24 books to change your life

24 books to change your life

This list will keep you entertained—and maybe make you a better veterinarian.
Jun 01, 2013

Summer's here this month, and it's time to get your reading list in order. (You didn't think you could slack off after you graduated, did you?) While your fiction selections shouldn't be a problem, what about some creative thinking and nonfiction choices? Something historical? Something educational? How about a book on small business ownership or one on repairing the economy?

We have five people in the veterinary industry ready and willing to make learning and stretching your mind easy. These individuals are avid readers, have different tastes and interests and come from diverse professional backgrounds—veterinary, financial and legal. They were asked to make recommendations with the following ground rules in mind: The books must be non-fiction, still in print and valuable for the Veterinary Economics reader.

So find those stray gift cards, load up your online shopping cart and take a chance on one—or more—of the 24 books listed below.

Dr. Jean Maixner is co-owner and hospital administrator of Animal Critical Care and Emergency Services in Seattle, Wash. She is a graduate of the Iowa State University College of Veterinary Medicine.

1 First, Break All Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman

This book asks 12 simple questions to evaluate successful workplaces, focusing on people and their fit within an organization. Employees have the potential to be good at some jobs, but not all jobs, and there must be a good fit between the job and the person's talents for an individual to be successful. It also describes what successful managers and leaders do.

2 To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others by Daniel Pink

Anytime you ask someone for his or her time, money, service or product, you're in the business of selling or negotiating. The author lists attunement, buoyancy and clarity as key qualities of successful negotiators.

3 Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink

It's a myth that most people need to be motivated by carrots—as in the "carrot and stick" theory. Once a person's financial needs are met, other motivators kick in: autonomy (the desire to act independently), mastery (the desire to be proficient at something you believe in) and purpose (the desire to do work towards something meaningful).

4 If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9 ½ Things You Would Do Differently by Fred Lee

This is a remarkably easy read that defines service as culture. The book talks about the experience of being a patient and how each team member contributes to that experience. There are small, everyday things a team can do to drive patient care and create loyalty. The book was written with a human hospital service as its backdrop, but the concepts are transferable to all service sectors, including veterinary medicine.

Bonnie Lutz, Esq., is a shareholder at Klinedinst and specializes in defending veterinarians in litigation and administrative actions. She is a graduate of the California Western School of Law in San Diego.

5 The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

A compelling history of the HeLa cell, the most widely used cell in human research and vaccine development. It covers a history of the woman the cells came from (without her knowledge).

6 Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell

An interesting discussion of whether decisions made using intuition rather than a long thought process are better decisions in the long run.

7 The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

8 Half Broke Horses: A True Life Novel by Jeannette Walls

Both of these books provide awesome histories of the trials of the author's very dysfunctional family. They focus on how all of the generations managed to survive and become normal adults.