books for summer

Summer Reads

Here’s my annual summer reads for 2017. Awhile back I stumbled across this great blog site called “Wait But Why.” One of the creators of the site is a cheeky philosopher by the name of Tim Urban. In 2015 Tim crafted an essay titled “The Tail End.” Through a series of infographics and charts, the author jolts you into realizing you’re on the planet for a very short time, so make it count. Google “The Tail End.” It takes a minute to read, but you will certainly look at life differently.

I’m 50, an optimist, and planning to live until age 100 (optimistically for another 50 years). If so, I only have 50 summers left. If I read six books every summer, I actually have to choose from only 300 of all the books out there, ever written and yet to be written to read. I better make each book count and choose them wisely.

Since my time on this planet is really limited, I better master time management. Therefore, my first summer read recommendation for 2017 is “15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management: The Productivity Habits of 7 Billionaires, 13 Olympic Athletes, 29 Straight-A Students, and 239 Entrepreneurs.” It’s a long title, but a great book (I’m halfway through). I got to meet this author, Kevin Kruse, at a conference in May. He’s a great speaker as well as a writer. The premise for the book is creating a few new habits that will dramatically increase your productivity. If you want to know the secrets to extreme productivity then you’ll need to read this book.

This year’s summer read theme is about self-development. Therefore, a nutritional read is a must. “The China Study” is a book written by Colin Campbell, PhD and Thomas M. Campbell, MD. It was published in 2005 and has since sold over a million copies. It is one of America’s best-selling books about nutrition. The China Study examines the relationship between the consumption of animal products (including dairy) and chronic illnesses such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and bowel cancer. The study concludes that people who eat a whole-food, plant-based vegan diet and avoiding all animal products will escape, reduce, and reverse the development of numerous diseases. Anyone up for a kale smoothie?

My fun read for the summer is “Woolly: The True Story of the Quest to Revive One of History’s Most Iconic Extinct Creatures.” It is written by one of my favorite authors, Ben Mezrich. Mezrich wrote “21: Bringing Down the House” and “The Social Network,” which were both made into movies. “Woolly” is a real-life thriller that goes inside the Harvard lab of geneticist George Church as he and his team attempt to “resurrect” the extinct Woolly Mammoth. While this sounds cool, I hope they are not successful. I have a hard-enough time running into bears hiking in the Berkshires. Fox has already snapped up film rights for Woolly. I’m looking forward to this one.

Every year I attempt to read a book on a U.S. president. This summer I plan to read “Harry Truman” by David McCullough. Truman was a fascinating character: a U.S. senator, vice-president and president. He made tough decisions as president, including his decision to drop the atom bomb on Japan. From World War II, the Marshall Plan, Korean War, his decision to recognize the state of Israel, and his decision to desegregate the United States armed forces, this should be a fascinating read and a great history lesson.

Every year, I also read something that is related to the financial planning. This summer, I’m going to read Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover.”

I listen to Dave on the radio all the time in the car. I love his candor. “Do you want to turn those fat and flabby expenses into a well-toned budget?” “Do you want to transform your sad and skinny little bank account into a bulked-up cash machine?” “Then get with the program, people.” As a Certified Financial Planner I have the financial know-how, however, Dave Ramsey gives me the motivation to save more and to be always thrifty. As Dave would say, “It’s time to start exercising my financial strength!” I’ll get this one free from the library.

This summer make your reads count. If you want to be stay up on the latest in non-fiction, but just can’t find the time to read, I recommend is a website that summarizes books into their key points. So if you are like thousands of fellow book nerds, short on time, and big on learning, then go to and read the summary in 4 minutes or less. Happy Reading!

Bill Harris is a Certified Financial Planner practitioner. He is the president of the Financial Planning Association of Massachusetts and an Ed Slott Elite IRA advisor. He is a co-founder and principal of WH Cornerstone Investments in Duxbury and Kingston, a firm dedicated to empowering people to see their future as greater than their past. Bill is passionate about empowering widows with their financial future, and his award-winning email newsletter offers helpful advice and articles for widows looking to rebuild their financial and personal life. He can be reached at, p: 888-797-9009, Twitter @whcornerstone or @billmharris.

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