If you’re anything like us, you don’t go anywhere without a good book. So this Summer, whether it's a stay-cation or traveling abroad after the long lockdown, and whether you’re laying low at the beach or climbing to the highest peak, we’ve got you covered. Below is our IA Summer Reading List, with personal recommendations from the IA Team.

1. The Sun Does Shine: An Innocent Man, a Wrongful Conviction, and the Long Path to Justice (Young Reader's Edition)

The brilliant Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, who writes for a young adult audience, worked with Anthony Ray Hinton to create the adaptation of his bestselling, heart-wrenching memoir of hope, both to educate and entertain. We know that the only way for our justice system to truly change is for young people to demand that change, and Ray’s story is both timely and timeless. It shows all of us that you can take away a man’s freedom, but you can’t take away his imagination, humor, or joy.

—Janelle Julian, Chief of Staff

2. The Other Dr. Gilmer: Two Men, a Murder, and an Unlikely Fight for Justice

As described in one of the most listened to episodes of This American Life, and named one of the Top 6 True Crime books to read this Summer by the New York Times, Dr. Gilmer’s journey to discover what drove his predecessor to murder is a medical mystery and deeply insightful look at mental health. The Other Dr. Gilmer asks us: In a country with the highest incarceration rates in the world, what would it look like if we prioritized healing rather than punishment? 

—Sarah Rainone, Editorial Director

3. Breaking the Age Code: How Your Beliefs About Aging Determine How Long & Well You Live 

Dr. Becca Levy's book has a good selling point; she shows that by creating positive age beliefs you can extend your lifespan by nearly a decade. But I recommend it for a completely different reason: after reading it, I know I’ll never look at the world the same. Dr. Levy uses stunning revelations from her research to challenge the outdated narratives and shatter the harmful myths about aging— and as I read I caught instances of ageism in my own hidden biases, as well as where I see it in popular culture. If we’re lucky, old age is the one thing we’ll all have to face one day, so I recommend reading this one as soon as you can for a longer, happier life.

—Staci Bruce, Project Manager


4. In the Shadow of the Mountain: A Memoir of Courage 

If you want a book that will make you quite literally shiver with inspiration, then I can't recommend Silvia Vasquez-Lavado's In The Shadow of the Mountain enough. An epic tale of healing and connection in the wild, In The Shadow of the Mountain shares Silvia's deeply emotional story from the elite macho tech world of Silicon Valley to trekking the world’s biggest mountain. Reading this book, I felt like I was right there with Silvia. Raw, courageous, and gripping,this is the story we all need to learn to conquer life's biggest challenges.

—Bella Roberts, Literary Agent Assistant

5. Peak Mind: Find Your Focus, Own Your Attention, Invest 12 Minutes a Day

Neuroscientist Amishi Jha shows how we’re missing half of our life.  Our most precious resource is our attention—in so many ways it is our life, and so much of it has spun out of our control.  Dr Jha helped me to regain control of my attention and can help all of us reach peak mental performance as she has with so many first responders and others for whom every second counts, as it really does for all of us.
Doug Abrams, Founder


6Underwater Wild: My Octopus Teacher's Extraordinary World 

The perfect way to dive into the stormiest of seas without getting cold or wet, Underwater Wild takes us deep into the world of the Academy-Award-winning documentary My Octopus Teacher. Swim alongside naturalist, film star, and director Craig Foster and his diving partner Ross Frylinck as they discover the wilds of the South African kelp forests. In the revelatory marine science behind the never-seen-before stunning photos, learn how to track sea hares, cuttlefish, and limpets, and witness amazing new animal behaviors never before documented in marine biology. Underwater Wild inspires a whole world of wonder and reminds us of the innate wildness within us all. 

— Rachel Neumann, CEO


7. The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times 

Naturalist Dr. Jane Goodall and our own Founder Doug Abrams taught us the four pillars of hope—The Amazing Human Intellect, The Resilience of Nature, The Power of Young People, and The Indomitable Human Spirit—in this  instant New York Times Bestseller. Reading this book is the first step to answering the call from Jane to "use the gift of our lives to make this a better world". Certainly the book for our times.

—Lara Love-Hardin, CEO

8Designing Your (New) Work Life: How to Thrive and Change and Find Happiness—and a New Freedom—at Work

Bill Burnett and Dave Evans redesigned their book for this new era of disruption. Their finely-honed design thinking cuts right to the point, reveals dysfunctional beliefs about work that we didn't even know we had, and charts a better way. If you’re seeking meaning and work/life balance (and want to learn why the old see-saw idea of that balance is a myth), then this book is for you.

—Mark Hitz, Collaborative Writer


9. The Awakened Brain: The New Science of Spirituality and Our Quest for an Inspired Life 

Whether you are religious or spiritual, atheistic or agnostic, there is mounting science and evidence that humans are universally equipped with an innate capacity for spirituality and transcendence, and that this allows our brains to become more resilient and robust not just psychologically but physiologically as well. Neuroscientist Dr. Lisa Miller explains the very real physiological changes that happen in our brains when we open ourselves to what she calls Awakened Awareness. This awareness is available to all of us all the time– and it buffers us from depression, isolation, and addiction, promotes positive traits like grit, resilience, optimism and tenacity, and allows us to more deeply engage with the world around us. She offers guidance on how to experience this important creative and renewing state, as she also shares her own powerful story of discovery and love. 

—Ty Love, Director of Author Success


Have a great Summer!

Ty, Lara, Rachel, Doug, Janelle, Jordan, Mark, Staci, Bella, Stacie, Sarah and the whole Idea Architects Team