In which I divulge my plan to flood you with even more summer reading recommendations and start you off with 7 more titles

the books I can't wait to read in 2015

Since I launched the 2013 summer reading guide, I’ve had lots of requests for the archived 2012 edition. I don’t want to flood your inboxes, but I also don’t want to leave you hanging if you’re looking for good stuff to read. So for the rest of the summer, one week at a time, I’ll share a category from the 2012 guide.

If you haven’t yet, head here to snag your copy of this year’s summer reading guide.

I’m skipping over last year’s new releases (I tell you why here) and going straight to the second category, Books for Personal Growth. (They’re not boring despite the dry title–I promise!)

Books for Personal Growth

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard | Chip Heath and Dan Heath

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, Chip Heath and Dan Heath

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.

The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work | John Gottman

The 7 Principles for Making Marriage Work, John Gottman

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.

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, Susan Wise Bauer

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). The book provides a roadmap–in the form of a reading list–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.

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think | Laura Vanderkam

168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, Laura Vanderkam

Vanderkam wants to convince you that you do have time for the most important things, if you take a “portfolio” approach to your time.. 168 hours is the number of hours in a week, and Vanderkam asserts we’d all be better off if we strove to manage our time not in 24 hour chunks, but in larger ones.

If you’re put off by her upper-middle-class urban examples, try Vanderkam’s All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending. The concept is similar, but Vanderkam wrote this book after she left NYC for the suburbs, and I found her examples much more relatable.

(Read my more in-depth review of All The Money in the World here.)

Entreleadership | Dave Ramsey

EntreLeadership: 20 Years of Practical Business Wisdom from the Trenches, Dave Ramsey

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.

Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job | Jon Acuff

Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job, Jon Acuff

 Jon Acuff pioneered the successful website Stuff Christians Like while he was working IT at 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.)

Imagine: How Creativity Works | Jonah Lehrer

Imagine: How Creativity Works, Jonah Lehrer

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, which I wrote more about here.)

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  1. Tim says:

    I just started reading Jennifer Grant’s “Love You More” about how her family of five decided to adopt. Wow! She hooked me in the introduction. Compelling writing, well-crafted beautiful prose, and a humility that disarms. Great for a summer read, because it’s like sitting down over a cold drink with a friend.


  2. Shana Norris says:

    So many of these are on my list: Quitter, 168 Hours, The Well-Educated Mind, and the Gottman book. I actually own the latter, lost it for a while, and recently found it. Can’t wait to dig back into it.

    This is SUCH a great idea, Anne. Looking forward to seeing what section you roll out next.

    Tim, Love You More sounds excellent.

  3. Leanne Penny says:

    I want to read all of these but there is just one problem, I am still awful at buying Non Fiction and then leaving it sit so I have a pile to get through first. It’s getting better though and I’m so thankful for your book recommendations.

    I’m especially interested in switch and 168 hours.

    • Anne says:

      I am equal parts horrified and excited about the idea of Lehrer getting a new contract. Because really, Imagine was great: he didn’t need any fabricated anything to make it better, and it’s a shame that cloud was thrown over a genuinely good book. So unnecessary. I’m sure it won’t happen again, and am looking forward to whatever he’s got cooking next.

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