I think it is very telling when you look at a business leader’s bookshelf. We all have our favourites and if you are anything like me they have annotations in the margins and phrases that are underlined. I love to read – it has been the source for constant learning.
When coaching executives – I give books away that have made a huge difference for me…..some are timely and others are just general information. Some of my Favourites – ranked in no particular order:
- How will you Measure Your Life? By Clayton M. Christensen. Frankly anything by Christensen is good [currently reading his new book Competing Against Luck]. Christensen is the world renowned innovation expert. His book on How Will you Measure Your Life? Is a very different book for him…he wrote is while recovering from a stroke. Very insightful, inspirational and loaded with wisdom on achieving and living a fulfilled life.
- Pinched – How the Great Recession has Narrowed our futures and what we can do about it. By Don Peck. This was the book that truly opened my eyes to what is really going on with jobs and provides insights into the ‘demise of the while male’ in the workforce while highlighting the reality of the rise of women in the workforce. An eye opener for sure.
- Different – Escaping the Competitive Herd By Youngme Moon. Fascinating look at consumer choices. She encourages us to stop conforming and start deviating – stop emulating and start innovating. Stand out – even if you are out there alone [for a while – until people emulate you].
- Start With Why – How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action – by Simon Sinek. Again anything by Simon Sinek is worth reading, listening to and watching. Simon is way ahead in his thinking and frankly has that confident style about him that you want to be a part of his innovative, inspirational and influential tribe.
- Who By Geoff Smart and Randy Street – this is the best book on how to solve your #1 Problem……knowing Who [can do it] is more important than knowing what to do. Practical, deeply insightful tips on how to attract, hire and retain top talent. High praise for this book not just in the HR department – this is THE book for the C suite.
- Hardball For Women – Winning at the Game of Business By Pat Heim. I bought this book when it was first published in 1993. The stories, the lessons and the inspiration still hold true. If you want to understand the Game of Business – and how to play it first understand the difference between how boys and how girls were taught. Girls are taught to ‘get along’; boys are taught to win………According to Pinched – Don Peck’s book above – women are now poised to win.
- Do the Work – By Steven Pressfield. Resistance…..that thing that stops us. The Enemy of Doing the Work is Resistance. Want to know how to embrace it and move forward….this little 30 minute read provides solutions, true insights and the power to move beyond resistance that is holding you back.
- Only Pack What you Can Carry – My Path to Inner Strength, Confidence, And True Self-Knowledge By Janice Holly Booth. “If you want to realize your potential, if you want to know what really matters to you…..you need to take time to think about things deep in that place where you tell the truth.” Janice provides insight by taking you on a journey where you will discover: Courage, Solitude, Introspection and Commitment.
- Developing Leader Character By Mary Crossan, Gerard Seijts, and Jeffrey Gandz. The concrete behaviours associated with the 11 dimensions of character are illustrated to demonstrate how behaviours can be developed and character can be strengthened. Character is now the new ‘cool’. Leader Character matters!
- Mandela’s Way – Fifteen Lessons on Life, Love and Courage By Richard Stengel. 15 chapters in which Stengel recounts the moments in which Nelson Mandela was tested and the lessons he gleaned from the challenges. Full of wisdom, insights and the book will challenge you to review the legacy you are leaving.
Loretta Biscaro Smith is an Executive Coach, Talent Acquisition Specialist and Strategist. She is a Certified provider of the Leader Character program research and developed by the Ivey School of Business.