Papercut’s Summer Reading List

A graphic of a woman sitting on a stack of colorful books, engrossed in reading.

With Memorial Day Weekend in the rearview and the temps [and humidity 😅] rising, we are ready to settle into a lounge chair under an umbrella and tuck into a good book or two! Our summer vacations are booked, and we’re gathering reading materials for our travels. Is there anything better than getting lost in a good book for a few hours?

We’re big readers at Papercut, and many of our water cooler conversations center around what we’re reading [thank you, Sarah J. Maas!]. If you’re anything like me, you may enjoy personal/professional development books mixed with a healthy dose of fiction reads—a combination of learning and leisure! Here are our top recommendations for your summer reading list.


Personal + Professional Development Books

Cover images from the books: Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni, Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly, and Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller.


Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert challenges readers to unleash their inner creativity! I found this book to be inspiring on many levels. I love the reminder that creative expression can be a part of our daily lifestyle, and it doesn’t necessarily mean we must create grand works of art to practice creative expression every day. Gilbert’s message is about “living a life that is driven more strongly by curiosity than by fear,” which I can get behind!

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Parable by Patrick Lencioni

This is an excellent read with leadership lessons that will translate to almost any industry. Lencioni tells the story of (the fictional company) DecisionTech, Inc., and its newly appointed CEO in a super relatable way. If you’ve worked with a team in any capacity, you will surely have encountered some of the same characters with the same challenges at some point in your career. The book wraps up with an assessment and actionable suggestions to guide readers using the Five Dysfunctions Model with their team.

Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly

Another business parable book that I found to be relatable and entertaining. Kelly explains, “An organization can only become the best version of itself to the extent that people who drive the organization are striving to become better versions of themselves.” The book emphasizes the importance of dreams – in our personal and professional lives – and how investing in them can lead to success for individuals and companies.

Building a Story Brand by Donald Miller

Are you seeing a theme in my recommendations? I love a book that tells a good story, and Donald Miller is all about the story. Miller’s framework for telling your business’s story offers clever and practical ways to think through making your customer the hero of your story and making that the driving force behind your brand’s marketing. Even if you don’t subscribe to the entire Story Brand philosophy, there are plenty of bite-sized takeaways about clarifying your messaging that are actionable and valuable. I’d recommend this book to any marketing professional or content developer!


Fiction for Fun

Cover images of the books: Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson, Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir, and Shark Heart by Emily Habeck.

Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson

Black Cake is a true page-turner with plot twists throughout. It’s the story of two siblings who learn many surprises about their family history after their mother’s death. Hitting on the themes of love, friendship, loss, and murder, Wilkerson covers so much ground in this multi-generational story that I could not put down.

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Science fiction is not usually my cup of tea, but the story of an accidental astronaut, Ryland Grace, kept me entertained beyond belief. It is SO imaginative and has many heart-warming scenes – amidst all of the science and space… and there is ALL the science in this book. Pro tip: the audiobook version is also excellent!

Shark Heart by Emily Habeck

Emily Habeck’s debut novel, Shark Heart, is about a man with a rare diagnosis: he will physically turn into a great white shark. The novel takes the reader on an unusual journey as the main character and the people in his life come to terms with this metamorphosis and what it means for each of them. This is one of the strangest books I have ever read, but it is a beautiful love story with plenty of life lessons to make you think and feel deeply.


What’s on your summer reading list? Drop us a line and let us know if you’ve found a “must-read!”