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Not just for the beach: 12 books worth reading this summer

While everyone else is catching up on the latest beach reads (spoiler alert: All the characters in those will reveal a secret past before living happily ever after), you might want to cozy up to something completely different.

Some of these are hot off the presses, some are modern classics, and some might just give you a different type of insight into what you think you know.

In no particular order:

1. The Kingdom of Happiness by Amy Groth

Zappos founder Hsieh built an empire one pair of shoes at a time. His business model includes classic Silicon Valley growth ideals, along with some quirkier wisdom gleaned from deep soul searching and time spent at burning man. It’s a good read for the eclectic business person looking for a different type of role model.

2. The Magic of Tiny Business by Sharon Rowe

If you’ve been thinking about starting a side hustle but have no idea of where to start, have a look at this book. You don’t have to sink a fortune into a business to get it off the ground.

3. The Art of Mingling by Jeanne Martinet

Summer should be about fun and socializing and getting out from behind your screens and back to hanging out with people. It’s also a great time to practice your soft skills. Read up on mingling and socializing and then practice during barbecues and rooftop cocktails.

4. 21 Secrets of Million-Dollar Sellers by Stephen J. Harvill

Did you ever wonder how top salespeople manage to sell themselves, their businesses, their philosophies, their talents year after year after year? This book gathers twenty-one common behaviors of top earners across seven major industries that set them apart. Every person profiled or analyzed shares one common trait- they’ve managed to figure out how to use their talent for persuasion to earn upwards of one million dollars a year.

5. Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss

I’m not one of Ferriss’s great fans, but I love the way he culled information together to encompass the best habits of artists, athletes, and investors. More than that, it’s positioning them as long-distance mentors who can help or inspire you depending on your ultimate goal.

6. Braving the Wilderness: The quest for true belonging and the courage to stand alone by Brene Brown

There are so many statistics about how alone many of us feel. This book allows you to feel accepted either in a group, or if you’re a slight misanthrope. It’s more of a confidence builder than anything else, and one that speaks out against the tendency to cut others down in our current social structure.

7. Gigged: The end of the Job and the Future of Work by Sarah Kessler

With one in three Americans earning a living as a freelancer, chances are good that you or someone close to you no longer fits the mold of the typical worker. This book explains how the trend began and offers day to day information and advice on navigating the new work reality.

8. Outside Insight: Navigating a World Drowning in Data by Jorn Lysseggen

This one won’t be out until August, but I’ve had a peak and it’s by turns fascinating and terrifying. If you’re trying to figure out how to get ahead of the competition, this book allows you insights in how to interpret what’s already out there and make it work for you.

9. Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change by Ellen Pao

If you ever feel like your entire career has been spent swimming against the currents, you’re not alone. Author Pao shares her past struggles along with deep insights into how many of us might be taking everyday inequality in the workplace for granted.

10. Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

No, this isn’t a new one, but it’s probably time for your refresher course in how to write. More than that, it’s a helpful way for anyone producing anything from a tweet to a campaign to understand how to engage with readers instead of simply talking at them.

11. Hug your Haters by Jay Baer

While this book is ostensibly about the customer service experience, it also helps one understand how to deal with the trolls online and in life.

12. My Beautiful Despair: The Philosophy of Kim Kierkegaardashian

The love child of philosopher Søren Kierkegaard and Kim Kardashian combines angst with fluff in this tiny, brilliant tome. It won’t help your career, but it might add a laugh to your day and spark conversation around the water cooler.

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Rachel Weingarten is a marketing & brand strategist and president of 729.marketing. She's a pop culture and trends analyst who frequently writes about business and style and the business of style. Rachel's a sometimes professor, teaching personal branding on the graduate and undergraduate levels. She leads corporate seminars on topics including evolving communication and spirituality in the workplace. Rachel is also the author of three award winning non-fiction books.