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Your Summer Impact Reading List

Your Summer Impact Reading List

A few of our readers enjoying their books. From left to right, Cuong Nguyen, Kathara Green, Athalia Markowitz, and Linda Gerard.

Looking for something to read while sunbathing and sipping daiquiris this summer? Whatever the season has in store for you, we hope you’ll find plenty of opportunities to kick back with a book. To complement the more traditional lists of beach reading suggestions, our staff put together a list of impact-related titles. We like a good mystery as much as the next person, but we can never get enough of inspiring reads like these.


Creative Confidence, by David Kelley and Tom Kelley
Recommended by Linda Gerard

Often, creativity is assumed to be an innate trait that only so-called “creative types” can exhibit. In Creative Confidence, two of the leading experts in innovation and design share entertaining stories and insightful strategies for how each of us can tap into our creative potential and develop the confidence to innovate.

Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations That Accelerate Change by Chris Ertel and Lisa Kay Solomon
Recommended by Linda Gerard

Drawing from the fields of innovation, leadership, and strategy, Moments of Impact is a great resource for leaders driving change in any sector. It will quickly become your go-to resource for how to design strategic conversations that create breakthrough impact.

Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Recommended by Cuong Nguyen

In this compelling follow-up to the critically acclaimed bestseller Made to Stick, the Heath brothers show how to overcome the primary obstacle in our brains to enacting change – the conflict between our rational minds (thoughtful, logical) and our emotional minds (impulsive, instinctual) – by uniting these opposing cognitive systems for often transformative results.

The Innovator’s Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business by Clayton M. Christensen
Recommended by Sreya Sengupta

In this revolutionary bestseller, innovation expert Clayton M. Christensen shows how some companies miss out on new waves of innovation by not knowing when to abandon traditional business practices. While existing thriving companies can be successful with current technologies, they can often falter with the advent of “disruptive” technologies. The Innovator’s Dilemma is a must-read for any aspiring executives and entrepreneurs.


Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, by Daniel H. Pink
Recommended by Cuong Nguyen

While conventional wisdom says that the best way to motivate people is through rewards like money and other carrot-and-stick approaches, Drive asserts that the most effective way to generate high performance and job satisfaction among workers is by connecting to the intrinsic human desire for autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling by Edgar Schein
Recommended by Sreya Sengupta

Humble Inquiry introduces a way of asking questions that transcends hierarchy and builds trust upon a foundation of curiosity and interest in the other person. This methodology can be essential for generating bold ideas and developing an agile organization.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
Recommended by Kathara Green

Are you spreading yourself too thin? For anyone who’s ever felt overcommitted or overworked, Essentialism is a guidebook to help you pare your life down to the essentials and achieve more by doing less.

Corporate Responsibility

The Evolution of a Corporate Idealist: When Girl Meets Oil, by Christine Bader
Recommended by Kathara Green

In this captivating book, 2014 Net Impact Conference Speaker Christine Bader shares her nearly decade-long journey at BP, where she promoted corporate responsibility initiatives across the world as BP dealt with tragic accidents and unfortunate disasters. Bader highlights the struggles and disappointments inherent in trying to change a corporation from within, providing a unique and valuable perspective on how to leverage the drive of business to achieve a sustainable world.

Note: Christine recently hosted an Issues in Depth hangout.

Young Money, by Kevin Roose
Recommended by Nora Traughber

Young Money follows young analysts at leading investment banks as they try to manage exhausting workloads, sleeplessness, and existential crises over morality, prestige, and the value of their work.

Social Impact

How to Change the World: Social Entrepreneurs and the Power of New Ideas, by David Bornstein
Recommended by Athalia Markowitz

How to Change the World provides vivid profiles of social entrepreneurs who developed innovative solutions to social and economic problems around the world, from delivering solar energy to Brazilian villagers to expanding access to college in the United States. The stories of these change agents will inspire and encourage you to build a better world.

The Blue Sweater: Bridging the Gap between Rich and Poor in an Interconnected World by Jacqueline Novogratz
Recommended by Athalia Markowitz

The Blue Sweater tells the powerful story of a woman who left a lucrative career in banking to devote herself to understanding the origins of global poverty and finding creative ways to solve it. Novogratz discusses the limitations of traditional charitable organizations and illustrates a new form of philanthropic investing called “patient capital” that can help generate self-sufficiency and transform millions of lives.

Rippling: How Social Entrepreneurs Spread Innovation Throughout the World by Beverly Schwartz
Recommended by Kathara Green

Rippling presents some of the most effective approaches to solving social and environmental challenges through innovation that any leader can apply to cultivate deep and lasting change. 2012 Net Impact Conference Speaker Beverly Schwartz shares the inspirational stories from hundreds of the world’s top social innovators and illustrates how to become a catalyst to address the world’s most difficult challenges.

We’d love to have your ideas, too, so feel free to add them in the comments – or let us know on Twitter or Facebook.