The Power of Books
I firmly believe that reading the right book can open your mind to a whole new world of ideas and opportunities. The right book can inspire and empower you to overcome your challenges and take action. As a leader, I understand I need to expose myself to ideas that are capable of transforming me and the people that I lead.
The world of leadership is evolving, and present-day leaders should seek insights and context to understand this changing world better. Leadership development is a must because what was applicable in the past no longer applies today.
Reading is the one habit that almost all successful people have in common. Bill Gates reads about 50 books every year; Mark Zuckerberg resolved to read 24 books a year; Mark Cuban reads three hours every day, and Warren Buffett spends 80% of his day reading!
Yes, I know. Unlike Mr. Buffett, you cannot afford to spend the majority of your time reading books, and you really don’t have enough time to dedicate to your personal development. However, sharpening your skills can be as easy as updating your reading list, so that when you do find that one precious hour to read, you’ll spend it on a book that will be worth it.
The idea of helping people identify the few books that are worth reading is what led to the creation of BookAuthority – a new website that helps you identify the world’s finest business books, by collecting and aggregating book recommendations from 150 of the most successful people in the world.
To help you find your next read, here is a list of great leadership books recommended by well-known leaders like Warren Buffett and Eric Schmidt:
Author: William N. Thorndike, Jr., Founder of Housatonic Partners
Recommended by Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
This highly influential book was put together classically to guide CEOs and private equity-type investors. It draws to the attention of the reader some pretty powerful and enduring lessons. The author focused on eight CEOs who shared a common belief and experiences about how their businesses should be run. The idea and message of this book have resonated so powerfully among CEOs and great investors that it seems to bring them together. This book explains, in the most straightforward of ways and clear terms, the hallmarks of a good business, the mindset, and strategies followed by eight business leaders in managing that flow of capital. It also serves as the blueprint of successful leadership.
“Hire the best people you can and leave them alone.” –William Thorndike
Author: Dave Logan, Professor of Organizational Communicator
Recommended by Eric Schmidt, Former CEO of Google
Dave Logan described Tribal Leadership as an excellent framework. He further explained that many organizations use tribes to maximize productivity and take it to the next level of gaining an economic edge. The book is a modern classic, and according to the editors at Amazon, one of the most influential business books ever written. This book makes a point that if a leader in an organization uses the cultural stage to operate in the team, it will be easier to harness the group’s strength and helps the company grow above other competitors. He advises that this has been more beneficial to a team when compared to fighting against the weaknesses in the team.
“Change the language in the tribe, and you have changed the tribe itself.” –Dave Logan
Author: Bill Walsh, award-winning American football coach
Recommended by Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter
Bill Walsh is known for his genius, creativity, and being a master at leadership. In this book, Walsh shows people a simple philosophy that centers on the fact that organization ethics are critical; everyone must perform at the highest possible level, and teaching should be a top priority for every leader. He also shares a unique Standard of Performance and advises on enlightening, informative, engaging the people you are leading. This book introduces an organizational philosophy where people should concentrate on core values, principles and ideals. It is highly recommended for executives, company leaders, and business owners.
“Few things offer greater return on less investment than praise.” –Bill Walsh
Author: Chip Conley, the CEO of Joie de Vivre Hospitality
Recommended by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
This great book focuses on improving the customer experience and the employee’s experience, which are both integral to the way we want to grow our business. Conley proposes that the concept works well in businesses making the shift from monetary motivation to the meaningful fulfillment of working with customers, employees, and investors. He went further to explain how a leader can understand their motivations and using it to foster better relationships, thereby building an enduring and profitable corporate culture. The concept is used as a basis for employee, customer and stakeholder satisfaction. He introduces a school of thought where employees’ pyramid of needs has three themes: survival, success, and transformation at the peak. The book is packed with thoughtful, instructional stories and advice for leaders in all walks of life.
Authors: Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras
Recommended by Jack Ma, Founder and Chairman of Alibaba
This exceptional book is about visionary companies with visionary leaders. The authors asked a pertinent question in this book: “What differentiates the truly exceptional companies from their competition and what were the common practices these enduringly great companies followed throughout their history?” This question helped them examine companies from their inception to their current state, from start-ups to midsize companies and large corporations. Built to Last presents readers with a master blueprint for building organizations that will prosper long into the 21st Century and beyond. The book inspires executives and entrepreneurs by destroying the false but widely accepted idea that only charismatic visionary leaders such as Steve Jobs can build visionary companies. It is organized into a coherent framework of practical concepts that can be applied by managers and entrepreneurs at all levels.
Leadership, just like any other skill, takes time to develop. These five books have helped Warren Buffett, Eric Schmidt and countless others to hone their skills and helped make them the leaders they are. When you read books that are recommended by other successful leaders, you can learn the mindset and strategies they are using in their businesses, and put these strategies into action to create your own success.
“One of the most important steps you can take in building a visionary company is not action, but a shift in perspective.” –Jim Collins