14 Inspirational Reads for Event and Meeting Planners

Let’s face it: 2020 has thrown us plenty of jabs and sucker punches to the gut.

But what has been amazing to watch is the strength, resiliency, and creativity of the events and meetings industry kick into full gear in response.

Companies have pivoted on a dime and reinvented themselves, processes have become more dynamic and fluid, and individuals have tapped into their inner strength and creativity to stay positive despite the tough times.

It’s in this spirit that we’ve put together a list of fourteen inspirational reads for event and meeting planners.

Whether you’re downloading something new to curl up with on your next staycation, or are embracing this time to invest in professional and personal development, here’s a fresh dose of new reads to keep you going strong.

Think Like a Rocket Scientist: Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life” by Ozan Varol

The highest-rated professor at Lewis & Clark Law School, an author who has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, and TIME, and a former rocket scientist, Ozan Varol provides nine strategies to make giant leaps in work and life.

Designing Your Work Life: How to Thrive and Change and Find Happiness at Work” by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans

A follow-up to their earlier New York Times bestseller on how to build meaningful, fulfilling lives, Stanford’s Bill Burnett and Dave Evans provide a guide to finding success and happiness where we spend more time than anywhere else: work.

The Passion Economy: Nine Rules for Thriving in the Twenty-First Century” by Adam Davidson

The co-founder of NPR’s Planet Money podcast and staff writer at The New Yorker, Adam Davidson lays out the new rules for the economy – one that offers new ways of making money, paths toward professional achievement, and opportunities to combine passion with a career.

Leadership Strategy and Tactics: Field Manual” by Jocko Willink

This bestselling book presented like a military field manual with simple, step-by-step instructions pragmatically explains how to apply leadership theory into strategy and put it into action on a tactical level – ideal for those new to executive roles or facing challenges associated with being a leader.

The Empathy Edge: Harnessing the Value of Compassion as an Engine for Success” by Maria Ross

Being empathetic means seeing situations from another perspective. Branding expert Maria Ross argues using this perspective makes brands and organizations stronger and more successful. Her book provides a playbook for creating and cultivating a more empathetic culture.

Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World” by Cal Newport

Drawing comparisons to Marie Kondo for helping readers realize what digital pursuits do – and do not – bring value, Cal Newport provides much-needed perspective and guidance on taking control back over our always-on, always-connected digital lives.

Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas that Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries” by Safi Bahcall

Safi Bahcall is a physicist and entrepreneur. And in this #1 Most Recommended Book of 2019, he shows how a new scientific approach to thinking helps individuals and entrepreneurs make small structure shifts to drive innovation and surprise.

Upstream: The Quest to Solve Problems Before They Happen” by Dan Heath

The latest book from the New York Times bestselling author Dan Heath digs once again into psychology and specifically, “problem blindness,” which can leave people oblivious to problems lurking just below the surface. With many event and meeting planners used to thinking of plan B – and C, D, and E too – this is a good read about preventing problems rather than reacting to them.

Reinvent Yourself” by James Altucher

As author James Altucher points out, “change is the only constant.” With specific stories and techniques, the book provides a guide for navigating through the chaos of change to new paths of opportunity and success.

The New Corner Office: How the Most Successful People Work from Home” by Laura Vanderkam

While WFH has been the norm for many, it’s brand new to countless others. Slip on a set of headphones and listen to this audiobook with insights and advice for staying productive, creative, and healthy in this new realm.

Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them” by Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini

Drawing on a decade of research and using practical examples, this book provides a blueprint to help organizations break out of traditional molds – and instead create a resilient organization that empowers everyone to “be their best and to do their best.”

How I Built This: The Unexpected Paths to Success from the World’s Most Inspiring Entrepreneurs” by Guy Raz

This new book coming soon is based on Guy Raz’ popular NPR podcast, How I Built This. Based on interviews with more than 200 successful entrepreneurs, he shares tips for every stage of an entrepreneur’s journey – from formulating an idea, to raising money and recruiting employees, to fending off competitors and finally taking a real salary.

Crushing It: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence—and How You Can, Too” by Gary Vaynerchuk

Another New York Times bestselling author, Gary Vaynerchuk’s book provides lessons and inspiration from influencers and entrepreneurs who skipped the traditional path and instead pursued their dreams.

Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation” by Tim Brown

Design thinking – the collaborative process to create a solution that matches people’s needs – isn’t new. In fact, author Tim Brown’s original book introduced the concept to the business world over a decade ago. Now with updated material and new case studies, it’s a must-read for creative leaders who want to infuse design thinking into every aspect of their organization or service. 

Don’t let learning stop with these great reads. Develop new skills and expand your knowledge year-round by becoming an ELI member! See the advantages of membership.


  1. Change or Choke: How to Face Your Fear and Embrace Change in Your Business Kindle Edition
    by Jennifer Trethewey

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