Here at VPR, we are readers. Not just of the popular media that we work with day in and day out (although we love going through the latest issues of our favorite magazines every month!) but we are firm believers in continuing to better ourselves professionally and personally with a good book. While we'll pretty much give anything a chance, the criteria for what we consider a great book is one that both enlightens and entertains. This summer we've been lucky enough to discover (and in some cases rediscover) a number of them. 

For anyone looking for a great Labor Day weekend read, here are Andrea's picks: 

  1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho - This book is a classic with a truly devoted readership that just continues to grows. Its simplistic narrative tells the story of how an Andalusian shepherd pursues his personal legend and is full of beautiful but simple ideas that anyone can relate to and that are adaptable to just about any life scenario - at least they have been for me. My biggest career struggle currently is balancing out the responsibilities (and rewards) that come with being a working mother, but these principles apply universally. I spent way too much time trying to settle on just one quote to give you a better idea of what I mean, but I’ll leave you with this: “People are capable at any time in their lives, of doing what they dream of.”

  2. Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi - This is another classic. Where The Alchemist may be more closely associated with your favorite yogi, this one seems to be favored by the business school set. But don’t let that intimidate you; it is an incredibly readable book that provides numerous anecdotes and tools that will not only inspire you but gives practical advice on how to build your network.  My husband read it and passed it along to me and I can honestly say that without following the networking action plan worksheet I would never have been able to accomplish as much as I have professionally and personally.

  3. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg - My guess is that no one reading this list hasn’t NOT heard of Sheryl Sandberg’s tome celebrated for reigniting a pretty stagnant conversation about the condition of female leaders in the workforce and criticized for using Sheryl’s admittedly posh lifestyle as the prototype for doing so. Here’s my take: I love gaining insight into the lives of men and women whose careers inspire me and to me it’s not about mimicking her lifestyle so much as it is about broadening my own horizons with that insight.

  4. What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty {bonus!!} - This one falls into the category of light reading but that I was so pleasantly surprised by. I love chick lit for all of its fluff and I think it’s truly important to escape the craziness of everyday life once in awhile. I can’t say enough about how many authors of chick lit are really bringing it these days and Liane Moriarty is a great example of that. What Alice Forgot is a fun read about Alice Love who knocks herself out after falling from a bike at spin class (I mean, come on. Who can’t relate to that?) and awakens to a life that she simply cannot imagine herself living. Not only does it offer a great escape and some laughs, it stands as a great reminder that despite how hard we all hustle for the career of our dreams, we must enjoy the journey.

...despite how hard we all hustle for the career of our dreams, we must enjoy the journey.