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Summer Reading: Build Your Professional Bookshelf With These Top Picks

Summer_Reading_for_Professionals“The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read.” – Mark Twain

This quote is so powerful! We all know the importance of literacy – it is driven into our heads from the onset of school at a very young age. We fumbled through The Grapes of Wrath, The Scarlett Letter and any number of other “over-our-head” books as teens. Then the real world hits us and between developing a career, family and just plain growing pains of growing up, reading becomes less important to us or we just don’t make the time to read.

If you are a professional aspiring to make an impact in your organization, promote change or enlighten yourself, I encourage you to make a date with yourself and a book. There are hundreds of business books and personal development books published each year. I have created a list of some of my favorites to get you started. These recommendations provide thought provoking and motivating reading for any business professional from an independent contributor to a CEO of an organization. This list is in no particular order and I hope it provides resources for your personal and professional growth.


The Fred Factor, Mark Sanborn

This is a great short read that will have you changing your life from the ordinary to the extraordinary. Sanborn outlines 4 principles based on Fred: how to make a real difference every day, how to become more successful by building strong relationships, how to create value for others without spending a penny, and how to constantly reinvent yourself. Fred is a real life person who happens to also be a mail carrier. Sanborn recounts Fred’s true story of his passion and love for his job, genuine care for those he serves, and his desire to make a difference in the lives of those he serves.

Spoiler alert – Fred even watches over houses of the people on his route.


How Full Is Your Bucket?, Tom Rath and Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D.

We have probably all heard the saying “Kindness is contagious” at some point. This book takes a metaphorical approach to how kindness and negativity encounters in your day impact your satisfaction and productivity. Your bucket is either being filled with positive moments or somebody is dipping water from your bucket. Through strategies and stories the authors vividly share with the reader how the smallest of interactions affect relationships and productivity. What I love most about this book is there is also a kid’s version to begin developing healthy habits with the young ones in your life.


Increase Your Influence at Work, Perry McIntosh and Richard A. Luecke

Influence gives people the ability to make change. This is an important skill for success within any company at any level. In Increase Your Influence at Work, Perry McIntosh and Richard A. Luecke show readers how to gain influence over their subordinates, peers, and supervisors in order to achieve their career goals and maintain higher levels of work satisfaction. Easy-to-apply tips will show you how to win support for ideas and projects, contribute to decisions, resolve conflicts, frame important issues, and lead and manage more effectively. We are not all born with this skill but it can be learned.


Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg

As a working mother, this book really hit home for me on so many levels. However, this is also a great read for any male who believes we need better equality in leadership positions or any male supporting a working woman in the workplace. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, uses wisdom from her own life experiences – including mistakes, humor, anecdotes, and research to encourage women to seek challenges, take risks, and pursue goals. This book is an elongated version of her 2010 TEDTalk in which she discussed how women unintentionally hold themselves back in their careers. This book is not the magic answer to balancing personal and professional lives but it will certainly motivate any woman to think about what she can do rather than what she can’t.



The 7 Minute Solution, Allyson Lewis

The techniques outlined in this book will not only help your business productivity and effectiveness but it will also help you deepen and grow your personal relationships. Lewis’ simple and straightforward tips can be put into action immediately for a work smarter, not harder strategy. This book is packed with real-life human stories of how overwhelming challenges can be managed. You will learn to seize the day and not let it seize you!

While none of these books offer quick fixes, they do provide thought provoking content to consider. I always find when I take the time to allow myself to THINK rather than just ACT, the results are much better. The leadership team at Yoh recently read The Oz Principle together. This is another highly recommended book to add to your bookshelf as it takes a close look at accountability. It is easy to fall into a trap of blaming others but in the end, what does that get you? I learned from reading the Oz Principle that setting goals with those principles in mind that I have to own every situation as if I am the only one accountable for it. Result? Improved customer satisfaction, transparent conversations and a more satisfied Robin. 

Happy reading!!

This blog was written by Robin Shartzer. Over the past 14 years Robin has worked in a variety of talent acquisition environments from agency recruitment to corporate recruitment and is currently an Operations Manager with Yoh’s RPO Division.  Robin’s passion in recruitment is process improvement and driving results through analysis of metrics and sharing of best practices with her team and peers. She also believes personal accountability and tenacity is at the core of every success. Robin holds a B.S. in Psychology from University of Louisville and a M.A. in Leadership from The Ohio State University.  Outside of work Robin is active with community volunteering in Louisville, KY and carting her 2 teenagers to and from numerous activities that keep her and her husband young.

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