People at the top of their game make the time to read and so should you. Here are 10 books that can have an impact on your life.
One of the hallmarks of great leaders is their desire to learn continuously. It’s a strategic and competitive advantage that they use to leverage what they learn every day.
Of course, there are many ways to learn, but rooted in the foundation of great leadership and personal development is an appetite for reading. In the business world, the top CEOs read between four and five books a month, as a rule.
In these technologically transforming, constantly on-the-go lives we lead, many of us would be hard-pressed just to get through the first chapter of the only book we bought for the year, but therein lies the difference between us and great leaders. They have a commitment to improvement that becomes a habit and helps drive them to become better and more productive, and to add more value to their co-workers, their team and their organization.
With more and more books being self-published and with technology reinventing traditional publishing channels, there is no shortage of wit, wisdom and opinion out there on how to improve your leadership and self-development skills.
2013 was another banner year for titles to help us get to the next level, and 2014 is shaping up to be no different. But this is not about the latest and the greatest; instead, it’s a collection of must-reads written over the last 75 years. Any one of them could be a game-changer for you.
In no particular order, here are 10 books that can make an impact on your life, both personally and professionally:
- How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie (1936)
With more than 15 million copies sold worldwide, How To Win Friends is considered the first best-seller in the self-development genre. This is a can’t-miss read, so take the opportunity to discover what millions have learned for the past 75 years.
- Think and Grow Rich, by Napoleon Hill (1937)
Think and Grow Rich is considered the classic of personal improvement. With more than 70 million copies sold, this 1937 must-read has stood the test of time. Don’t let the title fool you: Riches aren’t what’s in your bank account; as Hill points out, the road to success is paved with the wealth of knowledge, not cash.
- The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen R. Covey (1989)
The title says it all and it should come as no surprise that Covey’s 1989 masterpiece sits on TIME Magazine’s list of the 25 most influential business management books. If you really want to raise your game a notch, invest the time in this Covey classic.
- Good To Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins (2001)
Jim Collins set the business world on fire with the release of this 2001 best-seller revealing the secrets to success of the world’s top organizations. Good to Great has become standard reading for those who want to take their organization to the next level.
- Primal Leadership, by Daniel Goleman (2004)
Emotional intelligence (EI) is one of the key traits that great leaders possess. So if you feel you’re lacking in this area or want to brush up on your EI skills, there is no one better to share insights on this subject than Daniel Goleman.
- Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell (2008)
Malcolm Gladwell is riding the best-selling wave with his latest book, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits and the Art of Battling Giants, but it’s his widely acclaimed Outliers: The Story of Success that is my personal favourite. If you really want to know what separates the best from the rest, then start here.
- The Five Levels of Leadership, by John Maxwell (2011)
I can’t say enough about the great work John Maxwell has produced over the last 30 years in the area of leadership. His expertise and insight have been perfectly captured in the more-than-60 books he’s authored, but if you were only to read one of his many best-sellers, let it be The Five Levels of Leadership — it’s a sure-fire winner.
- The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni (2002)
Teamwork is an essential function of every organization, but too often our work teams are ineffective, disorganized or downright dysfunctional. No one has a better handle on team dynamics than Patrick Lencioni, and his best-selling book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is proof of that.
- Grow a Pair: How To Stop Being a Victim and Take Back Your Life, Your Business and Your Sanity, by Larry Winget (2013)
They call Larry Winget the Pitbull of Personal Development for a reason: He’s a no-holds-barred, in-your-face, no-excuses, best-selling author, and Grow a Pair puts an exclamation point on Winget’s call to arms. It’s a heavy dose of common sense and a wake-up call for taking accountability for your life. It’s also very funny.
- The Success Principles: How To Get From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be, by Jack Canfield (2006)
Of all the books I recommend, The Success Principles receives the highest praise. It truly is a self-help guide that can set you on the right course to achieving your dreams. I’ve lost count of the number of people I know who credit this book with changing their lives — myself included.
I hope you take the opportunity to pick up one of these books and apply its principles and concepts to your own life. It could be a game-changer for you, too.
There are hundreds of books on leadership, self-improvement and success and I’m sure each one offers up some sound advice, but advice, insight and wisdom mean nothing if you don’t act on them. So make today the day you commit to putting some new-found knowledge to the test. Get inspired and transform that inspiration into action and results. You won’t be disappointed.
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