The Executive's Summer Reading List: Neeley EMBA Edition

A great leader never stops learning – and there are few more efficient ways to learn than by cracking open a good book. We recently took to Facebook to ask the Executive MBA family for a peek at their summer reading lists. From current students to alumni to faculty, here’s what we found.

Summer Reading List

Ashley Paz, Class of 2017

"Rising Strong"

by Brené Brown

New York Times bestselling author Brené Brown explores what it takes to own the disappointment, failures and heartbreak in life. According to Brown, if we are brave enough and curious enough to face failure, we can overcome and redefine it. "Rising Strong" is about getting to the heart of our most painful, uncomfortable experiences and being bold enough to hold ourselves accountable so we can grow. 

"Courageous Conversations About Race: A Field Guide for Achieving Equity in Schools"

by Glenn Singleton

Glenn Singleton's book describes itself as a "means of deepening one's understanding of racial factors in academic performance and discovering new strategies for closing the achievement gap." Through these courageous conversations, educators learn how to create a learning community that promotes academic equality.

"The Tipping Point"

by Malcom Gladwell

Malcom Gladwell describes the tipping point as when a "magical idea, trend or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire." Similar to a single sick person beginning an epidemic plague, Gladwell's theory claims that the same can be done with a fashion trend or social behavior. "The Tipping Point" explores these sociological trends that make everyday life. 

"Leading Change"

by John Kotter

In today's world, change occurs more rapidly than ever. Renowned for his work on leading organizational change, John Kotter provides an eight-step process for managing change that has become the foundation for leaders and organizations across the globe. His book serves as a guide and toolkit on how to lead change in any environment. (Abby adds that Dr. Carter could have written a better book on the subject.)

"The Simple Truths About Leadership"

by Dr. Larry Peters

TCU Neeley School of Business Management and & Leadership Development professor, Dr. Larry Peters, provides 10 simple truths about people-centric leadership. Peters explains why American workers are so disengaged, uncommitted and mistrusting of their leaders and how to replace these feelings with heart, energy, trust and engagement. His book challenges readers to move themselves and their organizations to a more people-centric strategy. 

Matt Smilor, Class of 2014

"Young Men and Fire"

by Norman Maclean

On August 5,1949, fifteen of the U.S. Forest Service's elite airborne firefighters, the Smokejumpers, attempted to fight the infamous Mann Gulch Fire, yet only two survived. Norman Maclean's book is an account of his research regarding the fire and what caused thirteen qualified young men to perish. 

"The Boys in the Boat"

by Daniel James Brown

Daniel James Brown chronicles the true American tale of nine working class boys who revolutionized the sport of rowing at the 1936 Berlin Olympics. The sons of loggers, shipyard workers and farmers, together they galvanized the expectations of millions of Americans, reaffirming the American notion of merit against the backdrop of the Great Depression.

Kevin Davis, Director of Recruiting and External Relations

"The Ideal Team Player" 

by Patrick Lencioni

“The Ideal Team Player” focuses on teamwork through the fictional story of Jeff Stanley, a leader trying to save his uncle's business by restoring the company's commitment to teamwork. It emphasizes the individual team member, ranging from employees to staff members to leaders. Lencioni tackles the perilous group behaviors that destroy a team, while teaching his readers how to create a culture around teamwork. 

Dr. Suzanne Carter, Executive Director

"Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less"

by Greg McKeown

This book takes people to task for trying to pursue everything, at the risk of doing little to make a great impact. Instead of trying to do everything, Greg McKeown argues that you should do “the right things” and be very selective in your approach. This is like Michael Porter's advice to “stick with what you are good at to be differentiated,” on steroids. Learning how to say “no.”

Dr. Linda LaCoste, Director

"The Five Dysfunctions of a Team"

by Patrick Lencioni

This business fable, written by consultant and speaker Patrick Lencioni, reveals the five dysfunctions that cause teams to struggle, including the absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results. Of particular value is the discussion of trust and conflict: Without trust, conflict is typically avoided; yet conflict can also be productive for the team and their intended output.

What’s on your list? Tell us in the comments.