10 best summer reads for boards and administrators - Aprio

10 best summer reads for boards and administrators

It’s summer and for most boards that means a little less activity and a little more time for reading.

To kick things off, here are 10 interesting and inspiring books worth a look for board chairs, CEOs, directors and board administrators.

On behalf of your board support crew here at Aprio, we wish each of you the very best of the summer – thanks for your business and your hard work.


The CEO Next Door: The 4 Behaviors That Transform Ordinary People into World-Class Leaders by Elena Botelho and Kim Powell

Much of what we hear about who gets to the top and how is wrong. Based on in-depth research into thousands of CEOs, this book reveals key behaviors that anyone can master.

Tribal Leadership: Leveraging Natural Groups to Build a Thriving Organization by Logan, King, and Fisher-Wright

A 10-year study of 24,000 people in two-dozen organizations revealed that within these organizations exist separate tribes. Doesn’t that sound like most boards of directors? This book is a unique look at high-performance organizational cultures. 

Guide to Nonprofit Leadership: Because Nonprofits Are Messy by Joan Garry

This one is targeted at nonprofit leaders but it’s relevant for any organization where resources are constrained and breakthroughs hinge on being practical and engaging people – staff and board included. It’s funny, honest, intensely actionable, and based on the author’s decades of experience from the perspectives of an Executive Director, a board leader, a volunteer, and a donor.

Diversity and engagement

These books are calls to action for boards as they seek to recruit engage diverse members, and provide inspiration and guidance to directors looking to be heard

The Meaning Revolution: The Power of Transcendent Leadership by Fred Kofman

Fred Kofman, leadership advisor at Google, claims that the biggest driver of motivation is the chance to serve a larger purpose. Transcendental leaders, wherever they are in the hierarchy, are those who can help others feel connected and part of an ennobling purpose.

A Good Time to be a Girl: Don’t Lean In, Change the System by Helena Morrissey

Morrissey draws on her experience as a City CEO, mother of nine and founder of the influential 30% Club, which campaigns for gender-balanced UK company boards, to make a powerful case for diversity and difference in any workplace.

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle

From the bestselling author of The Talent Code, this new book demystifies the culture-building process by identifying three key skills that generate cohesion and cooperation. Coyle combines leading-edge science, on-the-ground insights and practical ideas for action, offering a roadmap for an environment where innovation flourishes, problems get solved and expectations are exceeded.

For board administrators – how to transcend stress and the status quo

Getting Things Done by David Allen

This is one of the biggest productivity books of the last two decades. We might heckle the book’s promise of “stress-free productivity” but certainly most of us could do with shedding some of the worry and anxiety that holds us back more than helping us get vital things done.

How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work by Kegan and Lahey

This book tackles the inherent human resistance to change. As most of us can attest, often when confronted with change, a little voice inside us tells us why to resist. The authors write that this voice speaks with 7 tongues. One could even say that these “voices” make us immune to change. This book offers a powerful antidote.

Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs by John Doerr

If you’re someone who swears the clock has a leak and you’re doomed to never get the important stuff done, this book offers a useful perspective on prioritizing. The goal-setting system of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) has helped tech giants from Intel to Google achieve explosive growth—and can help any organization thrive. OKRs focus effort, foster coordination and keep employees on track.

The Ripple Effect, Sleep Better, Eat Better, Move Better, Think Better by Greg Wells

For some of us, looking at our health might yield our most worthwhile productivity gains. We’ve all observed how modern life with its always-on connectivity, fast food and Netflix binging into our optimal sleep hours can rattle our brains and schedules. Greg Wells digs in on how small changes in our habits can improve our human performance.

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