman” every Monday morning--changing out of the clothes he’d worn to speak at conferences about Stuff Christians Like (his dream job) and into the khaki-and-polo corporate uniform of his day job. In Quitter, Acuff tells the story of how he left his day job for his dream job--and how you can do it, too.

(I attended the Quitter Conference last fall: head here to read my related posts about the future of the internet, relationships with "how" people and "wow" people, and balance as a game of twister.) More info →
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Imagine: How Creativity Works

Imagine: How Creativity Works

Author:
Creativity isn’t something magical; it’s a skill--and it’s something you can have, too. Lehrer’s book is full of real-life examples of how individuals and corporations boosted their own productivity, and he shows you how you can do the same thing for yourself. (UPDATE: Lehrer's book was pulled from the shelves when it was discovered he fabricated quotes in Imagine.) More info →
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168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think

Author:
Vanderkam's no-nonsense, no-excuses approach to time management just might convince you that you actually have time to accomplish anything you really want to do, when you focus on your core competencies and stop frittering away your time. To get the most out of this book you must do the time diary exercise. More info →
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The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work

Author:
Gottman is the famed researcher who’s able to predict with 91% accuracy if a couple will divorce after observing them for a mere 5 minutes. Gottman fleshes out what successful relationships have in common, and shows you how to view your own relationship through a marriage counselor’s eyes. Investing in your marriage is easier than you might think. More info →
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