Whether you’re looking for new ways to think about business, insights into better managing your career, or inspirational stories that change the way you look at life, our staff has shared some of their favorite motivational, leadership, and business books to put on your reading list. Here are some of our recommended reads:
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
Ever wondered why some companies outshine all their worldwide competitors? In Good to Great, Jim Collins explores the operational practices essential for any company to make the good-to-great transition. Collins argues that you need to define a focused objective and field of competency, and then concentrate a company’s resources toward that area of strength. Executives at all levels would benefit from reading this book.
The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter by Michael Watkins
With The First 90 Days, Michael Watkins offers up a hands-on guide for career transition periods. Watkins lays out a standard framework and proven strategies on how to handle your first three months in a new job or promotion, walking you through every aspect of the transition and some of the most common pitfalls you’ll encounter when moving into a leadership role.
The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive by Patrick Lencioni
The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive tells the tale of leadership’s role in building a healthy organization, which Patrick Lencioni argues is the foundation of sustained business success. As Lencioni paints his “leadership fable,” you learn the four key disciplines or actionable steps — build a leadership team, create organizational clarity, communicate that clarity, and reinforce it with human systems — necessary for organizational health.
QBQ! The Questions Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability in Work and in Life by John Miller
In QBQ, John Miller explores the role of personal accountability both at work and at home. Miller believes that pointing fingers with questions like “Who dropped the ball?” gets us nowhere. Instead, we should be holding ourselves accountable by asking better questions — or, really, the questions behind questions — on what we can do to help solve problems.
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu Goldratt
The Goal tells the story of Alex Rogo, a plant manager who is desperately trying to save his small-town plant from closure. But a chance meeting with his old Physics professor changes his thinking, which is where the author begins to explore the Theory of Constraints — otherwise knows as the cause and effect relationship between actions and results.
My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
The intimate memoir written by Sonia Sotomayor, My Beloved World charts Sotomayor’s life’s journey from a young child living in a Bronx housing project to becoming the first Hispanic and third woman appointed to the United States Supreme Court. It’s a testament to what self-invention and self-discovery can mean to not just a person’s life but the community at large.
The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron by Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind
Based on hundreds of interviews and details from emails, performance reviews, private meetings, and other internal documents, The Smartest Guys in the Room follows Enron’s rise from obscurity through its shady finance dealings and dysfunctional corporate culture to its inevitable demise. It’s a true story of greed, arrogance, and deceit, recounted in exacting detail.
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
Another of Patrick Lencioni’s “leadership fables,” The Five Dysfunctions of a Team tells the story of Kathryn Petersen, a CEO facing a leadership crisis: uniting a dysfunctional team that could very well bring down an entire company. As we get deeper into the tale, Lencioni provides actionable steps to overcoming the five dysfunctions that cause even the best teams to struggle.
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
In Grit, psychologist Angela Duckworth shares the secret to achievement — and it’s not necessarily talent but a combination of passion and persistence, which Duckworth refers to as “grit.” What amounts to a four-step program, Duckworth explains the psychology behind your ability (or inability, for that matter) to reaching your goals.
Broadcasting Happiness: The Science of Igniting and Sustaining Positive Change by Michelle Gielan
Imagine a world where our words could move people from inaction to action. Michelle Gielan, founder of the Institute for Applied Positive Research, shows us the possibilities of communication in changing a person’s mindset. Gielan propose that even small shifts in the way we communicate can make us more effective leaders and go a long way to improving business outcomes.
Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life: A Kick-Butt Approach to a Better Life by Larry Winget
Hailed as “not your average self-help book,” Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life boils success down to its simplest of terms: Life gets better when you get better. Eschewing advice often found in other self-help books, Larry Winget attacks everything from why people are overweight to having a positive attitude. Yet through it all, you learn what you need to do change your life. There you have it! Are there any books on this list that you also love? What books top your must-read list? Please share your favorites
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