Arts and Culture

4 must-read books for the summer, according to psychologist Adam Grant

US psychologist Adam Grant recommends his four must-read summer books.

US psychologist Adam Grant recommends his four must-read summer books. Image: Unsplash/rey_7

Rebecca Geldard
Senior Writer, Forum Agenda
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Book Club

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  • US psychologist and author Adam Grant was the first guest of the World Economic Forum’s Book Club podcast in December 2021.
  • Here are four book picks from the Wharton professor’s summer 2023 reading list.
  • His choices fall under the categories: motivation, work, social change and thinking.

What motivates us? Organizational psychologist and author Adam Grant believes in the power of a great book to spur people into all kinds of action, whether small life changes or transformative endeavours.

The Wharton professor is an expert on the world of work and known for advising leaders on everything management: from employee engagement to procrastination. He also hosts the podcast ‘WorkLife’ that, in his words, explores “the science of making work not suck”.


Grant was the first guest of the World Economic Forum’s Book Club podcast in December 2021. In the inaugural episode he speaks to Beatrice Di Caro about his bestselling book Think Again – on the importance of cognitive flexibility in times of change – and the books and podcasts that feed his curiosity.

Adam Grant's summer book recommendations.
Adam Grant's summer book recommendations. Image: LinkedIn

Here are four picks from the writer’s list of summer 2023 must-reads designed to help drive us forward – at work and beyond.

Motivation

It’s well-known that the pursuit of perfection can actually get in the way of success, yet increasing numbers of us are plagued by it, according to psychologist Thomas Curran. In The Perfection Trap, he lifts the lid on this personality trait and its societal drivers, offering strategies to help manage the pressures of modern life.

Read more about the roles schools can play in helping young people develop a healthy self-image and achieve their potential.

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What is the World Economic Forum's Book Club?

Work

Investing in the workforce boosts people and business, says MIT professor Zeynep Ton. The Case for Good Jobs is a practical guide for leaders in which she demonstrates how implementing a “good jobs system” can make companies more competitive, resilient and attractive to top talent.

  • Read more about the creative ways businesses are making workplace culture more appealing.

Social change

From women’s suffrage to Rosa Parks’ fight for civil rights, young women have led the way in many of America’s revolutionary moments. Young and Restless by journalist Mattie Kahn highlights the overlooked contribution of teenage girls to the country’s history – and what we can learn from them.

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What's the World Economic Forum doing about diversity, equity and inclusion?

Thinking

Hand gestures are vital to human conversation, but what do they really convey about us? Cognitive scientist Susan Goldin-Meadow takes readers of Thinking with Your Hands through all the many things they reveal – from cognitive bias to whether we know what we’re talking about – encouraging a radical rethink of how we use communication in a variety of social contexts.

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