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National Book Lovers Day: Stratacomm Reading List

August 9 is National Book Lovers Day, an unofficial holiday encouraging us all to treat ourselves to some quality reading time. Studies have shown that reading is not only entertaining, but it also helps you sleep better, improve focus and concentration and – of special interest to those in my profession – be a better communicator and writer! Scientists have also found that those who read are much more likely to be empathetic and understanding of others.

In honor of National Book Lovers Day, here are recommendations I’ve collected from my colleagues at #TeamStratacomm to round out your summer reading list.

Kristin Tyll, Senior Vice President & Partner, recommends The New Era of the CCO: The Essential Role of Communication in a Volatile World by Roger Bolton (Editor), Don W. Stacks (Editor) and Eliot Mizrachi (Editor)

Why? This book captured my attention when scanning the Arthur Page Society blog for recommendations, and I immediately purchased it. The New Era of the CCO addresses the changing business landscape, evolutions in the corporate communications function and the expanding foundational role of the Chief Communications Officer (CCO) through a series of essays by top thought leaders in public relations. Additionally, it includes an impressive list of case studies from companies that span the transportation sector like General Motors, Ford Motor Company, Southwest Airlines and Navistar. The biggest takeaway for me is how the defined role of the CCO has changed and the list of required skills and capabilities identified to be successful in this key role is growing. This information is helpful as we examine, expand and evolve the communications offerings Stratacomm provides moving forward.

John Fitzpatrick, Managing Partner, recommends Principles by Ray Dalio

Why? According to John, “the author is credible and clearly did something right: he’s a billionaire who started his investment firm, Bridgewater, out of his house. At one point along the way up the hill, he lost all his money and had to start over. Today, it’s the largest investment firm in the world.” Principles is a pretty easy read you can pick up and then put down for a while, with lots of good at-a-glance summaries. Dalio offers up his core principles for both his personal life and his professional business, which are premised on radical truthfulness, radical transparency, and his view the best companies are idea meritocracies. He suggests these principles to get the most out of one’s personal/professional reality. Dailo relies on these principles as the ultimate way of stress testing his, and later his employees’, opinions. Do they hold up in the real world? Instead of just thinking he was right, he asked: “How can I know I’m right?”

Karah Davenport, Vice President, recommends Eleven Rings of Success by Phil Jackson

Why? Phil Jackson’s leadership approach and notable success rate captured Karah’s interest enough to read his biography a few years ago. Jackson prefers to give players room to figure out the problem and come up with a solution on their own. He didn’t coach by telling players what to do—they’d made it to the NBA, they know how to move a ball. Jackson’s role as coach was more focused on helping his players get their heads in the game and be strategic. In his book, he also talks about the need to change and adapt your approach to meet the needs of the individual players in order to create a space they can thrive in. One of his core leadership philosophies is to ensure his players knows he values them as people. Karah says, “I love a good biography in general, however I recommend this one to others because it is a non ‘business self-help book’ approach to becoming a better leader.”

Angela Bianchi, Vice President, recommends Energize Your Workplace: How to Create and Sustain High-Quality Connections at Work by Jane Dutton

Why? Dutton’s book explains how forming high-quality connections with colleagues generates positive energy, helping to equip people to do their work and do it well. Her research shows that high-quality connections help to create and sustain employee resilience and flexibility, facilitate the speed and quality of learning, and build individual commitment and cooperation – helping to create a work environment that is more pleasant, positive and productive. Beyond simply praising high-quality connections and their benefits to the workplace, Dutton also provides practical steps to form and deepen those relationships, and these tactics have helped Angela both in and out of the office. (Plus, Dutton is a professor at my alma mater – #goblue!)

Shannon Hartnett, Vice President – Administration & Partner recommends Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Why? Shannon really connected with Wild due to the way Cheryl depicts herself in a very relatable way – vulnerable and raw. Her story is one of failure, mistakes and mourning, and then rising above it all to persevere on through life stronger, honest and real. From learning from our mistakes to forgiveness, the lessons portrayed apply to both our work life and our personal life. Shannon recommends Strayed’s story to others because “we are all on the ‘trail’ of life – past, present and future – and feeling broken does not mean we stay broken!” Wild has inspired Shannon to do her own, albeit a smaller version, of Strayed’s Pacific Crest Trail adventure on the Appalachian Trail. Although, her 4-legged loyal companion, Camden, has yet to sign up for the adventure!

If none of these appeal to you, here’s a few more titles #TeamStratacomm recommends!

Kristin Calandro Tyll is a senior vice president in Stratacomm’s Detroit office and leads the firm’s automotive practice group. Long ago, she swore she’d never read non-fiction again after college and then quickly realized that was a terrible idea although she makes sure her reading list includes LOTS of post-apocalyptic fiction.