10 Books That Can Help You Recharge, Reset and Exit Summer Ready to Conquer the World

Whitney Balish: Cruise Director, SOCO

What’s Your Plan This Summer? 💤 ☀️ 🏄

Travel? Relaxation? Working on those fitness goals? Sleeping for 2 months? You best have some personal growth in there!

Whatever your plans, summer is always an interesting time. The world slows down a little bit and we veer from our normal work, hustle and parenting routines (for those who know, you know). We see it over here at SOCO (and actually love it). But, the work, personal growth and improvement shouldn’t just stop.

This summer, we’d like to challenge you to invest in the idea that summer is also about personal growth for you. So, how can you keep moving forward, even when things slow down? With some great personal development books. We’ve picked out some winners that will help you make progress without feeling like you’re “reading a work book”. 🫠

10 Books With Our “Hot Take” On Their Value 🔥

We have some avid readers around here and we’re always looking to soak up some new knowledge that will help us do better work without sacrificing our personal time (or sanity). Each book below provides unique strategies to help recharge your mind, reset your routines, and approach the fall with renewed energy and purpose. These books are engaging, easy to read, and filled with valuable lessons that can be easily integrated into your daily life for you to start fall with your best foot forward.

#1: Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One has the Time 

by Brigid Schulte

Our Take: For when you are struggling with work life balance, a fun and funny read.

From Good Reads: Overwhelmed is a book about time pressure and modern life. It is a deeply reported and researched, honest and often hilarious journey from feeling that, as one character in the book said, time is like a “rabid lunatic” running naked and screaming as your life flies past you, to understanding the historical and cultural roots of the overwhelm, how worrying about all there is to do and the pressure of feeling like we’re never have enough time to do it all, or do it well, is “contaminating” our experience of time, how time pressure and stress is resculpting our brains and shaping our workplaces, our relationships and squeezing the space that the Greeks said was the point of living a Good Life: that elusive moment of peace called leisure.

#2: Drop the Ball: Achieving More by Doing Less

by Tiffany Dufu

Our Take: How to delegate and let some things go. You can achieve more by doing less. Drop The Ball is a must read.

From Good Reads: A bold and inspiring memoir and manifesto from a renowned voice in the women’s leadership movement who shows women how to cultivate the single skill they really need in order to thrive: the ability to let go.

#3: Big Magic 

by Elizabeth Gilbert

Our Take: Nurture your creativity and curiosity. Habits and processes for living your most creative life.

From Good Reads: Gilbert offers insights into the mysterious nature of inspiration in Big Magic. She asks us to embrace our curiosity and let go of needless suffering. She shows us how to tackle what we most love, and how to face down what we most fear. She discusses the attitudes, approaches, and habits we need in order to live our most creative lives. Balancing between soulful spirituality and cheerful pragmatism, Gilbert encourages us to uncover the “strange jewels” that are hidden within each of us. Whether we are looking to write a book, make art, find new ways to address challenges in our work, embark on a dream long deferred, or simply infuse our everyday lives with more mindfulness and passion, Big Magic cracks open a world of wonder and joy.

#4: Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

by James Clear

Our Take: Our first SOCO book club pick! Members of our community including myself loved the framework this provides to make small positive changes with a big impact.

From Good Reads: No matter your goals, Atomic Habits offers a proven framework for improving—every day. James Clear, one of the world’s leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.

#5: Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less

by Greg McKeown

Our Take: Declutter your mind and focus on what really matters. We liked this so much, we did a Communal Podcast on the subject.

From Good Reads: The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done.  It is not  a time management strategy, or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter. 

#6: Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

by Cal Newport

Our Take: Being able to focus without distraction? This isn’t just a skill it is a super power.

From Good Reads: One of the most valuable skills in our economy is becoming increasingly rare. If you master this skill, you’ll achieve extraordinary results.

Deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. It’s a skill that allows you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Deep work will make you better at what you do and provide the sense of true fulfillment that comes from craftsmanship. In short, deep work is like a super power in our increasingly competitive twenty-first century economy. And yet, most people have lost the ability to go deep-spending their days instead in a frantic blur of e-mail and social media, not even realizing there’s a better way.

#7: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

by Stephen R Covey

Our Take: It is a classic for a reason. If you haven’t read this yet consider it your sign to do so. This books breaks down the 7 principles for being your best self and some of the smartest people we know swear by this book.

From Good Reads: When Stephen Covey first released The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the book became an instant rage because people suddenly got up and took notice that their lives were headed off in the wrong direction; and more than that, they realized that there were so many simple things they could do in order to navigate their life correctly. This book was wonderful education for people, education in how to live life effectively and get closer to the ideal of being a ‘success’ in life.

#8: Rest: Why You Get More Done When You Work Less

by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

Our Take: With science and insights, rest is work too and you NEED it (and Rest is the book you’ve been missing).

From Good Reads: Overwork is the new normal. Rest is something to do when the important things are done-but they are never done. Looking at different forms of rest, from sleep to vacation, Silicon Valley futurist and business consultant Alex Soojung-Kim Pang dispels the myth that the harder we work the better the outcome. He combines rigorous scientific research with a rich array of examples of writers, painters, and thinkers—from Darwin to Stephen King—to challenge our tendency to see work and relaxation as antithetical. “Deliberate rest,” as Pang calls it, is the true key to productivity, and will give us more energy, sharper ideas, and a better life. Rest offers a roadmap to rediscovering the importance of rest in our lives, and a convincing argument that we need to relax more if we actually want to get more done.

#9: The Happiness Project 

by Gretchen Rubin

Our Take: Life is short and you need to focus on what really matters. This book focuses on the author’s experiences with happiness and offers advice on how to be your happiest self. And let’s face it…with the complexities of life, work, family, kids and the greater world…we could all use a little more.

From Good Reads: Gretchen Rubin had an epiphany one rainy afternoon in the unlikeliest of places: a city bus. “The days are long, but the years are short,” she realized. “Time is passing, and I’m not focusing enough on the things that really matter.” In that moment, she decided to dedicate a year to her happiness project.

#10: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking

by Susan Cain

Our Take: Greetings from your resident introvert! There are actually a lot of us and actually a lot of advantages to being one. 😂

From Good Reads:

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society. 

In QuietSusan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

In Conclusion

Summer is a time to slow it down, but also to catch up on some of the “work” we all need to do to show up in our jobs, for our families and our community. So, pick three of these books that resonate with you and where you are on the journey and read one per month. You owe it to yourself to hit that reset button whilst sipping a pina colada by your inflatable pool. 🏖️

Speaking of Happiness ✨

While we’re on the subject of happiness, doing your best work and generally being a bad-assed human…we think you should come find your happy (work) place with us at SOCO. We work really hard to create great workspaces filled with excellent, kind humans, chock-full of amenities like blazing wifi, bottomless coffee/tea and well appointed meeting rooms. We have coworking, fixed desk and private office options. Hell. You can just come for a day or book a meeting room for that next creative sesh. Come check us out and see if you don’t do better work here.

About The Author

Whitney Balish is a Columbia, SC native and the “Cruise Director” over here at SOCO, responsible for marketing, business development and member services. She’s a self-identified introvert and bibliophile, reading nearly 60 books a year. When she’s not crushing the pages, she’s busy creating great community over here at SOCO and finding ways to help our members win.