Whether you’re heading to the beach, the mountains or to far-away lands, summer is a great time to kick back and relax. And there’s nothing better than relaxing with a good book.
With that in mind, we’ve put together a list of what we think are this summer’s best reads. From a rock and roll star’s tell all, to loving the rat race, to rage in the Middle East, it’s an eclectic group selected to inspire, teach and amuse.
So, click ahead and get reading!
Posted 1 July 2011
By Gloria McDonough-Taub
Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World
By Robin Wright
Who would have thought a decade after the 9/11 attacks we would be witness to a tectonic shift of power in the Middle East led by playwrights and poets, rappers and rebels, women and comedians?
In “ROCK THE CASBAH” readers are taken on an amazing journey deep into the youth-inspired rebellions that are redefining politics, culture, and life across the Islamic world. While not getting swept away in the euphoria of change, Wright candidly details both the possibilities and the pitfalls that lie ahead and what it means to all of us.
Wright let’s her readers know from the very beginning of the book that, “The most important story of the early twenty-first century is the epic convulsion across the Islamic world. Rage against geriatric autocrats is only one part of it.”
And she’s right. What is happening now in the region is on the scale with the likes of the region’s other epic events occurring in the past century including; the Iranian revolution, the creation of Israel, and the collapse of Ottoman Empire.
Wright’s book is a great primer on what’s happening now, who’s involved and all the problems that will still exist long after the spring rebellions began.
A Rock 'n' Roll Memoir
By Steve Tyler
We all love a second act and with Steven Tyler, we’ve witnessed about six acts from him – all very entertaining – many defying all odds.
In his memoir, Tyler the Aerosmith frontman, takes us on the road, into rehab and inside the world of rock legends. This is not a journey for the prudish. It’s full of rock, roll and raunch with loads of each especially the raunch. There are a lot of graphic groupie stories – the kind of stories that young fans of American Idol should not know about – or read about until they’re about 35.
Tyler’s candor will surprise you. At 63 he seems to have made peace with his demons and seems ready to enjoy the rest of his life without apologies and without drugs.
For an escape from the confines of the boardroom, Tyler’s book is a great break from your buttoned-up world.
Inside the World of ESPN
By James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales
It’s very easy to be jealous of the folks who work at ESPN – they get paid to watch sporting events. Tough life, right? But instead of being jealous, America fell in love with “Those Guys” – reveling in their on and off-screen antics.
In Those Guys Have All The Fun the authors go behind the scenes to meet the guys who really do have all the fun and enough real-life drama to fill more than 700 pages.
The egos and characters of ESPN are almost as big as the superstars they cover. ESPN’s tabloid fodder includes drunken frat parties, Christmas party orgies, drugs, sex, sex and more sex. As my colleague Darren Rovell (who worked at ESPN before coming to CNBC wrote, “…if you want the highlights from the guys who brought you the highlights, all the essentials are there.”
Those Guys do have all the fun and so will readers who watched the cable channel grow from seeing athletes “en fuego ” on highlight reels to an international success.
Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments
By Douglas Conant and Mette Norgaard
All of us are bombarded with non-stop interruptions throughout our days. Between emails, phone calls, and the walk-ins who actually take our open-office policy seriously – it’s a battle to get anything done.
But what if we’re thinking about all those interruptions the wrong way –what if those interruptions are exactly what we need to get the job done?
In TouchPoints, Douglas Conant the former Chairman and CEO of Campbell Soup Company and his co-author Mette Norgaard, make the case that your job is to figure out how to work through and even embrace those interruptions. The authors claim those “interruptions” aka annoyances are your opportunities to be a great leader, create a better workplace and make a lasting impression.
Why You Need and Love the Rat Race
By Todd Buchholz
Erase those fantasies of yours of escaping the rat race and just kickin’ back.
Buchholz, a former White House director of economic policy makes the outrageous argument that we really don’t want to relax, that we actually need the rat race, that peace and quiet will actually ruin your state of mind.
Using mountains of scientific evidence and behavioral economics, Buchholz claims we need competition in our personal and professional lives in order to have a happier and healthier existence. He says we actually thrive on that “RUSH” of being on the hunt, in the thick of competition with all its sacrifices.
Writing for CNBC he warned that employees and shareholders should be very nervous of a comfortable CEO, writing, “Too much comfort should make you squirm.”
He explains that and more including why retiring makes you stupid.
So grab the beach towels and pack up the car, playtime is over. If you’re searching for true happiness, love or greater wealth you’ve got to RUSH back to work.
Americans in Paris
By David McCullough
Whether you’ll be a traveler with a suitcase – or you just want to take your mind on a vacation – consider this summer escape to Paris; the Paris of another time – the Paris that inspired and shaped a new America.
In The Greater Journey McCullough takes readers on an epic journey exploring the lives of some of the most colorful Americans; the expatriates who lived grand, glorious, envious lives in Paris between 1830 and 1900.
These artists, writers, doctors and architects left their homes and provincial ways and set sail across the Atlantic enduring weeks of rough seas - in search of greater glory. They wanted to better themselves and to be in what was then, the center of the universe.
The exposure to all that Paris had to offer them then – the arts, the science, the fashion, the food, museums and old-world architecture - transformed these young Americans and their country.
The Race to Kill the BP Oil Gusher
By Joel Achenbach
If you’re looking for a real-life thriller this is the book for you. Readers will find echoes of the Apollo 13 mission in this book as Achenbach’s “technological thriller” reveals how Houston engineers had to once again, improvise to solve a problem when “failure was not an option.”
As we gear up for another summer of fun on the beach, it’s hard to remember how hopeless we all felt last year, as we watched for three months millions and millions of gallons of oil spewing into the Gulf. No matter what the experts (those in and out of the government) tried, no one it seemed could come up with a plan to end our national nightmare. After nearly 5 million barrels of oil had spilled, the leak was finally stopped.
Achenbach does a great job of bringing you on to the platform the night of the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon and takes you behind the scenes to reveal the struggles and battles between the BP engineers and government scientists who were working (together and often against each other) to kill the runaway well.
Building the Worlds Largest Global Networks
By Bill Roedy
It was the rock group Dire Straits who captured the mood of a generation in the song I WANT MY MTV with lyrics like, “Now that ain't workin' that's the way you do it, Let me tell ya them guys ain't dumb…”
Nope, them guys ain’t dumb; The ones with the blisters on their thumbs – or the ones who built MTV into a global brand.
The driving force behind MTV Networks International is Bill Roedy, a West Point grad who served as a Second Lieutenant in Vietnam and commanded three NATO nuclear missile bases in Italy.
As the former Chairman and CEO of MTV Int’l, Roedy led a musical invasion around the world and planted the MTV Flag in nearly 200 countries.
‘What Makes Business Rock’ is rockin’ good fun and full of actionable advice for execs who hope to plant their own flags in new frontiers with an entertaining twist – it’s chocked full of fabulous gossip, celebrities, rock idols, politicians, global leaders and of course loads of music.
How a Maniac TV Producer Put Down His BlackBerry and Started to Live His Life
By Chris Licht
Whether you’re kicking back with the family or kicking around your options take some time to truly take stock of your life and of your dreams.
Chris Licht, a Vice President at CBS News and former Executive Producer of MSNBC-TV “Morning Joe” tells his story of how, at the ripe old age of 38, he almost lost it all – his career and his life – when he was struck down by a brain hemorrhage. His near-death experienced changed everything; his life, his career and his outlook.
This is a quick read that’s sure inspire you not to sweat the small stuff and instead, help you figure out what’s really important to you and your life - so that you can truly start living.
The Amazing Story Behind The Most Audacious Heist In History
By Ben Mezrich
Ben Mezrich's last book The Accidental Billionaires was about Facebook's founders and all the epic fights they had. The book went on to become the foundation for the Oscar-nominated film The Social Network.
In Sex on the Moon, Mezrich has found yet another true story that will have everyone talking.
It’s a love story about a boy who wants to give his girl the moon…Only the boy is a really really bright boy – a rocket scientist who, well, doesn’t act like a rocket scientist.
In the book, NASA intern Thad Roberts concocts a meticulously researched (but disastrous) plan to break into NASA lab headquarters and steal some precious moon rocks for his lover.
As with Accidental Billionaires, you’ll be shocked and amused by yet another group of brainiacs who lack a good dose of common sense.
Mezrich's story of this astro-geeky cupid and his quest to prove his love is surely going to be one of the summer’s most fun reads.
Turning Your Ideas Into Great Results
By Peter Sheahan
Here’s an interesting take on how to break through all the clutter that has us all bogged down and is responsible for so much inaction. Let’s face it, we just can’t take any more input – we’re suffering from an overload of information, pitches, updates and interruptions.
Sheahan says “Our minds feel literally full.”
Writing a guest post on CNBC.com earlier this year, he put it this way, “Mental energy is what I now refer to as the third currency. Every day we trade money, we trade time and we trade our mental energy.
In order to break through the mental barrier of your buyer, you have to make your offer easy as possible—easy to understand, and easy to differentiate.”
That’s right – cut out all the nonsense. Focus on the customer – focus on making their life easier, clearer and simpler, by doing so, Sheahan says you’ll break through your buyer’s mental barrier and make it easy for them to want what you’re offering.
Three Different Views from the Top
Bossypants, by Tina Fey The funniest woman in America has some strong advice about getting ahead and getting along in today’s workplace.
Onward:How Starbucks Fought for Its Life without Losing Its Soul by Howard Schultz and Joanne Gordon. The top barista shares advice on getting ahead – getting lost and getting back on track.
Idea Man:A Memoir by the Cofounder of Microsoft by Paul Allen. In a nutshell: life with Bill Gates.