University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

For the Love of Reading

For the Love of Reading

July 16, 2021 | By Stacey Mason

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Reading is not only my first love but also my true love. I’m happiest with a book in my hand. It’s where I return time and time again to dream, think, ponder, create, question and to find solace.

So, for the love of reading, I offer up a few of my all-time favorite books.

The Way of the Shepherd by Dr. Kevin Leman and William Pentak

Written as a parable, these leadership principles are timeless.

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Introversion and extraversion are two of the most exhaustively researched subjects in personality psychology. And the brilliance of this book is that it can start a conversation – a conversation about how people are different. While we are all still humans, we are differently human.

A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

Summed up nicely in two great sentences: “Meaning is the new money. The MFA is the new MBA.”

Several Short Sentences About Writing by Verlyn Klinkenborg

Most writing is really rewriting. So “revise toward brevity, directness, simplicity, clarity, rhythm, literalness, implication, variation, presence, silence…”

Life – Selected Quotations by Paulo Coelho

This book is a complication of some of the most profound passages from 17 of the author’s published works.

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Essentially, this is a contemporary memoir written in the form of the hero’s journey. You lose yourself, you test yourself, you find yourself. And then you write about it.

The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson

This is a portrait of race, class, and politics in twentieth century America. These topics are as urgent today as they were during the great migration from 1915 to 1970. It’s a bold, remarkable, riveting read.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

There’s a reason this book is required reading in so many English classes around the world. Good writing can cut through the noise: “There’s just one kind of folks. Folks. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.”

All I Ever Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum

Kindergarten was a magical time for so many of us. Learning the basics – the essentials of life – sitting in a circle playing “duck, duck, goose” after naptime. All of life got overly complicated after that.

Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson

It’s a book about the spaces where innovation flourishes. In summary: “Go for a walk; cultivate hunches; write everything down, but keep your folders messy; embrace serendipity; make generative mistakes; take on multiple hobbies; frequent coffeehouses and other liquid networks; follow the links; let others build on your ideas; borrow, recycle, reinvent. Build a tangled bank.”

Orbiting the Giant Hairball by Gordon MacKenzie

MacKenzie was a creative genius at Hallmark cards for 30 years. I heard him speak once and it was electrifying. My signed copy of this legendary book is one of my most treasured possessions.

The Book of Awesome by Neil Pasricha

The simplest of things will bring you enormous joy. This book reminds us of all the little things that we often overlook.

Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown

Her BRAVING acronym (boundaries, reliability, accountability, vault, integrity, nonjudgment, generosity) sets the stage for establishing trust – for ourselves and for others – which is a vulnerable and courageous process.

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb

As a card-carrying member of the human race, I firmly believe that everyone needs to talk to someone at some point. Even your therapist. Perhaps especially your therapist.

Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

In short, this book discusses what we should know about the people we don’t know.

Reading is an individual experience, but it also tends to be a collective experience because we often talk about the books we love the most. I’d go so far as to say reading changes you. After all, there is no monopoly on wisdom. As the great Renaissance artist, Michaelangelo, said: “Ancora imparo…” (Still, I am learning)

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Matt WallerFounder of The Improv Lab, Stacey Mason has immersed herself in the field of Applied Improvisation for the last decade after co-founding several comedy improv troupes and training with various actor-teams including Second City in Chicago. Her corporate background includes nearly 20 years at Walmart in Logistics, Global Supply Chain and Merchandising/Replenishment before shifting towards culture coaching, stewarding the Walton Institute, Walmart’s flagship culture program. She partners with Walton College Executive Education on innovation programs and other initiatives