These Books Should Be on Your Summer Reading List

The Summer brings a plethora of reading opportunities

The Summer brings a plethora of reading opportunities (Photo: freddie marriage/Unsplash)

Oh, summer. It’s the season of taking vacations, going to the beach, having picnics in the park, and generally slowing down to savor the warmth and sunshine. With this season comes a plethora of opportunities for reading. Whether you’re looking for an impactful non-fiction book or a thought-provoking novel, you’ll find something on the list below that’ll interest you.

Here are some of the “must-read” books of the summer (new and old alike), recommended by some of the best entrepreneurs, authors, and thought leaders in the world. Happy summer reading. 🙂


Tony Robbins, #1 Life and Business Strategist, Bestselling Author, and Philanthropist

Man's Search for Meaning

Man’s Search for Meaning (Photo:

One of my favorite books of all time, The 100: A Ranking Of The Most Influential Persons In History by Michael Hart. It takes a provocative look at who has influenced history the most. And I find even short biographies of the greats of history to be incredibly inspiring.

I also recommend to everyone that they read a classic: Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. After reading it you’ll know, no matter how big your challenge, you’ll realize you have no problems! And you’ll remember the unwavering power of the human spirit that lives within you.

Daniel Pink, Author of Drive, A Whole New Mind, and To Sell is Human

The Righteous Mind

The Righteous Mind (Photo:

There are so many (too many) books that have had a big impact on me. Let me use my flying fingers to tap out the first dozen that come to mind:
Man’s Search for Meaning — Viktor Frankl
The Third Wave — Alvin Toffler
Moneyball — Michael Lewis
1984 & Animal Farm — George Orwell
On the Origin of Species — Charles Darwin
The Righteous Mind — Jonathan Haidt
The entire oeuvres of Tom Peters and Peter Drucker

Give and Take — Adam Grant
The Little Book of Talent —Daniel Coyle
Mindset — Carol Dweck
Midnight’s Children — Salman Rushdie

Mark Suster, General Partner at Upfront Ventures

The Unbearable Lightness of Being

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (Photo:

1.) American Pastoral is a must read for understanding the fabric of U.S. entrepreneurism over the decades. It won the Pulitzer.

2.) Accidental Superpower for understanding current world trends and how they may play out over next few decades.

3.) A novel I always cherished was The Unbearable Lightness of Being.

4.) Everybody should read the two-part graphic novel Maus by Spiegelman. It’s the true story of the author’s journey with his father through post-war, concentration camp angst for a Jewish family. It’s unbelievably powerful and moving.

Gina Trapani, Co-founder of ThinkUp and Makerbase, Founding editor of Lifehacker

Search Inside Yourself

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I’ve been on a self-help book kick lately. I loved Chade-Meng Tan’s Search Inside Yourself.

Right now I’m reading an anti-diet book, Intuitive Eating, which I’m finding freeing and enlightening, as someone who has the capacity to eat pretty unconsciously on my way through my days.

I also got the chance to read a preview draft of Eric Meyer and Sara Wachter-Boettcher’s new book, Design for Real Life, which just got released. That’s required reading for anyone making apps and web sites, in my opinion.

Ryan Holmes, CEO & Founder of Hootsuite

An Astronaut's Guide to Life

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life (Photo:

Some of my favorite books:

Born to Run: Born to Run is the true story of author Christopher McDougall, who sets off to find a tribe of the world’s greatest distance runners and learn their secrets. As thought-provoking as Born to Run is, it’s also inspirational. It shows us that we are more than we have been taught to believe.

Ender’s Game: Beyond just great storytelling, Ender’s Game is also a useful book for leadership inspiration. It explores larger themes of power, intelligence, free will, and perseverance.

Creativity Inc.: Co-written by Ed Catmull (the president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios), it’s full of brilliant business lessons on how to build creative culture that benefits organizations.

The Long Walk: The Chicago Tribune called The Long Walk “one of the most amazing, heroic stories of this or any other time,” and I highly agree.

Creativity, Inc.

Creativity, Inc. (Photo:

Delivering Happiness: Written by Tony Hsieh (the guy who transformed a virtually unknown shoe retailer called Zappos into a $1.2 billion company), Delivering Happiness is full of advice, anecdotes and interesting business ideas.

Getting Real (37 Signals): This quick read is essentially a business manual about how to build great web products — that touches on things like design, programming, and marketing.

An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth: I recommend anyone who dreams big and who strives to stay true to themselves to read this book.

Where the Wild Things Are: This was my favorite book as a kid but even now, I can still relate to the main character Max and his rebellious spirit. I think it’s a great reminder to stay imaginative.

Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think: This is a great book, which suggests the world as we know it today is the best it’s been, but nobody realizes it. It’s an eye-opening read and worth checking out.

Maria Konnikova, Author or The Confidence Game

The Master and Margarita

The Master and Margarita (Photo:

There have been too many to list. But as a writer, The Dyer’s Handby W.H. Auden, Less than Oneby Joseph Brodsky, and Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke have been pivotal.

A few books I read at a young age that inspired me are Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita and Nabokov’s Mary. I’m also a huge poetry reader, and always have been. Much of my inspiration for non-fiction ends up coming from more literary sources.

Tim O’Reilly, Founder and CEO, O’Reilly Media

The Hard Thing About Hard Things

The Hard Thing About Hard Things (Photo:

I’ve been reading a whole lot of books related to my upcomingNext:Economy Summit: John Markoff’s Machines of Loving Grace, Robin Chase’s Peers Inc., David Weil’s The Fissured Workplace, Thomas Picketty’s Capital, Elinor Ostrom’s Governing the Commons, Tyler Cowen’s Average is Over, Reid Hoffman’s The Alliance, Laszlo Bock’s Work Rules, Zeynep Ton’sThe Good Jobs Strategy.

In other reading, I just finished Ben Horowitz’s Hard Thing About Hard Things, which might just be the most compelling business book I’ve ever read. And I always dip back into my favorite poets. Wallace Stevens,The Palm at the End of the Mind. The Way of Life According to Lao Tzu, Witter Bynner. TS Eliot, Four Quartets.

I also read science fiction. I loved The Martian, which I read a year or so ago. Another science fiction book I read recently, not as good, but intellectually provocative, was Ghost Fleet, by PW Singer and August Cole, about a future war between the US and China, with a big cyber-warfare component. And right now, I’m reading my friend Neal Stephenson’s Mongoliad.


Hey, if the book list above wasn’t enough…then you should consider being a professional book reader. 🙂 But seriously, if you’re hungry for more, you can find others from Product Hunt’s past LIVE Chat guests here

Melissa Joy Kong is a writer at Product Hunt, and the founder of Iceberg, a storytelling agency. These Books Should Be on Your Summer Reading List