For all of you who made New Year’s Resolutions to get more healthy and/or read more books in 2017, this list is for you!  Here are my top 8 “healthy workplace” book recommendations and why you will benefit from reading them.  Some might surprise you!

Healthy Workplace Book Recommendations for 2017

In no particular order, here are 8 books that I find myself either recommending or gifting to others over and over again.  Some of these books came out last year, and some have been around for a while, but all are solid picks for your reading list.  Here is a little blurb on each one and why you might want to check it out.

1.  The Gig Economy

Want to reinvent your job?  Check out Diane Mulcahy’s latest book, The Gig Economy: The Complete Guide to Getting Better Work, Taking More Time Off, and Financing the Life You Want.  It’s a self-help book for those of us who want to move away from the 9-5 grind and into more flexible work arrangements.  It’s full of specific actions you can take and also positive stories of people who are working in ways that our grandparents couldn’t have imagined.  Now is a great time to rethink how, where and when you do your best work.

2.  The Inevitable

Feeling technologically challenged?  I’m a huge fan of Kevin Kelly, the founding executive editor of Wired Magazine, a futurist and tech innovator in Silicon Valley.  I first learned about him from one of his many TED talks on artificial intelligence.  His latest book, The Inevitable: Understanding the 12 Technological Forces That Will Shape Our Future, is an excellent guide (for those of us not in tech) on how we will be shaped by technological innovation in the coming years.  Despite it’s ominous title, his book helped me have a healthy attitude about technology, and fear it less!

3.  Overwhelmed

Feeling overwhelmed with life these days?  Brigid Schulte is a former reporter for the Washington Post and now the director of the Better Life Lab and The Good Life initiative at New America.  I love her book, Overwhelmed: How to Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time, about how and why we all feel “overwhelmed” and have no time to ourselves.  She gives the science behind this perception and explains how men, women and different generations perceive time differently.  I’ve met loads of people who have recommended this book to me – I’m not the only advocate.  Check out my interview with her here.

4.  The Rise of Superman

Want to improve your “flow”?  In my research for The Healthy Workplace I became obsessed with understanding human performance, and getting to the bottom of the concept of flow.  Steven Kotler’s book, The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance takes a look at top athletes and breaks down how they stay at the top of their game.  Stephen introduces Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi and other researchers who are diving into specific elements of human performance and how to best tap into it.

5.  Mindful Work

Feeling the need to be more mindful?  David Gelles writes the Revalued column and other features for the Sunday Business section of the New York Times.  His book, Mindful Work: How Meditation Is Changing Business from the Inside Out, is written in a very “business-friendly” way.  He shares story after story of businesses and business leaders who are adopting mindful practices, and how it not only reduces their stress level, but also impacts how they lead. 

6.  Workplace Wellness that Works

Want to know what other companies are doing on the wellness front?  No problem.  Look no further than Laura Putnam’s book, Workplace Wellness that Works:  10 Steps to Infuse Well-Being and Vitality into Any Organization.  It’s loaded with story after story of organizations using creative approaches to engage their workforce and improving health outcomes.  You can get a taste of some of these in my interview with her here.

7.  Mindless Eating

Want to lose weight this year?  Brian Wansink is director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab and author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.  He suggests a number of ways our eating behavior is significantly impacted by the way food is presented to us.  For example, in some of his studies, people were likely to snack less (44 percent less) in kitchens that were tidy versus kitchens that were cluttered with paper, dirty dishes, etc.

8.  An Everyone Culture

Want examples of best in class “healthy” organizations?  Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey, in their book An Everyone Culture:  Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization, describe, in my view, what a healthy organization looks like.  Healthy organizations don’t just offer nice health benefits… they pay really close attention to what motivates people and helps them flourish personally and professionally.

Have more book recommendations that show ways to improve health and/or create a more healthy workplace?  Send them my way!

Photograph of Leigh StringerLeigh Stringer is a workplace strategy expert and researcher.  She works for EYP, an architecture, engineering and building technology firm and is the author of The Healthy Workplace: How to Improve the Well-Being of Your Employees—and Boost Your Company’s Bottom Line.