“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.”

November is upon us and so is the cold weather we have all been dreading.  But, cold weather means snuggling up with a nice hot cup of cocoa or hot tea and a good book.  Reading is such an important part of our mental health and overall well-being.

We wanted to inspire you to take a few minutes each day to read, so we asked our employees tell us about their favorite books or the books they are currently reading.

Start with Why by Simon Sinek


Russell Livingston – President & CEO of Babb, Inc.

This is one of my all-time favorites!  By studying what great leaders have done to become successful and create successful ventures, Sinek is able to pinpoint how a business and its leaders can create an atmosphere of success.  It isn’t just about what you do, you have to discover the why behind what you do.  If you are looking to find inspiration as a leader or to inspire others to be great, this is a great book to help you get started.

Another great book on leadership by Sinek is Leaders Eat last, is a continuation of Start with Why on how to get your employees and potential collaborators engaged with your why.

Hamilton by Ron Chernow


Samantha Melaragno – Administrative & Marketing Assistant

I think, by now, we have all heard about the revolutionary Broadway musical Hamilton.  But did you know that its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, got inspired by Ron Chernow’s book about one of our Founding Fathers, Alexander Hamilton?  As a history buff, if I may be so bold, I was drawn to this book after hearing so many positive reviews, and they were all 100% right.  What Ron Chernow is able to do with this historical biography is what many others cannot.  He successfully navigates between history, facts, and details, while simultaneously writing in such a manner that you cannot help but become emotionally involved in Hamilton’s story.  If you are like me and enjoy reading historical books, you will love this book.  Even if you aren’t that interested in history, this book is still a great read because it will teach you a little bit more about what our ancestors had to do in order to create this great country in which we get to live.

Other books I highly recommend are:  Bossypants by Tina Fey, the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan, Atonement by Ian McEwan, and Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon


Kaylee Kirsch – Marketing Manager

It’s hard for me to nail down a favorite book. I love to read and each book is a new adventure! The last book that I read that I really enjoyed was The Curious Incident of The Dog in the Night-Time. The narrator is an autistic boy which gave me, as a reader, such a different perspective. It’s a great, wholesome, heartwarming book that reminds us to be kind and patient with others. It has since been turned into a play and will be making its round at the Benedum Theatre in the Cultural District. You’ll find me in the audience come January 3rd-8th!

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien


Doug Rizzo – Account Manager, Property & Casualty

Holding the status as my favorite book since childhood is The Lord of the Rings, a wonderful fantasy epic about the daring adventure a group of brave men undertake to return the Ring to Mordor.  For me, this book has gripped me for a long time and has never let me go.

Since I am a fan of thrilling science fiction and epic fantasy, here are some other works I recommend:  Jurassic Park, Wool, Robopocalypse (written by a CMU student Daniel H. Wilson), The Time Machine, and Beowulf.

The DaVinci Code and sequels by Dan Brown


Angel Panizzi – Account Manager, Group Benefits

These books (The DaVinci Code, Angel’s and Demons, and Inferno) are a great series especially if you like lots of puzzles and analogies.  They definitely keep your mind engaged and constantly working.  Not to mention, the first two books have already been made into movies with the third installment, Inferno, just coming out this past Friday, October 28.

The Giver by Lois Lowry


Dasha Verkhovynets – Accounting Specialist/Licensing Coordinator

Recently I read a book for Banned Books Week (9/25-10/1) from the banned books list called The Giver.  It is a story about a futuristic Utopian society about overcoming social and population control and how brainwashing and desensitization of emotions can have a negative effect on our physical and moral perspectives.  I like this book because it is a very easy read, has a good plot, and a happy ending (although you could perceive it as open-ended).  Additionally, I believe the moral of the story to be a good one:  humanity should not be controlled or restricted in any way, especially emotionally, because we are complex and emotional beings.

A few other books I enjoy and you might too are:  Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Mind Readers the series, and the Star-Crossed series.

The Girls by Emma Cline


Michelle Banks – Account Manager, Group Benefits

This is the story of the girls Charles Manson used as told by their perspective and how the 1960 massacres came to be.  The unique storytelling, from a woman’s point of view, adds a gripping, tangibility to such a violent story.  If you like suspense and thrillers, you definitely will want to pick this book up, because once you do, you won’t be able to put it down.

A Life Well Played by the late Arnold Palmer


Chuck Nettles – Account Executive

Arnold Palmer was loved by everyone, golfers and non-golfers alike.  It is an inspiring read and you get his take on golf and life in general.  The overwhelming theme of his life was that he simply loved people and he definitely left the world a better place.

Hollow City (Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children #2) by Ransom Riggs


Sheila Grimm – Assistant to the President

I’m currently reading Hollow City, the second book in the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series.  The books are wonderful and I highly recommend this series if you are a fan of Harry Potter.  These books are an absolute delight for the imagination.  A series that mixes vintage photographs with thrilling suspense and fantasy, Miss Peregrine’s will enthrall readers of all ages.

How Champions Think by Dr. Bob Rotella


Chester (Sandy) Sanderson – Secretary/Treasurer of Babb, Inc.

This book, by one of America’s distinguished sports psychologists, Bob Rotella, is the perfect guide to attaining success, not just in sports, but in all aspects of your life.  It is an excellent book about controlling your thought processes and emotions.  While it mostly talks about golfers, it has terrific implications to how you can approach your personal goals and objectives.

Another book I have been enjoying is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg, a great book about how to break bad habits and create good ones.  It also discusses how corporations can change their corporate habits which is great for anyone interested in expanding their current business or starting one.


Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling


A lot of our employees rate the Harry Potter series as one of their favorites.  A series of fantasy novels written by the brilliant mind of J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter series spans seven years in the life of a young wizard and his friends.  Since its release, the series has gone on to be read by hundreds of millions of people worldwide and has enraptured audiences ranging in ages from 5 to 95.  While you may have read these books before, we listed them here because we urge you to re-read them, in the hopes that you may notice something new.

The opinions in this article are those of the individual. The above individuals did not receive products or compensation for their review.

(All photos were taken from goodreads, a site that brings together readers from all over the world to review and make reading suggestions. Links to each book’s Goodreads page on every picture.)




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