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  • Writer's pictureKyle Willkom

My Top 10 Book Recommendations - Leadership Edition

Updated: Nov 8, 2018

I speak often on leadership topics - so I thought I'd share ten books that shaped the way I view leadership.

Reading is a tremendous way to improve a skill set on any subject, and I often find the more I read the more I grow. I'm hoping you find value in the list below. I'm confident that by reading even just one or two of these books, you'll begin to see subtle changes in your life that will ultimately make a huge difference.

1. How to Win Friends & Influence People - Dale Carnegie

Originally published in 1936, this book is full of timeless wisdom. I think it should be required reading for every person in any type of leadership position. In 2011, it was listed as number 19 on Time Magazine's list of top 100 most influential books. You can't go wrong picking up this book.

2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey

The journey to personal change starts here. This classic book breaks down ethical dilemmas we face every day, and helps us move forward through this crazy world more intentionally. Want to build real character? This is the book to check out.

3. The Power of Moments - Chip Heath and Dan Heath

A newer book on this list, The Power of Moments was published in 2017. I believe everyone can introduce more defining moments into their lives - the hard part tends to be figuring out how to do it. I'm sure you can agree that one "Moment" has the capacity to change everything - but how do we create a "Moment?" Do you need a "Defining Moment?" This is your book.

4. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team - Patrick Lencioni

I first read this book when I was a Junior in high school. After reading it, I wrote a letter to Patrick Lencioni about what I learned. To my surprise, he wrote me back and sent me a signed copy of the book. If you lead an organization or team, this is your book.

5. Everybody Always - Bob Goff

The entire premise is about how to love difficult people - which I think is exactly what leadership is about. I haven't met anyone who can make it past chapter 3 without crying. You'll laugh a lot at the hilarity of Bob's stories and also learn a lot about what it takes to live with purpose in this crazy crazy world. (This book does have a foundation in Christianity - take that how you will.)

6. The Talent Code - Daniel Coyle

How do people become talented at something? This book breaks it down. It is clear, precise, and will help you improve at whatever it is you are pursuing. Highly recommend.

7. Reality-Based Leadership - Cy Wakeman

Cy doesn't sugar-coat what it takes to be a leader. She does a great job sifting through all the cliches you might hear, and she gets to the bottom of what leadership looks and feels like. A great book for the real-world leader.

8. Finish - Jon Acuff

If setting goals is one piece of the leadership puzzle - actually achieving those goals is the puzzle itself. Jon Acuff breaks down what it takes to reach the finish line. He gives some great advice, and he's hilarious. It won't be hard for you to "Finish" this book; it is a quick read that will motivate you to reach your goals.

9. Serve to be Great - Matt Tenney

I may be a little biased because I worked extensively with Matt while I lived in Nashville, but I truly believe his book, "Serve to be Great," is fantastic. He dives into how and why businesses that make serving people their number one priority are thriving in this world while businesses only focused on their bottom line tend to miss the bigger picture.

10. The Obstacle is the Way - Ryan Holiday

Have you ever been through something difficult? I'm positive your answer is, "Yes. Who hasn't?" Ryan Holiday believes life is not just about getting through the difficult times, but using the difficult times to build a brighter future. If you're interested in wisdom from as far back as Roman Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, mixed with relevant topics of today - you'll really get into this book.

I hope you find the value in these books that I have found through the years. Read one of them or read all ten. I have a strong feeling that the more you read, the more your life will change. Such tends to be the case. Happy reading.

(Disclaimer - this site uses affiliate links. If you click through this blog and purchase a book, the author of this blog will get a commission from Amazon on the sale of the book.)

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