woman reading a book on the beach

Summer is a popular time for professionals to take time off to rejuvenate and relax. Whether you’re into biographies, business, or anything in-between, you’re sure to find an enjoyable book for your break time on our CPE instructor recommendations list!

(Disclaimer: Books can be enjoyed on the beach, poolside, on the couch…wherever you find yourself relaxing this summer.)

“The Goal: A Business Graphic Novel” by Eliyahu M. Goldratt

Chris Barnes headshot

Recommended by CSCP instructor Chris Barnes, “The Goal” is about the Theory of Constraints (TOC) in operations management. Uniquely written as a novel with a plotline, a plant manager is trying to keep his facility from being shut down. He begins to challenge both the status quo and well-established processes of his facility by using the TOC. Chris recommends the book because “many careers and industries can apply the concepts written about in the book, and it uses a good story to teach the fundamental concepts of TOC.” He also rereads the book every few years because of its significance in the supply chain realm.




“The Aviator’s Wife” by Melanie Benjamin

Rhonda Beard headshot

Recommended by HR Leadership Academy instructor Rhonda Beard, “The Aviator’s Wife” shares the interesting life and challenges of Charles Lindbergh’s wife. She was an ambassador’s daughter, aviator’s wife, mother, and aviator herself. Rhonda recommends the book because “the history of the Lindberghs’ is exciting, and the personal obstacles the wife faces and overcomes as a female in that era is enlightening. She was both independent and determined.”




“Wisdom-Based Business: Applying Biblical Principles and Evidence-Based Research for a Purposeful and Profitable Business” by Hannah Stolze

Andy Borchers headshot

Recommended by CPIM instructor Andy Borchers, Hannah Stolze advances a theme in “Wisdom-Based Business” that integrates business and Christian scripture. She builds a means-end model that starts with servant leadership, adds five contemporary business orientations (including long-term orientation and sustainability), and ends with Kingdom impact. Hannah also shares contemporary business case studies throughout the book. Andy recommends the book because “it provides a strong model of integrating faith into business.”




“Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance” by President Barack Obama

Suzette Bowers headshot

Recommended by Clinical Medical Assistant and Phlebotomy Tech instructor Suzette Bowers, “Dreams from My Father” is the memoir of America’s 44th President, Barack Obama. He explores the events that took him from his birthplace in Honolulu to Harvard Law School. Suzette recommends the book because “it shows that the people President Obama surrounded himself with, as well as milestones of hard work, laid the foundation for nothing less than an extraordinary journey.”




“Chess Not Checkers: Elevate Your Leadership Game” by Mark Miller

Ricky Bray headshotRecommended by Manufacturing Excellence instructor Ricky Bray, “Chess Not Checkers” is the story of a young man who has never led an organization before. After being given a brand-new opportunity to lead, the young man contemplates his role and responsibilities and decides to seek out a mentor. His mentor challenges him to play the right “game” as strategies that worked well in his previous role will not work in his new position. Ricky recommends the book because he has found that “some people, including myself, tend to believe that the knowledge, skills, and abilities they used to receive their new opportunities are the same ones that will propel them in their new position. People will try to fit their responsibilities into an old mold instead of expanding their capabilities like the mentor suggests. The book is a good read written in a style that affords readers to easily see themselves in the storyline.”



“Remarkable! Maximizing Results Through Value Creation” by Dr. Randy Ross and David Salyers

Katherine Burnett headshot

Recommended by HR Leadership Academy instructor Katherine H. Burnett, “Remarkable!” is about creating a workplace environment where work is not something one has to do but is something one LOVES to do. The story uses a business allegory to not only inspire readers individually but to also show readers how to inspire others to be their best selves. Katherine recommends the book because “professionals are going back into the office post-pandemic. Now is the time to create a culture and environment with passion, enthusiasm, energy, and creativity where people WANT to go back to the office. The book is enjoyable and inspirational—the perfect summer read!”



“Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford’s Forgotten City” by Greg Grandin

Todd Dockery Headshot

Recommended by SHRM Exam Prep & HR Leadership Academy instructor Todd Dockery, “Fordlandia” is a fascinating true story about Henry Ford’s plan to grow rubber in the Brazilian Amazon. In the 1920s, Ford purchased a large tract of land (approximately twice the size of Deleware) and soon began to create his own city while imposing his own values and beliefs upon the local population. In 2010, the book was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Todd recommends the book because “the story provides great insight into how good ideas can go bad quickly when you expect others to do, act, believe, and live as you think they should. Fordlandia reminds us of the importance of respecting others’ values and beliefs and why it can be catastrophic when you impose your will on others. I always enjoy learning more about business history.”


Marah Whitaker headshot

Marah Whitaker (think Laura with an M) serves as the marketing assistant for the UTC Center for Professional Education. During the workday, she spends time writing blog posts, creating content for social media, developing email campaigns, and building relationships with CPE’s customer base. During her free time, you can find her getting lost in a good book, having spontaneous dance parties, playing piano, and going to Buffalo Wild Wings on Wing Night. Professionally and personally, she aspires to live by Mr. Feeny’s advice, “Dream. Believe. Try. Do Good.” She strives to use her passions to serve others and contribute positively to the world around her.

Connect with Marah on LinkedIn.