by Michael Friedenberg

Summertime Survival Reading

May 21, 20093 mins

Inspire and motivate yourself with 3 great books

Summer is here, business is still a nutty roller coaster ride and CIOs have never found their roles more challenging. So it’s all the more important now to unplug a bit and recharge your batteries. Once you find yourself on the beach relaxing or finally taking that week-long vacation you so richly deserve, here are a couple of terrific books worthy of your summer reading shelf.

Lone Survivor by Marcus Luttrell with Patrick Robinson. Marcus spoke at our CSO Perspectives Conference in early March; you could hear a pin drop during his keynote. His book is absolutely riveting as he describes how four U.S. Navy Seals went on a mission to capture or kill an al-Qaida leader only to have things go horribly astray. The story of what Marcus lived through and the collective courage and honor he and his fellow Navy Seals showed is just remarkable. It really makes you appreciate what our Armed Forces stand ready to do for us every day.

Always Looking Up by Michael J. Fox. This book seems perfectly timed for today’s reality because just when you might be feeling a bit down or that the world might be turning against you, this beloved actor provides some perspective. One of the best quotes I’ve heard in a long time was during his recent interview on Larry King Live where he said, “Don’t wish for a lighter load, wish for broader shoulders.” As we’re all being asked to do more with less, this perfectly captured how we all need to step up a little more in these hard times. His story is uplifting with a practical message about being optimistic even when life takes a tough turn.

Motivate Like a CEO by Suzanne Bates. Now, I’ll admit that these CEO inspirational books sometimes come off as basic remedial reminders of the skill sets we hopefully possess to be good chief executives. Yet Suzanne does a sterling job of getting past the basics and making sure that you can motivate yourself before trying to motivate your team. Once there, the book delivers a pragmatic outline for sharing a vision, motivating people and executing well. Definitely worth the investment in time and money.

So kick back, grab your favorite cool beverage, drop that BlackBerry and step away from the computer screen. Indulge your senses with a good read. If you happen to have other great books to recommend, please share them with me at