My favorite time to catch up on my reading is during long road trips with audiobooks. The second is holidays and vacations. The time away from work helps me sharpen the saw by considering new ideas I might not encounter during my regular routine.
As the Christmas holiday season arrives, I’d like to share a few book recommendations in case you find some down time and want to expand your leadership thinking.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
No doubt you’ve heard of 7 Habits before. But if you’ve never read it, you’re really missing out on a leadership masterpiece. 7 Habits is my second favorite book of all-time (behind How to Win Friends and Influence People). Not only is it packed with great ideas, it also presents a solid leadership framework that has stood the test of time. Effectiveness begins by being proactive and ends (or rather continues) with sharpening the saw.
Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson & others
Crucial Conversations is essentially a field manual on how to communicate positively and effectively in situations where opinions vary, stakes are high and emotions are strong. Unfortunately, Patterson notes, many people communicate at their worst when it matters most. If you are looking for a communication boost with many personal and professional examples, this book is probably the best place to start. The list of success stories is long – and you may find yourself wanting to take a Crucial Conversations training course after you’ve finished reading.
Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
Many of us are paid to make decisions. But how often do you think about how to make good decisions? What do you do when there’s no clear-cut choice in front of you? In Decisive, the Heath brothers offer many approaches that can be applied to all kinds of decisions, from launching a new business strategy to whether to stay in a relationship. As in the rest of the Heath brothers’ books, Decisive contains many interesting stories and illustrations.
The Heart of Leadership by Mark Miller
Mark Miller is one of my favorite leadership authors and bloggers, but I have to admit I labored through many of the character-centric principles in this leadership fable. Whether it was the admonition that leaders ALWAYS think others first or that they expect the best, I quickly realized that my own leadership character is still very much a work in progress. If you’re looking for a short read that really challenges your guts, this is probably the one to go with.
Go Big by Cory Cotton
Go Big is an inspirational read from an energetic group of young guys called Dude Perfect who make and film trip basketball shots for a living. But it’s practical as well. You may not shoot hoops from moving airplanes, but we all need to “get excited” about what we’re doing as well as learn to “blink later” in times when change comes rapidly. Go Big is definitely the most lighthearted read of this list.
What are you reading over the holidays?
Nathan Magnuson is a leadership consultant, coach, trainer and thought leader. Receive his latest updates by subscribing to his website or following him on Twitter.