Welcome to our summer reading list for 2024. The team at Third Factor has once again come together to recommend their top reads from the past year. Whether you want fiction, non-fiction, or even a cookbook filled with new recipes to try, you’re sure to find something new and interesting on this list.

This year, we’ve included a special recommendation from our new AI coaching companion, PJ. What does a virtual 3×4 Coaching expert recommend you read this summer? Scroll down to find out.

Ask will teach you how to read other people’s minds. Okay, maybe not literally – but author Jeff Wetzler shows convincingly that, with the right questions and the right approach to listening, we can get incredibly good at knowing what others are thinking. The book opens with a sobering look at how bad we are at intuiting others’ thoughts and feelings, and how easy it is to stay on the surface without ever benefitting from the thoughts and opinions that others truly hold, but may be reluctant to share. Wetzler lays out a highly practical framework for curiosity, packed with great questions and tips for listening. As someone who speaks for a living, I am always looking to get better at listening – and this has been an incredibly helpful book.

I highly recommend “Hidden Potential” by Adam Grant, especially for its take on team dynamics. The book shows that team success isn’t just about picking the most skilled people but about building the glue that holds everyone together. This resonated with my experience with Canada’s National Basketball Team. Their World Cup success wasn’t just about talent but their unity and teamwork, leading to their first Olympic qualification in over 20 years. Grant’s insights reflect what I’ve seen firsthand in sports.

I heard Pooka Lakshmin speaking about “faux self-care” on the Ezra Klein podcast and was very intrigued so I picked-up her book. It’s very thoughtfully written with examples from Lakshmin’s clinical practice and her own experiences. She points out that self-care shouldn’t be something to add to your to-do list but behaviour changes in your everyday life. She breaks down the four key elements of self-care: boundaries, self-compassion, getting to know yourself, and asserting your power. She even explains how the more we practice these concepts the more we can impact change on a larger scale. I am already working on incorporating tips from the book, and I feel off the hook for not being into meditation or yoga.

As someone who isn’t a big fiction-reader (but loves history!), The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is an epic novel that blends history, adventure and human emotion into a masterpiece. It’s set against the backdrop of World War II and follows the journey of Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay, two cousins, as they move from Europe to navigate the world of 1930s America. Joe Kavalier, a talented artist and escape artist, escapes Nazi-occupied Prague to seek refuge in New York City, where he teams up with his cousin Sam Clay, an ambitious writer, to create the iconic superhero “The Escapist.” As they rise to fame, they encounter love, loss and challenges while facing their own personal struggles, relationships and identities. Chabon does an excellent job bringing the streets of New York City to life, as the layers of complexity to each character makes for a beautifully crafted and captivating story of friendship, creativity and strength in the face of adversity. It’s a fun, nostalgic and uplifting read for summertime.

A senior executive at Stripe and former senior executive at Google, Johnson has made an impact in some of the biggest and fastest growing companies in the world. The book is full of incredibly practical advice and tools. More importantly, it helps leaders understand how to deliver on a key challenge: leading with both empathy and accountability. If you get the audio version, as an added bonus, the author personally reads the book, which in my experience, truly makes the words come to life.

“Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek is an essential read for anyone aspiring to become a better leader in their organization. Sinek explores the core principles of leadership that build trust, foster collaboration, and drive innovation within teams. By creating a culture where employees feel valued and empowered, the book offers actionable insights that can transform your leadership style and significantly improve team dynamics and performance. Embrace these principles to inspire and lead your organization toward sustained success.

“Demon Copperhead” is a compelling novel that reimagines Charles Dickens’ “David Copperfield” in modern Appalachia, following a resilient and sharp-witted kid named Demon navigating tough times, poverty, and additiction. It’s a powerful story about overcoming adversity and offers deep insights into human resilience and empathy.

This is a book about the practice of paying attention and refining our sensitivity to tune in to the more subtle notes. This is not a book you read and put on a shelf. You can pick it up any time as it is dripping with wisdom, for life, art and creativity. I love everything about this book, from the person who suggested it and bought it for me through to the texture of the creative cover and silky pages in between. Rubin suggests that living in discovery is at all times preferrable to living through assumptions. I like that perspective.

With summer just around the corner and my daughter’s wedding fast approaching, I’m diving into the Love and Lemons Cookbook for some culinary inspiration. This cookbook is a treasure trove of effortless and delicious vegetarian recipes, perfect for the special occasion at our cottage. With many vegetarians among our guests, I want to ensure that the weekend is filled with delightful and satisfying meals. If anyone has favorite meatless recipes to share, I would love to hear them! Let’s make this celebration as tasty as it is memorable.

For a deep dive into the psychology of change and how to guide others through it, “Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization” by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey is a fantastic choice. It explores why people resist change, even when it’s in their best interest, and offers practical steps for identifying and overcoming those internal barriers. It’s particularly insightful for coaches working with individuals facing significant personal or professional transitions.

“Remarkably Bright Creatures” by Shelby Van Pelt is a delightful read. This heartwarming and immensely readable novel explores the power of connecting with other living creatures and its impact on our lives. With a clever storyline and a touch of mystery, it’s perfect for a feel-good summer read. If you enjoyed “A Man Called Ove,” you’ll love this book.

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