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It should come as no surprise that many of us at StoryTeller love to read.

Some of us live for books that push us professionally and relationally — stories of leadership and growth, stories that show what it takes to achieve success. Authors like Brené Brown, Simon Sinek, and Seth Godin often appear atop the pack, but this year we loved a book by Daniel Coyle that showcased success through many different lenses.

Other StoryTellers love to immerse themselves in a captivating novel — the excitement that's found in being transported to a new world (or moon), the thrill of a good mystery, or the intrigue of a great drama. These books rouse the imagination, inspire creativity, and expand your view of the world around you.

So, as the year winds down, let us share some of our favorite lessons and adventures we found in our favorite books from 2018.

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The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle

StoryTeller's Leadership Book Club 2018 Favorite

Publisher’s Summary: “Daniel Coyle demystifies the culture-building process by identifying three key skills that generate cohesion and cooperation and explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind. Drawing on examples that range from internet retailer Zappos to the comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade to a daring gang of jewel thieves, Coyle offers specific strategies that trigger learning, spark collaboration, build trust, and drive positive change. Combining leading-edge science, on-the-ground insights from world-class leaders, and practical ideas for action, The Culture Code offers a roadmap for creating an environment where innovation flourishes, problems get solved, and expectations are exceeded.”

KevinPage-636038-editedStoryTeller Review by Kevin Page: Using easy-to-understand examples from the real world, Coyle describes specific characteristics that must be present to build and sustain a high-functioning team. Along with a deep exploration of the necessary attributes (safety, vulnerability, and purpose), we are also presented with concrete suggestions and tips to apply these skills to our teams.

 

Give and Take by Adam Grant

Publisher’s Summary: “For generations, we have focused on the individual drivers of success: passion, hard work, talent, and luck. But in today’s dramatically reconfigured world, success is increasingly dependent on how we interact with others. In Give and Take, Adam Grant, an award-winning researcher and Wharton’s highest-rated professor, examines the surprising forces that shape why some people rise to the top of the success ladder while others sink to the bottom. Praised by social scientists, business theorists, and corporate leaders, Give and Take opens up an approach to work, interactions, and productivity that is nothing short of revolutionary.”

EdHeil-024899-editedStoryTeller Review by Ed Heil: In life, there are givers and takers. We’d like to believe that taking the high road and helping others — giving of yourself — wins in the end, but does it? Give and Take explores what is gained and lost by being a giver or a taker. This quick and enjoyable book takes the reader through self-exploration and helps the reader better understand who they are and how that impacts their relationships with others.

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

Publisher’s Summary: “An enchanting New York Times and international bestseller and award-winner about life, art, literature, philosophy, culture, class, privilege, and power, seen through the eyes of a 54-year old French concierge and a precocious but troubled 12-year-old girl. Renee Michel is the 54-year-old concierge of a luxury Paris apartment building. Her exterior (short, ugly, and plump) and demeanor (poor, discreet, and insignificant) belie her keen, questing mind and profound erudition. Paloma Josse is a 12-year-old genius who behaves as everyone expects her to behave: a mediocre pre-teen high on adolescent subculture, a good but not outstanding student, an obedient if obstinate daughter. She plans to kill herself on the sixteenth of June, her thirteenth birthday. Both Renee and Paloma hide their true talents and finest qualities from the bourgeois families around them until a wealthy Japanese gentleman named Ozu moves into the building. Only he sees through them, perceiving the secret that haunts Renee, winning Paloma's trust, and helping the two discover their kindred souls.”

JuliaSquareStoryTeller Review by Julia Tiedt: This book was recommended to me while standing in a line waiting to meet a cookbook author. I had no other initial context as to what this book was about besides the fact that it was the stranger's favorite book. Without giving away too much, this book is unexpected. Each of the main characters lives are complex and riddled with intrigue on their own, but Barbery begins to intertwine their stories in a very beautiful way as we learn more about their interests, talents, and struggles.

Artemis: A Novel by Andy Weir

Publisher’s Summary: “Jazz Bashara is a criminal. Well, sort of. Life on Artemis, the first and only city on the moon, is tough if you’re not a rich tourist or an eccentric billionaire. So smuggling in the occasional harmless bit of contraband barely counts, right? Not when you’ve got debts to pay and your job as a porter barely covers the rent. Everything changes when Jazz sees the chance to commit the perfect crime, with a reward too lucrative to turn down. But pulling off the impossible is just the start of her problems, as she learns that she’s stepped square into a conspiracy for control of Artemis itself — and that now her only chance at survival lies in a gambit even riskier than the first.”

BrittanyLaegerHeadshot (1)-516754-editedStoryTeller Review by Britt Laeger: If you are a sci-fi lover, like me, definitely add this book to your list. It’s got all the creative science-based problem solving of The Martian with more of a classic heist storyline and lots of interesting characters. P.S. If you are an audiobook lover, make sure to check this one out because Rosario Dawson does an amazing job bringing this character to life.

Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney

Publisher’s Summary: “My name is Amber Reynolds. There are three things you should know about me:

1. I’m in a coma.
2. My husband doesn’t love me anymore.
3. Sometimes I lie.

Amber wakes up in a hospital. She can’t move. She can’t speak. She can’t open her eyes. She can hear everyone around her, but they have no idea. Amber doesn’t remember what happened, but she has a suspicion her husband had something to do with it. Alternating between her paralyzed present, the week before her accident, and a series of childhood diaries from twenty years ago, this brilliant psychological thriller asks: Is something really a lie if you believe it's the truth?”

Glaser, Ruth-107121-editedStoryTeller Review by Ruth Glaser: The reason psychological thrillers are so popular is that they’re predictable — the fun is guessing the plot twist before it’s revealed. While this book follows the thriller formula, it’s ingeniously crafted to keep you guessing. To quote an online review, “Holy mother of twists!”

Share Your Favorite Books!

We'd love to hear what your favorite books have been in the last year, comment below with the title and tell us why you loved it so much. Who knows?! We might even read it in our StoryTeller Book Club!

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