Summer Reads to Make You Better at Your Job

With summer already halfway done, we’re sure you’ve gotten a few summer reads under your belt. But how many of those helped you be better at your job? With lake views and sunny days, we’re often tempted by the sweet siren call of a fictional fable or murder mystery to help our minds escape, especially when we’re about to jump on a plane and escape, ourselves!

But with end of summer in our sights, swap out one of your tales for a book that will help when you need to get back into the groove of things in the fall. We asked our Toronto office colleagues to provide their recommendations for the best books they’ve read to make them better at what they do.

Narrative and Numbers: The Value of Stories in Business
by Aswath Damodaran
The author is a finance professor and notes that individuals often fall into two camps: “numbers” or “stories” people, however to communicate effectively in finance one needs to have facility with both. – Craig MacPhail, Vice-President, IPO Head, NATIONAL Equicom


Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
by Simon Sinek
Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over? This book  shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way – and it all starts with ”why”. – Fiona Grant Leydier, Manager, Investor Relations, NATIONAL Equicom


Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind
by Yuval Noah Harari
A great book that will take you on a journey from where we (humans) came from, where we are right now and where we are heading. A breathtaking view into historic events, easy to understand and highly engaging. This book has the ability to empower us and alter the way we look at ourselves as human beings. – Aarti Martin, Billing Coordinator, NATIONAL


Universal Principles of Design
by William Lidwell
Read this book. It will supercharge your presentations and help you understand the difference between good and bad visualizations. If there’s any one selling point I can make for you to read this book, it’s this: the human brain picks up on visual inconsistencies and processes them as incorrect information. Every time you’ve created a presentation and the colors, fonts or spacing was off, your audience was thinking “something about this isn’t quite right”. When they should have been thinking “This is the best information I’ve ever seen!” – Jonathan Litwack, Vice-President, Marketing Technology, NATIONAL


Thinking, Fast and Slow
by Daniel Kahneman
This book is a stunning exploration of how human biases and intuition affect thoughts, choices and decisions. Daniel Kahneman distills his decades of research into a lively read full of practical insights that any communicator, policy professional or business leader can incorporate into their daily lives. This is a highly recommended book for any curious person who wants to understand why people think the things they think. – Sarah McNeil, Coordinator, NATIONAL


Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow
by Yuval Noah Harari
Harari builds on the success of his first book and looks at how our ability to process and apply technology and information is not keeping pace.  The result will be major disruptions to how we connect and interact with each other. – Joe Racanelli, Vice-President, NATIONAL Equicom


Salt: A World History
by Mark Kurlansky
This book basically gives the history of salt industry and its role in the establishment of society. How this super easy to obtain and cheap commodity lead to the development of trade routes, alliances, empires, etc. There is a Canadian connection too. – Lauren Poplak, Consultant, NATIONAL


The Signal and the Noise: Why So Many Predictions Fail-but Some Don’t
by Nate Silver
This is a fantastic book for anybody that want’s to learn more about how data is used to make predictions but doesn’t want to become a statistician. – Blaine Mackie, Data Scientist 1, NATIONAL


by Jason Fried
If you only read one business book ever, this is the one to read… again and again. It’s targeted at entrepreneurs but should be required reading for anyone who works, period. – Tyrone Murphy, Director, PMO, NATIONAL


Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World
by Michael Lewis
A bit dated but still the most interesting read (for me at least) and analysis of how countries inherent personalities and cultures were revealed during the 2008 fiscal crisis, and how traits within specific societies contributed to their country’s experience within the global recession. It reads like a mix between travel and finance. – Heidi Christensen Brown, Director, Investor Relations, NATIONAL Equicom