One of the best ways to grow as a leader is by reading. Reading, lots. There are so many great books about life, business, relationships, and history, for example. Reading books on any of these topics expands our knowledge base and helps us think and do better.
Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg spend a considerable amount of time reading, and they recommend books frequently. Bill Gates is famous for his "Think Week" concept of completely unplugging, going away alone, and just reading and thinking for a week. He has been doing this twice a year for years. It's become so well known that he has a recommended reading list that comes out each spring on his blog which is titled "GatesNotes."
Not quite as famous, but a notable thought leader, Verne Harnish is a huge advocate of not reinventing the wheel. If you want to do something, go find someone who has done it before and see how they did it. If they wrote a book about it, that's even better! Every time I've seen Verne speak he has recommended multiple books. When I have public speaking engagements I always finish with a top 10 reading list.
I've added and subtracted from the list over the years as I've read books that have really changed my thinking or influenced me profoundly. Technically, it's a few more than 10. Here's my current list:
- Outliers, Tipping Point, and Blink - Malcolm Gladwell
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen Covey (4th Habit especially)
- Business Adventures - John Brooks
- The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle
- Strength Based Leadership - Tom Rath and Barry Conchine
- The Goal - Eliyahu Goldratt and Jeff Cox
- The 5 Love Languages - Gary D Chapman
- Good to Great and Great By Choice - Jim Collins
- Switch - Dan and Chip Heath
- The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership - John Maxwell
Have you read these? Which were your favorites? What books do you recommend?