Coming off the excitement of working on another wonderful Wordplay Book Festival, and with summer vacations on the horizon, we wanted to dig in and develop another list of suggested reading materials from our team. Below, we share some favorites we keep going back to along with some newer titles. We hope these provide entertainment, knowledge and understanding, and as we approach the mid-point of the year, and help keep those working toward new year’s goals to read more on track!
“How I Built This” by Guy Raz – Business/Entrepreneurship
This title comes highly recommended by Shelli, who says, “If you’ve ever tuned into “How I Built This” with Guy Raz on National Public Radio, this one is for you. And if you haven’t, check it out! The weekly show-turned-podcast shares the background, challenges, risks and successes of entrepreneurs, from people like Spanx founder and now billionaire Sara Blakely and Stacy’s Pita Chips founder Stacy Brown to Crate & Barrel founders Gordon and Carole Segal. The book shares the same insights, intriguing behind-the-scenes stories and little known nuggets about dozens of entrepreneurs, many whom have put everything on the line to follow their dreams and build their businesses. Guy delivers inspiration (including his own story), tips, humor and candor about what entrepreneurs face to make their dreams reality. May it motivate and inspire you no matter what path you’re on!”
“The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History” by Elizabeth Kolbert – Climate Change
Johanna is passionate about sustainability and learning about/helping fight climate change, and we appreciate the vigor with which she shares what she’s learned with our team. She recommended this book as “a hard-truth but engrossing read about how Earth’s warming climate and human impacts have affected ecosystems and wildlife species around the world.”
“The Soul of Baseball: A Road Trip Through Buck O’Neil’s America” by Joe Posnanski – Biography/Travel
With beautiful writing and a compelling narrative, this book piqued my interest in the Negro Leagues when I was beginning the first chapter of my career, working in professional baseball. It’s incredibly well-written and makes the reader feel like they are listening to Buck O’Neil, a Negro Leagues player/manager, the first Black Major League Baseball coach, and founder of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, tell stories about this league, its history and the pivotal role it played in the civil rights movement. It’s a book I’ve returned to many times, and a unique way to see how baseball is so much more than a sport.
“Work Like a Boss” by Nancy Lyons – Business/Self-Help
“This book covers important topics like empathy, accountability, engagement and mindset, and wraps it all in a humorous, irreverent, accessible package,” said Brian. “The people-centered culture that Nancy Lyons cultivated at Minneapolis digital agency Clockwork is a model Bellmont Partners has long aspired to, and now she’s put a lot of her actionable wisdom in this tiny but powerful book.”
“There’s a Revolution Outside, My Love: Letters From a Crisis” by various authors, edited by Tracy K Smith & John Freeman – Anthology
Briana recommended this is a powerful collection of 40 letters, essays and poems written in 2020 by authors across the country – including Twin Citians Su Hwang and Michael Kleber-Diggs – when the nation was faced with the twin tragedies of the COVID-19 pandemic and the murder of George Floyd. The back cover calls it “an intimate collection of writing that offers a space to mourn and ponder what the nation is, and what it can be.”
“The Paper Solution” by Lisa Woodruff – Self-Help/Do-It-Yourself
Even though we are living in a digital world, why do we still have so much paper? Studies show that 85% of all the paper in our lives can be shred or recycled, but which 85% of the paper is that, and what do we do with the other 15%? Our Bellmont Partners team has been learning great lessons, practices and a step-by-step guide for what to shred, what to save and how to sort what’s left behind from our client, Lisa Woodruff, author and founder of Organize 365. Known as the “Marie Kondo of paper,” Woodruff uses this book to teach how to deal with all that paper in a simple and effective way. Check it out…you can thank us later when you are organized and not drowning in all that excess paper!
“Ancient Remedies” by Dr. Josh Axe – Alternative Medicine/Self-Help
Michelle says that this isn’t exactly a “beach read,” but that she’s found this book interesting, especially in its exploration of other cultures. It reads a bit more textbook-ish than novel as Dr. Axe dives deep into ancient and traditional Chinese, Ayurveda (Indian/Nepalese) and Middle Eastern medicinal practices that are still widely used today, sharing how these practices tap into the power that natural herbs, spices and oils provide.
Looking for a biography or autobiography?
While they aren’t always the lightest of reads, Bridget has been reading several biographies and autobiographies this year, including “The Good Neighbor: The Life and Work of Fred Rogers” by Maxwell King, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run” and Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s “My Own Words.” Up next, she’s planning to dig into “Becoming,” by Michelle Obama. She said she finds it’s fascinating to learn more about the life, works and lesser-known stories behind the icons.
“Check Please!” by Ngozi Ukazu – Graphic Novel/LGBTQIA+/Young Adult
This story is adapted from a webcomic series about a gay college hockey player-slash-baking vlogger. Johanna recommends it as “a wholesome and very cute read for anyone who enjoys hockey, graphic novels or baking!”
“Jimmy Bluefeather” by Kim Heacox – Adventure/Alaska
I discovered this book thanks to my continuous search for tales of outdoor adventures. The novel is set in majestic Alaska, and tells the story of a ninety-something man, Old Keb, who is part Tlingit Native and part Norwegian (as the book says, with “some Filipino and Portuguese thrown in”). When his basketball-star grandson is injured and can no longer play, the two men find their way to each other for the most meaningful journey they could imagine. This book has it all – the drama of crafting Old Keb’s last canoe, a suspicious fire, a love story, and even a dog named Steve. Plus, it weaves the Tlingit language and culture into the narrative, adding a poetry to the writing and depth to the story, and making the reader feel like they’re right there in Jinkaat watching it all unfold.
“The Woman in Cabin 10” by Ruth Ware – Thriller
Kalli picked up this book from our in-office book exchange last year, and although thrillers aren’t typically a genre she reads, she really enjoyed it. She said, “The way the story was told was really unique and kept you guessing at the outcome all the way until the end.”
“Queenie” by Candice Carty-Williams – Psychological Fiction
This book, set in London, is about a young Jamaican British woman who is finding her truth, as she seeks to determine who she wants to be, since she doesn’t neatly fit into either culture she feels pulled between. Bridget suggested this title and said, “I couldn’t put it down, and it’s stuck with me.”
We’d love to hear what you’ve been reading lately – please leave a comment or send us a note to share some titles and authors you enjoy! And if you’re looking for even more suggested reading, check out this list of 18 recommended reads from our team from earlier this year.