Summer Reading for CMOs My Top 15 Picks

When I’m on vacation, I always try to take time to pick up something new and interesting to read. Two of my all-time favorite business reads are “Good to Great” by Jim Collins and “Dealing with Darwin” by Geoffrey Moore – worth reading or re-reading!

We’ve selected fifteen of our favorite new and classic business and marketing reads, covering everything from working without distraction and setting better boundaries for work/life balance to being a better leader and capturing the power of recognition.

No matter where your summer vacation might take you, consider this your essential CMO summer reading list.

“Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE” by Phil Knight

With fifty dollars borrowed from his dad, Phil Knight launched NIKE – which now tops $30 billion in annual sales. This memoir tells Phil’s personal story behind the startup journey and explores how a shared vision created a game-changing brand and culture.

“Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard” by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

From the authors of “Made to Stick,” this is an always insightful read about how we can create change – whether it’s a simple personal tweak or a transformational business change.

“The New Rules of Sales and Service: How to Use Agile Selling, Real-Time Customer Engagement, Big Data, Content, and Storytelling to Grow Your Business” by David Meerman Scott

Buyers are empowered with more information than ever before. To compete in today’s digital-first world, small and large businesses are turning to online content to build customer loyalty and create real-time buyer satisfaction.

“Rise: 3 Practical Steps for Advancing Your Career, Standing Out as a Leader, and Liking Your Life” by Patty Azzarello

Patty Azzarello was the youngest general manager at Hewlett-Packard and became a CEO at age 38. She shares how “DO, LOOK and CONNECT BETTER” are the three secrets to advancing your career while having a life.

“So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love” by Cal Newport

Cal Newport believes passion isn’t how people end up loving what they do. After talking to those who love what they do, he’s found what you do for a living is more important than how you do it.

“Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World” by Cal Newport

Another good read by Cal Newport. Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction – quickly mastering complicated information and producing better results in less time. With most of us spending our time frantically moving from email to meetings, “Deep Work” presents a set of four rules to cultivate a deep work ethic.

“Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth

Angela Duckworth, a MacArthur Fellow and professor of psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, shows that the secret to outstanding achievement is a unique combination of passion and perseverance – what she calls “grit.” A great motivational read!

“Presence: Bringing Your Boldest Self to Your Biggest Challenges” by Amy Cuddy

Amy Cuddy is a social psychologist and associate professor at Harvard Business School. Her TED talk on power posing is the second-most viewed talk in TED’s history and explains how nonverbal behavior and snap judgments influence people. Her book explains strategies and stories about how to approach challenges with confidence instead of dread.

“Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas in Just Five Days” by Jake Knapp, John Zeratsky and Braden Kowitz

Tapping into the methodology used by three partners at Google Ventures and proven at well-known companies, “Sprint” provides a five-day process for solving tough problems. Eric Ries, author of “The Lean Startup” says, “Within five days, you’ll move from idea to prototype to decision, saving you and your team countless hours and countless dollars.”

“How to Have a Good Day: Harness the Power of Behavioral Science to Transform Your Working Life” by Caroline Webb

In the never-ending quest to achieve work/life balance, the economist and former McKinsey partner Caroline Webb gives step-by-step guidance on how to set better priorities, utilize our time better, boost our personal impact and increase our energy.

“Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent” by Sydney Finkelstein

After more than ten years of research and hundreds of interviews, Finkelstein explores “superbosses” – those who’ve transformed industries by inspiring their teams to do their best work. CMOs can learn from the best superboss tactics to become better leaders within their own organizations.

“An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization” by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey

Harvard University Graduate School of Education professors Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey have found that Deliberately Development Organizations (DDOs) prosper when they’re aligned with employees’ strongest motive – to grow. Featuring examples of leading companies using this approach, the book explores why developing everyone is your best differentiation strategy.

“Originals: How Non-Confor|mists Move the World” by Adam Grant

Adam Grant is the highest-rated professor at Wharton and the youngest to ever reach full professor. His newest book explores how to challenge the status quo and champion new ideas and practices without the risk.

“Platform Revolution: How Networked Markets Are Transforming the Economy–And How to Make Them Work for You” by Sangeet Paul Choudary, Marshall W. Van Alstyne and Geoffrey G. Parker

Businesses built on platforms – like Uber, Airbnb, Apple and PayPal – are revolutionizing the way we do business. These three heavy-hitting experts show some of the strategies behind today’s up-and-coming platforms and ideas about how traditional companies might adapt.

“O Great One!: A Little Story About the Awesome Power of Recognition” by David Novak and Christa Bourg

David Novak is co-founder and executive chairman of YUM! Brands – one of the world’s largest restaurant companies. During his time as CEO of YUM!, he learned the importance of recognition in an organization. This book is a fun story based on his real-world personal and professional experiences – and illustrates why great leaders should show appreciation for great work.