I gave a copy of this book to my younger son when he graduated from high school. I wanted him to understand that he was entering an exciting time. What I love about the book is that it starts in one place and takes you through a dark stage. Eventually you come out of it, but the book makes it clear that to get where you need to be, you have to make your own path. I've quoted from this book in many of the commencement addresses I've delivered. In fact, I thought it was so fabulous that one holiday season I gave the book to all the people in my division at work. Cracking the Corporate Code By Price M. Cobbs and Judith L. Turnock
I belong to the Executive Leadership Council, a group of African-American Fortune 500 business executives. The authors of this book interviewed 32 of our members about their experiences in the corporate world, from early in their careers to the present. The personal stories show how these executives dealt with race and gender issues, built up their confidence, and learned to use the power they acquired in a positive way. It's such an insightful book because this group has long been at the forefront of successful African-American executives in corporate America.
The Bourne Identity By Robert Ludlum
I picked this up in an airport. My flight had been delayed. I thought I needed some adventure, if only vicariously. This was my first spy novel, and I did not put it down from the time I got on the plane until the time I arrived in Minneapolis. I read it in the taxi home and kept reading it until my husband asked, 'Are you going to bed?' I liked the suspense—the twists and turns in the story—but even more so I liked that a strong woman was helping the hero.
A Year in Provence By Peter Mayle
I like to read books that take me away from the seriousness of the work I do, and it was so much fun to read about a place I had visited. I loved Mayle's sense of humor. The book is, naturally, about the beauty, food, and wine of Provence—but it's also about slow contractors in Provence. It's a reminder that some things are the same wherever you are.
The Art of Happiness By His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler, M.D.
I read this a couple of years ago and went out and bought a copy for each of my sons. The Dalai Lama defines empathy and compassion in a way that I hadn't understood before. The book has helped me with life at home and in the business world. The one thing I realized is how important it is to look at a situation from another person's perspective. Sometimes, when you change your lens ever so slightly, you see everything differently—and you can find a solution to a nagging problem.