Below are our recommended books to read. This is by no means a comprehensive list. If you have additional books that have had a profound impact for you or your organization, please let us know so that we may add that book to this list.
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t; by Jim Collins – Good to Great is considered to be one of the ten best leadership books of all time. What originally moved Collins’ eleven highlighted companies to the top is what matters, and the principles exposed in his book are still the best roadmap we have for improving entire organizations.
The Fifth Discipline; by Peter Senge – This is the book which gave us the term “learning organization.” It’s also a book about systems and how they work. This is a book about how what we do changes the world around us, sometimes in ways we expect and sometimes not.
Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies; by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras – This book is filled with hundreds of specific examples that are organized into a coherent framework of practical concepts that can be applied by managers and entrepreneurs at all levels. Built to Last provides a master blueprint for building organizations that will prosper long into the 21st century and beyond.
The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement; by Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox – This book, which introduces the Theory of Constraints, is changing how America does business. The Goal is a gripping, fast-paced business novel about overcoming the barriers to making money. You will learn the fundamentals of identifying and solving the problems created by constraints.
The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything; by Stephen M.R. Covey – The Speed of Trust challenges our age-old assumption that trust is merely a soft, social virtue, and instead demonstrates that trust is a hard-edged, economic driver, a learnable and measurable skill that makes organizations more profitable, people more promotable, and relationships more energizing. Stephen M.R. Covey articulates why trust has become the key leadership competency of the new global economy.
First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently; by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman – Focused on performance, among other things, Break All The Rules should be required reading for all managers. Throughout Break All The Rules, commonly held beliefs are exposed as ineffective or destructive – not by the authors, but by the hyper-successful managers they interviewed.
Strategic Hiring: Tomorrow’s Benefits Today; by Stephen J. Blakesley – Written by a CEO and seasoned head hunter, this book will become the “hiring bible” for your organization. Strategic Hiring is packed with help at all levels and powered with experience.
Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big; by Bo Burlingham – A small number of companies have rejected the pressure of endless growth to focus on more satisfying business goals. Goals like being great at what they do, creating a great place to work, providing great customer service, making great contributions to their communities and finding great ways to lead their lives.
Leadership and Talent Development
The Case for Servant Leadership; by Kent M. Keith – The author cites the universal importance of service. Servant Leadership is a leadership model that puts serving others first. The book compares the power model of leadership with the service model, describes some key practices of servant-leaders, and explores the meaningful lives of Servant-Leaders. This book can be purchased at www.greenleaf.org.
The Power of Full Engagement; by Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz – This book provides a clear road map to becoming more physically energized, emotionally connected, mentally focused, and spiritually aligned, both on and off the job.
The Five Temptations of a CEO: A Leadership Fable; by Patrick M. Lencioni – This book discusses fundamental issues faced by all leaders, issues involving personal integrity and effectiveness in the ongoing struggle for success. In The Five Temptations of a CEO, these topics actually begin to make sense.
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful; by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter – What Got You Here is actually a great leadership development read for both those who need to smooth out some rough edges in their approach or personality, and those who want to build a constructive company culture that takes the organization to the next level.
Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence; by Daniel Goleman, Richard E. Boyatzis, and Annie McKee – These authors show that great leaders excel not just through skill and intelligence, but by connecting with others using Emotional Intelligence like empathy and self-awareness. The best leaders have a powerful ability to drive emotions in a positive direction to get results, and can choose from a variety of leadership styles as the situation demands.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People; by Stephen R. Covey – This may be one of the best leadership development books of all time. You don’t need to be a manager to learn from this book. By following the 7 Habits you will improve every relationship in your work and private life.
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High; by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler – Turn crucial conversations into the action and results you want whether they take place at work, or at home. Crucial Conversations can have a profound impact on your career, your happiness, and your future.
The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive: A Leadership Fable; by Patrick M. Lencioni – Companies succeed for two reasons: they are smart, and they are healthy. Most executives spend far more time on making their organizations smart than they do on making them healthy. This is a gripping tale with a powerful and memorable message for all who strive to be extraordinary leaders.
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking; by Malcolm Gladwell – This book weighs the factors that determine good decision making. Drawing on recent cognitive research, Gladwell concludes that those who quickly filter out extraneous information generally make better decisions than those who discount their first impressions.
The Tipping Point; by Malcolm Gladwell – We live in a web of connections and influences. This book will help you understand how they work. It’s focus is on how information and influence flow in the real world.
The Alchemist; by Paulo Coelho – The Alchemist is subtitled “A Fable About Following Your Dreams.” The universal point this story makes is that everyone has a special destiny and not everyone resolves to attain it because it takes hard work. Reaching one’s destiny requires leaving behind familiar surroundings. It also demands persistence, the ability to change when appropriate, and the willingness to respond to the guidance that points the way to your destiny.
Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life; by Spencer Johnson – This is a book that helps people and organizations cope with change. Who Moved My Cheese is particularly timely because of the current economic climate we face. Businesses are either changing or closing, and Who Move Moved My Cheese helps you, your leaders, and your employees cope with and adapt to it.
The Wisdom of Teams: Creating the High Performance Organization; by Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith – Wisdom lies in recognizing a team’s unique potential to deliver results and in understanding its many benefits, including the development of individual members, team accomplishments, and stronger companywide performance. Katzenbach and Smith show why teams will be the primary building blocks of company performance in the future.
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable; by Patrick M. Lencioni – This book gets to the heart of why most teams fail to execute: teamwork. Your group may understand the terrific vision and direction, but without teamwork your processes will grind to a halt. Regardless of the number of “truly dedicated” individuals you have in a group, The Five Dysfunctions demonstrates how to move that group away from personalities and into a cohesive state characterized by results.