2018 Reading List: Nine Favorite Books of Leaders in Physical Therapy

As we close out one year and look forward to the next, I’ve always found it helpful to reflect on what books have impacted the past 12 months of our lives. Whether they be murder mysteries, tales of war or just a lighthearted read, books of all shapes and sizes tend to have more of an impact than we all think.

With this in mind, I rounded up a group of my favorite leaders in physical therapy and asked them what books they read in 2018 had an impact on them. I asked for books that made them think, laugh, cry, reflect, etc. and wanted to know why these books have stuck around in their heads all this time. These weren’t all written in 2018 but I think we can all agree they might make it on our must-read list for 2019.

Hope you enjoy! Let us know in the comments which books you’ve read have had a lasting impression.

Stephanie Weyrauch, PT, DPT, MSCI, Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers

On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder

I chose subjects of history and philosophy for my 2018 reading topics. I wanted to better understand how I, as an individual, could actually make a difference in today’s political climate. I think these two books complemented my appreciation for “the American experiment in democracy” and made me feel empowered, especially in a time where the news is full of doom and gloom.

While On Tyranny may sound like a depressing book, it actually has a message of hope. Tim Snyder offers 20 actionable behaviors we can demonstrate daily to ensure American democracy remains strong. Tim Snyder makes the point that “history does not repeat itself, but it does instruct.” This book encouraged me to reflect on my civil engagement and assess my responses to the current political climate.

World War II: A Short History by Michael J Lyons

I supplemented my reading with World War II: A Short History to further understand the historical perspective presented in Dr. Snyder’s book. World War II: A Short History examines the rise and fall of totalitarian governments and leaders during World War II. These books don’t have to be read simultaneously, I learned a similar lesson from both of them. Democracy is not lost all at once. It is chipped away bit by bit until what is left is unrecognizable. History is full of democracies that have fallen. Understanding how we as individuals can take steps to prevent this is an essential part of civil engagement.

Nancy Beckley, MS, MBA, CHC, President, Nancy Beckley & Associates LLC

The 17th Suspect by James Patterson

This may surprise those that know me, but I am not going mention any of my many favorite compliance books (yes, I have many favorite compliance books!).  Starting from the time I was in second grade and reading every Nancy Drew Mystery Book, I find the time to relax and get away with a good murder mystery novel. After a busy year of audits, investigations, and writing policies and procedures, I find the opportunity to recharge with a good murder mystery can’t be overstated. My current selection is from my favorite James Patterson “Women’s Murder Club” series: “The 17th Suspect”.  You guessed it, it is the 17th in the series about four women solving crime in San Francisco: the police woman, the coroner, the assistant district attorney, and the newspaper reporter.  Their lives intertwine as they solve each murder, and in the 17th Suspect, a reluctant confidential informant comes forward with tips that lead to disturbing conclusions on a series of shootings in San Francisco. I imagine that I am in the Women’s Murder Club, after all, I think of myself as another Nancy Drew. How about you?

Marianne Braunstein, Vice President of Product, Clinicient

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

My all-time favorite business book, an oldie but a goodie, that I tend to read and re-read…and re-read…is “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni. In storytelling prose, Patrick captures the critical and seemingly simple (but not so easy in practice) essence of great organizations. Trust. While he develops an entire framework around teamwork, I continue to be enamored by trust as the first foundational layer – one, because none of the other framework layers (e.g., accountability, results) are possible without it, and two, because it is really, really hard to embody it as a core value of teams.

In Patrick’s terms, trust is not having the confidence that team members can do the work, but the trust that team members can be vulnerable, that they feel safe enough to admit mistakes and weaknesses, that they can ask for help without being reprimanded, and that they can ask and debate the hard questions knowing that everyone will emerge for the better of the organization.

I have participated in teams where people express frustrations behind closed doors, shy away from both emotionally-charged or even intellectual conversations, or feel pressure to cover up (or worse, point to others) something that could have been done better.  Those teams and those organizations always fail.  But, give me an organization built on trust where positive intent is assumed, and I will show you an organization that is, or will soon be, lightyears ahead of their competition.  Let me admit my weaknesses and ask for help while I support my teammates with my unique strengths.  Let me feel the anxiety from a tense but respectful debate around a conference room table knowing that we will emerge laughing, maybe not that day but the next.  Let me make good choices about team members that can trust, because I know that otherwise, the entire team will fail.  Thanks to Patrick’s guidance in a story that comes to life on the pages, all of us can now understand that trust is the primary difference between meh companies or “wow” companies. Give me the latter!

Tannus Quatre PT, MBA, Partner, Vantage Clinical Solutions, Inc.

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

What we do and sell is a scratch-the-surface understanding of what we can offer the world.  Tony Hsieh, Zappos Founder and CEO, tells an amazing story about his rationale for starting Zappos in order to ‘find purpose’ in business.  Through his trials and tribulations with the company during startup, he realized that he wasn’t selling a product (shoes), but rather an emotion—happiness.  Through this revelation, Tony changed as a leader and his understanding of company culture as the ‘only true differentiator’ emerged.  This book helped me find peace and purpose during my own growth as a leader of a growing company, and it’s one of my favorite business reads of all time.

Doug Schumann, MA, PMP, SSBB, Vice President of Client Success, Clinicient

Principles: Life & Work by Ray Dalio

This book should be considered “required reading” for anyone attempting to develop a world-class organization. Ray Dalio founded and built the largest hedge fund in the world, Bridgewater Associates, and based much of their culture on the concept of “radical transparency”.

The concept of radical transparency means to create a culture of complete honesty and transparency, coupled with a believability weighted decision-making framework that empowers the best ideas to be implemented. Part of what is “radical” about these approaches is that it truly creates a meritocracy for ideas, where only the best ideas, regardless of where they come from, are identified and implemented.

The book provides a significant amount of detail regarding how to implement these principles and develop a great company and culture. This book is not for the faint-hearted as it weighs in at approximately 600 pages but in my estimation provides more truly applicable concepts than any other business book written in the past 10 years.

Jamey Schrier, PT, Founder, Practice Freedom U

Clockwork by Mike Michalowicz

Without question, the book that had the biggest impact on me in 2018 was Clockwork.  It describes the importance of having good systems in a business and how it can free up an owner. Mike provides a framework to develop consistent results in any type of business. So many of these concepts are congruent with what I teach to my private practice owners at Practice Freedom U.

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

This New York Times best seller breaks down habits into four areas: Cue, Craving, Response, Reward. James Clear demonstrates that habits are systems that either produce a desired outcome (ie: Good Habit) or undesired outcome (ie: bad habits). As practice owners, our daily habits are directly related to our outcomes in money, time, our team and ultimately, our success.

Jerry Henderson, PT, Co-founder, Vice President of Clinical Strategy, Clinicient

How to Fail at Everything and Still Win Big by Scott Adams

This is, of course, humorous, but filled with wisdom.

Among the most controversial statements in the preface of the book:

  • Goals are for losers. Systems beat goals every time.
  • Every skill you acquire doubles your chance of success.
  • Happiness is health plus freedom.
  • Luck can be managed.
  • Simplicity transforms ordinary into amazing.

Thanks to all our blog readers, authors and subscribers in 2018. See you next year!


Taylor Goldsmith

Content Marketing Program Manager

Taylor Goldsmith is the Content Marketing Program Manager at Clinicient where she manages the blog, social media strategy, supports lead generation activities and more. She provides insightful direction to a variety of other daily Clinicient activities and brings to her team knowledge of core and emerging marketing strategies. Taylor earned a Public Relations degree from the School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon. In her spare time, she likes to travel, explore the Portland food scene, and cheer on the Oregon Ducks.

4 thoughts on “2018 Reading List: Nine Favorite Books of Leaders in Physical Therapy

  1. Thanks for putting this list together! There are never too many books to read and it is nice to get ideas from others.

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