Part of being a leader in any industry is continuous improvement. No matter how many years you’ve put into your business or position, there are always changes in society and new things to learn. Even when it comes to leadership, the venerated practices that have been used for years are often in need of an update.
If you’re in a leadership position, it’s great to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to self-improvement. I’ve listed a few of the best books for any leader to read.
The Art of War by Sun Tzu
We’ll start out with an old classic. The Art of War has survived for centuries for good reason; among the lessons that Sun Tzu imparts are useful advice for navigating any political situation with minimal stress to you. Just ignore all of that stuff about “attacking with fire” in the workplace.
Man’s Search for Meaning By Viktor E. Frankl
What motivates you? Viktor Frankl tackles this basest of human issues while recounting his story of being imprisoned in Auschwitz. This book, poignant and memorable, demonstrates that finding one’s purpose can be critical in fostering a healthy and productive life.
Start With Why by Simon Sinek
The title really says it all; the basic premise of Start With Why is that, whether dealing with employees or stakeholders, you should always strive to explain your goals and objectives. Sinek uses this as a springboard to delve into the reasons why certain companies fail or thrive.
Crazy Bosses by Stanley Bing
Functioning as an effective and hilarious “what not to do,” Crazy Bosses puts in perspective all of the behavior that can make a leader seem like a tyrant. Plus, it’s relatable; who hasn’t had a terrible boss at some point or another?
Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
This unconventional study of economics takes readers through the worlds of education, sumo wrestling, and drug dealing to demonstrate economic principles and concepts. A far cry from the stereotypical corporate boardrooms, Freakonomics nonetheless has a lot to say about value, risk, and reward that can provide benefit to any leader or businessperson.
Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World By Adam Grant
How can you teach originality? Turns out, Adam Grant has some thoughts on the subject. Grant talks about the environments in which original ideas develop, including research that points to ways that anyone can strive to be more original and innovative.
What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School by Mark H. McCormack
The best kind of instruction is the kind rooted in real-world experience. McCormack delivers advice based on his years in the business field, discussing topics such as negotiation, management philosophies, and running the day to day operations of a business.
Essentialism by Greg McKeown
Trim the figurative fat with Essentialism, a book centered around finding the most worthwhile pursuits in your life and focusing solely on them. With a million things to do and twice as many distractions, McKeown offers a philosophy that gives you greater control over the way you live your life that will make you happier and less stressed.
Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy
The title requires a small bit of explanation, but, suffice to say, this is a great book for improving your time management skills. Here, Tracy is referencing a famous Mark Twain quote, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” Applied to the book itself, this relates to finishing your most daunting tasks first. Read about this and other productivity tactics in this international bestseller.
Drive by Daniel H. Pink
Similar in some respects to Man’s Search for Meaning, Drive focuses on a more corporate environment, examining ways that you can empower your employees to achieve more. Pink delves into the psychology of motivation and the latent desire of every human to improve the world and their own lives.