23 Book Recommendations for 2023

Happy Holidays from DCI

Wishing our clients, industry partners, colleagues and friends a very happy holiday season!  As we continue to navigate the complexities of this world, our team continues to listen and learn. Our hope, as we head into the new year, is that we will all find time to refresh, reflect and continue to expand our minds with books rich in culture, adventure, mystery, wellness and thought leadership.  Since one of DCI’s core values is “Be a Knowledge Sponge,” we wanted to share just a small collection of the books that inspired and grounded our team this year.


Julie Curtin



The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict

This historical fiction set in NYC was my favorite 2022 book club read.  “The Personal Librarian” is an entrancing narrative of NYC history, art, business, family, travel and love all told from the early 1900’s perspective of a young Black woman who was forced to hide her true identity and pass as a white woman while she curated the art and manuscript collection for JP Morgan and his newly built Pierpont Morgan Library.  Based on a true story, the complicated yet inspiring journey of a smart, savvy woman who had to make hard choices as the result of the world in which she lived, offers thought provoking – and timely – content for the world in which we all now live.  A great gift for yourself, or any reader on your list this holiday season!




Andy Levine



North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail by Scott Jurek

The 2,190 miles of the Appalachian Trail and those that have hiked it have always fascinated me. Scott Jurek, one of the greatest distance runners of all time, took things a step further when he attempted to set a speed record for the trail. Amazingly, he averaged nearly 50 miles per day running, hiking and stumbling through the trip from Georgia to Maine. North: Finding My Way While Running The Appalachian Trial is an amazing tale of grit, endurance and transformation.


P.S. He finished the trail in 46 days, 8 hours and 7 minutes.




Ambar Soto

Tourism Sales Executive


Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

As humans, we have fast thinking hardwired into our system and that’s not always the best way to make decisions. In this book, the author divides our way of thinking into two systems, fast (intuitively, and with little effort) and slow (slower, and requires more effort). He digs into how biases are our rule of thumb to simplify decisions, and how to reduce overconfidence to be more analytical and more vigilant in our thinking.
This book is not to question our thinking every second but to learn to recognize when we can avoid significant mistakes that could have been easily prevented by thinking slow




Hanna Gbordzoe 

Senior Director, Content & Social


For Small Creatures Such as We: Rituals for Finding Meaning in Our Unlikely World by Sasha Sagan

I received this book as a wedding present and absolutely loved it. Whether or not you’re celebrating a life milestone, this is one of those books that is great to read year over year. During the holidays, it’s especially relevant as people start and continue new traditions with their families. As the world feels very go-go-go, this book helps ground us in our shared experiences from being human – which to me is very inspiring and ties back to the place making industry of promoting and supporting communities around the world.





Carly Steele Johnson

Director, SEM & Media Clients


Radical Candor: How to Get What You Want by Saying What You Mean by Kim Scott

I read this book after becoming a manager for the first time and struggling to effectively lead. It completely revolutionized my approach to leadership, giving feedback and connecting with my team. Leadership is very challenging, especially as a female leader, and this book helped me understand what I can do to succeed, and how to help my team and company succeed, as well. I highly recommend it for anyone who is in a leadership position, whether you are brand new or have been doing it for years.




Susan Brake

Senior Vice President, Digital


First Time Quilting: The Absolute Beginner’s Guide: There’s A First Time For Everything by Editors of Creative Publishing

I’m a big fan of learning new skills and this year I took up quilting. I will definitely NOT be opening an Etsy shop and I will definitely be keeping my day job, but this has been a great hobby to pick up and share with family and friends as I try my hand at creating. If you’re looking to stretch your maker muscles, this book is a fantastic resource for learning quilting techniques in small projects (like coasters, tablecloths, pillowcases, etc.) that you can later apply to larger projects. If you decide to pick this book, let me know and we can join together in this quilting journey!



Patience Fairbrother

Vice President, Brand & Digital Strategy


A Map to Your Soul: Using the Astrology of Fire, Earth, Air, and Water to Live Deeply and Fully by Jennifer Freed

Whether or not you believe in astrology, this book offers a perspective that could change the way you think about how you move through the world. Psychologist Jennifer Freed proposes that there are four elements – fire, earth, air and water – that exist in nature and within us all. Understanding your personal map of these elements offers a way to design your best life. You can discover the fire (your ability to be creative and dynamic), earth (the part of you that is grounded and centered), air (your mental clarity) and water (your flowing and feeling nature).




Brittany Borsanyi

Account Director, Public Relations (Economic Development)


Shut Up and Run: How to Get Up, Lace Up, and Sweat with Swagger by Robin Arzón

Shut Up and Run is exactly what the title suggests – open, direct feedback from Peloton’s amazing Robin Arzón about bold decisions, grit and movement. I picked up this book as I’m training for my first marathon, but Robin’s playbook for developing mental toughness spans far beyond running 26.2 miles into all aspects of life and work. It’s everything you need to know about setting smart goals, fueling your fire when things get tough, celebrating small victories, and more, for a strong heart, body and mind.



Steve Duncan 

Senior Vice President Global Strategy


Connect: Building Exceptional Relationships with Family, Friends and Colleagues by David L. Bradford and Carole Robin

Two words: life changing! This is based on a highly popular Stanford MBA course nicknamed “touchy feely,” but it’s so much more than that. While this introvert soaked up plenty of tips for connecting with others on a deeper level personally, the reason the book’s subject matter is so revered among MBA students is its impact on building, managing and growing relationships in a work setting. From managing conflict to providing effective feedback to being vulnerable, this is a blueprint for getting more out of life and your relationships with the people around you.



Maddie McNamee

Marketing Specialist


All Along You Were Blooming by Morgan Harper Nichols

When you are short on time but looking to be inspired in a big way, Morgan Harper Nichols’ All Along You Were Blooming is the book to reach for. A collection of poems written to celebrate hope, heal wounds and inspire purpose, each beautifully illustrated page in this book evokes joy. Flip to a random page for a quick dose of motivation or read front to back to relish in the genius that is MHN.




Shanleigh McStay 

Director, Digital Marketing


The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs: Use Outdoor Clues to Find Your Way, Predict the Weather, Locate Water, Track Animals―and Other Forgotten Skills by Tristan Gooley

This is a magnificent book if you enjoy being outdoors and have a curiosity about the world around you. You will learn things like the roots of a tree indicate the sun’s direction; the Big Dipper tells the time; a passing butterfly hints at the weather; the scent of cinnamon suggests altitude; and a budding flower points south. Whether you’re walking in the country or city, along a coastline, or by night, this is the ultimate resource on what the land, sun, moon, stars, plants, animals, and clouds can reveal—if you only know how to look.




Cilia Kohn

Digital Marketing Manager


Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey

As far as autobiographies go, Matthew McConaughey’s Greenlights is one of the funniest and most interesting books I’ve ever read (listened to). It’s chockfull of surprising stories from his childhood, personal revelations and inspiring anecdotes. Learn the back story to “Alright, alright, alright” and so many other classic McConaughey-isms. A bonus is that the audiobook is narrated by the author in his signature soothing, Southern drawl.




Elizabeth Borsting

Account Manager, Tourism


Judgment of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine by George M. Taber

For anyone who has a love or interest in wine, this book tells the story of how Napa became Napa at the Paris Tasting in 1976. There were so many variables at play that it almost didn’t happen for Napa winemakers. The Judgment of Paris takes you through Napa’s winemaking history weaving together the story of its settlers, farmers, winemakers, wine snobs and the eventual rise of California wines (actually more of an abrupt ascend). Many of the winemaking pioneers and players in this story are no longer with us–Steven Spurrier, Jim Barrett–but Napa wouldn’t be Napa without them. This book makes you look at a glass of Opus One (or any bottle of California wine) a little differently and with more appreciation. And the story is told by the only reporter present for the event – George Taber with TIME.




Lina Lintemuth

Senior Manager, Content Marketing


The Midnight Library By Matt Haig

The Midnight Library is a fantastical, thought-provoking read about the infinite possibilities of life and learning to appreciate what we have, as opposed to what we ‘could have had.’ In this story, the Midnight Library is the space that exists between life and death, and the main character is given the opportunity to live hundreds of lives, becoming countless different versions of herself. Author Matt Haig prompts the reader with two key questions, “While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself?” and, “Would any of these other lives truly be better?” This unique story was one of my favorite reads of 2022!



Tania Kedikian 

Account Director, Tourism


A House in the Sky: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls

I’m a big fan of memoirs – and this book is incredible for anyone with a career in the tourism industry, or has interest in hearing about unbelievable (but real!) travel stories. This Canadian woman had wanderlust before truly realizing it, and this desire set her on a path that you would never expect – from a small town bar server to an award-winning journalist… her scary, courageous and relentless journey to share news with the world really makes you question deeply the impact that our love of travel has on one’s desires, in a really thoughtful way. I mean, the book goes from a beautiful world-travel story to something more sinister (I won’t give it all away, but there are kidnappings and year-long negotiations involved). Please read!






Ayana Young

Account Director, Tourism


The Vanishing Half: A Novel by Brit Bennet

This book is a tale of the Vignes twins and how they navigate family, love and truth after growing up in a small Louisiana town and going their own ways. Author Brit Bennett explores deeply rooted issues of colorism, and identity through the lives of Desiree, Estelle and their daughters. The Vanishing Half was named A Best Book of 2020 By The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, People, Time Magazine, Vanity Fair, and Glamour.




Daniella Middleton

Senior Vice President, Tourism


Token Black Girl by Danielle Prescod

I’ve been following Danielle Prescod on social media since the onset of the pandemic, and her witty and honest storytelling about her career, family and dating life on social media offers a glimpse of what she documents in her debut novel, Token Black Girl. Growing up in an elite, white suburb of NYC and pursuing a career in the fashion and beauty industries, Daniel takes us on a journey as a Black woman forced to confront the influence of media and its effect on her mental health and body image.



Nick Reshan

Account Manager


The Ride of a Lifetime by Robert Iger

Bob Iger’s book, The Ride of a Lifetime: Lessons Learned from 15 Years as CEO of the Walt Disney Company, is a fast, entertaining and smart read on adapting to and embracing new technologies, managing an array of personalities and navigating cultural changes to deliver a strong and consistent brand experience. His leadership advice is as relevant and salient as the behind-the-scenes look at The Walt Disney Company is riveting for us kids who grew up on the company’s shows and films.




Kristin Papillon

Senior Manager, Content Marketing


The Carbon Almanac by Seth Godin

Wondering what you can do about climate change? Start with this almanac! A tool to help create change and start conversations, this book was a collaboration between hundreds of writers, researchers, thinkers, and illustrators that focuses on what we know, what has come before and what might happen next. Filled with facts – it will have you thinking about everything from how you bank to recycling differently. With a foreword from Seth Godin, this is a must-read.




Nkechi Mitchell

Account Manager, MICE


Atomic Habits by James Clear

This isn’t a new book, but I love the framework that is offered and how it provides practical strategies for building habits that we can integrate into our daily lives.
“A supremely practical and useful book. James Clear distills the most fundamental information about habit formation, so you can accomplish more by focusing on less.” – Mark Manson



Siobhan Chretien

Director, Tourism


The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton

Beautiful, historical, for anyone with a creative curious mind that believes in seeing the world and how it can shape us.

De Botton takes the reader along his own travels but that of  the peregrinations of distinguished fellow travelers like Baudelaire, Wordsworth, van Gogh to name a few. While most think we ought to travel, Alain de Botton tells us how and why to travel. A true original.



Rachel Deloffre

Senior Account Director


Going There by Katie Courig

Katie Couric’s memoir, Going There, will make you laugh, cry and re-live some of the biggest news stories over the past few decades. Her book details how Katie went from the girl next door to a household name – and is both personally and professionally inspiring. I loved hearing the stories behind Katie’s coverage of major news events, how she juggled being a working mom and how she overcame major loss and trauma in her personal life. I recommend listening to the audio version, which is narrated by Katie herself and incorporates audio clips from various events.




Rachel Barvi

Project Manager


Creativity, Inc: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull

We all have seen multiple Pixar animated movies that make us feel good, that we can enjoy with the family and that inspires each of us in different ways. This book brings you along the ride of how the co-founder of Pixar dominated the world of animation, one “Toy Story” at a time. We all have to be creative in our jobs, and this book can inspire you to bring creativity to your work and your team.







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