CFW's End-of-Summer Reads

Photo by Vimvertigo/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by Vimvertigo/iStock / Getty Images

With Labor Day right around the corner, we’ve reflected on some of our favorite books we’ve enjoyed and learned from this summer. Need some recommendations for the long weekend?

We reached out to some friends of our firm to ask what they’ve been reading this summer to recharge, rewire or get inspired as they prepare to turn the dial back up to 100 at work. They did not disappoint. Read on for their can’t-put-it-down recs:


“Bad Blood” by John Carreyrou

What struck me about this book and the story of the rise and fall of Theranos is how a company that had it all on paper: incredible investors, all-star board, innovative idea, amazing press, etc. and had every chance of success was lacking the most important element - trust.  The result was incredible dysfunction and failure.  Despite all the right elements, if a company/team doesn't build trust they are doomed.

-David Iankelevich, General Manager (USA) of Sellics


"Super Forecasting" by Philip Tetlock and Dan Gardner

This is a fascinating book that won an Economist Best Book of 2015.  As a business executive you are always trying to predict what actions will benefit your company and clients the most.  This book gives a framework for how to make better decisions via the proper mindset and background knowledge.  The book is filled with very detailed research and unique stories that will make you intrigued about how to forecast better at work and in your personal life.     

Robert Daniel

“Own It: The Power of Women at Work” by Sallie Krawcheck

This is my favorite read of the summer so far. It seems I have recommended it (or her financial company Ellevest) to every woman I know! Each chapter in this part memoir, part advice book provides actionable advice for women navigating their careers. It also speaks to leaders who recognize that it’s high time to embrace a new workplace culture. The book conversationally discusses a new roadmap for success in the modern workplace, one that leverages diverse thoughts and backgrounds. It’s a quick read, but it's hardly fluff - Sallie has held leadership roles at assorted financial institutions and at one time was the CEO of the sell-side research firm Sanford C, Bernstein & Co. It's chock full of hard data on topics like women in the workplace and wage discrepancy but packaged in such a friendly voice that you'll feel like you're listening to a TedTalk!

- Stephanie Blair, Executive Coach & Founder of Know & Flourish


“Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? (And How to Fix It)” by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

This is a recently published book that has rewired my thinking on leadership. I’ll admit that I didn’t jump on this bandwagon right away, but I took my blinders off when a former colleague that I respect recommended it. After hearing the author speak and upon learning that it’s more about incompetent leadership, I became instantly hooked. The research and recommendations presented by Tomas around how to modernize antiquated review and promotion processes provide a progressive roadmap that forward-looking organizations can embrace. Who doesn’t find that inspiring?

- Stephanie Blair, Executive Coach & Founder of Know & Flourish


“Educated: A Memoir” by Tara Westover

This autobiography is more than a coming of age tale. Through an engaging narration, Tara Westover helps us reflect on essential topics such as religion, the patriarchy and the question of challenging the status quo by choosing not to be part of the traditional institutions which society has organized itself around - school, church, and community. This book reminded me that people come from vastly different backgrounds and carry diverse life experiences, and this awareness is an asset when interacting with colleagues and clients. It helps us increase empathy and create meaningful connections. 

-Maria Simon, Co-founder of CFW’s Changing the Conversation


“Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth” by Gabriel Weinberg

Traction should be on every business leader’s reading list. It offers a clear operating system that, when followed, provides superior results. It doesn’t just describe the principles but offers practical advice on implementation, which is really powerful. 

-Gina Paoloni, Strategic Planning Consultant


“How To Live Forever” by Marc Freedman

A powerful book about intergenerational friendship and mentorship, author Marc Freedman draws on his own experience with his parents and important mentors as he created A nice quote that encapsulates his message is, "The fountain of youth is the fountain with youth." has been an incredible force of support for CIRKEL, and this book was a welcome reminder about why we do the work we do to bring generations together.

-Charlotte Japp, Founder of Cirkel


“Dream Year” by Ben Arment

A friend of mine had been giving me advice about starting a business just a couple years after he quit his full time job to open his own company. He said he was able to do it after reading Ben Arment's book Dream Year. It's like a textbook for taking all the steps needed to crystalize your vision for a business, execute the idea, and then market it to make sure it's profitable. It was a nice motivator to keep me focused on business and marketing of CIRKEL so that my creative vision for the company can be fully realized.

-Charlotte Japp, Founder of Cirkel


*Bonus rec: If you’re looking for more of an interactive book to help you reflect, recharge, and rewire…


The Five-Minute Journal

While I have several books on my nightstand, this is a gem that’s earned my attention each day.  Full disclosure: I have not been someone who journals. But the single-page, four question commitment invites me to participate. Each morning, I grab my coffee and find a quiet place – or even a noisy commuter train - and complete the statement: “I am grateful for …A)…B)…and C)…” I then answer the question: “What would make today great?” There are three lines to write short answers. Then I complete a Daily Affirmation. In a few minutes I am filled with gratitude and positive feelings. I approach the rest of the day with intentionality that helps me manage what’s about to come as opposed to it taking control of me. The Five-Minute Journal is a tool from the science of positive psychology, primarily aimed to improve happiness.  It’s not an academic exercise for me. I have seen – and felt – these feelings first hand. That it only requires a few minutes each day also means that it’s a sustainable and meaningful exercise.

-Matt Spielman, Managing Partner/Founder of Inflection Point Partners


Next up: Podcasts! Email us your recommendations at: And if you’re looking to kick off Fall with a new role or are looking to grow your team in Q4, please don’t hesitate to drop us a line. We’re happy to be a resource!