Skillsoft Blog

Books24x7 Book Review: Summer Reading

By Pam Boiros, Vice President of Product Management, Books 24×7

As the weather warms up and we get into the long, hot days of summer, many of us turn our attentions to vacations, cookouts, and beach days.  A favorite vacation and beach activity is catching up on accumulated reading – whether attacking that stack of magazines that has piled up, or digging into the latest novel.  While business titles may not come immediately to mind, the wisdom contained in these types of books may be just the thing to recharge, refresh, and reflect on work and career goals during the summer months.   And if you can speed through a few books in a short period of time, isn’t that all the better?

Our ExecSummaries™ business book summaries do just the trick.  Short, eight-page summaries of the leading business books – both new titles and perennial classics – are a great way to tap into an author’s actionable points while retaining the original book’s style and tone.

Five of my all-time favorite ExecSummaries include:

1)  Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell.  This one is not even considered a business book by some, but more of a psychology or “self-help” title.  Gladwell basically presents that great decision makers aren’t those who process the most information or spend the most time deliberating, but those who trust their “gut instincts” which are borne out of accumulated experience.

2)  Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler.  Published in 2002, this book is already approaching the status of a “business classic.”  We all face tricky crucial conversations at various times in our lives and careers; the authors present techniques that help to ensure positive outcomes.

3)  What’s Holding You Back? 10 Bold Steps That Define Gutsy Leaders by Robert J. Herbold.  This new 2011 title offers some fresh insights and practical approaches to leadership.  For example, Principle IX: Value Ideas from Anywhere.  I like the tangible suggestions that can be put into immediate action for each of the ten Principles.

4) Everyone Communicates, Few Connect: What the Most Effective People Do Differently by John Maxwell.  I wrote a blog post earlier this year about this book, and the book summary does not disappoint.  It covers the Five Connecting Principles and the Five Connecting Practices of top-notch achievers.

5) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons for Personal Change by Steven R. Covey.  Originally published in the 1980’s, this work is as relevant today as it was when it was published.  The summary outlines each of the seven habits, and any reader can immediately identify opportunities to apply them.

Best of all, ExecSummaries are available in a multitude of downloadable formats, so you can read them on your Kindle or iPad, print them out, or load the audio version onto any listening device.  Each summary generally takes about 20 minutes to read or listen to, so after reading one I feel virtuous about sharpening my business knowledge, and still have time to tuck into that juicy fiction selection I have waiting in my beach bag.

If you’re not a subscriber yet, you can check out Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High here.

What are some of your favorite ExecSummaries?  What else do you have on your summer reading list?  Join the conversation online and let us know.  ExecSummaries subscribers can access these selections (and hundreds more) through Books24x7, our digital books offering.

Happy Summer!


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