10 must-read books for leaders: Expand your mind

Use these books to boost your leadership IQ – and EQ
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As summer draws to a close, maybe your summer reading list still needs a little work. Or maybe you think of fall as the perfect time to recharge your brain, just like you did when you were a full-time student. Either way, this collection of books won’t let you down: Get ready to broaden your mind and expand your leadership skill set.

We’re talking about leading teams and individuals, analyzing technology and trends with a critical eye, and applying your emotional intelligence. EQ skills have never been in higher demand, thanks to the popularity of cross-functional teams and agile methodologies. Let’s dig into 10 books that will help you build competency in these areas:

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact

By: Chip and Dan Heath

Book description: While human lives are endlessly variable, our most memorable positive moments are dominated by four elements: elevation, insight, pride, and connection. If we embrace these elements, we can conjure more moments that matter. Many of the defining moments in our lives are the result of accident or luck – but why would we leave our most meaningful, memorable moments to chance when we can create them? The Power of Moments shows us how to be the author of richer experiences.

Why you should read it: “If life is a series of moments, the Heath brothers have transformed how I plan to spend mine,” writes author Adam Grant in his review of this book. This book explores not only the why behind some of the most meaningful moments of our lives, but also the how. In doing so, the authors provide a recipe for companies to cook up their own powerful moments to engage employees and win over customers. 

Build an A-Team: Play to Their Strengths and Lead Them Up the Learning Curve


By: Whitney Johnson

Book description: What's the secret to having an engaged and productive team? It's having a plan for developing all employees – no matter where they are on their personal learning curves. Better morale and higher performance happen through learning, argues Whitney Johnson. The best bosses know this, and they know how to make it happen by thoughtfully designing people’s jobs around the skills they have today as well as the skills they'll need to be even more valuable tomorrow. In this book, Johnson explains how to become one of those bosses and how to build your A-team.

Why you should read it:  Johnson has had a front-row seat to what makes employees tick after spending more than 20 years coaching, investing, and consulting. With no end in sight to the struggles of finding top technical talent, you can't afford to lose the talent you already have. This book will help you be a better leader and build a team that thrives despite continuous change. 


Tribe of Mentors: Short Life Advice from the Best in the World 

By: Tim Ferriss 

Book description: We all need mentors, particularly when the odds seem stacked against us. To find his own, four-time #1 best-selling author Tim Ferriss tracked down more than 100 eclectic experts to help him, and you, navigate life. Through short, action-packed profiles, he shares their secrets for success, happiness, meaning, and more. No matter the challenge or opportunity, something in these pages can help.

Why you should read it: One of Fast Company’s “Most Innovative Business People,” Ferriss offers lessons and life advice on a variety of topics from a wide range of experts and celebrities. Leaders will find tidbits that they can apply to their careers - like how to say no, and how to see obstacles as opportunities. As one reviewer said, “Take notes, because you'll want to revisit these nuggets of wisdom often.”

[ Are you getting the most from mentoring? Read also : 7 habits of highly effective mentors. ]

When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

By: Daniel H. Pink

Book description (via Amazon): Drawing on a rich trove of research from psychology, biology, and economics, Pink reveals how best to live, work, and succeed. In “When,” Pink distills cutting-edge research and data on timing and synthesizes them into a fascinating, readable narrative packed with irresistible stories and practical takeaways that give readers compelling insights into how we can live richer, more engaged lives.

Why you should read it: We all know the saying “timing is everything.” In this book, Pink dives into the science behind this idea and explores why there truly is a good time and a bad time for everything – from when to make big life decisions, to when to hold the most productive meetings, to when to have your morning cup of coffee.

Brotopia: Breaking Up the Boys' Club of Silicon Valley

By: Emily Chang

Book description (via Amazon): In this powerful exposé, Bloomberg TV journalist Emily Chang reveals how Silicon Valley got so sexist despite its utopian ideals, why bro culture endures despite decades of companies claiming the moral high ground (Don't Be Evil! Connect the World!) – and how women are finally starting to speak out and fight back.

Why you should read it: Peter Weis, CIO of Matson Navigation says, “I’m not just a CIO. I’m also a father of two daughters, one of whom works in Silicon Valley, and I’ve been in enough meetings with start-ups and venture capitalists to see the male-dominated culture first-hand. This important book provides an unflinching view into this systemic failure but also provides hope for a brighter, more inclusive future for women in technology. It’s a must read for any technology leader who seeks to be a change agent. Both business and society overall will benefit as this new future unfolds.”

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