5 Leadership Book Recommendations for the Summer

May 27, 2013

It’s May. Graduation season is upon us. The kids are close to getting out of school for the summer. Maybe you have your vacation all planned out. Regardless, nearly everyone has some collection of summer activities in mind.

Reading SummerI’ve posted about reading before. I’ve shared reading strategies, a comprehensive list of leadership books and inspirational quotes such as Charlie “Tremendous” Jones,’ “You’ll be the same person in a year as you are today except for the people you meet and the books you read.” Unfortunately, not everyone enjoys reading as much as I do. So for now, let me use a more subtle approach and simply recommend five leadership books. Whether you read one or five this summer, I’m positive each one will help take your leadership to the next level.

1. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends and Influence People is hands down my favorite leadership book of all-time. Most people have heard of it, but many have yet to read it. This summer is your chance. The chapters are short, entertaining and extremely insightful with Carnegie’s uncanny intuition about what turns people on and what turns people off. The book was published nearly 80 years ago and its truths are timeless.

2. Switch by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

I first read Switch this past winter after having it on my list for a couple years. (My reading list is pretty long). It’s an intellectually and emotionally stimulating case for leading change. Full of many engaging stories and studies, the Heath brothers show how change is often a battle between people’s rational and emotional sides. Instead of wearing ourselves out in a attempt to change people, we can use a variety of easier tactics to provide rational clarity, emotional motivation and influence the environment to make the change the easiest outcome.

3. Leadership and Self-Deception by Arbinger Institute

The story line in this leadership fable took me a little while to get into until I really started to catch the significance of the content. You have a problem. So do I. We don’t know what it is. THAT’S the problem. The authors from Arbinger Institute take an informative but in-depth look at the internal dynamics that unwittingly sabotage our relationships both at work and at home.

4. 12: The Elements of Great Managing by Rodd Wagner & James Harter

12 Elements takes a comprehensive approach to organizational leadership based on Gallup’s Q12 employee engagement survey and is the sequel to the Marcus Buckingham’s bestseller, First, Break all the Rules. Based on 12 million employee surveys, 12 Elements uses case studies of typical responses to show what effective leaders do.

5. Let Your Life Speak by Parker Palmer

If you’re only looking for a short read, Let Your Life Speak is barely 100 pages, but it’s powerfully intuitive. So be prepared to think as Parker Palmer explores from his own life’s journey the ups and downs of trying to discern one’s own vocational calling. Why do people do what they do? How can we find the thing we “can’t not” do? Palmer shows how to let your life speak – and then learn to listen.

Nathan Magnuson is a leadership consultant, coach, trainer and thought leader.  Receive his new ebook Trusted Leadership Advisor by subscribing to his website  or follow him on Twitter.