October is National Book Month and to celebrate #teamexaqueo gathered a collection of books that inspire us, motivate us or are at the top of our “must-read when I have the time” lists. Here at exaqueo, we’re big believers in continuous learning, and sharing resources and learning from one another. That’s how we grow individually as employer brand practitioners and how we push our industry forward.  

Tapping into our team’s diverse experiences and career paths, we’ve put together a list of fiction and nonfiction books that cover a wide range of topics including history, motherhood, workplace insights, employer branding, culture and consulting. So whether you’re looking for a fiction book to escape in during your lunch break or an expertly written book to sit on your desk for a moment’s notice piece of advice, check out the books in the exaqueo book club:


The System by Jeff Benedict and Armen Keteyian

Why Chrystal named this book: I love sports and the business behind college football is truly riveting.

Bringing Up Girls by Dr. James Dobson

Why Shannon named this book: As a mother of two girls and a Girl Scout leaders to more than 20 girls, it's important for me to be a knowledgeable and insightful role model. I've recommended this book several times to other parents of girls.

A Uterus Is a Feature, Not a Bug: The Working Woman's Guide to Overthrowing the Patriarchy by Sarah Lacy

Why Susan named this book: So many leaders ask me for advice on hiring women or advancing more women to executive or board ranks. I think we assume the problem is that we don't give them opportunity. It's not quite that. It's that we don't support their opportunity. Like it or not, many women work and live their lives differently than the traditional male executive. Sarah Lacy's newest book confronts the elephant in the room. Embrace the working mother and you'll see the results. Due out shortly, I can't WAIT to read it.

Blue Ocean Strategy by W. Chan Kim and Renee Mauborgne

Why Julia named this book: It is provocative and a motivator to think "big picture" beyond conventional wisdom and the status quo with an overarching theme that eliminating is often just as important as initiating. You can’t expect to do the same things and get different results, right?

Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World by Gary Vaynerchuk

Why Emily named this book: So often in social media and content strategies, marketers are looking for the big win, the right hook. This book provides great tips and practical advice for doing more than just the right hook. Rather how to develop consistent, deliberate, tailor-made content for social media platforms and mobile devices. Plus I just love Gary Vaynerchuk’s raw tone and style!

The Back of the Napkin by Dan Roam

Why Chrystal named this book: When I first started in a consulting role, I did a search on best books and this book was frequently mentioned. It actually helped me get unstuck on a project that I was working on!

The 2020 Workplace by Jeanne C. Meister

Why Shannon named this book: This is on my bookshelf waiting for me to read it. I’m really looking forward to diving into it and would love to hear from others who have already read it.

American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodward

Why Susan named this book: Wait, isn't this a history book? No! Recommended to me many years ago by the amazing John Sumser, this book is a unique look at culture. What culture is, how cultures evolve and how they thrive or die. Every organization is constantly trying to define, strengthen or embrace culture. Until you understand, at its core, what culture means, you can't make headway. This book is a field guide to culture.

The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas Stanley & William Danko

Why Julia named this book: I also recommend this quick read. It is practical insight and adoptable wisdom that can make a life-impacting difference in how you approach work and life from a financial perspective. I'd say great for any age, but especially folks earning their first paychecks.

Get Sh*t Done by Lauris Liberts & Startup Vitamins

Why Emily named this book: Okay, so it’s not really a book in the sense that it has a storyline. It’s really just a collection of quotes, mantras and snippet insights from startup pioneers like Zuckerberg to historical leaders like Churchill. Whenever I’m in search of inspiration or motivation, I flip the pages of this book.


The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Why Shannon named this book: For years, I've been fascinated by the Tudor family and Gregory does an amazing job of ensuring her books are historically accurate. I've read almost all of her books -- this one was the first.

World War Z by Max Brooks

Why Chrystal named this book: First, let me start off and say the movie is nothing like the book. World War Z reads as if it's a history book and it's actually described as "an oral history of the zombie war." To this day, I even wonder what happened to a very specific country. (That's vague but I can't give any spoilers!)

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler

Why Susan named this book: Anne Tyler has been a favorite author of mine since I was a teenager. She expertly captures a family dynamic and peels back the layers to reveal what drives the emotion, actions and reactions of families. This book follows the Whitshank family through several decades forward and back chronicling each powerful stitch of their story. I personally love books that drill down on the tiny threads that make our lives what they are which is why I loved this one. Well reviewed, literary folks will appreciate it was a finalist for the Man Booker Prize.

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

Why Julia named this book: I could read (or watch) this story again and again yet still find something new every time. Like the story, the characters are a contradiction - simple yet complex - and the themes are a reminder of how far we have come, yet some things remain the same.

I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Why Emily named this book: It’s the only book I’ve ever read twice, the first time being when I was in high school. It’s a coming-of-age story told in the first person narrator through the main character’s journal. Rereading the book as an adult I found myself loving the ambiguity of the ending that I hated so much as a high schooler.

What books are on the top of your must-read list? Please share with us by posting a comment below or tweet us at @exaqueo using #EBLearning.

If you liked this post, check out this one: The HR Newbie’s Cheat Sheet

This blog post is a #teamexaqueo collaboration, contributed to by Emily Fritz, Susan LaMotte, Chrystal Moore, Shannon Smedstad and Julia Zelenock. Contact exaqueo to learn more about our employer brand innovation, workforce research, and recruiting strategy offerings.

Related Posts