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Best Books of 2017
Best leadership Books

These are classic leadership books that have stood the test of time and are essential reading for anyone wanting to develop their leadership skills. Not all leadership books are business books nor are all business books leadership books. But leadership is an art that can be applied in all contexts.

Of the books listed below, some are great leadership books in their own right and some have simply caused us to change our perspective and emphasis. Some confuse principles and approaches and can be misleading, but the points they make are valid in many situations. You, as the leader, must become a master at application, determining what works when. While there are no universal applications, you will discover that there are universal principles that when applied consistently, will add to your success as a leader.


9781626568754Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age
by Edward D. Hess and Katherine Ludwig
(Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2017)

Smart technologies will become ubiquitous, invading and changing many aspects of our professional and personal lives and in many ways challenging our fundamental beliefs about success, opportunity, and the American Dream. New skills will be needed. Uniquely human skills. Those skills, while uniquely human, are not what we are typically trained to do and require a deal of messy personal development. (Blog Post)

Focus
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9781626343795Ego Free Leadership: Ending the Unconscious Habits that Hijack Your Business
by Brandon Black and Shayne Hughes
(Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2017)

“Anytime we know intellectually what to do, but our actual behavior is inconsistent or in contradiction, it is a sign we are being short-circuited by our egosystem. These behavioral derailers come in many forms: conflict avoidance, procrastination, defensiveness, people pleasing, shutting down, being argumentative, just to name a few.” (Blog Post)

Ego Free Leadership
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9781250103505Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity
by Kim Scott
(St. Martin's Press, 2017)

Radical candor is a culture of guidance based on caring personally and challenging directly everyone you work with. The goal is to achieve collaboratively what you could never achieve individually, and to do that, you need to care about the people you’re working with. (Blog Post)

Radical Candor
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9781501174445Forged in Crisis: The Power of Courageous Leadership in Turbulent Times
by Nancy Koehn
(Scribner, 2017)

The crisis that can break one person can give birth to leadership in another. It’s a conscious choice to lead. Koehn brings out key lessons common to Ernest Shackleton, President Abraham Lincoln, legendary abolitionist Frederick Douglass, Nazi-resisting clergyman Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and environmental crusader Rachel Carson, as they struggled with their thoughts in what were do or die situations. (Blog Post)

Forged In Crisis
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9781501124020Principles: Life and Work
by Ray Dalio
(Random House, 2017)

Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs, shares the unconventional principles that he’s developed, refined, and used over the past forty years to create unique results in both life and business—and which any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals.

Ray Dalio
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9780812997194The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World's Greatest Teams
by Sam Walker
(Random House, 2017)

The best leaders in sports history were not mesmerizing characters. They didn’t always make for great television. That’s what we’ve come to expect, however. So that’s what we continue to get. And so teams choose the wrong people to lead them. They promote people with the wrong characteristics. It’s typically not the player with the highest market value. What it takes to lead is not always what it seems. (Blog Post)

Greatest Teams
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9781260108361Open Source Leadership: Reinventing Management When There's No More Business as Usual
by Rajeev Peshawaria
(McGraw-Hill Education, 201)

Based on Peshawaria's research spanning 28 countries, he concludes that traditional industrial age thinking needs a massive upgrade to successfully navigating the brave new world of business. Open Source Leadership rewrites the rules of management, giving you a unique look at the most common misperceptions, illusions, and downright wrong information you’ve been getting about what works and what doesn’t. It provides a new, counterintuitive model for seizing competitive edge in any industry.

Open Source Leadership
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9781101981351The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness
by Lolly Daskal
(Portfolio, 2017)

The gap in our leadership arises as a result of the disconnect between how we think people are experiencing our leadership and how they are actually experiencing our leadership. And where we find that disconnect we limit or even derail our leadership potential. (Blog Post)

Leadership Gap
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9781523082605Conflict without Casualties: A Field Guide for Leading with Compassionate Accountability
by Nate Regier
(Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2017)

The misuse of conflict energy is the biggest crisis facing our world, and that we haven’t even begun to harness the creative potential of conflict. When people embrace the fullest meaning of compassion as a process of “struggling with” others in creative conflict, they can transform lives, companies, and the world. (Blog Post)

conflict
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9781632866318Lead Yourself First: Inspiring Leadership Through Solitude
by Raymond M. Kethledge and Michael S. Erwin
(Bloomsbury USA, 2017)

We live in an age of noise. Getting some time for yourself is a challenge. But if we are going to lead effectively, we need white space. We need solitude. You don’t have to go off to a mountaintop or sit at the seashore. It can be a closed room, the library, a park bench, and even a waiting room. We have a responsibility to seek out periods of solitude. We owe it to ourselves and those we lead. (Blog Post)

solitude
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9780062457226Stretch: Unlock the Power of Less - and Achieve More Than You Ever Imagined
by Scott Sonenshein
(HarperBusiness, 2017)

Scott Sonenshein dispels the notion that having more resources = getting better results and replaces it with the conviction that a better use of resources = getting better results. Especially in uncertain times, “stretching equips us with the abilities to adapt and change when facing a less predictable set of circumstances.” (Blog Post)

stretch
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9780451496812Insight: Why We're Not as Self-Aware as We Think, and How Seeing Ourselves Clearly Helps Us Succeed at Work and in Life
by Tasha Eurich
(Crown Business, 2017)

Most people feel like they know themselves pretty well. But what if you could know yourself just a little bit better—and with this small improvement, get a big payoff…not just in your career, but in your life?

Insight
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9781401952853High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way
by Brendon Burchard
(Hay House, Inc., 2017)

Based on one of the largest surveys ever conducted on high performers, it turns out that just six habits move the needle the most in helping you succeed. Adopt these six habits, and you win. Neglect them, and life is a never-ending struggle.

High Performance
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9780735211353One Mission: How Leaders Build a Team of Teams
by Chris Fussell with C. W. Goodyear
(Portfolio, 2017)

In Team of Teams, retired four-star General Stanley McChrystal and former Navy SEAL Chris Fussell made the case for a new organizational model combining the agility, adaptability, and cohesion of a small team with the power and resources of a giant organization. Now, in One Mission, Fussell channels all his experiences, both military and corporate, into powerful strategies for unifying isolated and distrustful teams.

teams
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BIOGRAPHY
leadership

9781501139154Leonardo da Vinci
by Walter Isaacson
(Simon & Schuster, 2017)

Based on thousands of pages from Leonardo’s astonishing notebooks and new discoveries about his life and work, Walter Isaacson weaves a narrative that connects his art to his science. He shows how Leonardo’s genius was based on skills we can improve in ourselves, such as passionate curiosity, careful observation, and an imagination so playful that it flirted with fantasy.

da Vinci
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9780735219427Finding My Virginity
by Richard Branson
(Portfolio, 2017)

Richard Branson titled his autobiography Finding My Virginity because “You can only lose your virginity once. But in every aspect of my life—building businesses, raising a family, embarking upon adventures—I try to do things for the first time every day.” He shares his ups and downs in his entertaining, candid style. “If your life is one long success story it won’t make for a good read. What's more, you’re most likely a liar. We all have ups and downs, trials and tribulations, failures and triumphs: we just hope to come out stronger on the other side.” (Blog Post)

Branson
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9781591848233Am I Being Too Subtle? Straight Talk From a Business Rebel
by Sam Zell
(Portfolio, 2017)

Billionaire investor Sam Zell has put down on paper an account of the principles that guide how he does business in Am I Being Too Subtle? He advocates an owner/entrepreneurial mindset in business and life. “An owner is consumed with making the most out of what he already has. He’s all in. An entrepreneur is always looking for a new opportunity. He’s always reaching.” (Blog Post)

Sam Zell
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9781594204876Grant
by Ron Chernow
(Penguin Press, 2017)

“If there were many small things Grant didn’t know about the presidency, he knew one big thing: His main mission was to settle unfinished business from the war by preserving the Union and safeguarding the freed slaves.” Grants example is instructive for us today.

Grant
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