Hot Reads: Picks for Your Summer Reading List

The idea of summer reading conjures an image of me and a beach chair, blazing sunshine and a slight breeze.  There’s a fizzy, tangy citrus beverage next to me and… Oops, I lost my way on a detour through paradise. Let's get back to the books. Before we stake out the perfect spots in the sand, let's see what good reads we can add to our summer reading list. I uncovered the following intriguing picks that should round out our summer. Enter the world of Mesopotamia, learn what a hippo has to do with taxes, get a little freakish, witness a Wall Street coup and more! Ready?

For the long plane ride  The Reckoning: Financial Accountability and the Rise and Fall of Nations, by Jacob Soll. You are now free to roam about the cabin, but you may not want to once you crack open this epic history of accounting and finance. Author and historian Jacob Soll will take you on a journey rivaling Odysseus's, through ancient empires and civilizations, showcasing how basic accounting tools guided policy and laid the foundation for modern-day capitalism. Before you land, you will have traveled not just the world but through time.

For the beach  On the Money: The Economy in Cartoons, 1925-2009, by The New Yorker. Easy, breezy, with a heavy dose of satire and sarcasm. Have a laugh with a side of snark with this pick. Since 1925, The New Yorker has delighted with its illustrations and mocking social commentary on a variety of topics. Check out this collection of 350 of the magazine's best cartoons that poke fun at the financial world.

For the road trip  The Sex of a Hippopotamus: A Unique History of Taxes and Accounting, by Jay Starkman. “Are we there yet?” Yes, we made it through April 15th, but as you know, in accounting and finance, taxes are forever. If your road trip is starting to feel the same, see light at the end of the tunnel with this quirky read. It features cameos by Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Wesley Snipes, Willie Nelson, Anna Nicole Smith, Liberace and more. If you have your tablet or smartphone with you, try Starkman’s tax songs and videos as well.

For warm summer nights  Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt, by Michael Lewis. Feeling the heat? This stone-cold dose of Wall Street machinations might give you a chill. Lewis, author of Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Blind Side and other best sellers, takes on the rise of high-speed computerized stock trading and the practice of skimming off the top for profit by investment firms. A ragtag group of Wall Streeters band together to usurp a system and, well, you’ll have to read the book to find out.

For when the heat starts to melt your brain  Think Like a Freak: The Authors of Freakonomics Offer to Retrain Your Brain, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner. They’re at it again, to shake up how we view... everything. Recharge your synapses with tips that promise to help you “think more productively, more creatively, more rationally — to think, that is, like a Freak.” Levitt and Dubner will challenge you to process sans a moral lens, admit when you don’t have all the answers, and channel your inner child to overcome your challenges. Also get freakishly good tips for persuasion and knowing when it's time to walk away from an unsalvageable situation.

For when days get shorter  Centered Leadership: Leading with Purpose, Clarity, and Impact, by Joanna Barsh and Johanne Lavoie. The end of summer can give you the blues. Here's a pick that can help you find your center and hone your leadership skills at the same time. In 2007 Barsh uncovered what separates good leaders from great ones and from that developed the Centered Leadership approach. Collecting data from more than 160 interviews with leaders across business sectors and countries, she learned how these major players unleash their greatest potential. She partnered with Lavoie to develop a program that helps executives build these skills, and they are now offering it to the public. The book features interactive tools, exercises and practices that can boost your leadership skills. Enter the fall season renewed and with focused ambition.

What's on your summer reading list? Share your ideas and win a fizzy drink (not really).