“It’s what you read when you don’t have to that will determine who you are when you can’t help it.” (Oscar Wilde)
“Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.” (Margaret Fuller)
It’s often said that all great leaders are readers. John C. Maxwell talks about leadership being about influence, nothing more and nothing less. If this is the case, then in order to be more influential it makes sense that you would want to gain knowledge and a greater understanding of the world that you know and that you don’t know.
Lolly Daskal was once described by the Huffington Post as the “most inspiring woman in the world”. When Lolly came on my “Success is a Choice” podcast, we talked about the fact that she reads a book a day. She reads books of all different subject matter, including quantum physics. When I asked her why she reads quantum physics, she said that some of her clients are interested in quantum physics and that she wants to be able to add to future conversations.
How about us? Are we continually trying to learn and gain greater insights so that we can maximize our success? So that we can add to conversations?
The following books are not necessarily brand new, but these are the books that I recommend you read this year – since you already read all of the books from my list of 15 best books for leaders, right?!?
These 18 books for 2018 cover a variety of topics and can help you optimize your thinking and perspective no matter your profession, vocation, or position in life. Enjoy the reading!
Coach Wooden and Me: Our 50 Year Friendship On and Off the Court (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar)
The legendary basketball coach John Wooden and basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lew Alcindor when he played at UCLA) seem to be the ultimate odd couple. But the NBA’s all-time leading scorer walks us through their special relationship that they had for more than 50 years. This is a great book for understanding perspectives and people so that you can better connect with those around you.
The “Super Coach” Micheal Burt is a master motivator and has been able to help businesses and entrepreneurs exponentially increase their revenue and sales. I have seen him work first-hand and know that his strategies can help you become a monster producer.
The Leadership Gap: What Gets Between You and Your Greatness (Lolly Daskal)
Lolly is the go-to business coach for Fortune 500 executives. She is an Inc.com Top-50 leadership and management expert. If you are not achieving all of the success that you desire in life or business, then this book can help you identify and overcome some of the areas that you need to improve in order to maximize your potential.
What if you could talk with 130 of the most successful people in the world in various industries? Well that is what the author of the New York Times #1 Best-Seller The 4-Hour Workweek did. Tim Ferris asked some practical and and thought-provoking questions that produced answers you won’t want to miss out on. The insights are priceless.
Man’s Search for Meaning: The Classic Tribute to Hope from the Holocaust (Viktor E. Frankl)
Top leadership expert Lolly Daskal reads a book a day but it is this book that she re-reads every year on her birthday. Frankl was a prisoner held by the Nazis at the Auschwitz concentration camp during the time of World War II. Frankl examines the meaning of life and whether it changes based on your circumstances. This book has been hailed as one of the most influential books of our time.
I can’t get enough of Jon Gordon’s books. Everyone that I read speaks to me and motivates me to be a better leader. This is his latest book and sums up his overall philosophy as well as any book he has written. If you watch the news or scroll through your social media timeline, you’ll find a lot of negativity. But it doesn’t have to be that way and Jon outlines some strategies for how you can experience greater success through positive leadership. Positivity doesn’t mean ignoring the negative, it just means you will do all that you can to overcome the negatives and challenges that you face.
Hesselbein on Leadership (Frances Hesselbein)
Jim Collins of Good to Great fame wrote the foreward so you know that it must be good. Hesselbein was the CEO of Girl Scouts of America. She has been awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and was once named the “Best Nonprofit Manager in America” by Fortune magazine. This book is a collection of her writings and thoughts on leadership, success, and innovation.
The co-founder of the Huffington Post talks openly about the struggles and challenges that she has had through her career. Oftentimes, we read books that only tell us good things and therefore we aren’t able to relate. Arianna does a great job of being transparent and then providing some insights as to how to be successful. And speaking of success, she also challenges the traditional view of success, especially when it comes to the business world. Whether you are a success business person, stay-at-home mom, educator, or young entrepreneur you will find this book valuable.
Intentional Living: Choosing a Life That Matters (John C. Maxwell)
As a certified John Maxwell leadership coach, I must admit that I am a little biased toward his books. I have read most of his 100+ works. However, this is one of his newest books and might be his most meaningful book yet. It seems that we are constantly chasing our tails or reacting to life. The practical insights in this book help show us how we can make the most out of life, not only for our betterment but to add value to others. Success is about us but significance is about others. What kind of legacy are we leaving each day, not just when we die?
Build a Culture of Good: Unleash Results by Letting Your Employees Bring Their Soul to Work (Scott Moorehead and Ryan McCarty)
Culture is a buzzword in our corporate climate today. Everyone wants a better culture. Well, these two guys show you how to accomplish it. It is a very easy-to-read case study about an unlikely pairing, a high-energy, edgy, and innovative CEO teams up with a pastor to transform the company and community. The company increased revenues by hundreds of millions after implementing these culture strategies.
13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do (Amy Morin)
This is an awesome book for learning how to overcome challenges and struggles that we regularly face. Amy Morin is a licensed psychotherapist but this book is more than just theory and feel good concepts. In 2003 her mother passed away unexpectedly from a brain aneurysm. Then, on the three year anniversary of her death, Amy’s 26-year-old husband died of a heart attack. A few years later, her father-in-law lost his battle with cancer. This book is as much written for her as for anyone else so it comes across real and practical.
No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in Washington (Condoleezza Rice)
Condoleezza Rice is as well-respected as it gets. The former U.S. Secretary of State and National Security Advisor offers up great insights on the inner-workings of some of history’s greatest leaders. We can learn a lot by seeing how heads of state and the world’s most powerful people operate. We also see the character traits and the reasons why Rice is held in such high esteem.
From NFL cheerleader to corporate executive to successful entrepreneur, Kelly is able to show you real life examples and lessons as she lays out the 9 principles for unlimited success. She inspires us all to focus on something bigger than ourselves and maximize our potential. But she doesn’t just motivate (though she has a ton of energy and enthusiasm), she provides proven systems and strategies.
Mel Robbins Tedx Talk on the 5-second rule has garnered more than 6 million views and no, it has nothing to do with food falling on the floor. Mel presents the idea that knowing what to do and why you need to do something will never be enough. You have to act on it. Essentially her 5-second rule is that if you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea. In the book, she outlines how exactly to do this and how it will transform your life.
Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy (Sheryl Sandberg and Adam Grant)
Two powerful thought-leaders came together to write a book that can help us along life’s journey. Sheryl Sandberg is the COO at Facebook. Maybe you’ve heard of that company? They tend to have a little bit of influence on our society. Before joining Facebook, she was a vice president at Google, another company that you might have heard of. Adam Grant is a professor at the Wharton School of Business and is a New York Times best-selling writer. Together they really lay out some practical advice and insightful stories on how we can navigate life’s challenges.
As a college basketball coach, I respected Pat Summit tremendously. I have written about Coach Summitt on a number of occasions. I well fortunate to be able to see her first-hand as she interacted with players behind-the-scenes, as well as fans. She was genuine and real. This was her last book before passing away much too young. Her whole career was about integrity, discipline, toughness, and doing things the right way. This book literally sums up her philosophies and career. It is not just for coaches, but is a must-read for anyone that wants to be successful.
Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win (Jocko Willink and Leif Babin)
This is an awesome book and not just because I am a fan of Navy SEALs. These guys do a great job of spelling out the leadership lessons that they have learned and how it can be applied to our lives and business. They have insightful and powerful stories. This is one of my new favorite books because it combines personal responsibility with mental toughness with practical wisdom. One particular statement that I enjoy is when they say “the leader must own everything in his or her world.” It doesn’t matter what business you are in or how many push ups you can do, this book can help you be a better leader wherever you are at.
If you can’t take blunt, in-your face truth bombs that will change your life and business, then you’ll want to pass on this book. But if you truly want to be successful and maximize your potential, then you’ll defintiely want to check this book out. Gary Vee answers questions that his audience members, YouTube subscribers and podcast listeners have. He is a straight-shooter that has a track record of success, whether it is with his Wine Library TV, his digital marketing endeavors, VaynerMedia, or his investing early in companies such as Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter. This book is a compilation of some of his best advice. Awesome stuff!
Jamy Bechler is a professional speaker, author of The Leadership Playbook, host of the Success is a Choice podcast, and team consultant to NBA and college sports teams. You reach him at Jamy@CoachBechler.com.
Also, if you like books but don’t like to read, our friends at Audible are giving new subscribers a free 30-day trial membership and a free audio book download. To get this sweet deal visit www.AudibleTrial.com/SuccessIsAChoice