In the world of freelancers, summer can be a slower season for work. And we think summer slowdown’s biggest advantage is the opportunity to squeeze in a few rejuvenating beach days.

But that doesn’t mean your career needs to come to a standstill. It’s a good time to take classes, develop new skills, expand your connections…and read a few good books.

To that end, we asked around our staff for some recommendations on beach reads and came up with the following stellar list. Rather than serving up the usual fare, we wanted to introduce you to books that made us think deeper about creativity, work-life balance, and pursuing a meaningful, purposeful life.

Daring Greatly, by Brene Brown

Research professor Dr. Brene Brown turned 12 years of studying the connections between vulnerability, courage, and creativity into this inspiring read. Dr. Brown argues that opening ourselves up to vulnerability will allow us to engage wholeheartedly with our careers, relationships, and personal passions. Her focus on the creative process makes this a must-read for independent workers. (Recommended by Veronika, Operations)

Comfortable with Uncertainty, by Pema Chodron

Between running a business, seeking out new clients (and making sure they pay), and actually doing all the work, freelancing can be a constant juggling act. In short, freelancers have to be masters at dealing with uncertainty. In this Buddhism-inspired classic, Chodron guides the reader through 108 lessons to help develop courage and find comfort in the unknown. (Recommended by Christina, Finance)

The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer

How far can childhood talent take you? One of 2013’s most anticipated novels follows the lives of six teenagers from the time they first meet at a summer arts camp until they reach middle age. Throughout, the characters come to terms with trying to make a living in the arts. This book will resonate with any of our members who are musicians, actors, writers, and artists – or anyone who once dreamed of working in those fields. (Recommended by Lauren, Communications)

Mo’ Meta Blues, by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson and Ben Greenman

This memoir by the co-founder of The Roots gives a unique inside view of the music industry. Thompson’s tales of concert hijinks and run-ins with iconic musicians provide ideal summer entertainment, while his lessons in perseverance and innovation are a perfect fit for freelancers paving their own paths. (Recommended by Phil, IT)