10 Books I Keep Coming Back to Read Again
“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” — Harry S. Truman
You’ve likely heard that reading is not just a good idea, but is actually essential to being an effective leader. Why is that? A few quick thoughts, then two lists of books that have helped me more than any others in the last seven years.
- Reading expands your frame of reference. “The more you know…” right? Learning from the experiences, research, and deep thinking of others gives us perspective, knowledge, and wisdom we otherwise wouldn’t have. It’s multiplication, not just addition.
- Reading forces you to slow down. If you’re like most people, you have a thousand things going on. Reading requires you not attempt to multi-task and focus on one thing. That can lead to deeper learning, reflection, and satisfaction.
- Reading makes you a better communicator. How does this work? Simply, clear communication is built on clear thinking. By taking time to think through someone else’s thoughts, you’ll have to think about your own. Clarifying your thoughts, beliefs, and perspective can only improve your communication, written and verbal.
There are thousands and thousands of book recommendations out there. Rather than give you a list claiming to provide the “best of” a certain topic, here are 5 book I keep coming back to because of how they help me grow year after year (affiliate links included):
5 Books I Keep Coming Back To Again and Again
Boundaries for Leaders by Henry Cloud
- Key quote: “As a leader, you are always going to get a combination of two things: What you create and what you allow.”
Next Generation Leader by Andy Stanley
- Key quote: “Where there is no uncertainty, there is no longer the need for leadership…Your goal should not be to eliminate uncertainty. Instead, you must develop the art of being clear in the face of uncertainty.”
Leadership Beyond Reason by John Townsend
- Key quote: “Be aware that your mind can make mistakes. The more you know about your thinking patterns, the better equipped you are for leadership.”
- Bonus: see all of my top takeaways and key quotes in a longer post
Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni
- Key quote: “Trust is the foundation of real teamwork. And so the first dysfunction is a failure on the part of team members to understand and open up to one another. And if that sounds touchy-feely, let me explain, because there is nothing soft about it. It is an absolutely critical part of building a team. In fact, it’s probably the most critical.”
- I’m putting these two books together, because they flow seamlessly and are inseparable in my mind.
- Key quote: “There is no greater threat to the critics, cynics, and fear mongers than those of us who are willing to fall because we have learned how to rise.”
5 Books When I Need A Quick Boost
There are also times when I need a quick boost, a shot of confidence, a bit of encouragement, or fresh perspective. Whether I’m stuck on a particular problem or feeling unmotivated, I can jump into any of these five books for a shove in the direction of aiming high and taking action. These 5 books are written and designed so you can jump in anywhere you’d like and have been serving me well for years:
- What to Do When It’s Your Turn (And It’s Always Your Turn) by Seth Godin
- Rework by Jason Fried
- Habitudes by Tim Elmore (note: this is actually a series of themed books)
- Leadership Axioms by Bill Hybels
- The EQ Edge by Steven Stein and Howard Book (note: you’d probably benefit from reading the first 50-pages, then following your interests from there)
What books do you keep coming back to? What are you reading right now? I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on Twitter.