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The Definitive Summer Reading (and Listening) List

The Definitive Summer Reading (and Listening) List

Here are our favorite summer reads, listens and Twitter follows. From a quick beach read to a seriously in-depth look at our industry—add ‘em to your summer queue!


In Patagonia by Bruce Chatwin
“Bruce Chatwin wrote Patagonia in 1977 after trekking through the sparsely populated region of South America known as Patagonia. I stumbled on this book by hapchance and found his descriptions of Patagonia and its inhabitants to be beautiful, mysterious and completely foreign to my experience born in the north. A quick, summer read!” -Dustin Sparks, Senior Designer
The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson
-Mark Hines, Vice President, Sales and Marketing
Building Our House by Jonathan Bean
“This book illustrates the process of a family who builds their house from the ground up. I love that my son stops to ask questions about each step along the way. It’s comforting to read at bedtime, because my wife also dreams of building a house in the country.” -Paul Wenzel, Senior Full Stack Developer
Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl by Carrie Brownstein
“Is there anything Carrie Brownstein can’t do? Write a kickass song? Check. Be hilarious on Portlandia? Check. Be charming yet callous, strong yet sensitive, funny yet fierce? All the checks! Brownstein’s autobiography reveals her compelling story and it’s written in a gorgeously unpredictable style.” -Elyse Ash, Senior Copywriter
1Q84 by Haruki Murakami
“It’s surreal. Surprising. A mystery that takes place in Japan, following two primary characters through their internal and external explorations. I read fiction to challenge my perspective and keep my mind flexible.” – Jackie Colburn, Strategist
Sprint: How to Solve Big Problems and Test New Ideas by Jake Knapp
“Sprint is a fresh way of approaching what we already do. Our projects—both internal and external—are all about finding opportunities and iterating quickly until we find the right solution. Yes, GoKart has our own internal methods as well, but taking a page or two from Google’s book (literally!) only makes our existing innovation process stronger.” -Catie Jo Pidel, Strategy Intern


Hidden Brain
“NPR’s Hidden Brain helps me break down and understand my unconscious thoughts around tech, relationships, habits and weird biases.” -Angela Niemi, Designer
Sounds of the Trail
“Sounds of the trail is a great podcast because it takes you into a subculture that many simply wouldn’t have access to and welcomes you in like a fellow hiker. I always find it fascinating to learn about what others live for and why. It helps me grow empathy for others. And it partially cures my own wanderlust when I can’t explore.” -Dustin Sparks, Senior Designer
Professional Humans
“Co-hosted by GKL’s own Elli Rader, it’s a refreshing take on traditional business/productivity podcasts, with a welcome twist towards the humanity that is present in all of our working environments. Plus, the dynamic that Josh and Elli have as co-hosts is legitimately top tier and something any podcast team should strive towards.” -Chris Pegg, Senior Business Analyst
Inside Intercom
“Intercom offers first-hand insights from some pretty influential people in the tech industry.” -Angela Niemi, Designer
“It’s a podcast that provides smart, entertaining insights into the “invisible forces” that drive our daily lives — personality, expectations, cultural norms, etc. — through fascinating true-life stories. Many of the topics are relevant to the intersection between humanity and technology, which is a perennial focus area for GKL.” -James Diers, Strategy Lead
Death, Sex and Money
“This podcast delves into stories that focus on topics humans think about a lot, but don’t talk about openly, like death, sex and money. I love the raw, personal and messy stories that range from covering bankruptcy to infertility and from deportation to drug addiction.” -Elyse Ash, Senior Copywriter
“This is right in GKL’s wheelhouse because the podcast discusses emerging technologies and the businesses being built around them. The host and guests do a great job of exploring topics from several angles.” -Ben Culbert, Marketing Manager
Good Job, Brain!
“Good Job, Brain is a trivia show filled with random facts, fun puzzles and good-natured hosts. I don’t even do trivia and I love it!” -Aly Wallberg, Account Manager
Comedy Bang! Bang!
“CBB’s quick, witty improv instantly gets me into a creative mood.” -Nick Stark, Front End Developer
Reply All
“Reply All is a self-proclaimed show about the internet. I work on the internet, so it’s a great way to stay informed about interesting, niche aspects of internet culture that I wouldn’t have known otherwise. The length is also a lot more digestible than the 1-2 hour technology deep-dive podcasts, and the hosts are a great balance of funny and informative.” -Catie Jo Pidel, Strategy Intern
Mystery Show
“Starlee Kine loves mysteries. She’s loved them since she was a little kid and now she exuberantly solves them on this delightful podcast. The only rule? She only takes on cases that can’t be found by Googling. It’s a fascinating listen.” -Elyse Ash, Senior Copywriter

twitter accounts

Ed Zitron (@edzitron)
“Zitron sits on a bizarro throne at the center of a venn diagram between Silicon Valley punditry, weird Twitter, and world-famous British PR chops.” -Micah Kulish, Marketing Coordinator
Reshma Saujani (@reshmasaujani)
Reshma is an entrepreneur, a writer and a public advocate who founded the popular organization Girls Who Code. Her tweets are insightful and inspiring all at once.
Aaron Levie (@levie)
CEO of Box, Aaron Levie tweets about startups, technology and politics. His tweets and his voice serve as a good reminder that leaders can be irreverent and funny as well as smart and strong.
Jenna Wortham (@jennydeluxe)
“New York Times magazine staff writer Jenna Wortham tweets about culture, New York City, race and sexuality. Hilarious, edgy and smart as a tack, Jenna’s a fun and informative follow.” -Elyse Ash, Senior Copywriter
Mara Wilson (@MaraWritesStuff)
The girl from Matilda, all grown up and just as anxious as the rest of us.
Paul Ford (@ftrain)
A developer who gets so meta that he doesn’t even know what code is anymore.
Daniel Eden (@_dte)
“Product designer at facebook/dropbox who is one of the funniest dev/designers on twitter.” -Bri Hokanson, Designer


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