Book Recommendations

One of our hallmarks of NWONL is sharing the best of what we've learned and experienced. One of the ways we do this is with our highly recommended books, awesome audio-books and impactful podcasts from our NWONL Board of Directors. We update the selection quarterly, plus it's a fun tradition to kick off our Board meetings. Disclosure: If you buy a title through these links below, NWONL gets an affiliate commission at no additional cost to you of which the proceeds go directly to executing the NWONL mission.

Recommendations from our January 2020 Board Meeting:

No Ego by Cy Wakeman

Board president Kelly Espinoza has not been reading a lot but has gotten into podcasts, especially No Ego by Cy Wakeman, interesting, engaging, and no drama information about how to lead, coach, and mentor.

Can't Hurt Me

Immediate Past President Susan Stacey recommends Can't Hurt Me by David Goggin. The author grew up in the projects and went on to become a navy seal. He feels most only reach 40% of their potential and that to surpass that you have to overcome fear, negative self-talk, etc. A little macho at times but great message.

The Murmur of BeesAt Large Board Member Julie Ostrom's favorite recent audiobook is The Murmur of Bees by Sofia Segovia. It's set during the Mexican Revolution surrounding a boy who was left on the side of the road and the family that picks him up . Fun to read, fun to learn about the culture. 

Sustainability at Work

Development Co-Chair Allea Thomas-Putnam recommends Sustainability at Work by Marilyn Waites. She was inspired by how some of the bigger organizations are implementing more sustainable practices. 


Executive Director Cindi recommends Cozy by Isabel Gillies. It's a feel-good happy book about coziness and very simple things you can implement, such as a pothold that has been in the family for generations and Cindi refuses to part with even though her husband refuses to use it.

The Good Nurse

President-elect Jen Packer recently read The Good Nurse by Charles Graeber, a true story of a nurse who killed over 400 people. It scared the crap out of her and she's encouraged every single person in the quality department to read it. 

Secretary-Treasurer Desi McCue has been reading the Stillhouse Lake series by Rachel Caine about a woman who has been living a normal quiet life until she finds out her husband is a serial killer and she moves and changes her and her children's names but is pursued by internet trolls and other people. Excellent writing.
At Large Member & WSHA Liasion Mady Murrey has been listening to Trevor Noah's Born a Crime. Entertaining and enlightening at the same time. If you haven't read Just Mercy, read it before the movie comes out.
Bonnie is our Development Chair and has been cooking and baking out of The Vanilla Bean Baking Book each week and loving it.
Marcy Holmes is the Operations Manager for NWONL and recommends Invisible Women by Caroline Criado Perez. It'ss about the data gap due to gender bias and how much it affects, from snow clearing to medical trials to what supplies are included in disaster relief and how the lack of women in the rooms making these decisions affects everybody.
Laura Magstadt is Secretary-Treasurer-elect and recommends The Impossible First by Colin O'Brady who had to recover from bad burns and a diagnosis he may never walk again to then set a new world record for a solo unaided trek across Antarctica. Required not only physical resilience but also mental fortitude to be out on the ice for 54 days alone.

Recommendations from our November 2019 Board Meeting:

Our incoming Leadership Commission co-chair and CNO of St. Charles Redmond, James is in his DNP program so he's reading a lot of books for school, that he doesn't necessarily recommend... Fortunately, he is also relaunching a shared governance program and an upside-down leadership model. James confidently recommends Relation Based Care by Mary Koloroutis.

At-Large Representative to AONL and Harborview CNO Jerome, recently elected the AONL Region IX Chair, loved The Power of Moments by the Heath Brothers (do the Heath Brothers have any bad books?).
Our Secretary/Treasurer-elect and OHSU's Director of Emergency Services, Desi just read Atomic Habits by James Clear and really appreciated it. It's about how to make your good habits more rewarding and how to make bad habits less rewarding. Applies to any area of your life; health, parenting, business, etc. Work + life outside?  Sounds like a bonus read.
At-Large liaison to OAHHS Pam Steinke, who just celebrated her 40th Anniversary with St Charles Health, has been following the work of Moe Carrick and Brene Brown, especially the most recent book: Fit Matters. Consider this when contemplating not only yourself but in coaching your future leaders.
At-Large Board member Jane, who started the tradition of book recommendations, recommends Goodbye for Now by Laurie Frankl. About a man who designs a dating app that is so good that people are finding their true loves very quickly so the company isnt making any money. He next designs an app to communicate with a lost loved one. Set in Seattle. Funny, poignant, sad, and a very, very good read.
Susan, our President and CNO of Providence Sacred Heart, enjoyed listening to Jen Cinsero's You Are a Badass on a drive to Centralia. The author reads it herself and it's written in a very casual voice. 
Past President Julie Ostrom, Sr. Director for Patient Flow for Central Oregon St Charles, has been doing a metric-ton of LEAN reading... necessary but not always riveting... so for fun reading outside of work she's reading exciting books like The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides, which is a crime fiction book. Kudos to Julie for making a bit of time, from no time at all,  to read for pleasure.

Recommendations from our March 2019 Board Meeting:

Bonnie has been trying to learn more about implicit bias and collusion and has read this fascinating article about Nursing Colonialism in America. A little heavy but a valuable read.

Jane recommends The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce. She listened to it on Audible. It's short,  funny and also poignant and she gave two thumbs up. 

Susan recommends The House We Grew Up In by Lisa Jewell. It's about secrets. After an event that fractured and separated the family, the kids come back to the house and process the event as adults and have to reconcile their memories and experiences with what really happened.

Cindi recommends Mindwise: Why We Misunderstand What Others Think, Believe, Feel, and Want by Nicholas Epley. He has a psychology background so its a dive into some of the research behind how we look at the world. Cindi feels shes a very empathetic person but has been challenged by the book to re-examine how shes viewing and judging people without knowing it. Also the book emphasizes how important it Is to the human condition to connect with others.

Cindi also recommends Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann. It's about the Osage Indians who were some of the wealthiest people in the world at the time and as a result, they were targeted, horribly taken advantage of, and murdered. In parallel, J. Edgar Hoover was forming the FBI and conducting the first undercover investigations and working to find out who was behind the murders.

Desi and her daughter are reading Red Queen. The world is divided into people with silver blood who have powers and people who have red blood are commoners. It's a Young Adult novel so there's teenage love and romance.

Elizabeth recommends The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down by Haemin Sun. About how to be mindful in a fast-paced world. It has been in the top books for a long time. About being more mindful, slowing down, and allowing your brain to rest.

Jennifer recommends The Secret Orphan by Glynis Peters; a historical fiction novel set at the beginning of WWII.

Jennifer also recommends True Places by Sonja Yoerg.

Julie recommends another book by the same author as The Woman in Cabin 10, Ruth Ware. Julie was looking for more books read by her favorite narrator - Imogen Church - and found The Lying Game by Ware.

With her teenage son, Julie is reading Behind Rebel Lines; the Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy about a woman who dressed up as a man in order to enlist in the Union Army and participate in the Civil War.

Kelly recommends Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. A beautifully written story about a little town in North Carolina and a family that lives in the swamp and a young girl's recollection after her mother leaves and how she survives and thrives alone in the swamp with no support.

Pam recommends journaling. She went on vacation in Mexico and she did do a little reading but she journaled almost every single day and got a lot of benefit out of it - well more than the time put in.

Paula Meyer had a power outage during the snow storm and decided to read Life of Pi. Now she cant put it down. So well written. Love when you can get into a book and actually picture what is going on. The author is Yann Martel and Paula is going to look up more of his works.

Marcy recommends Vicious by V.E. Schwab. It is about people who have powers after near-death experiences, the characters are complex, not good guys and bad guys. Everyone has their own reasons for their behaviors. The two main characters start out as best friends. There is a sequel and possibly a third book on the way.

Recommendations from our January 2019 Board Meeting:

Jane recommends Midwinter Break by an Irish Author Bernard MacLaverty about a retired couple who fly from their home in Scotland to Amsterdam for a weekend break and to take stock of their lives and usually their relationship is easy but over the course of 4 days they discover the uncertainties within. And it was very poignant and hard to say goodbye at the end.

Jane also recommends Unsheltered by Barbara Kingsolver who has written so many wonderful novels, about a world on the brink of collapse, collapse of our bodies, of logic, about a family where the husband has been moving all over the countries trying to get tenure and it never happens and the wife is a columnist and an article writer. Then an elderly relative comes to live with them and its difficult as it always is and theres not enough money and the current college is falling apart around their ears. And its about the expectations they had and how they dont know what went wrong. Very enjoyable, highly recommended.

Katie is currently re-reading The Alchemist, by Paolo Coelho. It was published in the 80s, in Portugese, by a Brazilian author. It's an allegorical novel following an Andalusian shepherd on his journey to the pyramids of Egypt. He has a reoccurring dream about finding treasure there. He meets a lot of amazing characters along his trip. The fortune teller tells him that you can accomplish whatever you want to. He discovers that its all the wonderful people that are the treasure after all.

Kelly got Becoming from her husband from Christmas and shes savoring it an enjoying it very much. She likes how relatable Michelle Obama is and its a very nice story about her humble beginnings and when she first met Barack and what she thought of him its funny because she was not impressed in the beginning. Good insights into her and them as a couple.

Jennifer recommends In Shock by Dr Rana Awdish. The author becomes critically ill as shes finishing her residency, with HELP syndrome during pregnancy, and then she ends up getting an opioid addiction. The focus on how you connect with patients and how differently you see it when you are a patient. It drives her to teach very differently in her teaching hospital as an attending. And her very first patient back is a woman in the ICU with HELP syndrome.

Bonnie is reading If Disney Ran Your Hospital by Fred Lee. Seattle Children's recently had a former Disney executive in who was very inspiring. It's a quick easy read.

Desi is currently reading the 'Lake Oswego Reads' book, The Book of the Unknown Americans about a family who came to America because their child is very ill and they can't get the healthcare resources they need in Mexico. It's about that and about their struggles reconciling the way they came to America.

Pam re-reading The Language of Kindness about the kindness and helpfulness that really make nurses the heart of healthcare. Often the best thing you can do is be present. She gave several copies away for Christmas.

Julie is reading Until the End of the World by Sarah Lyons Fleming, an Oregon author, so she can participate in conversations in the car with her son's buddies who have formed a mini book club. It's a YA series so an easy read and entertaining. The sequels are And After and All the Stars in the Sky.

Susan recommends a book she liked so much she is doing a book club with her directors even though she didnt used to like this when she was a director. Its called No Ego by Cy Wakeman. She spoke at the magnet conference if any of you were there. Price of book was worth it for one line: circumstances are not the reasons we cant succeed, they are the environment in which we must. Its about reducing drama in the workplace and how much energy we spend on things outside our control. Only 9 chapters.

For a fun book she recommends Chris Boljhian who writes interesting books around social issues with often an interesting twist at the end. Before You Know Kindness. Centers on gun control controversy. Theres an unfortunate accident that bifurcates a community and you look at the heartache that comes after. He doesnt make a statement for or against but shines a light on the controversy. Books always end up in a place very different from where they start.

Jane Hutcheson recommends The Jane Austen Project by NY Times Author Kathleen Flynn about a team from the future who can time travel. An extremely rich person with money to burn has assembled a team that can go back in time because there were hints in letters of another novel by Jane Austen, so they go back in time with assumed identities to try to find the novel and bring it back to the future. Short, very fun.