Books to Inspire You in 2018

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Another year down—and from everything we hear, it was a good one. But let’s make 2018 even better. While speaking with our newest group of Trendsetters, we asked them what they were reading. These are some of the books that they recommend, which include titles by industry veterans, inspirational works and non-fictions of locations they're traveling to, as well as a handful of excellent novels to enjoy at any time.

Michael Lerner from In the Know Experiences makes sure to check up on Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business by Danny Meyer every so often. "I try to read this book about once every other year or so," he says. "Danny Meyer is really one of my hospitality heroes, and in this industry, it is often very easy to lose sight and focus about why we do what we do for other people. But every time I read it, I am invigorated with a new sense of purpose and redefined vision of what I want my future in this industry to look like." Another book Lerner is reading: Shoe Dog, A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight.

Along the same line, Valerie Wilson Travel's Ben Shubitz makes sure to read Raving Fans: A Revolutionary Approach to Customer Service by Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles each year. "It takes no more than an hour to finish, but it helps me to refocus my customer service attitude," he says. Shubitz also recommends The Real Heroes of Business, and Not a CEO Among Them by by Len Schlesinger and Bill Fromm. 

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Plaza Travel's Jennifer Parker has found multiple uses from Bruce Poon Tip's Looptail: How One Company Changed The World By Reinventing Business. "Although industry-relevant as [Bruce Poon Tip] is the CEO of G Adventures travel, it is also inspiring to read about his personal journey of discovery and gather his pearls of wisdom from his unique management style," she says. 

Michael Distler, a safari expert from Admiral Travel, suggests for travelers going on vacation to read The Full Circle by Dave Varty "for a great overview of how the safari experience has developed over the years to what it is today." On the way home, he says to read Whatever You Do, Don't Run by Peter Allison of Wilderness Safaris. Distler calls it "a great, fun read for all travelers that will have them fondly recalling their safari experience." He's also reading The Mountain Shadow by Gregory David Roberts, which is the sequel to Shantaram, his favorite book.

Kelli Carpenter from Tzell Travel says, "I loved that [Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhines] made me think about my choices in a different way and push my comfort zone."

Other advisors are fond of using their books to keep them up to date on politics and culture or just as a refresher on some history.

"Because my educational background is political, I enjoy reading political pieces and history books," Kota Tabuchi, Travel Beyond, says. "And what an interesting time in global politics!" Tobuchi recommends A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn and A People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. 

John Rios from First in Service says, "I love biographies and anything to do with culture, history or geography. Right now I am reading [Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope for a Future on Earth?] by Alan Weisman, a fascinating book about how everything in our world is connected, and he vividly details the greatest problem facing our planet... the human prospect."

Michele Cohen from Renshaw Travel is reading Andes by Michael Jacobs. "This is not a climbing book. It is a biography following the countries, culture, geology and history through the Andes, from North to South, which enriched my knowledge of the continent," she says. Margery Hunter from Rudi Steele Travel picked up The Silk Roads: A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan, which is a history from the Asian perspective, at Heathrow Airport and says "it's beautifully written and offers a very different take on history as we've always heard it." And Cally Pirrung of Jet Set World Travel is reading The Third Coast: When Chicago Built the American Dream by Thomas L. Dyja. "The book explains Chicago’s role in defining the Nation and its profound impact on modern America," she says. "I always try to make a point to learn more about where I live and travel and this book has definitely given me a new-found appreciation for the city I love."

McCabe World Travel's Wayne Muhlstein abides by the theory of reading multiple books at once ("How else can you get to read everything you want to?"). He's reading Liberty's Exiles: American Loyalists in the Revolutionary World by Maya Jasanoff, which follows the plight of the royal loyalists at the end of the American Revolution, Wait, What?: And Life's Other Essential Questions by James Ryan, which discusses how true wisdom comes from the right questions, and Unbelievable: My Front-Row Seat to the Craziest Campaign in American History by Katy Tur, a recollection of the 2016 presidential election.

Maija Panger from Los Gatos Travel subscribes to the same thought. She tells us she's reading three books (Human Universe by Brian Cox and Andrew Cohen, The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big & Small by Kath Stathers, and Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts) to help her find ideas, inspiration and brain food. Similarly, Ania Wroblewska from Classic Travel Services is reading multiple books (including Return to Mandalay by Rosanna Ley and The Rooster Bar by John Grisham), but says The Sell by Fredrik Eklund is tops right now. She say of Eklund, he "is a brilliant real estate agent in New York City, and I love watching his sales antics on Million Dollar Listing. I bought the book out of curiosity and am finding his sales advice quite good. I am hoping to learn some new tactics to increase my business."

While the non-fiction inspirational stories and how-tos certainly have their uses, sometimes it's best to just curl up with a good novel. 

Sometimes you don't need to take life so seriously, or so says Efua Southern of Bear & Bear Travel. Flashman in the Great Game: A Novel by George MacDonald Fraser "combines history with the British sense of humor and a fine sense of the ridiculous," she explains. "It never fails to make me laugh." When traveling, Kara Slater of SmartFlyer is sure to have something by Elin Hilderbrand. "Her fun Nantucket-based romance novels are prime vacation reading material," she says.

Linda Walker, from Preferred Travel of Naples, and her family just finished The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity by William P. Young, which they read together after her father passed away. "This book provided a source of comfort at a very sad and difficult time in my life and reminded me to trust in my faith," she says.

Here's What Our Other Trendsetters Are Recommending

Alicia Hanus, Direct Travel Services: The Power of One: A Novel by Bryce Courtenay

Brenda Tosso, Strong Travel Services: Grit to Great: How Perseverance, Passion, and Pluck Take You from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval

Carol Brant, Largay Travel: The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon (currently on Drums of Autumn) and Endurance by Scott Kelly

Crystal Green, Luxe Travel: Expect to Win: 10 Proven Strategies for Thriving in the Workplace by Carla A. Harris

Debie Isroff, Wayland Travel: The Millennium series by Stieg Larsson and David Lagercrantz (she's currently on The Girl Who Takes an Eye for an Eye)

Didi Johnson, Camelback Odyssey Travel: A Force for Good: The Dalai Lama's Vision for Our World by Daniel Goleman

Don Herbert, Corniche: They're Playing Our Song: A Memoir by Carole Bayer Sager

Ena Langford, Altour: By the Numbers by Jen Lancaster (and her other works), as well as anything by John Grisham

Heather Christopher, Perfect Honeymoons: Business Boutique: A Woman's Guide for Making Money Doing What She Loves by Christy Wright

Helena Iorio, TravelEdge: How to Stay Alive in the Woods: A Complete Guide to Food, Shelter and Self-Preservation Anywhere by Bradford Angier

Janet Pringle, Reid Travel: Killing Patton by Bill O'Reilly and Martin Dugard

Julie Michaels, Century Travel: One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Katie Cadar, TravelStore: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah and A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles (just finished), The Midwife of Hope River by Patricia Harman and A Man Called Ove: A Novel by Fredrik Backman (current reads), and South of Broad: A Novel by Pat Conroy (next)

Leah Bergner, Coastline Travel: John Wayne: My Father by Aissa Wayne and Steve Delsohn and Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Erik Larson

Maggie Kealy, Frosch: MONEY Master the Game: 7 Simple Steps to Financial Freedom by Tony Robbins; Rushing Water: A Novel by Danielle Steel; and "anything by Nicholas Sparks."

Randi Closson, Travel 100 Group: Any mysteries by Stuart Woods or James Patterson

Richard Engle, ProTravel: The Winds of War by Herman Wouk

Susan Sparks, Cadence: Small Great Things: A Novel by Jodi Picoult

There you have it, the full list of books offered by the 2017 Trendsetters. Happy reading!

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