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Must-read business books for the beach: 2016 Edition

Heading to the cabin or lake? Don't forget to pack your summer reading list!

Summer Reading Business Books

With warmer months finally here (well…mostly), it seems like everyone I know is trying to find as many opportunities as possible to get outside and soak up as much sun as humanly possible.

This being said, busy business owners and entrepreneurs can rarely take time off to completely unplug, and if you’re anything like me, you’re probably hoping to find some ways to combine professional development with some good ‘ol R&R.

As I said in my 2015 article of the same theme, “‘downtime’ is an opportunity to hone my craft and learn a thing or two.” So why not share some of the hottest “must-read” books from my Amazon wish list this summer.

The Billionaire Who Wasn't: How Chuck Feeney Made and Gave Away a Fortune Without Anyone Knowing

Author: Conor O'Clery

The Billionaire Who Wasn't Chuck Feeney by Conor O'Clery

Imagine giving away billions of dollars from your own personal bank account. If you’re looking for a little inspirational, feel-good reading, then this is the book for you.

The book chronicles the life of Chuck Feeney, hailed in 1988 as the twenty-third richest man in America. Born in Elizabeth, New Jersey to a blue-collar Irish-American family during the darkest years of the Depression, Feeney went on to fight in the Korean War and find his fortune as the co-founder of Duty Free Shoppers, the largest duty-free retail chain.

However, despite being hailed as one of the world’s modern millionaires, Feeney had secretly been transferring his earnings to his philanthropic foundation, Atlantic Philanthropies. It wasn’t until 1997 when he sold his Duty Free interests that he was publicly “outed” as being one of the most giving and mysterious philanthropists in modern America.

At that time, Feeney, a frugal man who defies conventional billionaire status by owning as little as possible – not even owning a car or a home – disappeared from the public eye. That is, until he re-emerged in 2005 to promote a biography on “giving while living”.

The Billionaire Who Wasn’t is somewhat of a continuation of this biography, and chronicles Feeney, now in his mid-seventies, along with his determination to help his foundation spend the additional $4 billion during his lifetime.

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Author: Sheryl Sandberg

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg is the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, is ranked as one of Fortune magazine's 50 Most Powerful Women in Business and as one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Lean In is somewhat of a continued conversation to the one she started in 2010, when she delivered a TEDTalk in which she described how women will unintentionally hold themselves back professionally. In this same talk, she encouraged women to “sit at the table” and to pursue their goals with as much passion as any man would.

Lean In is a combination of personal anecdotes, data-driven findings and fascinating research that clears away the biases surrounding the choices that working women make in modern society. With startling clarity and honesty, Sandberg describes her own struggles, successes and setbacks in her ongoing struggle to make the right choices for her personal and professional life.

In addition to personal insight, she provides useful tips on negotiation, mentorship and encourages women to abandon the myth of “having it all” in exchange for setting realistic goals and expectations for themselves.

If you’re a woman in business, then Lean In is a must-read this summer.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers

Author: Ben Horowitz

The Hard Thing About Hard Things Ben Horowitz

Ben Horowitz is the cofounder of Andreessen Horowitz, a $4 billion venture capital firm, and is considered to be among one of Silicon Valley’s most influential and experienced entrepreneurs. In his latest book, The Hard Thing About Hard Things, he serves up some hard-hitting advice for startups, including insight into some of the toughest problems facing entrepreneurs in the modern age.

This book is a continuation of the thoughts he shared on his blog, aptly title “Ben’s Blog,” and goes into more detail when it comes to analyzing problems that founders and leaders in the startup scene face every day. From poaching competitors to firing friends, Horowitz hits hard, and doesn’t mince words when it comes to building and sustaining a healthy culture within your startup.

Not only is The Hard Thing About Hard Things full of Horowitz’s trademark humour and direct approach to problem solving, he also works in his favourite rap lyrics from various songs to drive his points home. It’s an interesting, and most importantly, entertaining look at startup culture.

Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life

Author: Amy E. Herman

Visual Intelligence Sharpen Your Perception Change Your Life Amy E. Herman

Amy Herman is a celebrated art historian, and her book Visual Intelligence is a literary version of her famous seminar “The Art of Perception.”

In the book, Herman demonstrates to the reader that there are benefits to paying attention to the visual clues which surround us, but which few of us take the time to observe and understand properly.

“Visual intelligence,” Herman argues, can help everyone – and she has used these techniques to help doctors, police officers, the FBI and Fortune 500 companies recognize and identify useful and pertinent visual information. The lessons and examples outlined in her book are designed to do more than help you notice things that you may once have glossed over; it is a useful tool designed to help you choose the right talent, identify opportunities, and threats and possible dangers.

Whether you’re interested in learning to be a better partner or spouse, want to be more effective in the workplace, or want to identify key opportunities and threats in both your business and personal life, Visual Intelligence will help you accomplish those goals.

What amazing read did we miss? Tell us your favourite business book for the beach in the comments below. Then check out last year’s list to see what you may have missed.

Business Books for the Beach

Alyson Shane

Alyson Shane is a writer and business owner from Winnipeg, Manitoba who has been publishing content online for 16+ years. She runs Starling Social, an agency which develops digital marketing strategies that combine social media, paid advertising and content strategy to keep businesses growing and engaged with their customers. Outside the office, Alyson is a passionate urbanist who loves gardening, riding her bike and thinking about the public spaces that bring us together. She can be reached on social media at @alysonshane.

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