The Ultimate Book List for 2023

December 22, 2022

Happy Holidays! As we all observe the traditions that are important to our individual and family cultures, I want to take the time to give each of you a gift. My idea is to compile a reading list that will appeal to you and every person on your gift-giving list. I contacted a group of friends from various backgrounds to come up with a list of their most recommended books. bokeh photography of book page near yellow ceramic mug

I hope you’ll enjoy this diverse collection of works of fiction and non-fiction. It’s the perfect reading list for 2023! In addition, please follow all our generous participants. Links to their information is included below.

Thank you to each person who took time to share a meaningful book. It proves that crowdsourcing can produce something greater than one person can come up with on their own. Much appreciation to the contributors and cheers to all the readers!


Trish McFarlane, CEO of H3 HR Advisors, Podcaster & Owner of HR Happy Hour Media Network- My favorite book right now is Verity by Colleen Hoover. I could not put this down and finished it in two days! I think it would be a suspenseful, page-turner for any reader. It’s written by the author of the best-selling book of 2022– It Starts With Us.

Jack McFarlane, UNL Student & Podcaster- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury is my pick. This classic book remains a “must read” that continues to inspire people of all ages. It’s a reminder of the importance of fighting censorship.

Karen Steed, Client Experience Director at H3 HR Advisors– Mitch Album is my favorite author because he writes fiction and non-fiction books. In the category of fiction, my favorite is The Time Keeper addresses time, how we perceive it, and how we can create a roadblock by counting minutes, hours, or days.

Robin Schooling, VP at Cielo Talent & PodcasterMad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan. Told in alternating chapters by two characters, it has suspense and mystery, tales of the human condition related to secrets people keep from their pasts, and- at its heart- a love story. So good!

Meg Bear, President & Chief Product Officer at SAP Successfactors– For fun and light, I recommend Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus. For thoughtful and insightful, I recommend The Power of Giving Away Power by Matthew Barzun.

Amberly Dressler, Brand & Content Strategy at isolved– I love The Paris Apartment. Really, any book by Lucy Foley!

Wendy Dailey, Talent Strategist at Sanford Health & Podcaster– I recommend Sea of Tranquility by Emily St. John Mandel. It is a fun time-travel fantasy with elements of our current reality. A bit of mystery while trying to figure out how the different characters fit into the same story. The timeline jumps back and forth to a satisfying ending.

Minda Harts, Founder and CEO at The Memo, LLC, AuthorYou are More Than Magic is a story I wrote to help black and brown girls find their voice. It can help anyone understand the importance of being seen, heard, and included.

Kate Graham, Director of Content Labs & Insights at UNLEASHThe Boy, The Mole, The Fox, and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy is my recommendation. It crosses over between professional and personal for me as it is all about mindset. It is uplifting and life-affirming. I don’t know what more any of us can ask for from a book.

Dr. Matthew Stollak, Associate Professor at St. Norbert College– The author I discovered during the pandemic was Thomas Perry. His novel The Old Man was turned into a F/X series with Jeff Bridges and John Lithgow. I recommend his Jane Whitefield series (now up to 9 books). It features a strong female protagonist who helps people on the run essentially “disappear” by forging a new identity and coaching them how to hide. The series begins with Vanishing Act, but the apex of the series is book #5, Blood Money. Throughout each of his books, he somehow finds a way to make the smallest minutiae interesting and compelling.

Jeanne Achille, Founder & Ceo of the Devon Group, PodcasterA Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles. As one of the two books that received more than one recommendation, this is a must read!

Erin Spencer, Senior Research Analyst & Consultant at Deloitte Consulting- Another nod to A Gentleman in Moscow. I also recommend the Inheritance Games Collection, A Court of Thorns and Roses box set for anyone heeding a long-term escape from family in a multi-day holiday extravaganza. The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune is perfect for anyone who wants to feel like they are reading Harry Potter again for the first time.

Michael Piramoon, VP Global Analyst and Influencer Relations at Ceridian– I recommend Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts.

Jennifer Brafman Staffen, Senior Global Analyst Relations Manager at UKGWhere the Crawdad’s Sing by Delia Owens. This book is exceptional~ BEYOND better than the movie.

Kate Bischoff, Attorney & HR Consultant at k8bisch LLC – I recommend The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid for a fun read during the holiday break.

Tammy Colson Zupan, HotelierBlack Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson. It has incredible character development, family turmoil, but in a unique setting. The Mama in the story really tried to teach her kids the lessons she learned the hard way.

Cliff Stevenson, Director of Research at Sapient Insights Group – Ada Palmer’s Terra Ignota series is a must-read for 2023!

Chris Havrilla, VP of Product Strategy, Talent at OracleAlpha Girls by Julian Guthrie made a huge impact on me! I highly recommend this to anyone wanting a great read for 2023.

Celina Bertallee, Senior PR Manager at Oracle– I’d love to recommend anything by Kristin Hannah. The Nightingale, The Great Alone, and The Four Winds are my favorite reads by her!

Pam Stevens, Principal at StevensPR– I recommend Gift From the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. I LOVE this timeless classic. It’s especially poignant because of my love of the ocean. Originally written as a series of by-the-sea reflections geared toward females, I think Lindbergh has a little insight for everyone. Her gifted writing inspires, encourages, and challenges. Each image is a treat and a great way to thoughtfully contemplate the new year.

Stacey Harris, Chief Research Officer & Managing Partner at Sapient Insights Group– I recommend Poster Girlby Veronica Roth. It’s a lovely dystopian setting and all about technology going too far.



Steve Boese, Co-founder & President of H3 HR Advisors, Podcaster & Owner of HR Happy Hour Media Network– I decided to treat myself with the book Raising Lazarus: Hope, Justice, and the Future of America’s Overdose Crisis by Beth Macy. It’s a great read!

Nick Schlemmer, UNL Student & Podcaster- I recommend The 5 am Club by Robin Sharma. It teaches you a morning routine that will change your life!

Karen Steed, Client Experience Director at H3 HR Advisors–  Tuesdays with Morrie details Mitch’s time spent with his old professor as he was dying, and talking about the meaning of life. It’s a great book to get you thinking about how we look at life and what is important. The last book that I love is 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan Peterson. He has a way of asking questions and making observations that become “aha” moments in your life. It’s fascinating to see how his mind works.

George Larocque, Founder of WorkTech & Podcaster– My recommendation is Adrift: America in 100 Charts by Scott Galloway.

Sarah Morgan, Director of Equity & Inclusion at Humareso, Podcaster, Author – I recommend The Absurdity of Doing You by Janine Nicole Dennis. I also think readers should check out The Anti-Racist Organization by Shereen Daniels.

Mervyn Dinnen, Analyst, Author, & Podcaster– My suggestion is The Crazy Busy Cure written by Zena Everett. She’s an executive coach and organizational psychologist and the book was a Business Book Awards Winner for 2022! There are lots of tips and ideas included. I recommend it for anyone who can’t find enough time or gets distracted easily.

Peter Cheese, CEO at CIPD– My recommendation is What We Owe the Future by William Macaskill. It’s a fascinating provocation in thinking very long term and about how decision and actions we take now can have long-term implications. I also think that we are at an inflection point, and he takes a philosophical and moral view for the very long future of humanity.

Elena Valentine, CEO/ Co-Founder of Skill Scout- I’m currently reading The Art of Holding Space: A Practice of Love, Liberation, and Leadership by Heahter Plett. I highly recommend.

Francisco Reyes Pereira, Co-Founder at Kodo People– I have three favorites I recommend. First, is Gut Feelings by Gerd Gigerenzer. Second is Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Third is A Work in Progress: Unlocking Wellbeing to Create More Sustainable and Resilient Organizations by Gethin James Nadin.

Ray Wang, Founder, Chairman & Principal Analyst of Constellation Research, Co-Host of DisrupTV, Author- I recommend The Myth of American Inequality by Phil Gramm.

Don Weinstein, Chief Product and Technology Officer at ADP– I recommend The Bomber Mafia by Malcolm Gladwell. He is such a great storyteller. In this book, he examines the US Bomber Mafia of World War II, which advocated precision aerial bombing as a means to win a war. But more than that, it is a story about the trials and tribulations of introducing a new technology into a staid organization that has a lot of interesting parallels to the modern day.

Opal Wagnac, Senior Director of Analyst Relations and Market Intelligence at UKG and Cecile Alper-Leroux, former executive for major HCM tech company – Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson. This is the other book on the list that had multiple votes. It examines the unspoken caste system that shaped America.

Joey Price, CEO at Jumpstart HR & Podcaster– I recommend Love and Work by Marcus Buckingham. It’s a new book and its goal is to help people connect deeply with how they are wired and what they love doing most. I like it, especially for people in this season, because during quiet quitting there is still regret when joining new employers. Love and Work might help someone pursue the “right” next step for their career as opposed to fleeing an organization they don’t like.

Jason Averbook, CEO & Founder at Leapgen– I recommend Radical Candor by Kim Scott. My favorite quote from the book is, “radical candor is what happens when you put ‘care personally’ and ‘challenge directly’ together.”

Ben Brooks, Founder & CEO at PILOT– My book recommendation is Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals by Oliver Burkeman. *Trish’s note: Ben sent this book to me, and it changes the way you think about time and life. GREAT read!

Tim Crawford, CIO Strategic Advisor at AVOA– There are a few books I love right now. Start with Why by Simon Sinek, Democratizing SaaS by Feyzi Fatehi, The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger, Excellence Now: Extreme Humanism by Tom Peters, and Disrupt or Die by Jeddiah Yueh are all perfect to prepare for 2023!

Steve Goldberg, Industry Advisor SBG Consulting LLCBorn a Crime by Trevor Noah.

Brian Sommer, Founder & President at TechVentiveThe Complete America’s Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook because it makes bad cooks good, and good cooks like me great!

Chris Havrilla, VP of Product Strategy, Talent at Oracle– My favorite non-fiction book right now is Taste: My Life Through Food by Stanley Tucci.

Kate Bischoff, Attorney & HR Consultant at k8bisch LLCThe Fearless Organization by Dr. Amy Edmonson is one I recommend as we start the new year. It’s about creating psychological safety in the workplace.

Holger Mueller, VP & Principal Analyst at Constellation ResearchThe Viking Spirit: An Introduction to Norse Mythology and Religion by Daniel McCoy is my pick. If you want to know why Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday are called Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, read this book. We learn a lot about Greek and Roman mythology but learn almost nothing about Norse/ Germanic mythology. Here is a change to correct that.

Cliff Stevenson, Director of Research at Sapient Insights Group– My recommendation is Madhouse at the End of the Earth by Julian Sancton.

Tom Horne, Enterprise Acct Exec at People Element– I chose Blood and Thunder by Hampton Sides. It is the story of Kit Carson and the conquest of the American west. It was a great read and a real eye-opener about a part of America’s (not always pretty) history.

Johnny Caupert, Executive Director of the National Corn to Ethanol Research Center– My non-fiction book of the year, even though it’s a couple years old, is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. It is the true story of Olympian Louis “Louie” Zamperini who’s plane was shot down in WWII. After spending weeks adrift at sea, he was captured and made a Prisoner of War by the Japanese where he endured the most brutal torture during his captivity! If a person reads non-fiction, they must read this book. There is also a movie based off the book.

Lexy Martin, Principal at Visier, Inc.- My pick is Digitalised Talent Management by Sharna Wiblen. Not only is it a great read, I wrote a chapter in the book!

Katrina Collier, Consultant, Podcaster, and Author at Katrina Collier LimitedPlaying Big: Find Your Voice, Your Mission, Your Message by Tara Mohr.

Morgan Beard, On-Cam Host at Paycom– My recommendation is First Principles: What America’s Founders Learned from the Greeks and Romans and How That Shaped Our Country. Thomas Ricks is the author.

I hope you all enjoy the book recommendations. If you’d like to participate, leave your favorite book in the comments. Also, take time to connect to all these wonderful people on Linkedin.

Happy Holidays!

bokeh photography of book page near yellow ceramic mug





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