4.7 stars

Enriching

Step Into Your Power As An Introvert

Read this book when: you feel like your introversion limits your leadership, or you are concerned about needing to become someone else in order to be effective as a leader. This book does a great job in highlighting the strengths introverts have, and how these gifts can be of real value in different contexts.

My key takeaways: I learned that introversion is not necessarily one of those parts of me I can change a great deal, but nor now would I want to. This book helped me see why the way I am does not need fixing, and showed me where and how I be exceptionally effective in my work with others.

If you liked this check out the fountain head

4 stars

Important

Engineer Your Environment For Team Success.

Read this book when you’re wanting to understand why despite your best intentions, people continue to act in their own best interests. Sinek does a great job in explaining how biology informs our decision making and actions under different conditions. 

My key takeaways were all related to psychology. Basically, people have the capacity to be either selfish or selfess depending on what we emphasise as leaders. Our actions, the incentives and language all influence others in ways that either serve or stifle our success.

If you liked this, check out.. the hour between dog and wolf

4.5 stars

Enlightening

Empower Your People, and Reap The Rewards

Read this book when you feel frustrated by people who are overly reliant on you, and lack ingenuity and or imagination. Semler shows you how to question the conventions most leaders operate from and make employees think like owners.

My key takeaways. This book completely changed the way I thought about leading people, and set me on a new path toward higher performance. I learned that essentially people live up (or down) to your expectations, and seeing what poeple are capable of is far more fruitful than trying to fix their flaws.

If you liked this check out The Tao Te Ching

4.5 stars

Formative

Create a Culture of Collaboration and Innovation

Read this book when: your culture is dysfunctional and overly political. Katmul is a master teacher and lays out a road map for doing great work and making great things together. Reading this book felt like sitting with the wisest mentor for the longest time, and drinking in all his best insights.

My key takeaways: Just bringing together talented people does not guarantee success. The best leaders continuously work on their teams as they work on their products and or services. Obstacles must be continually identified and rooted out if teams are to build momentum and excel for the business.

If you liked this check out Delivering happiness

4.7 stars

Brilliant

How and Why People Work Together to Build (or Destroy) Things

Read this book when: You’re looking for a deeper appreciation for how people are influenced by their biology. Also, best to tackle this when you have time and space to really chew on its contents. Its not a book you can (or want to) skim or speed read.

My key takeaways: Humans are not the most intelligent species (else we wouldn’t destroy ourselves and each other) but we are the most imaginative and creative. What separates us is our ability to work together toward an idea that does not yet exist. The best leaders learn how to tap into this ancient instinct and use it for good.

If you liked this check out the lessons of history

4 stars

Instructive

How to Attract the Best People

Read this book when: You are looking to build a sustainable competitive advantage. This book lays out a blueprint for building an environment which attracts talent like bees to a honeypot.

My key takeaways: Your organisation is your product. Everything you do is an extension of the environment you create. First, make your people happy and keep them stretched and stimulated, then they will do world class work.

If you liked this check out: The best place to work

4.3 stars

Invaluable

Be a Model of Executive Excellence

Read this book when: You are looking set an excellent example for others, and upgrade your executive skills such as time management, prioritisation, improving your contribution and making good decisions.  For those concerned with building skills of timeless value, this book cannot be overlooked.

My key takeaways: There is no replacement for critical thinking. Stepping back to look at everything you do from a different perspective is always an effective way to improve your performance. A relentless focus on being effective over being efficient is what distinguishes the best leaders from the rest.

If you liked this check out: The Essential Drucker

4.2 stars

Inspiring

Learn From The Past to Create a New Future

Read this book when: You feel like you have lost credibility or suffered some major setback in your life or career. This book is about the rebirth of Jobs after his exile from Apple, and there is much to take away here about how hubris and pride can cause predictable failure, and the classic heroes journey that is available to those who choose to take it.

My key takeaways: No one achieves anything of merit alone, and the sooner you can recognise how others contribute to outcomes others credit you for the more effective you will be as a leader. 

If you liked this check out: Grinding It Out 

4.6 stars

Powerful

Get People To Do What You Want

Read this book when: you want to rely less on rank or authority for getting others to do the things you need. This book is a classic for good reason, the principles within are incredibly simple and intuitive, and yet extremely powerful if applied sincerely.

My key takeaways: In some ways, all people are the same. Understanding how the animal instincts which ensure human survival can be used to influence others is a powerful skill mastered by the most powerful people.

If you liked this check out: Age of Propaganda 

4 stars

Practical

Have The Hard Conversations - Without Ruining Relationships

Read this book when: You are dreading a difficult conversation or realise the need to master this skill in order to be effective as a leader. Grenny and his friends bring together all the science and turn it into a super practical model you can use to plan, practice and perfect those conversations where emotions run hot, the stakes are high and failure is not an option.

My key takeaways: The pros always practice between performances, amateurs don’t. Having some structure encourages consistency and testing which improves your ability much more quickly. Practice also means you don’t come across so mechanical.

If you liked this check out: Never Split the Difference

4.4 stars

Enlightening

Build a Culture That Enhances Your Strategy

Read this book when: You are starting a new venture, or feel like you want to get back to the basics. This book shows you how to construct the key elements required for alignment of human capital. Super informative and instructive.

My key takeaways: This book essentially shows you why alignment is key to sustaining any advantage you carve out through your smarts or strategy. There is a reason Collins is considered one of the foremost business thinkers on the planet, if you want to know why just read this book.

If you liked this check out: Delivering Happiness

4 stars

Informative

Cure Your Cancers, and Grow Your Stars

Read this book when: You are trying to figure out how to stop trouble makers from dragging down your best people. Though the book is probably a little long the authors do a good job of zeroing in on how leaders can reinforce the right behaviours among their people.

My key takeaways: While it is always most effective to catch people doing something right, sometimes it is also very important to root out the wrong types. The bad apples can be a real energy suck for your best people. Showing that you’re willing to do the hard parts of your job helps your stars burn brighter.

If you liked this check out: The wisdom of failure 

4.4 stars

Practical

Become a Master of Management

Read this book when: You’re no longer satisfied with status quo results. This book does more than educate you, it equips you with the necessary mental models and tool to help you reach that next level.

My key takeaways: No matter how clever your strategy or how inspiring your vision, you need to invest tie and energy to crate systems for execution. These systems must engage and guide your people to be and do their best work in alignment with your overarching goals. The best leaders know that when the right mechanics are in place there is no need for eloquent speeches, people will drive themselves.

If you liked this check out: Good to great 

4.6 stars

Inspiring

Build for The Future, and Obsess About The Things That Matter

Read this book when: You are looking for new ways to think about old problems in business. Brad Stone does a great job of showing how Bezos often contrarian perspectives play out in business of a grand scale. This book is an excellent case study in strategy and its relentless execution.

My key takeaways: Build for the futureand take the path less travelled as often as you can. Here there is less competition, and the rewards can be tremendous. Don’t tolerate mediocrity, and root out cancerous personalities and behaviours obsessively. Keep people focused on the main objective and the future you are driving toward.

If you liked this check out: Becoming Steve Jobs 

4 stars

Useful

Step Up Successfully

Read this book when: You are about to take on a new position or more responsibility. This book does a great job deconstructing the most common mistakes, and gets to the root of the problem.

My key takeaways: More people involved means more moving parts, and more moving parts means more chance of trouble. Learning what the common traps look like can help you avoid them, and climb out of them quicker.

If you liked this check out: The Effective Executive 

4.8 stars

Life changing

Become As Wise as You Are Smart

Read this book when: You are dealing with chronic doubt, and unsure of yourself and or your ability. This book is like sitting down with the wisest old grandfather and having him set you straight.

My key takeaways: Learn to accept life and stop fighting it. Focus only on what you can control and let others worry about what you can’t. Strive every day to do the (seemingly) little things well and you can lead a big life.  

If you liked this check out: Mans Search for Meaning 

4.5 stars

Instructional

Build a Business People Love

Read this book when: You’re struggling to attract and retain good people. This book offers a super practical, evidence based blueprint for redesigning your environment to b a beehive for the most talented, committed people.  

My key takeaways: Most of the assumptions businesses continue to operate from are incredibly outdated. This is one of those rare cases where practice is lagging behind science. Invest some time to learn the new science and you can build a new business in which your people do their best and strive for shared success.

If you liked this check out: How Google Works 

4.4 stars

Inspiring

Stick to Your Vision

Read this book when: You feel like you are up against it, and competing against behemoths with more clout, resources and history. This book will show you that even the biggest and the best started out as unknown challengers at one point.

My key takeaways: listen to people, but do it your way, and focus on learning quickly rather than being right every time. Build a team of people around you whom you trust and would go to war with, and then… go to war!

If you liked this check out: The Everything store 

4.1 stars

Inspiring

How To Thoughtfully Disagree, While Controlling The Context

Read this book when: You are anxious about an important deal or negotiation with someone who can be intimidating. Chris Voss does a great job of showing how his experience dealing with hostile terrorists can help you negotiate in a way that yields to force while maintaining power.

My key takeaways: Let others dictate the content while you subtly control the context. Sometimes the most most powerful position to be in is one where the other party feels like they are controlling things. Let them talk, you listen and ask thoughtful questions that keep guiding the conversation in the direction you need it to go.

If you liked this check out: Predictably Irrational 

4 stars

Educational

Treat Your Organisation Like A Product

Read this book when: You feel like your culture is holding you back. Tony Hsieh takes you behind the scenes of the famous Zappos culture, and explains the origins of its DNA. A great example of balancing theory with practice.

My key takeaways: Great companies are products in and of themselves, great leaders spend as much time selling their own people on the company as they do customers on the product. They realise the best product and a brilliant strategy are not enough, execution is the key and is highly dependent on synergy.

If you liked this check out: How Google Works