5 Reads From Our CFO’s Bookshelf

May 05th, 2020 Daisy Smith

Samuel McChord Crothers, the author of “A Literary Clinic,” refers to reading as a form of “prescription.” And according to The Atlantic, it’s a perfect quarantine activity. “Reading can be therapeutic. In fact, it might be the best antidote for the psychological toll of a socially distanced life.”

While finding time to read right now is more challenging for some than for others, it’s safe to say we all deserve our dose of literature.

At 14 West, we’ve shared a long history with the companies that we support, many of which exist to serve their readers. Like them, we honor the written word and believe in celebrating strong, worthy ideas and insight with lasting value. To us, reading is not just enjoyable or healthy – although, it has been proven to improve memory and brainpower while reducing stress. And those are some pretty major perks, particularly right now. It’s not just about personal growth and development. There are real benefits that emerge in our work supporting thinkers and creatives.

Fortunately, we don’t have to reach very far for recommendations. A number of book clubs have popped up around our Mount Vernon campus over the years. Together members dive into books focusing on topics like leadership, entrepreneurship, vulnerability, friendship, and even loss. One book club emerged from an idea our CFO, Bob Compton, had. Bob believes that routine and regimen have a very specific purpose, but can introduce limitations or thresholds. In order to ensure capacity for creative thinking and exploration, he decided to create an environment detached from the day-to-day where people can grow through new ideas and opinions. He wanted an open forum where people would truly hear one another, and have an opportunity to expand their minds by sharing with those whose paths they may not normally cross. And ultimately, he wanted to provide an opportunity to add value and fulfillment to the work employees do.

The books chosen were meant to guide employees and teams through alternative ways of navigating the workspace – and life beyond – positively and productively. Through these recommendations have come vigorous conversations, detailed analyses, and diverse perspectives that provided each member of the club with new insight. Mission accomplished for Bob.

If you’re looking for a new perspective and a chance to see what our book club has covered, check out a few of our favorites below. And if you have any book recommendations for our book club, we’d love to hear about them. Please feel free to share your ideas here.



1.) Daring Greatly

By Brene Brown

“From thought leader Brené Brown, a transformative new vision for the way we lead, love, work, parent, and educate that teaches us the power of vulnerability.”

A New York Times Bestseller, Brown dives deep into the emotions of our daily battles and provides a new lesson on every page.

2.) Our Iceberg Is Melting

By John Kotter & Holger Rathgeber

In a story discussing systematic change, six characters endure different obstacles throughout their journey. This story gives insight on how to prepare you and your team for a change in the workspace.

3.) Tribal Unity

By Em Campbell-Pretty, Gene Kim & Steve Farber

Through a shared true story, this novel will take you on a “how to” journey of a toxic organizational culture that becomes transformed into an international success. If you’re a leader in your field looking for tips on how to better your team’s connection, this is the read for you.

4.) Radical Candor

By Kim Scott

As a highly reviewed novel, Radical Candor was written for bosses and for those who manage bosses, to provide insight on how to build, inspire, and lead their teams to do the best work possible. If you’re feeling exhausted by management, then dive into these tips and actionable lessons.

5.) The Question Behind the Question

By John G. Miller

Blame culture is ugly trouble for a company to face. And according to Miller, it’s one of the main obstacles preventing companies from reaching success. This novel will not only provide the tips that you and your organization need for success but will explain the true meaning of accountability and why it’s so important.

Daisy Smith

Assistant Director, Communications

"Don’t take yourself too seriously.”

I found myself at 14 West after 18 months of traveling and teaching in Bali, Thailand, and Australia. And now 5 years later, I’ve learned and grown with my team in extraordinary ways. I think that’s due in large part to the fact that I’ve been encouraged to approach my work and explore my potential in the same ways I’ve explored other parts of the world. I’m constantly asking questions, seeing and doing new things. And learning A LOT. I didn’t expect to find an experience like this in “an office back home.”

I love my position at 14 West because I’m invited to take on a diverse range of responsibilities. From running our Wellness Program to brand development and brand marketing to writing, I have a broad range of interests. And my role allows me to develop my skills through work that truly excites me. I have a hard time saying no to new projects, even when I already have a full plate. But when I take on too much, the leaders here are there with the support I need to get the job done. At the same time, I’m given the creative freedom to feel real ownership over my projects, which only motivates me more.

What is one thing you have to do every day in the office? Gotta have my essential oil diffuser going. Five of us share an office and we’re all hooked on the diffuser now, but it’s my job to create the perfect oil cocktail each morning to set the tone for the day. I’m obsessed.