Whether you’re on a plane, in a car or lounging poolside, while you’re traveling is the perfect opportunity to put a dent in your reading list. The staff here at Black Enterprise and BlackEnterprise.com compiled a few of our top summer reads to help whittle down your choices.
Over the course of the next few pages, you’ll see books that range from autobiographies on Black history icons and manuals for success to financial guides and examinations of our social media culture, all aimed at giving you some food for thought.
Malcom X: A Life of Reinvention by Manning Marable
This hotly debated biography of Malcolm X, by the late Columbia University scholar, Manning Marable, took nearly two decades to write and at first glance seems like it would take just as long to read. The 595-page book is based on extensive interviews, letters, diaries and government documents placing the historic leader in the context of black nationalism post Marcus Garvey, highlighting new details about the prominent figure’s life. Marable wrote in his introduction that he didn’t want to depict Malcolm X as, “a saint, without the normal contradictions and blemishes that all human beings have.”
Everyday Icon: Michelle Obama and the Power of Style by Kate Betts
Author Kate Betts examines the style of First Ladies throughout history but also focuses on the social and political impact of Mrs. Obama’s style choices. Betts interviews designers who have dressed the First Lady and traces the evolution of her style. She also sheds light on Obama’s global image as the inaugural African American First Lady and style paragon.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacksby Rebecca Skloot
Skloot tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, a poor Black farmer, who is diagnosed with cancer in 1951. She eventually dies not knowing that doctors have taken her cells, HeLa cells, which continue to thrive long after Lacks’ death. Lacks’ cells revolutionize medical research and the drug industry leading to the development of treatments like the polio vaccine, and are sold and used globally. The book follows her cells through history and the life of her family after her death and their discovery of her cells.
The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievementby David Brooks
New York Times columnist David Brooks weaves sociology, neuroscience, reporting and fiction together in this philosophical fable. He attempts to discover the origins of success by pinning down the source of people’s actions, thoughts and feelings. He does this through a narrative that follows the lives of a successful couple from birth until death.
Mindset, The New Psychology of Success: How We Can Learn to Fulfill Our Potentialby Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.
In her book, Dr. Dweck argues that successfully achieving your goals has more to do with your mindset than it does with your actual abilities. Using 20 years of research she details different kinds of mindsets that people have and how it manifests in their lives. Finally, Dr. Dweck provides tools for readers to change harmful mindsets and reach their full potential.
Outliers: The Story of Successby Malcolm Gladwell
Following his highly successful books The Tipping Point and Blink – journalist and author Malcolm Gladwell released Outliers: The Story of Success. A go-to reference book in the professional arena, the book is a study on what makes some people extremely successful.
Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Usby Joe Palca and Flora Lichtman
Science journalists Palca and Lichtman try to get down to why certain things bug us. The two detail why people talking on cell phones are so annoying, how certain illnesses make people more prone to being annoyed, and how you can be annoying to others using a simple formula.
Search ME: The Art of the Questionby Peter John
John, who has a law degree from LSU and an MBA from the University of New Orleans, has penned a how-to guide on interpersonal communication for the conversation-weary. In a world where communicating via electronic devices has become the norm – his book reminds readers about the art of having conversations with other people, face to face.
The Frugalista Filesby Natalie McNeal
Journalist Natalie McNeal started her blog on personal finance in 2008 after spending a month without getting her hair, nails or toes done. Her vow of frugality was the result of having accumulated $20,000 in debt. She vowed to curb her spending habits and her book is an account of how she successfully balanced her budget.
Squeeze the Most Out of Your Money: A No-Nonsense Money Management System to Maximize Your Dollar and Minimize Your Stressby Patricia Stallworth
The financial coach gives a step-by-step process of how to manage your money. Using 12 straight-forward principles Stallworth shows readers how to get the most out of their money with minimal stress and how to maintain a financial plan while investing only three hours a month.
Perfect Creditby Lynnette Khalfani-Cox
Khalfani-Cox, money columnist for BlackEnterprise.com shows readers how to fix damaged credit and achieve a “perfect” score. She provides an easy to follow guide to achieving and maintaining the perfect credit score. For anyone looking to pull themselves out of a credit hole and navigate the murky waters of personal finance – this is a must-read.
It’s Always Personal: Emotion in the Workplace by Ann Kreamer
Kreamer compiles two years of interviews with scientists and over 200 working Americans about emotions on the job. She asserts in her book that with the boundaries of home and work merging more and more so are the realms of the “rational” and “emotional.” “The more of your authentic emotional self you bring to work the happier and more effective you will be,” Kreamer writes.
Never in My Wildest Dreams: A Black Woman’s Life in Journalismby Belva Davis
Davis is the first African-American female television news reporter on the West Coast, effectively integrating television news at the height of racial tensions during the ‘60s and ‘70s. She pens her ascent from a small-town country girl, who shifted from relative to relative, to an award-winning journalist who interviewed Fidel Castro and covered the Patty Hearst kidnapping.
The Thank You Economyby Gary Vaynerchuck
Vaynerchuck’s book shows businesses how to cultivate a sense of familiarity and intimacy characteristic of mom-and-pop stores using social media. He argues that social media has made our communities smaller in a way and that the success of today’s businesses are often dependent on word of mouth via things like Twitter and Facebook. Vaynerchuck’s philosophy is to treat customers like people and to give your business a personal touch.
Mogul: A Novelby Terrance Dean
Dean’s book is about hip-hop star Big A.T. who is secretly gay. When his music empire is threatened he has to make a choice – come out publicly or lose everything.
Sweet Destinyby Rochelle Alers
This is one book in a series about the fictional Eaton family. Dr. Mia Eaton is tempted by sexy but injured police officer Kenyon Chandler who she met at his cousin’s wedding. The good doctor tries her best to resist but Kenyon Chandler tries even harder to make her his.
The Good Sense Handbookby Patricia Hinds
This book is collection of short passages that are both uplifting, honest, and easy to read. This perfectly sized book provides faith-based wisdom that reminds everyone to live in peace, seek out the positives, and move toward actively pursuing one’s purpose. Whether in business, personal or professional life, this handy read has insight that can be applied to almost any aspect, providing quick affirmations for life success.