Good Books: Leading Others

“These are the books that I recommend to close friends. I hope you find them as helpful as I did.”

Good Books: Leading Others

These books paint a clear picture of how you can become more skillful at influencing your teammates to get things done, strengthen the bonds of trust, and build a legacy of great leaders that will carry your organization successfully forward.

[In the interest of transparency, please note:  RapidStart Leadership is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.  There is no additional cost to you.]

Short, sweet, practical.  This leadership classic gives you solid tools to use when working with others in three key areas:  setting goals, praising, and reprimanding.  If you are looking for a place to start as a new leader, start with this.

Some companies are able to inspire and motivate a loyal following, while others are not.  Learn their secrets of success and how you can use them to lead your own teams.  Clearly written, pragmatic, revealing.  You can find more about this excellent work in my book notes.

Follow a submarine Captain as he turns convention on its head by refusing to give orders, and ends up making his ship the best in the fleet. This easy read provides the tools you need to empower and energize your own crew.  The larger your team, the more you need to read this.  Read the book notes.

A captivating study of successful businesses that stand the test of time, and the leadership approaches that made them winners.  Full of stories, practical insights, and surprising conclusions about what effective leadership really is.  Also check out my book notes on this great work.

A really engrossing look into the idea of motivation and what makes us do what we do.  Among the interesting conclusions: carrot/stick is not your best option, money doesn’t motivate as much as you might think, but we all have an internal drive that skillful leaders can tap into to get amazing things done.  My Book Notes about it here.

Chances are, half of the people on your team are introverts, slow to speak up.  But quiet does not mean incapable; often they are also the most creative and insightful.  This book explores the dynamics of how introverts operate in the world and how we as leaders can tap into their strengths. My Book Notes about it here.

Get great leadership insights from the winningest coach in college basketball.  This book is well-organized, easy to read, and crammed with nuggets of leadership wisdom that easily transfer to the non-basketball world.  My Book Notes here.

What happens when you have a group of people masquerading as a team?  This engaging story follows the path of one leader and how she manages to turn her team around, then provides the tools to help us do the same with ours.  My Book Notes here.

Powell’s style is easy, conversational, and full of practical wisdom collected from a life time of service to others at the highest levels of the military and government.  This book is full of personal anecdotes that illustrate what it takes for us to succeed as leaders.  My Book Notes here.

If you want to encourage more creativity on your team, this book is the place to start.  Author Adam Grant takes us on a journey through history, into the psychology lab, and behind the doors of inventors and investors to get at the core of how originality happens.  Along the way this captivating book dispells common myths and shares absorbing lessons of how we and our teams can become more origianl ourselves.  Book Notes here.

Too often the pressure for a quick fix to something results in treating the symptom and not the actual problem.  Carl Honore argues that often the quick fix make can make things worse.   Instead, he offers the idea of a Slow Fix.  This book is filled with interesting stories and helpful examples of what that means and how we can apply it to solve our problems in creative ways that last.  My Book Notes here.

Another great read by Simon Sinek, this book delves into the biological roots of how man’s survival in the early days was dependant on the safety of the group he lived in, and the actions of its leader.  From exploring what he terms the “circle of safety” to the chemical basis for our behaviors, it’s an engaging read from start to finish.  And of course it appeals to my own background:  in the Army, leaders always eat last.  My Book Notes here.

In this intriguing classic, Dr. Cialdini shares 35 years of rigorous, evidence-based research to help us understand what motivates people to make the choices they do.  In clear, absorbing prose, he shows us the six universal principles of persuasion, helps  us understand how to become skilled persuaders through them, and equips us to defend against others who seek to persuade us.  This is the best read I’ve come across that explains how our thinking works in the real world.

Highly engaging author Malcolm Gladwell re-examines the story of David and Goliath and finds that the underdog has more advantages than at first appear.  He follows up by turning convention on its head and showing us through nine real-world stories that size can be a disadvantage, difficulty can be an advantage, and the powerful are not as dominant as we may think.  For anyone leading their team against giants, read this.

Penned by Jeffrey Pfeffer of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, this book takes a direct stab at the “leadership industry,” making the case that much of its advice on topics like authenticity, modesty, and honesty will do the aspiring leader more harm than good.  Though he does not give advice on how to lead better, what he does offer is a clearer understanding of the true nature of power so that we have a better chance to survive in a leadership position long enough to do some good.

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