Books

Book Recommendations

Reading books and publications is an essential learning tool for personal and professional development. They are a great resource for finding new, creative ways to learn through others’ experiences. Below are some books I recommend adding to your reading list. I will periodically post new books on this page along with a short review. Check back often to keep up to date on these reading materials.

Featured Books

Multipliers

Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

We’ve all had experience with two dramatically different types of leaders. The first type drains intelligence, energy, and capability from the people around them and always needs to be the smartest person in the room. These are the idea killers, the energy sappers, the diminishers of talent and commitment. On the other side of the spectrum are leaders who use their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capabilities of the people around them. When these leaders walk into a room, light bulbs go off over people’s heads; ideas flow and problems get solved. These are the leaders who inspire employees to stretch themselves to deliver results that surpass expectations. These are the Multipliers. And the world needs more of them, especially now when leaders are expected to do more with less.

I purchased this book on a recommendation from one of my clients. I encounter many leaders who have achieved success through their own intellect and drive. They plateau their careers and realize they have not spent time teaching, mentoring, educating, and developing their team. Sharing their intellect and creating other genius is not part of their daily thinking. This book will help change how you view your role and responsibilities as a leader.

Triggers: Creating Behavior that Lasts, Becoming The Person You Want to Be

This book is written by bestselling author and world-renowned executive coach Marshall Goldsmith. One of the towering figures in my industry. In this book, he examines the environmental and psychological triggers that can derail us at work and in life.

I purchased this book because I want to be more versed in how to make permanent behavioral changes. Changing behavior is a critical element in personal and professional development. The book provides some great ideas on how to make the right changes that last so you can become the person you want to be.

This is a great book for people who are contemplating changing behavior or eliminating a habit.

You can read my book review here, or purchase the book online on Amazon or your favorite book store.

Recommendations

Chess not Checkers

Chess Not Checkers: Elevate Your Leadership Game

As organizations grow in volume and complexity, the demands on leadership change. The same old moves won’t cut it anymore. In Chess Not Checkers, Mark Miller tells the story of Blake Brown, newly appointed CEO of a company troubled by poor performance and low morale. Nothing Blake learned from his previous roles seems to help him deal with the issues he now faces. The problem, his new mentor points out, is Blake is playing the wrong game.

I am not a big fan of fictional characters in business books but Mark Miller does a great job of using Blake and his experience to convey the story of a leader who deals with a more than real-life situation with a non-conventional approach to leadership. This is a very easy read and one I recommend to leaders who are searching for a more effective leadership approach.

I purchased this book as a guide for a leadership workshop that I am putting together. The concept of leading others strategically is a key element and this book helps convey the message that managing teams by using traditional means is not as effective nor inspirational compared to leading by strategically leveraging our most valuable resource, our people.

The Coaching Habit

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

This is a great book for anyone in a position to coach or mentor individuals. The author lays out great ways to be a better listener and ask better questions. At the core of the book are seven questions that can be used every day during our interactions with people (The Kickstart Question, The AWE Question, The Focus Question, The Foundation Question, The Lazy Question, The Strategic Question, and The Learning Question). These questions, combined with other great tips are valuable resources that I intend to use going forward.

Drawing on years of experience training more than 10,000 busy managers from around the globe in practical, everyday coaching skills, Bungay Stanier reveals how to unlock your people’s potential. He unpacks seven essential coaching questions to demonstrate how–by saying less and asking more–you can develop coaching methods that produce great results.

I highly recommend this book to anyone in a leadership position.

Culture Code

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups

In The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle goes inside some of the world’s most successful organizations—including the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six, IDEO, and the San Antonio Spurs—and reveals what makes them tick. He demystifies the culture-building process by identifying three key skills that generate cohesion and cooperation, and explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind. Drawing on examples that range from Internet retailer Zappos to the comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade to a daring gang of jewel thieves, Coyle offers specific strategies that trigger learning, spark collaboration, build trust, and drive positive change. Coyle unearths helpful stories of failure that illustrate what not to do, troubleshoots common pitfalls, and shares advice about reforming a toxic culture. Combining leading-edge science, on-the-ground insights from world-class leaders, and practical ideas for action, The Culture Code offers a roadmap for creating an environment where innovation flourishes, problems get solved, and expectations are exceeded.

I purchased this book as part of a project for one of my prospective clients. Their mission is to be a more cohesive team by establishing a common purpose. 

This is a great book for leaders who are searching for ways to create more effective teams or seeking to unite a team towards a common cause.

The Culture Map

The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business

In The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle goes inside some of the world’s most successful organizations—including the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six, IDEO, and the San Antonio Spurs—and reveals what makes them tick. He demystifies the culture-building process by identifying three key skills that generate cohesion and cooperation, and explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind. Drawing on examples that range from Internet retailer Zappos to the comedy troupe Upright Citizens Brigade to a daring gang of jewel thieves, Coyle offers specific strategies that trigger learning, spark collaboration, build trust, and drive positive change. Coyle unearths helpful stories of failure that illustrate what not to do, troubleshoots common pitfalls, and shares advice about reforming a toxic culture. Combining leading-edge science, on-the-ground insights from world-class leaders, and practical ideas for action, The Culture Code offers a roadmap for creating an environment where innovation flourishes, problems get solved, and expectations are exceeded.

I purchased this book as part of a project for one of my prospective clients. Their mission is to be a more cohesive team by establishing a common purpose. 

This is a great book for leaders who are searching for ways to create more effective teams or seeking to unite a team towards a common cause.

The Culture Solution: How to Achieve Cultural Synergy and Get Results in the Global Workplace

Foreign assignments are both rewarding and challenging. This was the case for me when I was on assignment in South America. Dr. Mendez’s new approach provides useful and practical tools based on real-world situations.

The Culture Solution is the book to provide business people a step-by-step system to manage and recognize for themselves the cultural factors that affect international relationships and global partnerships. Using the new method of Cultural Analysis created by Deirdre Mendez, international managers can solve problems and create cultural synergies that produce the most productive international teams, projects and alliances.

I highly recommend this book to anyone considering an assignment overseas.

Daring Greatly

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Every day we experience the uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure that define what it means to be vulnerable or to dare greatly. Based on twelve years of pioneering research, Brené Brown Ph.D., LMSW, dispels the cultural myth that vulnerability is weakness and argues that it is, in truth, our most accurate measure of courage.

Brené was touched by the following quote from Theodore Roosevelt: “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; . . . who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”

I purchased this book to learn more about vulnerability and its place in the behavioral change management process.  This process is key to improving our abilities and eventually achieving our career objectives.

This is a great book for people who struggle with vulnerability and especially those who feel shame.

Disrupt Yourself

Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work

I participated in a coaching webinar and Whitney was one of the speakers. She was very engaging and had some great ideas on personal development. I bought the book and it was a great read. Her personal background and professional history is inspiring. Her book puts to words what many people should consider using in their professional lives.

Whitney Johnson wants you to consider this simple, yet powerful, idea: disruptive companies and ideas upend markets by doing something truly different–they see a need, an empty space waiting to be filled, and they dare to create something for which a market may not yet exist.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Emotional Intelligence 2.0

Gaining control of our emotions and funneling our energy in a positive manner is difficult for many people. In my coaching practice, I help people better understand who they are (self-awareness) and to harness the power of change. Changing our behavior is a process with important steps along the way. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 is a great way to frame this process and to fine-tune the decisions we make when encountering difficult situations.

I purchased this book because I am always seeking more knowledge on how we work as humans. The authors fulfill this need for me and they offer great ideas on how I can help people become more effective in their professional and personal lives.

This is a great book for people who are contemplating changing behavior or eliminating a habit.

Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content

Everybody Writes is a go-to guide to attracting and retaining customers through stellar online communication, because in our content-driven world, every one of us is, in fact, a writer.

If you have a web site, you are a publisher. If you are on social media, you are in marketing. And that means that we are all relying on our words to carry our marketing messages. We are all writers.

One of the unexpected consequences of being an owner of a small business is the need to write a lot of content. Although I was extremely excited to build my website, I dreaded the process of creating content. Writing is not natural to me and I struggle to put words together in a compelling way. As I tried to fill my website with content I decided to write articles. Although painful at first, I’m now enjoying writing. I have also contemplated writing a book or two. Having a better understanding of how people take in and process content is something that I have never been exposed to. I know good content when I see it but I don’t know how to create it. 

I purchased this book as a guide to help me write better. Ann does a great job simplifying the process and also making learning fun. Her light-humor writing style makes this fairly technical book fun to read. I have learned a lot about writing along the way. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in creating better content, whether it’s maintaining a website, writing articles or books, or simply wanting to know how to craft a better email.

Executive Coaching for Results

Executive Coaching for Results: The Definitive Guide to Developing Organizational Leaders

I ran across this book in the winter of 2018 and it was full of great information for coaches, Human Resource professionals, and people involved in Learning and Development areas. I highly recommend this to those that are evaluating whether or not coaching should be adopted and if so in which areas.

Throughout, the authors provide numerous examples from major organizations such as Dell, Johnson and Johnson, Intel, and Wal-Mart. Offering practical learning, best practices, and illuminating case studies, this is the first definitive guide to the effective use of executive coaching in the corporate environment.

Executive Coaching with Backbone and Heart

Executive Coaching with Backbone and Heart: A Systems Approach to Engaging Leaders with Their Challenges

As an Executive and Business Coach, I am always looking for best practices and ideas that can up my game and improve my coaching ability. This book was of particular interest because it takes a different approach than most books. For example, the author is not a big fan of personality assessments like DISC, MBTI, and Hogan. I like data so I tend to gravitate towards these tools. This book also has some real-life coaching examples using real scenarios with anonymous characters. It’s a bit expensive but a good read none-the-less.

Coaching high-powered executives require something extra. Executive coaches must become partners whose emotional investment in business outcomes equals that of their clients. They must have the strength and courage to face an organizational leader in a time of crisis and speak the unvarnished truth. They must be a force to be reckoned with. They have to have backbone and heart.

Executive Presence: The Missing Link Between Merit and Success

Are you “leadership material?” More importantly, do others perceive you to be? Sylvia Ann Hewlett, a noted expert on workplace power and influence, shows you how to identify and embody the Executive Presence (EP) that you need to succeed.

Based on a nationwide survey of college graduates working across a range of sectors and occupations, Sylvia Hewlett and the Center for Talent Innovation discovered that EP is a dynamic, cohesive mix of appearance, communication, and gravitas. While these elements are not equal, to have true EP, you must know how to use all of them to your advantage.

I purchased this book because many of the individuals I coach need to develop their executive presence. The definition of EP is all over the place and few people even know how to describe it. Most say that they will know it when they see it. I have created my own definition of executive presence and posted it on my website. You can read the article by clicking here

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

Throughout the story, Lencioni reveals the five dysfunctions which go to the very heart of why teams even the best ones-often struggle. He outlines a powerful model and actionable steps that can be used to overcome these common hurdles and build a cohesive, effective team. Just as with his other books, Lencioni has written a compelling fable with a powerful yet deceptively simple message for all those who strive to be exceptional team leaders.

I purchased this book as part of a project for one of my clients. Their mission is to be a more cohesive team by adopting some of the principles found in the book. 

This is a great book for leaders who are searching for ways to create more effective teams or seeking to unite a team through building trust.

Great at Work

Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More

A great, fact-filled book on how top performers are more effective and how the role of “working smarter” helps individuals be more effective, have more time on their hands, and suffer less stress overall.

Each chapter contains questions and key insights to allow you to assess your own performance and figure out your work strengths, as well as your weaknesses. Once you understand your individual style, there are mini-quizzes, questionnaires, and clear tips to assist you to focus on a strategy to become a more productive worker. Extensive, accessible, and friendly, Great at Work will help you achieve more by working less, backed by unprecedented statistical analysis.

The Imposter Cure: Escape the Mind-trap of Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome is a phenomenon in which people believe they are not worthy of success. They convince themselves that they have done well due to luck and are terrified their shortcomings will eventually be exposed, making it impossible to enjoy their accomplishments.
This book explores the psychological impact of imposter syndrome and exposes the secrets fears and insecurities felt by millions of men and women. Dr. Jessamy Hibberd provides sound expert advice to help the reader better understand the problem and overcome it, so they think differently, gain self-belief and learn to see themselves as others do.

Influencer: The New Science of Leading Change

Whether you’re a CEO, a parent, or merely a person who wants to make a difference, you probably wish you had more influence with the people in your life. But most of us stop trying to make change happen because we believe it is too difficult, if not impossible. We learn to cope rather than learning to influence.

From the bestselling authors who taught the world how to have Crucial Conversations comes the new edition of Influencer, a thought-provoking book that combines the remarkable insights of behavioral scientists and business leaders with the astonishing stories of high-powered influencers from all walks of life. You’ll be taught each and every step of the influence process–including robust strategies for making change inevitable in your personal life, your business, and your world. 

I purchased this book to provide me with more insights on the science of influencing others. Gaining influencing skills is one of the top items I coach and it is a critical element for executive promotions. Gaining more understanding of what others have done to gain win-win outcomes is important for all of us.

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box

This books id different than any other business book I have read. This is a fictional story about a man who faced challenges on the job and with his family. It is a story that most people can relate to and it has some good concepts and ideas. The authors expose the fascinating ways that we can blind ourselves to our true motivations and unwittingly sabotage the effectiveness of our own efforts to achieve success and increase happiness.

This new edition has been revised throughout to make the story even more compelling. And drawing on the extensive correspondence the authors have received over the years, they have added a section that outlines the many ways that readers have been using Leadership and Self-Deception to improve their lives and workplaces—areas such as team building, conflict resolution, and personal growth and development, to name a few.

The Partnership Charter

The Partnership Charter: How To Start Out Right With Your New Business Partnership (or Fix The One You're In)

Maintaining partnerships, whether a personal partnership or a business partnership, is a difficult thing to do. It takes effort on behalf of all partners to make it work but sometimes the effort is not enough. Laying out a good foundation in the form of a charter, with clear roles and responsibilities helps enrich the partnership and it improves the odds of success.  I ran across this book by David Gage and I thought it was very useful to anyone in a business partnership.

In The Partnership Charter, the author offers a comprehensive guide to the art of establishing and maintaining a business partnership. The centerpiece of his approach is the Partnership Charter, a document that clearly outlines the goals, expectations, responsibilities, and relationships of the principals. The charter identifies potential sources of conflict and how they will be resolved. The Partnership Charter dispels common myths and presents a practical framework for launching, building, and sustaining a thriving business partnership.

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact

I’m a believer that moments help shape lives and makes us who we are. Good moments and bad moments alike. The book explains that our most memorable positive moments are dominated by four elements: elevation, insight, pride, and connection. If we can embrace these elements then we can conjure more moments that matter. This will help shape our future versus living in a cause-and-effect world dominated by moments we don’t control.

This book delves into some fascinating mysteries of experience: Why we tend to remember the best or worst moment of an experience, as well as the last moment, and forget the rest. Why “we feel most comfortable when things are certain, but we feel most alive when they’re not.” And why our most cherished memories are clustered into a brief period during our youth.

Quiet

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking

As someone who has a clear preference for introversion, I was intrigued by this New York Times bestseller. The book answered a lot of questions that I’ve had throughout my life and, especially during my professional career. The book also offers a historical perspective on society’s preference for extroversion and how introversion was treated as a mental illness or something that needed a remedy.  A must-read for those of you with a preference for introversion or for anyone leading teams.

In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

Stand Out

Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It

I ran across Dorie in a WBECS online webinar-based coaching conference. I was impressed by her knowledge and the fact that she has managed to create a special niche for her practice. She is an accomplished writer, blogger, and author. I enjoyed reading this book as it sparked a lot of “what if’s” for me. Perhaps someday I too will write a book…

Too many people believe that if they keep their heads down and work hard, they’ll be recognized as experts on the merits of their work. But that’s simply not true anymore. To make a name for yourself, you have to capitalize on your unique perspective and knowledge and inspire others to listen and take action. But becoming a “thought leader” is a mysterious and opaque process. Where do the ideas come from, and how do they get noticed?

Succession: Are You Ready?

A leader’s greatest challenge can be knowing when it’s time to step aside. A great deal has been written for corporate boards on the issue of succession planning. But most executives have few resources to help guide them through the process. How do you start preparing yourself–and your successor–for your inevitable leadership transition?

I purchased this book to learn more about the subject of succession planning. As a Goldsmith fan and a practitioner of his methodology, I am interested in his point of view regarding this subject. Many of the executives I work with don’t have adequate succession plans. This book provides a great roadmap of the things that need to be done prior to moving on to another job or on to retirement.

This is a great book for people who are thinking about taking another role or retiring. Although written for CEO’s and entrepreneurs, the book applies to everyone in a leadership role.

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

In this powerful book, McChrystal and his colleagues show how the challenges they faced in Iraq can be relevant to countless businesses, nonprofits, and other organizations. The world is changing faster than ever, and the smartest response for those in charge is to give small groups the freedom to experiment while driving everyone to share what they learn across the entire organization. As the authors argue through compelling examples, the team of teams strategy has worked everywhere from hospital emergency rooms to NASA. It has the potential to transform organizations large and small.

I purchased this book as part of a project for one of my clients. Their mission is to be a more cohesive team by adopting some of the principles found in the book. 

This is a great book for leaders who are searching for ways to create more effective teams or seeking to unite a team towards a common cause.

Trillion Dollar Coach: The Leadership Playbook of Silicon Valley's Bill Campbell

Bill Campbell helped to build some of Silicon Valley’s greatest companies—including Google, Apple, and Intuit—and to create over a trillion dollars in market value. A former college football player and coach, Bill mentored visionaries such as Steve Jobs, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt, and coached dozens of leaders on both coasts. When he passed away in 2016, “the Coach” left behind a legacy of growing companies and successful people and an abundance of respect, friendship, and love.

Bill Campbell is a legend in the coaching industry. I purchased this book to learn more about his style, about his coaching principles, and to understand how he was able to capture the attention of such great, powerful individuals. I would like to capture the blueprint for creating higher-performing and faster-moving teams and companies. Technology’s biggest giants trusted him with his knowledge and opinion. How did he do that?

This is a great book for people who would like to up their leadership game by adopting a people-first strategy.  The book applies to everyone in a leadership role.

What Got You Here Won't Get You There

What Got You Here Won't Get You There

The corporate world is filled with executives, men, and women who have worked hard for years to reach the upper levels of management. They’re intelligent, skilled, and charismatic. Only a handful of them will ever reach the pinnacle. Subtle nuances make all the difference. These are small “transactional flaws” performed by one person against another (as simple as not saying thank you enough), which leads to negative perceptions that can hold any executive back.

I purchased this book to use with some of my clients. Many of them have built successful careers based on their foundational knowledge, skills and experience. They were promoted to a point and then feel stuck. The skills and experience they used to get to that point may not be the skills they need to move to the next level. Marshall outlines this very well in this book. 

This is a great book for people who feel stuck and don’t understand how to advance their career and get to the next level.

Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon

Working Backwards is both a practical guidebook and the story of how the company grew to become so successful. It is filled with the authors’ in-the-room recollections of what “Being Amazonian” is like and how their time at the company affected their personal and professional lives. They demonstrate that success on Amazon’s scale is not achieved by the genius of any single leader, but rather through commitment to and execution of a set of well-defined, rigorously-executed principles and practices―shared here for the very first time.

I purchased this book because I was interested in understand the leadership principles that led to the huge success of the company. Company’s don’t thrive unless they have good leadership principles. This book does a great job of outlining those principles and highlights some recommendations. 

This is a great book for people who are interested in understanding how operational excellence and discipline can lead to outstanding business results.