January 24, 2024

Our communities' all-time favourite list of leadership books

This year we are sharing the top list of leadership development books. By us, we mean our team, associates & you, our LIW community. Why? A new year is a time for planning and for most of us that means thinking about how we spend our time. It’s one of the most precious choices we make and we like to be intentional about the future we create. As leadership development practitioners, we want to be intentional about creating the space for our own personal growth and development. One of the ways we can do that is to read or listen to books that have brought inspiration to our community. Our community of customers and associates is a very diverse worldwide community so we hope you will find some inspiration here that maybe you haven’t come across before.  Maybe as a part of your self development goals, you could commit to reading or listen to one of these a month. Enjoy!

The Magic Question by David Cottrell

Recommended by John Chung in Korea
John says: “David tells us about the essence of leadership simply but persuasively with plenty of episodes from which we can get a lot of insights”

The Analects of Confucius

Recommended by Stephen Yong in Singapore
Stephen says: “Confucian Analects – the basis for many East Asian leadership behaviours. If not not known, then there will be confusion – ‘why did this leader do this?'”

The Practice of Adaptive Leadership by Ronald Heifetz, Alexander Grashow and Marty Linsky

Recommended by Max Edwards in Melbourne, Australia
Max says: “This book introduces the concept of adaptive leadership as a framework for tackling issues that don’t have clear solutions or precedents. It gives tools and tactics that enable leaders to navigate ambiguity, foster innovation, and mobilise people for collective action in the face of uncertainty and change. It encourages leaders to adapt and evolve their strategies based on the specific context and challenges in their work, including disrupting habitual routines”

The Tao of Coaching by Max Landsberg

Recommended by Karen Goldschmidt in Sydney, Australia
Karen says: “Short, on point and fun to read. This book is jam packed full of simple tools and techniques that are easy to apply and make a real difference to how you lead and get the best out of people”

Our Iceberg Is Melting by John Kotter and Holger Rathgeber

Recommended by Sally Ferguson in London, UK
Sally says: “It is a very simple, practical and pragmatic story all about leading and managing change. I have given it out to many leaders and teams that are leading/ going through change, who have found it hugely helpful”

The Culture Code by Daniel Coyle

Recommended by Onno Koelman in San Francisco, USA
Onno says: “This book is a) entertaining – full of fascinating, behind-the-scenes stories – and combines those with good social science and then b) contains practical ideas that any reader can take away and use to make their teams and workplaces more effective and more fun to be a part of”

Build Better Teams by George Karseras

Recommended by Murray Wright in Sydney, Australia
Murray says: “Well researched, contemporary, aimed at teams of all levels rather than the top teams, breaks the team thing down into really simple, practical elements and a few good jokes in there – worth it just for the one about the cannibals!”

Dare To Lead by Brené Brown

Recommended by Bev Hamilton in Dorset, UK
Bev says: “The core message is that leadership requires each of us to dare to be ourselves, to create an environment where others can do the same, where people feel safe & encouraged to take off their “armour”, experiment with vulnerability, live by their values, be willing to trust & have the courage to dare to dream, dare to lead and dare to fall down & get up again. Successful organisations require each individual no matter their role or title to have the courage to lead”

The Art Of Gathering by Priya Parker

Recommended by Taylor Hawkins in Sydney, Australia
Taylor says: “While this is not strictly a leadership book, I think it speaks to the heart of something that is all too often overlooked in any leader’s journey – ensuring that you can effectively bring people together and embed a sense of meaning and connecting in how you do so. It is a great read!”

The Age Of AI by Henry Kissinger, Eric Schmidt and Daniel Huttenlocher

Recommended by Juliet Hammond in Ilkley, UK
Juliet says: “In the face of all the excitement and scare-mongering about AI this book sets out the opportunities and challenges in a balanced and thoughtful way. The authors explore how AI will impact our relationships with knowledge, politics and society”

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Recommended by Doreen Teo in Singapore
Doreen says: “When the author wrote that “the word PRIORITY came into the English language in the 1400s. It was singular”. That remained for the next 500 years. I am inspired to ask myself “what is the ONE thing that is needful” to guide me in my thoughts and way of being”

Nonviolent Communication by Marshall B Rosenberg, PhD

Recommended by Kimi Kurokawa in Tokyo, Japan
Kimi says: “It has changed the entire way I see myself and how I handle my interactions with others. It also deeply connects to what I champion in terms of leadership development, which is the importance of genuine self-awareness. Self-awareness and self-compassion leads to all other parts of emotional intelligence including empathy to others. Non-violent communication, encompassing these key elements, helps to build psychological safety in the teams, which then promotes learning culture and innovations in the organization. I apply the NVC concepts in all my OD/LD intervention with my clients”

The Chimp Paradox by Dr Steve Peters

Recommended by Rob Metcalfe in Sydney, Australia
Rob says: “The naming of my chimp and the conversations I have with him have been life changing. The information in this book is practical, sticky, easy to implement and fun”

Multipliers by Liz Wiseman

Recommended by Julie Mitchell in Melbourne, Australia
Julie says: “I love the Multiplier behaviours, but really find the Accidental Diminishers really ring true for people, as they have such great intentions, with unintended side effects”

On Becoming A Leader by Warren Bennis

Recommended by Steve Baker in Bristol, UK
Steve says: “Such a simple yet profound set of values and examples of leadership in the real world”

Attitude Is Everything by Jeff Keller

Recommended by Ashish Das in Bengaluru, India
Ashish says: “I liked the basics and fundamentals on importance of positive attitude and empathy from this book”

Share this story: