With summer around the corner, hotels and restaurants across Europe are gearing up for their busiest season in the last three years. Summer is also a time of leisure, however, and hospitality managers will look forward to the free time they can eke out amidst the rush. Reading is a classic summer pastime, and the right books can help managers like you unwind and also gain inspiration on ways to ramp up your hospitality experience. In that context, here are our top picks for every hospitality professional’s summer reading list. 

1. The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle

Everyone talks about the importance of company culture, but what exactly are the elements that go into it? Daniel Coyle dives deep into some of the world’s most successful organisations to lay out the secrets of how to make diverse groups tick. From strategies on how to build trust and collaboration to watching out for common mistakes to actionable tips from real-world leaders, this book has it all. Designed for groups of any size, in any sector and with any goal, this is a must for every hospitality manager’s reading list.

“There are profound ideas on every single page, stories that will change the way you work, the way you lead, and the impact you have on the world. Highly recommended, an urgent read.”—Seth Godin, author of Linchpin

2. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Joseph Grenny and Kerry Patterson

Business conversations aren’t always easy, but this book comes jam-packed with tools to master them all. You’ll find tools to navigate high-stakes conversations where emotions are running high by keeping a productive dialogue going - a much-needed skill in a high-stress industry like hospitality. What’s more, these tips aren’t just for the workplace. They’ll help you have better conversations with your friends and loved ones too. 

"Crucial Conversations draws our attention to those defining moments that literally shape our lives, our relationships, and our world. . . . This book deserves to take its place as one of the key thought leadership contributions of our time."—Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

3. The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You by Julie Zhou

This book is for every hotel/restaurant manager who’s ever felt a little overwhelmed about the responsibilities that rest on them in their new position. Packed with insights from the author’s experience managing hundreds of people, the book gives you practical tips on how to earn your team’s trust, how to have faith in your own abilities, and how to spot a good hire. It’s a particularly appropriate read in advance of any hospitality hiring stint, especially as you hustle to bring on extra hands for the summer.

→ 😎Looking for smarter, easier ways to hire for hospitality? Check out our handy list of job templates!

4. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss

Written by a former hostage negotiator for the FBI, this compelling read lays out core tactics and principles to help you become more persuasive in your conversations. You’ll encounter negotiations everywhere as a hospitality manager, be it a guest who wants something extra to a new hire demanding higher pay and benefits - armed with these skills, you’ll be able to drive those conversations the way you need and want them to go.

“This book blew my mind.  It’s a riveting read, full of instantly actionable advice—not just for high-stakes negotiations, but also for handling everyday conflicts at work and at home.”—Adam Grant, Wharton Professor

5. The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact by Chip Heath and Dan Heath

As a hospitality manager, wouldn’t it be amazing if you had the formula to craft experiences that your guests would be bound to love? This book explains the science behind why we remember certain kinds of extraordinary moments and how to leverage elevation, insight, pride, and connection to build consistently memorable experiences. It’s more than just a motivational piece - it’s a handbook to a better life.

6. Contagious: Why Things Catch On by Jonah Berger 

Although published nearly ten years ago, this book’s deep dive into the science behind virality continues to inform marketing campaigns everywhere. For hospitality managers looking to cut through the competition, this book provides the tools to design hospitality experiences that are so good, people can’t help but talk about them long after they’re over.

“Jonah Berger knows more about what makes information ‘go viral’ than anyone in the world.” —Daniel Gilbert, author of the bestseller Stumbling on Happiness. 

7. The Surprise Restaurant Manager by Ken McGarrie

This one’s for all the restaurant managers out there who worked their way up through the ranks but are now figuring out how to face day-to-day challenges while growing the restaurant to new heights. With communication tips, ways to improve the guest experience and boost online reviews, signs to watch out for during hospitality hiring, and ways to support your restaurant staff during tough times, this is the manual you didn’t know you needed.

→ 😎Need an extra hand with managing the team at your hospitality business? Check out our guide to HR outsourcing!

8. The Service Culture Handbook: A Step-by-Step Guide to Getting Your Employees Obsessed with Customer Service by Jeff Toister

Working on team motivation is one thing. Building a hospitality team that’s obsessed with customer service is another. This step-by-step guide gives you actionable tips on how to create and sustain a customer-focused culture at your organisation. Packed with exercises and tools that you can implement immediately, this book will help you strategically align everyone on your hospitality staff in a shared commitment to solving problems and moving forward.

9. Unreasonable Hospitality: The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect by Will Guidara

Written by the former co-owner of Eleven Madison Park, the book details how 26-year-old Will Guidara turned a struggling brasserie into the world’s best restaurant. He talks of how magic can be created when everyone at a hotel or restaurant commits to going above and beyond for the customer - his own team was famous for creating radically personalised experiences like treating a family who had never seen snow before with a sledding trip to Central Park. He also talks about how hospitality extends to within the team as well, and how a spirit of giving more and caring more can be the solution to even the toughest business challenges. 

“Making people feel welcome, accepted, appreciated, seen, known… what could be cooler than that? This is what Will has unlocked in this book: that hospitality is as thrilling and inspiring to give as it is to receive, both in work, and in life.”— Christina Tosi, founder and CEO of Milk Bar


There’s a reason these books continue to star on reading lists every summer. From industry-specific tips to universal frameworks for success, this list has it all. Hospitality managers everywhere will find wisdom and perspective by reading these books while enjoying them as fun, engaging summer reads. Give them a try! 

→ 😎Want to make the most of your HR team’s prowess when the economy is down? Here’s our guide on how to boost HR ROI!