Summer Reading During COVID-19

Escape from today’s disruptions with some newly released business books.


This special COVID-19 issue of Briefings is available online and at selected newsstands.

This summer may be far different from any other in memory, with far less travel. But reading may be one activity that can serve as an escape from today’s disruptions—and considering some of the new business books out these days, it’s a good chance to develop new skills.

With titles like The Power of Moments and The Moment of Lift, many authors aren’t shy about taking on big topics to help with motivating people and setting goals.

Tired of bingeing on Netflix? Here are some alternatives:

Leadership Is Language: The Hidden Power of What You Say—and What You Don’t

By L. David Marquet

Portfolio, Penguin Random House • How we speak, whether it’s in person or online, holds the power to empower—or disempower—our colleagues. Marquet, a former US Navy captain, shares his experience turning a poor-performing submarine crew into one of the best performers in the fleet. Verne Harnish, founder of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, says Marquet’s book provides “a truly unique take on leadership that re-engineers our language.”

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact

By Chip and Dan Heath

Simon & Schuster • The authors dive into what makes “defining moments,” and why they have such a profound impact on us. By understanding how these experiences happen, readers can become authors of their own defining moments. The authors “use stories to display a powerful truth, that we can be more impactful as leaders and as people by recognizing and creating more ‘moments,’” says Craig Kreeger, former CEO of Virgin Atlantic.

The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World

By Melinda Gates

Flatiron Books • Gates highlights the lives of heroes who work on behalf of women living on the margins of society. “We women,” she writes, “have to lift each other up—not to replace men at the top of the hierarchy, but to become partners with men in ending hierarchy.” Its message is a call for unity, inclusion, and connection. “This book is an urgent manifesto for an equal society where women are valued and recognized in all spheres of life,” says Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai.

The Laughing Guide to Change

By Ora and Isaac Prilleltensky

Rowman & Littlefield • This book provides six fundamental skills for change based on research in psychology and human behavior. The authors show readers how to deal with change in any aspect of their lives, including starting an exercise regimen, reducing stress, and improving performance at work—all with a generous serving of humor. “Did I mention that The Laughing Guide to Change is funny? It is—often in laugh-out-loud fashion,” says University of New Haven professor emeritus of psychology Michael Morris.

Edge: Turning Adversity into Advantage

By Laura Huang

Portfolio, Penguin Random House • Stereotyping has a justifiably bad connotation, but Huang argues that it, along with other negative traits, can be reframed to work to the benefit of both leader and employee. The author, a Harvard Business School professor, encourages readers to create their own unique edge and have the courage to show up and be yourself. “Edge is a superbly researched, deeply insightful, and persuasive book that is destined to be a guidebook for self-empowerment and success,” says former NASA astronaut Terry Virts.

And from Our CEO...

Leadership U: Accelerating Through the Crisis Curve

By Gary Burnison

“There will likely be more change in the next two years than we have seen in the last twenty,” argues Burnison in his latest book. Today’s crop of leaders will sink or swim based on whether they are comfortable with being uncomfortable. Burnison lays out a framework?his “Six Degrees of Leadership”?to show leaders how to create change.