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Back to School Reading List: 7 books for every artist

Our 2020 Summer Leadership Intensive is wrapped and, as an attendee for every session, I can relate with all of our 2020 ALI Fellows in saying that it was inspirational, life-changing...and most definitely intense! There were so many great takeaways and, rather than get overwhelmed with all the changes I hope to make, I thought I'd start with something fun - books!

Each one of these reads was recommended by one of our amazing 2020 Presenters at our August Intensive and we hope you'll pick one or all that inspire you and kick off school (whatever that may look like this year!) and the Fall season with a good read and cup of something warm. Click on the book images to find it on Amazon. Enjoy!


This is the second year in a row that this book as received a recommendation from our Intensive presenters! I'm beyond excited to read this one, particularly to apply it to conversations. Sometimes conversations feel like they happen or happen to us - which should not be the case! I never want to be held hostage by a difficult conversation or situation, but rather prepare for it and guide it where it needs to go.


What is the secret of talent? How do we unlock it? In this groundbreaking work, journalist and New York Times bestselling author Daniel Coyle provides parents, teachers, coaches, businesspeople—and everyone else—with tools they can use to maximize potential in themselves and others.

Culture is not something you are—it’s something you do. The Culture Code puts the power in your hands. No matter the size of your group or your goal, this book can teach you the principles of cultural chemistry that transform individuals into teams that can accomplish amazing things together.


START WITH WHY shows that the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way -- and it's the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.

NUMBER FIVE | Wall Street Journal Best Seller

"A good negotiator, is a collaborator." -Ana De Archuleta: the recommender of this novel and an amazing presenter at our 2020 Intensive. Ana's presentation and now this book has me particularly excited. I hadn't thought of it previously, but I cannot count all the negotiations that happen on a daily basis and I'm sure it's similar for you. If you are like me, and want to (1) understand your value and (2) have the confidence to produce an outcome instead of be controlled by it, then read this with me!

In her memoir, a work of deep reflection and mesmerizing storytelling, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, chronicling the experiences that have shaped her—from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address. With unerring honesty and lively wit, she describes her triumphs and her disappointments, both public and private, telling her full story as she has lived it—in her own words and on her own terms. Warm, wise, and revelatory, Becoming is the deeply personal reckoning of a woman of soul and substance who has steadily defied expectations—and whose story inspires us to do the same.


In this book, Bill Burnett and Dave Evans show us how design thinking can help us create a life that is both meaningful and fulfilling, regardless of who or where we are, what we do or have done for a living, or how young or old we are. The same design thinking responsible for amazing technology, products, and spaces can be used to design and build your career and your life, a life of fulfillment and joy, constantly creative and productive, one that always holds the possibility of surprise.

You may be catching a theme of the books that I am most excited about (which is actually all of them.) Unexpected things in life can always and will always happen. Challenges and uncomfortable situations will come our way. But we can choose our reaction. We can prepare for these situations. We can mold, create, and craft the outcomes of our life - and I want to learn how and practice it every day. As designers, this book should resonate with us all and I'll look forward to hearing what you think about it!

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