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5 min read

As we enter the dog days of summer and the back to school mentality is upon us, it’s a great time to focus on refreshing our library and learning something new. One of our favourite ways to keep growing and staying current with industry trends is to sit down, relax and get stuck into a good book. And I don’t think I’m alone here – learn what other HR professionals and leaders are reading to close out your summer.

Reader: Roxy Greninger, Culture Programme Consultant
Organization: Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield
Book: Conversational Intelligence by Judith E. Glaser


“I read a remarkable book a few months ago that resonated with me so much so, that I’m currently facilitating a book club for another team in the organisation to accommodate their request to further develop communication skills. 

The author translates new insights coming out of neuroscience in a way for us to understand and apply it in our everyday lives. The book contains the framework for knowing what kind of conversations trigger the lower, more primitive brain; and what activates higher-level intelligences such as trust, integrity, empathy and good judgement.

In short: improvement depends on the quality of our culture, which depends on the quality of our relationships, which depends on the quality of our conversations. Everything happens through conversations.”

Reader: Doug Butler, Chief Executive Officer
Organization: Reward Gateway
Book: East of Eden by John Steinbeck


And even the busiest of people need to take a break and read a classic, just like our very own CEO. Here's what he's reading this summer:

East of Eden is a classic I’ve never read and the book he believed was his best. Every page has a line I want to highlight and remember... it’s beautiful, really.”

Reader: Barb Ross, Senior Vice President, Human Resources
Organization: Conifer Realty, LLC
Book: Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by The Arbinger Institute


“The name may be off-putting, but it is a GREAT book. It helps not only with business relationships, but also with personal application. It is really about how to get your mind in an objective place to be able to best build relationships and therefore effectiveness. It is a fable-style, very quick read.”

Reader: Robert Hicks, Group HR Director 
Organization: Reward Gateway
Book: Not one, not two but three books to discover below!


“This summer, I’ve been fortunate to spend a lot of time reading (or planning which books to read next). Here are some of my top reads:

1. This one is a business classic. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...and Others Don't by Jim Collins is a great read about how some businesses do better than others and why.

2. I reread some key parts of Why I’m no Longer Talking to White People about Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge. Diversity and inclusion = a massive driver of success. So I want to learn more and be even more educated in this area.

3. The third book is The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce. It’s a brilliant book on a tough subject and my favourite read of the year fiction-wise. It’s a journey about personal discovery, ownership and accountability – but also about looking forward and not backwards.”

Reader: Shannon Vincent, Employee Engagement Consultant
Organization: Reward Gateway
Book: StrengthsFinder by Gallup and Tom Rath


“After starting a new position with Reward Gateway, I found myself in a startup mode and learning new things every day. I quickly realised that giving myself the opportunity to reboot my strengths would be a valuable asset in building my relationships with promising customers and team members!

It has been over 12 years since reading StrengthsFinder. Excited to share the outcome of my self-assessment and continuing to grow professionally! A fun tip: before I started reading, I picked 5 strengths just by their name that I thought I would be… will be great to learn if they are the same from many years ago!”

Reader: Virginia Materese, Chief Executive Officer
Organization: Great Lakes Medical Imaging
Book: Three book recommendations below!


1. From the Ground Up by Howard Schultz

"This is an amazing book about the power of true leadership and what it means to be part of the communities you are in. It is a reminder that to whom much is given, much is expected. I had no idea, prior to reading this, the unbelievable amount of work Starbucks has done to improve the lives of their team members, veterans, refugees, etc. It inspired me to put more effort into our community involvement as well as our commitment to health and wellness.

2. Onward by Howard Schultz

The book talks about his ability to turn around Starbucks when it was at its lowest point. He works through the tough decisions necessary to bring the organisation back to greatness.

3. Dare to Believe by Jessica Joines

This book is all about following your life's purpose. It is incredibly inspirational and speaks to making decisions that follow your heart, not just your mind. She talks about when you make decisions that are in line with your life's purpose, success will follow and provides the road map to get there.”

Reader: Meghan Barrett, Content Marketing Editor
Organization: Reward Gateway
Book: Alive at Work: The Neuroscience of Helping Your People Love What They Do by Daniel M. Cable


"I love learning more about psychology, sociology and human behaviour. I’m curious about what drives people, especially at work. So when I discovered this book, I knew it was right up my alley. Daniel M. Cable is a social psychologist who explores how to restore employees’ zest for work. 

In Alive at Work, Cable walks through how organisations (and leadership teams) can create the environment for people to not only be successful, but truly enjoy the work they’re doing by stepping away from routine and repetition, and tapping into individuals’ passions, creativity and motivation. It’s all about shaping the employee experience and thinking outside the traditional box to improve company culture and employee engagement."

Reader: Catrin Lewis, Head of Global Engagement and Internal Communications
Organization: Reward Gateway
Book: Making the Connections by Bill Quirke 

"Internal Communications is a career many people seem to fall into, rather than one you study or work towards. I’d never imagined 8 years ago that I’d be in the role I am now and a lot of my personal development has been through hands-on experience, gut instinct and using values to guide me. I’m much further into my Communications career – I’ve been lucky enough to have some fantastic teachers to guide me and I’ve come a long way. 

As I look to progress further this year the time came for me to pick up what’s known in the internal communications industry as the 'Communications Bible.' It’s a book by Bill Quirke and it’s found on the desk of everyone who wants to know how to do Internal Communications exceptionally well. I am looking forward to reading this and looking at how my own personal experiences and concept match up to the 'approved' theory.

I’m excited to get stuck in and continue my learning journey with this book. I’ve even ordered a copy for my colleague, Kristen (pictured above), so we can be book buddies and share our different views on what the book teaches us."

Last but not least, it wouldn’t be fair if I didn’t add in my own book recommendation, so here you have it.

Reader: Chloe Deiulis, Head of Content Strategy
Organization: Reward Gateway
Book: Your Brain at Work: Strategies for Overcoming Distraction, Regaining Focus, and Working Smarter All Day Long by David Rock


“It’s very easy to get distracted when you’re spinning too many plates at work – a situation I often find myself in! This book combines an approachable 'play' format and puts science behind it, so the reader can clearly see both scenarios with the “brain” tips and without.

To break it down even further, it gives you a scenario where the person is distracted or gets overwhelmed and how the day plays out. It then explains what the person could’ve done differently and the science behind it (like how splitting your attention too many ways leads to costly mistakes or a perception that you’re not professional). The book then gives you a better scenario that helps you put those tips in action. I’m looking forward to putting this in action to improve my Type A at work!”

Get your learning hat on and embrace lots of learning, growing and expanding your expertise. What book are you most excited to read as we wrap up the summer months? We’d love to hear more from you in the comments section below!

Chloe Thompson

Chloe is the Head of Global Content Strategy and Thought Leadership at Reward Gateway. She has a strong penchant for great food, better wine (especially if it sits alongside a cheese plate) and dancing around her kitchen to musical theatre tunes.

Head of Global Content Strategy and Thought Leadership

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