10 books Utah’s business leaders recommend reading

10 books Utah’s business leaders recommend reading


Estimated read time: 6-7 minutes

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Whether you're into reading from a fresh, unopened book or prefer to listen to audiobooks, reading is an excellent tool to grow as a person and a leader. Aside from improving one’s vocabulary, reading improves discipline and memory, builds self-esteem, and increases one’s ability to concentrate, says One World Literacy Foundation.

Below are six leaders in the Utah community you might be familiar with, along with some of their favorite reads. See if any titles on this list inspire you to make a stop at your local library.

Deneece Huftalin

As president of Salt Lake Community College since 2014, Deneece G. Huftalin, Ph.D., holds a sizeable position within the community. Her presence at Salt Lake Community College for more than two decades has shaped her career, but more importantly the lives and future careers of countless students. Huftalin also serves on a number of community boards and committees, so her influence is both positive and far-reaching. Here are some books she recommends:

  • "Tempered Radicals" by Debra Meyerson. As a professor of organizational behavior, Meyerson examines the difficulties many face in the workplace between moral duty and the need to climb the ladder to affect change. Meyerson argues that walking the line between both can pave the way for personal success, as well as leaving a better path for others to follow.
  • "The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life" by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. Benjamin’s experience as a conductor of the Boston Philharmonic and Rosamund’s insight as a psychotherapist is what contributes to the uplifting stories, parables, and personal anecdotes. These stories invite readers to become passionate communicators, leaders, and performers whose lives radiate possibility into the world.


Fred Lampropoulos

As someone who has been in the medical device industry for over 30 years, Fred Lampropoulos has special insight into a vital community. He has been inducted into the Utah Business Hall of Fame and was awarded the Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology and the Salt Lake Chamber's 2019 Giant in our City.

Among other awards and honors, Lampropoulos also is a former U.S. Special Forces officer and an honorary colonel in the Utah National Guard, according to his company biography. He started Merit Medical, Inc. and currently serves as the CEO. Here’s what he recommends:

  • "Leadership: In Turbulent Times" by Doris Kerns Goodwin. Goodwin gives incredible insight into the lives of four American leaders, and what we can learn from their lives. Her own experiences in the White House surely inform her writing, but many laud this book for its prowess in meticulous historical research, as well as conveying relevant historical lessons at the same time.
  • "We Were Soldiers Once... And Young" by Lt. Gen. Harold G. Moore (Ret.) and Joseph L. Galloway. This book focuses on two encounters at the battle of la Drang, Vietnam in 1965. Although it went on to become a major motion picture, many recommend the book for its illustration of the heroism, pain, and cruelty that war brings and the respect for those who endured it.

Nathan Rafferty

According to Rafferty’s Ski Utah profile, this CEO has a passion for all things skiing, but also anything with two wheels, including road and mountain biking. Rafferty started with Ski Utah shortly after graduating from college and is now the President and CEO of one of Utah’s most successful ski companies. Here’s his recommendation as a seasoned sportsman and businessman:

  • "Endurance" by Alfred Lansing explores the grueling journey of Ernest Shackleton as he and his crew attempted to traverse Antarctica. From the voyage there to becoming stranded and finally attempting to reach rescue on foot, there’s little else that can be said for the endurance of these adventurers that aren’t covered in the book.

Clark Ivory

You can’t spend much time in Utah without hearing about top homebuilder Ivory Homes. CEO Clark Ivory serves on many business and community boards. Right now he suggests:

  • "The Prosperity Paradox" by Clayton Christensen discusses various beliefs about money and prosperity that may be myths. He also advises how to combat unprosperous situations with as much wisdom and advocacy for sustainable prosperity as possible.

Aaron Skonnard

Aaron Skonnard’s LinkedIn profile lists him as a developer, author, entrepreneur, and co-founder and CEO at Pluralsight, a fast-growing SaaS company. With his powerful tech background, Skonnard is a founder and board member of the Silicon Slopes organization as well as a generous philanthropist. Skonnard has several books on his recommended reading rotation:

  • "How to Win Friends & Influence People" by Dale Carnegie has long been touted as a book that everyone should read, mostly because it can benefit anyone in any situation. If you want something, go and get it seems to be the bottom line of this groundbreaking best-seller.
  • "Dare to Lead" by Brene Brown comes from the mother of social work and self-help. In her book’s online description, Brown declares, “Leadership is not about titles, status, and wielding power. A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential.”
  • "Good to Great" by Jim Collins tells how good companies, bad companies, and mediocre companies can improve, even with less-than-glamorous beginnings. His research notes distinguishable characteristics that cause a company to go from good to great.

Steve Starks

Steve Starks joined the Larry H. Miller Group in 2007, according to his Miller Group profile. Starks’ advancement within the Miller Group in such a short amount of time was no accident. Hard work and attention to detail helped him achieve success. As current president of Larry H. Miller Sports and Entertainment, Starks is president of the Utah Jazz as well as many other auxiliaries. Here’s his suggested read:

  • "Abraham Lincoln" by Carl Sandburg covers the significant life of the sixteenth president. While Lincoln’s humble beginnings didn’t set him up for greatness, he went on to become perhaps the nation’s most revered and remembered president. Sandburg covers Lincoln as a man but also as a historical figure whose life any reader will benefit from learning about.

Whether you’re looking for a great book on leadership or just want to be more in-the-know with some of Utah’s greatest minds, these twelve books will uplift and motivate you. Visit Salt Lake Chamber’s website today for a list of business and community leaders' profiles.

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