NEW YORK—With the unofficial start of summer just a week away, what better time to start putting together a summer reading list? Although now that many venues and outdoor activities are reopening to larger crowds, we admit summer reading might not be at the top of everyone’s to-do list this year.
Still, there are enough good, thought-provoking business titles circulating right now to capture just about every special interest. For one, we like the premise of “The Future is Faster Than You Think,” which looks at how technologies will “completely reshape every industry and society over the next decade.” Hard to ignore this one, right? (And it’s on the reading list of IDOC’s Dave Brown, as noted below.)
And, of course, there are an abundance of the usual entertaining page-turners that are best-suited to a day at the beach. In this category, it’s hard to go wrong with “Where the Crawdads Sing,” by Delia Owens.” This is one of the page-turner books recommended last summer in our roundup of best reads, and it’s on our list for this summer. “It’s a mystery/romance coming of age story with a surprising tale of a possible murder,” as our reviewer noted.
Finally, here’s a suggestion that seems to cover both the serious and fun requirements for the reader looking for recommendations, “Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter Your Mind, and Focus on the Present.” Well, talk about covering all the bases with a single book.  
But don’t just take our suggestions for your next book: Here’s a roundup of what VMAIL Weekend learned when we asked several people in the optical business what books they have read recently, want to read or just have in the stack by their bed. (BTW, that's my bedside pile in the photo.)

Donna J. Mikulecky
Vision Source
Chief Operating Officer and Chief Financial Officer

I made a goal this year to read at least six business books and six “fun” books!   I am more than halfway to that goal and would highly recommend "The Miracle Morning" by Hal Elrod, as well as "The Power of Healthy Tension" by Tim Arnold. Both are easy reads and help with both personal growth as well as strengthening relationships (personal or professional).

I just started "The Five Coaching Conversations" by John Gates, Morgan Masse and Steve Williams. So far, it's a great read to help you develop your team members to be their best.  On the “fun” side, I recently read, “Something in the Water” by Catherine Steadman.  A suspenseful thriller that is an easy read. Happy Reading!

Jane Lehman
Head of Corporate Communications

During the long stretch of COVID, my daughter started taking virtual baking classes. Together, we made some incredible desserts. Cooking and baking provided levity for us during an intense period, so we decided to learn more about the famous chef, Julia Child. “Who was Julia Child?” is a kids’ book for sure, but again levity was the goal and it stuck with me (and my daughter). 

Julia was the first woman to enroll in the famed cooking school Le Cordon Bleu—when she enrolled, they insisted on putting her in a beginner class even though she could out-whisk all her male classmates. She was incredibly entrepreneurial and despite various challenges in life, relentless in pursuing her dreams. She also had a great sense of humor, a handy trait for all generations of women.

Dave Brown, Nathan Hayes and Jill Johnson

At IDOC, we encourage our team to continually learn and upskill. One great way to do that is through reading. Here are some books that our team has on their reading lists this summer:

• Nathan Hayes, CEPA – IDOC Finance Consultant, recommends “The Psychology of Money.” In fact, IDOC sent a complimentary copy to all IDOC employees to read.

• Jill Johnson, VP Human Resources, recommends “White Fragility,” a very enlightening book in the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion space.

• Dave Brown, CEO of IDOC, is looking forward to reading “The Future is Faster Than You Think,”  with the subtitle, “How Converging Technologies Are Transforming Business, Industries, and Our Lives.” It was written by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler.
IDOC notes that places a strong emphasis on developing a growth mindset for its employees, and provides avenues for its team to continually learn and grow their skills.

Justin L. Manning, OD, MPH, FAAO
Executive Vice President, Professional Strategies
Healthy Eyes Advantage

I set out each year to read at least six books; some years are better and others are worse. I just finished “Talking to Strangers” by Malcom Gladwell. It was a fascinating look into our human psychology and how it affects, both positively and negatively, our interactions with people we don’t know. I highly recommend it. 

For this spring/ summer, I just started reading “Linchpin” by Seth Godin. Whether an industry corporation or independent eye care practice, indispensable team members that can create success for a business are critical to patient care and customer experience.  

Jim Edwards
Technology and Digital Officer, Alliances

My latest read, “Willpower Doesn’t Work” by Benjamin Hardy, is an interesting take on how altering your surroundings can have a significant impact on reaching your goals. Hardy’s message is all about creating an environment that helps you keep focused on what you want to achieve and amplifying your productivity.

Eric Anderson
AEG Vision
I’m just finishing “Unlocking Happiness at Work” by Jennifer Moss. It describes intentional strategies to create high-performing “happy” teams at work. These are important lessons as we gear up to return to office-based work in a post-COVID world. Jennifer was a guest key note speaker at AEG Vision’s “2021 (Virtual) Summit Meeting” last March.

Jeff Todd
President and CEO
Prevent Blindness
I used to be an avid reader, but sadly I have allowed streaming television to take over all of my spare attention during the pandemic. That said, I generally read fiction, but have recently started “How Y’all Doing?  Misadventures and Mischief from a Life Well Lived,” by Leslie Jordan, in which this “recently viral sensation and Emmy Award winner regales fans with entertaining stories about the odd, funny, and unforgettable events in his life through a series of essays.”  

Next up on my nightstand is “Keep Sharp: Build a Better Brain at Any Age,” by Sanjay Gupta, MD, in which the CNN Chief Medical Correspondent “draws on cutting-edge research from his travels around the world, engaging with the scientists discovering the secrets to cognitive longevity.”

Ken West
Senior Director, Marketing Communications
Prevent Blindness 
I’ve read two good books recently. One was “Koh-i-Noor: The History of the World's Most Infamous Diamond,” by William Dalrymple. It's a great story of monarchies and imperialism and colonialism. And “Works and Days,” the amazing, and in my view, definitive new translation of Hesiod by the poet and classicist AE Stallings out on Penguin Classics. It's worth it just for her introduction and translation notes.

I'm going to start "The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)" by theoretical cosmologist Katie Mack about the latest theories for how the universe ends. And then for light reading, "Siege and Storm" by Leigh Bardugo because Netflix is doing a fantasy series from the books.

Bryan Hoban
Member Business Manager
“Drive for show, putt for dough” is a common saying in the golf world. My summer reading proves otherwise. What better way to escape the negativity that was 2020 by diving into a book around utilizing golf statistical analysis to develop better course management strategies? 

“Every Shot Counts” by Mark Broadie explains his revolutionary strokes gained statistic and disproves many old golf sayings like “angles matter,” “lay back to hit the fairway,” “lay up to your favorite yardage” and “spend 50 percent of your practice time on short game.”

The book analyzes from any given distance and lie, the expected number of strokes it should take to finish the hole. This data allows you to compare a 100-yard shot in the rough vs a 150-yard shot in the fairway and realize that it actually might be better to be in the rough. When comparing the top strokes gained driving tour players to the top strokes gained putting tour players, the guys who make all the money and are winning tournaments are at the top of the driving stats. Probably not the book most are grabbing to read at the beach this summer, but it has helped my shoot under par a number of times already this season!

Kayla Groves  
Billing & Coding Advisor
I am absolutely fascinated with Stephen King and his ability to develop some of the most interesting and vivid characters. Stephen King has a deep understanding of the human psyche, and his way of thinking outside of the box provides some of the best storylines. I recommend reading one of his latest novels, “If It Bleeds.” This novel offers the reader, not just one story but four. Collectively, these stories leave you questioning your dreams, how you get there, and the consequences that can follow. Each story is highly thought-provoking, and this novel is one of King’s best work. I highly recommend it.

Laura Walker
Vice President and Business Unit Head, Digital Innovation
Alcon Vision, LLC

In leading digital innovation at Alcon, I am curious about ways to further unlock the potential of our organization to propel innovation and deliver transformative change that benefits our customers and their patients. This book provides practical approaches to unlocking opportunities by embracing uncertainty, moving beyond reliance on past successes, the importance of roadblocks and focusing on what needs to be true to accomplish the vision. “Think like a Rocket Scientist” by Ozan Varol.