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Summer Reading List for 2019: Human Resources

Summer is perfect for learning new things. Boost your professional knowledge while the weather’s warm with the books on our HR summer reading list.

Posted by Ann Snook on August 14th, 2019

Even though we’re in the home stretch of summer, it doesn’t mean the fun is over. There’s no better time of year to grab a book, head outdoors and learn something new. Add a few of these books to your HR summer reading list to boost your professional knowledge or gain a new perspective.


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Primed to Perform: How to Build the Highest Performing Cultures Through the Science of Total Motivation

by Neel Doshi & Lindsay McGregor


The authors of Primed to Perform know that the best workplace cultures don’t happen by magic. This book uses science to help you analyze your company culture and figure out how to improve it over time.

Using the Total Motivation (ToMo) Factor, the authors’ psychological research has helped companies such as Apple, Starbucks and Southwest Airlines improve sales, increase customer loyalty and encourage more passion and productivity among their employees.

A hands-off approach won’t make your culture great. Regardless of your organization’s size, this book can help you shape and maintain a system that really works.


The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth

by Amy C. Edmondson


In traditional workplace cultures, many employees are afraid to speak their minds. They value fitting in and “going along to get along.” However, as the author explains in The Fearless Organization, this does major damage to the knowledge economy.

If you want to encourage more psychological safety and free-flowing ideas in your organization, add this book to your HR summer reading list. Creating a culture where sharing ideas is encouraged also promotes engagement, learning and innovation.


RELATED: Policies and Procedures in the Workplace: The Ultimate Guide


WORK RULES!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead

by Laszlo Bock


As the head of Google’s People Operations, Laszlo Bock has some innovative ideas when it comes to employee relations. In WORK RULES!, he shares his methods for attracting the best employees to your organization and making sure they succeed. Using research in psychology and human economics, the author uses real-life examples to illustrate lessons including:

  • Learn from your best employees—and your worst
  • Pay unfairly (it’s more fair!)
  • If you’re comfortable with the amount of freedom you’ve given your employees, you haven’t gone far enough


Read this book to learn how your organization can balance structure and creativity. You may see an increase in not only employee satisfaction, but also profits.


The Bully-Free Workplace: Stop Jerks, Weasels, and Snakes from Killing Your Organization

by Gary Namie & Ruth F. Namie


No HR summer reading list would be complete without a resource on workplace bullying. In The Bully-Free Workplace, PhDs Gary and Ruth Namie outline ways to address bullying in your organization effectively.

You’ll learn how to write a strong preventive policy with real consequences for violations. The authors’ signature Blueprint Method will also help you protect your employees’ well-being and decrease psychological violence in your organization.


HR on Purpose: Developing Deliberate People Passion 

by Steve Browne


It’s easy to fall into a routine at work. If you want to rekindle your passion for human resources, add this title to your HR summer reading list.

HR on Purpose helps readers challenge what they think they know about HR and offers an interesting perspective on what the profession could look like. Filled with relatable stories and positivity to spare, this book is perfect for when you feel like you’re in a professional slump.


fraud summer reading list


What If?: Short Stories to Spark Diversity Dialogue

by Steve L. Robbins


Trying to create engaging, unique diversity training for your organization can be difficult. Add What If? to your arsenal to change things up.

Using personal stories from his upbringing, the author shares his diversity and inclusion concepts for the workplace. In addition, each chapter has tips on how to action these concepts in your organization, as well as questions, activities, and assignments. If you want to learn how to make your workplace more inclusive and open-minded, this book should be your go-to resource.


Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family

by Bob Chapman & Raj Sisodia


“Everyone wants to do better. Trust them. Leaders are everywhere. Find them. People achieve good things, big and small, every day. Celebrate them. Some people wish things were different. Listen to them. Everybody matters. Show them.”

That’s the motto of manufacturing company Barry-Wehmiller. They treat every employee like family, meaning that everyone experiences the organization’s ups and downs together. By finding creative ways for dealing with revenue loss or other problems, employees don’t fear for their jobs and, as a result, are more engaged and motivated. Learn how you can implement this approach, too, in Everybody Matters.


Work with Me: The 8 Blind Spots Between Men and Women in Business

by Barbara Annis & John Gray


In the era of #MeToo and #TimesUp, everyone is talking about gender relations in the workplace. Work with Me analyzes the results of thousands of interviews to unveil the false assumptions men and women have about each other. You’ll learn about the biological and social reasons behind gender differences and how they often cause misunderstandings and conflicts at work.

Written by Barbara Annis, an expert on gender issues in the workplace and John Gray, author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus, this book presents a unique, balanced perspective on gender relations. If you want a guide to better communication with the opposite gender for both your professional and personal lives, add this to your HR summer reading list now.


A strong Code of Conduct can make an HR professional’s job easier. Create one for your organization with our free template.


The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty: Fascinating Truths About What It Takes to Create Truly Loyal and Engaged Employees

by Heather R. Younger


Keeping employees engaged and empowered is one of an HR professional’s hardest tasks. In The 7 Intuitive Laws of Employee Loyalty, the author shares her seven fundamental rules for building a workplace culture of success and loyalty. This book should go on your HR summer reading list if you want to:

  • transform your leadership style
  • build allegiance to your organization and its leaders
  • make your employee experience stand out from the crowd
  • increase employee retention


The Drama-Free Workplace: How You Can Prevent Unconscious Bias, Sexual Harassment, Ethics Lapses, and Inspire a Healthy Culture

by Patti Perez


Have you ever wanted a single resource to consult for a wide array of HR nightmares? If so, then this is the book for you.

The Drama-Free Workplace explains how establishing a healthy workplace culture can decrease all forms of drama. You’ll learn how to anticipate and prevent negative situations, as well as create a culture of fairness and freedom.

Use the DIY section of the book to learn how to implement policies and training that tap into your employees’ emotional intelligence. With the right tools, you’ll protect employees and keep lawsuits at bay.

Ann Snook
Ann Snook

Marketing Writer

Ann is a marketing writer at i-Sight Software. She writes about issues related to investigations of fraud, employee misconduct, corporate security, Title IX, ethics & compliance and more.

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