It’s August. We’re getting lots of “out of office” auto-replies to our emails. That means you’re on vacation or, if you’re not, half your staff is. It also means it’s time for a summer reading list.

I used to read novels. But nowadays, I’m always looking for that perfect vacation combo—a book that’s a good read—entertaining, fascinating, and well written—and something that’ll help me do my work better once I’m back at my desk. (I try not to take highlighter pens or sticky notes with me to the beach…but to my family’s chagrin, I am kind of a nerd that way.) Some of these have been on my list for a while and I’m eager to dig in!

My focus this summer: Why storytelling is the ultimate weapon—and how to wield it. Look for Flashcards based on these books in the near future.

Meanwhile, let us know if you’ve read any of the books on this list and tell us what you thought. Also, please send titles of your own favorite messaging reads our way!

And, whether you’re reading this poolside or sitting in a deserted office, I wish you the best of the summer season and happy reading.

Messaging Strategy…at the Beach

The Storytelling Animal: How stories make us human. Most successful stories are moral—teaching us how to live and binding us together around common values.
Connection: Hollywood storytelling meets critical thinking, by Randy Olson, Dorie Barton, and Brian Palermo.
Compelling People: The hidden qualities that make us influential. The path to influence—and the common traits of leaders from Nelson Mandela to Oprah Winfrey—is a trust and confidence building balance of strength and warmth.
Tell to Win: Connect, persuade, and triumph with the hidden power of story. Apparently this is required reading at Harvard Business School. Soulless litanies of facts won’t cut it. It’s time to get into the emotional translation business.

August 5, 2014