May 21, 2018 | Leadership

Looking for some titles to add to your reading list this summer? We’ve gathered our own top picks and included some that our readers have found life changing. Here are six titles we recommend that you pack along with your picnic basket.


1. Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility by Patty McCord

What it’s about: Named by The Washington Post as one of the 11 Leadership Books to Read in 2018, McCord shares lessons she learned as Chief Talent Officer for Netflix about recruiting, motivating, and creating great teams.

Why pick it up: For road-tested advice, mixed with humor and irreverence, to help you create a culture of high performance and profitability.



2. How to Think: A Survival Guide for the World at Odds by Alan Jacobs

What it’s about: A masterpiece about treating thinking as an art, informed by the ancients in the humanities and religious traditions, Jacobs shares the techniques of clear thinking, and how to listen instead of defaulting into our stubborn mind bubbles.

Why pick it up: We live in contentious times when we all need to give the divisive issues we face some serious thought. That’s especially true when it comes to ideas and people we disagree with and those we label as the “repugnant cultural other.”



3. New Power. How Power Works in a Hyperconnected World by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms

What it’s about: We live at a time when the captains of business and government are being taken on by surging currents of social media-fed sentiment. Top-down hierarchies where power is centralized in the hands of a few is ceding ground to bottom-up, participatory, peer-driven power.

Why pick it up: To learn how to tap into the participatory energy of your organization and create sustainable success.




4. The Little Book of Change: The No-Willpower Approach to Breaking Any Habit by Amy Johnson, PhD

What it’s about: Anything done repeatedly has the potential to form neural circuitry in the brain. In this light, habits and addictions are impersonal brain wiring problems that result from taking your habitual thinking as truth, and acting on that thinking in the form of doing your habit―over and over.

Why pick it up:  Drawing on a combination of neuroscience and spirituality, this book will show you small changes you can make in your everyday life that will help you stop your bad habit in its tracks.



5. The World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech by Franklin Foer

What it’s about: Over the past few decades, the world has rushed to embrace the products and services of four titanic corporations. We shop with Amazon, socialize on Facebook, turn to Apple for entertainment, and rely on Google for information. These firms sell their efficiency and purport to make the world a better place, but what they have done instead is to enable an intoxicating level of daily convenience.

Why pick it up: To learn how to restore your inner life, private contemplation, autonomous thought and solitary introspection.



6. Hit Refresh: The Quest to Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul and Imagine a Better Future for Everyone by Satya Nadella

What it’s about: Microsoft’s CEO tells the inside story of the company’s continuing transformation, tracing his own personal journey from a childhood in India to leading some of the most significant technological changes in the digital era.

Why pick it up: For a set of reflections, meditations, and recommendations presented as algorithms from a principled, deliberative leader searching for improvement—for himself, for a storied company, and for society.

If you’re an avid reader, you’re likely on a continuous journey for discovery and self-improvement. These titles will give you new insight about the changing definition of power, the impact of technology on our lives, and the ability to make immediate changes that will have a sustainable impact.


Question: What books have helped you along your leadership journey?


Driven by the premise that excellence is the result of aligning people, purpose and performance, Center for Executive Excellence facilitates training in leading self, leading teams and leading organizations. To learn more, subscribe to receive CEE News!



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