These are our favorites. Click on the title to purchase your copy.
Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…And Others Don’t by James C. Collins
A must-read for any business leader, this self-described prequel to Built to Last lays out a road map for achieving organizational excellence. It is a thoughtful, well-researched, and interesting read that significantly contributes to our understanding of organizational culture and leadership.
Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (Harper Business Essentials) by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras
This classic leadership book has changed the way we think about long-term business success. Authors Collins and Porras conducted a six-year study of America’s most successful and long-lasting companies. Built to Last identifies what separates enduring, high-performance companies from the others.
A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix by Edwin Friedman
This heady, but important book talks about the negative role fear and anxiety play in leadership and organizational dysfunction. A Failure of Nerve examines the unwitting role leaders often play in perpetuating resistance and backlash to executive action. It describes what leaders can do to take themselves out of negative organizational drama and lead with courage and strength.
Leadership on the Line: Staying Alive through the Dangers of Leading by Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky
Leading is risky and lonely work. It requires you anticipate the future, challenge the status quo, make tough decisions, and chart uncertain territory…all with no guarantee of success. Authors Heifetz and Linsky assess the dangers, provide solid strategies for dealing with them, and offer advice for taking care of yourself in the process.
Credibility: How Leaders Gain and Lose It, Why People Demand It by James Kouses and Barry Posner
According to authors Kouzes and Posner, leadership is built on relationships of trust and commitment. This book explores how leaders gain, lose, and restore these foundations of personal credibility.
The Leadership Handbook: 26 Critical Lessons Every Leader Needs by John C. Maxwell
John Maxwell is a prolific author and any one of his books on leadership is worth reading. The Leadership Handbook includes great material from his previous books and has lot of new, practical advice on how to become a more effective leader.
TRUE STORIES IN LEADERSHIP
Nuts! by Kevin and Jackie Freiberg
This is the story of how Herb Kelleher took a small Texas airline, renamed it Southwest Airlines, infused its culture with fun-oriented customer service, and turned the airline industry on its head. This is a fun book to read and a great lesson in the role organizational culture plays in business success.
Eyewitness To Power: The Essence of Leadership Nixon to Clinton by David Gergen
David Gergen is one of the only people who has served as a White House advisor for four presidents — both Republican and Democrat. His stories of the day-to-day operations within the presidency and his observations about leadership strengths and weaknesses make this a very interesting read.
Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin takes a deep look at Abraham Lincoln’s leadership style and chronicles the decisions he made and the strategies he used to engage both allies and enemies in a common purpose.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing
On December 15, 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 27 men set sail from the island of South Georgia in the Southern Ocean. Their goal was to reach Antarctica and complete its first overland crossing. Shackleton’s ship, The Endurance, became trapped and eventually crushed in ice just off the coast of Antarctica. This gripping story describes the voyage and the leadership practices that enables Shackleton and his crew to survive their grueling ordeal.
Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time by Howard Schultz
This is Schultz’ story of how he started and built Starbucks. It’s a perfect book to inspire and inform anyone with an entrepreneurial spirit.
PERSONAL GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
The Discipline of Building Character by Joseph L. Badaracco, Jr.
This Harvard Business Review article explores the decisions we make on a daily basis and how they contribute character building. He differentiates between the easier right/wrong decisions and those he calls ‘defining moments’ — the ones we mull over for days with friends and advisors or otherwise struggle with. He offers lessons and strategies and shows how to apply them personally, within teams, and in organizations.
The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are by Brene Brown
Brene Brown’s body of work — TED Talks, video shorts, on-line classes, and books — is impressive and important. The Gifts of Imperfection explores shame and how it poisons our ability to connect with others and to become our best selves.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition by Robert B. Cialdini
This book is Cialdini’s well-researched classic on the six principles of influence: reciprocity, scarcity, liking, authority, social proof, and commitment/consistency. Leadership is influence, and this book is great for anyone who wants to strengthen their leadership skills in every aspect of their lives.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
Another classic, this book is a primer for personal growth and development. All personal leadership development begins with master of Covey’s seven habits.
The Art of Happiness in a Troubled World (Art of Happiness Book) by Dalai Lama
The Dalai Lama offers practical advice on how to maintain peace of mind and even find joy in a chaotic and unhappy world. His approach is that of a leader’s — both realistic and optimistic.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
This book has been recognized as one of the ten most influential books in America. It is the memoir of psychiatrist Viktor Frankl in which he describes his internment from 1942 to 1945 in four labor camps, including Auschwitz. It is an inspiring account of how Frankl found meaning and purpose in the darkest of situations. His story is a great source of strength, perspective, and hope for all of us.
Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
Do you ever wonder why some people have more success in life than others with equal talent and skill? Malcolm Gladwell offers research-based theories about the circumstances that give certain people advantage in life. From The Beatles to Bill Gates, this book offers fascinating tidbits of information and insight about some of our most famous overachievers.
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt
In this book, Jonathan Haidt gives us the keys to understanding and be more accepting of all people, regardless of political, social, and religious differences. This is a well-researched, fascinating book that will change — to your advantage — the way you think and feel about the people you lead.
DEVELOPING PEOPLE AND LEADING TEAMS
Organizing Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration by Warren Bennis
Through decades-long research on what it takes to create strong teams, the late Dr. Warren Bennis narrowed down the characteristics of great working groups. This book describes his research, using the stories of real-life super-teams to illustrate his points.
First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
For decades, the Gallup organization has been one of the leading researchers on employee satisfaction and engagement. This book summarizes the twelve key factors they discovered that define the strength of any workplace.
The Set-Up-To-Fail Syndrome: How Good Managers Cause Great People to Fail by Jean-Francois Manzoni and Jean-Louis Barsoux
At the most basic level, the lens through which we view people impacts the success (influence) we have with them. This book describes the subtle way in which managers convey their negative or positive attitudes about employees and how those employees naturally rise up to meet those expectations.
Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies by Jared Diamond
Jared Diamond lays out factors such as geography and environment that he theorizes shaped human history. It’s a fascinating chronicle of migration, food production, disease, and warfare that shaped the modern world.
The Lexus And The Olive Tree: Understanding Globalization, Updated and Expanded Edition by Thomas Friedman
Through technology, American capitalism has expanded globally, changing the way people work and live throughout the world. At the local level, however, there are many powerful religious and cultural forces pushing back. Friedman’s book is essential reading for those of us who work and live on the global stage.
FROM RABINER RESOURCES
The Magic is in the Mix by David Rabiner and Susy Wagner
This user’s manual offers a powerful method for understanding and typing personality styles and how to apply those concepts at work. Distilled to its essence, understanding and using this model equates with respecting, accepting, valuing, and capitalizing on individual differences.
Manage Yourself First by David Rabiner and Susy Wagner
The first in a series on leadership communication, this booklet provides a foundational strategy for leaders who want to connect with and influence the people they lead.
Validation by David Rabiner and Susy Wagner
The second in a series of booklets on leadership communication, this booklet provides an effective strategy that will fundamentally change the way you think, feel, and act so you will naturally be a more positive, focused, respectful, and effective communicator.
Assertiveness by David Rabiner and Susy Wagner
The third in a series on leadership communications, this booklet takes a deeper look at the one quality that, if missing, can break a leader — regardless of the strength of other leadership qualities.