Books are an important part of my life. Most books I read are business, history, or biography. I also read mysteries and thrillers and westerns. Professionally, I help people find and create great business books. I help my clients write their books, improve their writing so they can write a great book, and structure their book most effectively. I evaluate manuscripts for publishers and individual authors. And I write book reviews.
I read the five books on this list for the first time in 2021 and I reviewed them on this site. I also point you to a book that wouldn’t normally be on my list. You can think of it as a bonus.
I think this is a book that will help any leader do better. It’s a book that you will want to reread and dip into several times, for years. I believe The CEO Test will become a classic on par with Peter Drucker’s Effective Executive and Kouzes and Posner’s Leadership Challenge.
Insight: The Surprising Truth About How Others See Us, How We See Ourselves, and Why the Answers Matter More Than We Think
After working on self-improvement and insight for more than 50 years, Insight: The Surprising Truth About How Others See Us, How We See Ourselves, And Why the Answers Matter More Than We Think by Tasha Eurich is the best, most-helpful book I’ve found. I’ll be combing back through it to work on specific items. If you’re looking for a book that will help you understand yourself and the way others see you, put this book at the top of your to-read list. Then, follow through and read it and apply what you learn.
This is a great book. It’s great because the content is well-supported, well-reasoned, and well-written. Amit Mukherjee uses his seven principles to tie the book together. It’s a cogent whole, not a simple collection of insights. If you want to make sense of the changing digital world Leading in The Digital World is a must-read.
Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy, and Understanding at Work
Michael Stallard has spent more than a decade researching and refining his ideas. He brought research, case studies, and analysis together to form a usable framework. Connection Culture: The Competitive Advantage of Shared Identity, Empathy, and Understanding at Work
is a must-read if you want to recognize, understand, and implement a connection culture on your team.
If you want to understand what makes great teams great, Belonging: The Ancient Code of Togetherness will give you another piece of the puzzle. You’ll also learn techniques to put Eastwood’s principles into practice. When you do that, you’ll become one with the great teams of the past.
In 2021, I coached Suzi McAlpine as she wrote Beyond Burnout: How to Spot It, Stop It and Stamp It Out. The Toronto Globe and Mail named it one of the best business books of the year.
Beyond Burnout will help you if you’re in the midst of burnout. It will help you if you’re a boss and burnout is happening to a team member. And it will help you understand the role leaders and organizations play and can play. Here’s a quote from the Preface.
“Leaders and organizations are necessarily at the crux of any discussion of burnout. For too long, we’ve placed far too much onus on the individual who is suffering burnout for both its avoidance and its remedy – and not enough on the organizations and leadership practices which have, in many cases, caused it in the first place.”
Links to My Lists of Top Business Books from Previous Years