Leaders read. However, research and articles abound about the importance of reading, such as this article in Harvard Business Review. Studies also show that reading is in decline, both in the amount of reading being done, and the depth of what we read (see this study by the National Endowment of the Arts).
As leaders, reading should not be considered an option, regardless of the area in which you lead. Reading is essential to leading, period. I include reading as one of the 5 Things Leaders Should Do Every Day To Cultivate GrowthReading is essential to leading, period. Click To Tweet
Here are seven books I’ve enjoyed reading, and which I believe would benefit any leader.
In 2009, Simon Sinek started a movement to help people become more inspired at work, and in turn inspire their colleagues and customers. Since then, millions have been touched by the power of his ideas, including more than 28 million who’ve watched his TED Talk based on START WITH WHY — the third most popular TED video of all time.
Sinek starts with a fundamental question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?
People like Martin Luther King Jr., Steve Jobs, and the Wright Brothers had little in common, but they all started with WHY. They realized that people won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it.
START WITH WHY shows that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way — and it’s the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.
Get Start with Why on Amazon
Are you letting your lack of authority paralyze you?
One of the greatest myths of leadership is that you must be in charge in order to lead. Great leaders don’t buy it. Great leaders lead with or without the authority and learn to unleash their influence wherever they are.
With practical wisdom and humor, Clay Scroggins will help you nurture your vision and cultivate influence, even when you lack authority in your organization. And he will free you to become the great leader you want to be so you can make a difference right where you are. Even when you’re not in charge.
Get How to Lead When You’re Not in Charge on Amazin
There is a competitive advantage out there, arguably more powerful than any other. Is it superior strategy? Faster innovation? Smarter employees? No, New York Times best-selling author, Patrick Lencioni, argues that the seminal difference between successful companies and mediocre ones has little to do with what they know and how smart they are and more to do with how healthy they are. In this book, Lencioni brings together his vast experience and many of the themes cultivated in his other best-selling books and delivers a first: a cohesive and comprehensive exploration of the unique advantage organizational health provides.
Simply put, an organization is healthy when it is whole, consistent and complete, when its management, operations and culture are unified. Healthy organizations outperform their counterparts, are free of politics and confusion and provide an environment where star performers never want to leave. Lencioni’s first non-fiction book provides leaders with a groundbreaking, approachable model for achieving organizational health—complete with stories, tips and anecdotes from his experiences consulting to some of the nation’s leading organizations. In this age of informational ubiquity and nano-second change, it is no longer enough to build a competitive advantage based on intelligence alone. The Advantage provides a foundational construct for conducting business in a new way—one that maximizes human potential and aligns the organization around a common set of principles.
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Change is so rapid today that leaders must do much more than stay the course to be successful. If they aren’t nimble and ready to adapt, they won’t survive. The key is to learn how to leadershift.
In Leadershift, John C. Maxwell helps leaders gain the ability and willingness to make leadership changes that will positively enhance their organizational and personal growth. He does this by sharing the eleven shifts he made over the course of his long and successful leadership career. Each shift changed his trajectory and set him up for new and exciting achievements, ultimately strengthening and sustaining his leadership abilities and making him the admired leadership expert he is today.
Among those leadershifts are the Adaptive Shift from Plan A to Option A, the Production Shift from Ladder Climbing to Ladder Building, and the Influence Shift from Positional Authority to Moral Authority. Maxwell gives specific guidance to readers about how to make these shifts in their own lives. Each one requires them to change the way they think, act, and ultimately lead so they can be successful in a world that never remains the same.
Get LeaderShift on Amazon.
Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln’s political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president.
On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry.
Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war. That Lincoln succeeded, Goodwin demonstrates, was the result of a character that had been forged by experiences that raised him above his more privileged and accomplished rivals. He won because he possessed an extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires.
It was this capacity that enabled Lincoln as president to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to the task of preserving the Union and winning the war.
We view the long, horrifying struggle from the vantage of the White House as Lincoln copes with incompetent generals, hostile congressmen, and his raucous cabinet. He overcomes these obstacles by winning the respect of his former competitors, and in the case of Seward, finds a loyal and crucial friend to see him through.
This brilliant multiple biography is centered on Lincoln’s mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation’s history.
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Have you ever felt the urge to declutter your work life?
Do you often find yourself stretched too thin?
Do you simultaneously feel overworked and underutilized?
Are you frequently busy but not productive?
Do you feel like your time is constantly being hijacked by other people’s agendas?
If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is the Way of the Essentialist.
The Way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done. It is not a time management strategy, or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter.
By forcing us to apply a more selective criteria for what is Essential, the disciplined pursuit of less empowers us to reclaim control of our own choices about where to spend our precious time and energy – instead of giving others the implicit permission to choose for us.
Essentialism is not one more thing – it’s a whole new way of doing everything. A must-read for any leader, manager, or individual who wants to do less, but better, and declutter and organize their own their lives, Essentialism is a movement whose time has come.
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Your company or organization is only as strong as your leaders. These are the men and women doing battle daily beneath the banner that is your brand. Are they courageous or indecisive? Are they serving a motivated team or managing employees? Are they valued?
Your team will never grow beyond you, so here’s another question to consider. Are you growing? Whether you’re sitting at the CEO’s desk, the middle manager’s cubicle, or a card table in your living-room-based startup, EntreLeadership provides the practical, step-by-step guidance to grow your business where you want it to go. Dave opens up his championship playbook for business to show you how to:
• Inspire your team to take ownership and love what they do
• Unify your team and get rid of all gossip
• Handle money to set your business up for success
• Reach every goal you set
• And much, much more!
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Share your favorite leadership
book in the comments.