Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

Summer Reading List for Your Employees

Everyone seems to be compiling their summer reading lists during this time of year (why do we just have a summer reading list? Do we all hate reading during the other 3 seasons?). In addition to your personal ones, consider putting together a set of books to motivate your employees through the summer months.

Further, instead of just leaving this stack of books to gather dust in the break room, motivate employees to read their motivational books. Consider giving your employees a designated 10-15 minutes per day to read these books, and arrange a meeting at the end of each month to discuss what everyone learned from the team building stories.

Many great books are full of entertaining and inspiring team-building stories. They might teach different skills like leadership, communication, and self-motivation. Here are a few books to get you started on your list. Be sure to add your own suggestions in the comments below.

QBQ! The Question Behind the Question

The QBQ, by John G. Miller, is a book that every employee should read. First, it will take you about 45 minutes to finish. Second, it provides important insight into how we can re-think our reactions to problems and conflicts in the workplace.


This is a parable of teamwork told through the eyes of fictional manager Mary Jane Ramirez. Ramirez struggles to transform her rag-tag group of fishmongers into an effective team. This book teaches team-building exercises, leadership skills, and the ability to laugh at yourself.

Also check out The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and Ubuntu! for stories similar to this. In fact, it could be fun to have different employees read these books. Then, have a meeting to talk about the similarities and differences between the team-building messages of the stories.

The Traveler’s Gift

The themes of the above books have a lot to do with taking responsibility for your own actions!!!! Sorry, the motivational books and their exclamation marks are contagious. Andy Andrews’ The Traveler’s Gift is a longer book, and more motivational on the team level. If you are looking to motivate your employees to reach greater personal success, this would be a great choice. It would be a great one to have on your office bookshelf for loan, if nothing else.

Rhinoceros Success

Scott Alexander’s book has been around since 1980, but it still maintains its ability to get people “fired up” about success. Like The Traveler’s Gift, Rhinoceros Success teaches employees about personal success. Alexander advocates a style of leadership that upholds assertiveness; he encourages readers to be like the aggressive “rhinoceros,” rather than the passive “cow.”

Is this at odds with the team-building exercises of the other books? I think there is room for both on your shelf, and that it is important to sample different kinds of leadership and career advice. However, feel free to discuss the differences in these books with your staff and employees. It’s okay to feel differently about team-building and leadership—as long as you talk about it!!!!!

Okay, ceasing and desisting with the exclamation points.

Now, talk to us below and tell us which book you’re going to pick up first.

IMAGE: Courtesy of Flickr by Renato Ganoza

Kristin Anderson

Kristin has a B.A. in English from the University of Iowa, with an emphasis in creative writing. In her free time she enjoys long walks, kitchen adventures, and making puns.