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Leaders are Readers

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Plan Your Spring Reads 

I work with the President of a fast-growing, progressive company who is committed to reading one book a week. That’s 52 books in a year – she’s currently ahead of her goal and is one of the smartest, most compassionate, forward-thinking leaders I know. At a time when information is available to us 24/7 in Twitter-type increments, taking the time to read an entire book is becoming rarer. “Who has time?” I hear some people saying. Or even “Why should I bother when I can Google anything I need to know?” But reading, not just gathering information in bits, is an important exercise that taps into the shrinking part of our brains that creates capacity to put our attention to things that last longer than a few minutes. Reading stretches our mental acuity, improves our health, and is linked to happiness and mindfulness. Reading remains a great source of building imagination, innovation, and resilience – and makes us better leaders.

Even 30 minutes a day will change your perspective, grow your imagination, inspire great ideas, provide relaxation, and teach you things you can use in your work and life!

Here’s a list of a few great books (some new, some not so new but valuable nonetheless) you might consider putting on your spring reading list.

Tribe of Mentors, Short Live Advice from the Best in the World by Timothy Ferris  

Ferris (author of The Four Day Work Week) has put together a brilliant collection of interviews with over 100 eclectic leaders and personalities from all over the world. From corporate CEO’s to Hollywood celebs, religious and world leaders, brilliant thinkers, innovators, and writers. The content is presented Q&A style, and each interview contains questions one might ask of a mentor or successful person. It’s not necessarily a cover-to-cover read, but more a book you can dive into in many ways. Read it when you have an hour or 10 minutes. Tribe of Mentors is a treasure trove of life and business advice anyone can benefit from. 

Deep Change, Discovering the Leader Within by Robert E. Quinn 

In his book, Quinn walks the reader through four segments on the topic of change. He describes why deep change is necessary for individuals and organizations to experience it to maintain powerful advantages in the workplace and in life. The book takes the reader through the elements of personal change and organizational change, and leadership in the change process. The last part of the book looks at the necessity of risk for growth, confronting deeply rooted “undiscussable” subjects, and the importance of continual transformation. Each chapter ends with a series of deeply insightful and challenging discussion questions. This book is 20 years old but the advice it contains is still timely and important. 

Side Hustle, From Idea to Income in 27 Days by Chris Guillebeau 

The premise of a side hustle is “the creation of an additional income stream without giving up your day job.” Guillebeau has launched more than a dozen side hustles in his career and is inspired by helping others do the same. This is a practical, day by day guide that takes the reader from generating ideas to generating income. For some, it’s an exit strategy from their day job, as their side hustle grows to replace their income. For others, it stays a side hustle, providing extra income alongside their day job. With so many people finding it hard to make ends meet, it’s an interesting movement taking on huge momentum all over the world. Guillebeau makes it easy, and doable. 

Fierce Conversations, Achieving Success at Work and in Life One Conversation at a Time by Susan Scott 

A classic business read, Scott’s Fierce Conversations has been around since 2002 and remains a relevant, practical guide to navigating difficult and important conversations. In an era where conversations are text-sized and feelings are reduced to emoji’s, Scott’s book is more important than ever. Our conversation skills are shrinking and yet the need for good conversations is still vital. The book outlines seven principles of fierce conversations and takes a deep dive into each. With great stories and examples it’s an easy read, even if the application is not always easy. The principles in this book are powerful and generate great insights to help the reader engage in robust, meaningful conversations.  

Multipliers by Liz Wiseman

This is one of the best books on leadership I’ve read in a while. Wiseman suggests there are two types of leaders – those who drain intelligence, energy and capability from the people around them and those who use their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capabilities of the people around them. The first type kill ideas, sap energy and diminish talent and commitment from the team. The second inspire employees to stretch themselves to deliver results that surpass expectations – the are called Multipliers. Filled with keen insights, great stories, this easy-to-read book also provides chapter summaries and supportive appendices containing ideas on how to put the principles into practice. If you want to know how the best leaders make everyone smarter, pick up a copy of Multipliers.

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