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2019-08-21 10:25:54

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Would you have followed Steve Jobs back in 1977? (Photo by Tom Munnecke/Getty Images)


Leadership comes naturally to some, but for others, it takes some trial and error to learn what to do—and what not to do. To grow quickly, they voraciously read anything they can to spark their best inner leader. Overseeing others’ workloads, developing long-term strategies, or speaking with investors may simply not be part of their default way of looking at the world.

I recently reexamined my leadership planning for 2019, and in the process, I found some good reads that might not be on your radar. Here are seven leadership books that should be on your reading list for the remainder of 2019.

Friend of a Friend...: Understanding the Hidden Networks That Can Transform Your Life and Your Career by David Burkus

Friend of a Friend by David Burkus


Part of being a great leader is the ability to form valuable, lasting relationships. Networking is a cornerstone of growing a business, but what if it’s not truly the answer to getting ahead? David Burkus’ book explains how you can take advantage of the connections you’ve already made in order to develop the bonds that can most benefit your business.

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Back to Human: How Great Leaders Create Connection in the Age of Isolation by Dan Schwabel

Back to Human by Dan Schwabel


Modern technology has connected us in unprecedented ways, and yet feelings of isolation are more common than ever. Being a leader in 2019 means knowing how to help your team operate as a unit, and Back to Human is an in-depth look at how you can reap the benefits of technology while also building real, human connections.

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Great Leaders Have No Rules: Contrarian Leadership Principles to Transform Your Team and Business by Kevin Kruse

Great Leaders Have No Rules by Kevin Kruse


The title says it all here: Leadership is often about breaking boundaries and pushing the envelope. Great Leaders Have No Rules is a guide to taking maverick-style leadership into your workplace and showing how it can benefit everyone around you. It encourages you to do what you’ve always been discouraged from doing—from playing favorites to sharing salary information—and illustrates how these moves will pay off.

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 Superconnector: Stop Networking and Start Building Business Relationships That Matter by Scott Gerber and Ryan Paugh

Superconnector by Scott Gerber and Ryan Paugh


Sometimes it’s helpful to stop thinking about those around you as your network and start thinking about them as real people. As a leader, it’s important to value your peers and maintain healthy relationships. Superconnector is a starting point for anyone looking to deepen their business relationships and become a more effective leader in the process.

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 The Making of a Manager: What to Do When Everyone Looks to You by Julia Zhuo

The Making of a Manager by Julia Zhuo


Being a first-time leader may, quite possibly, be the scariest position within an office. Leadership can feel like getting thrown into the deep end without anything to hold onto. The Making of a Manager shows how you can transform impostor syndrome into newfound confidence and benefit your team along the way. It also helps new leaders understand how they can develop true teams and work with myriad imperfections.

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Talk Triggers: The Complete Guide to Creating Customers With Word of Mouth by Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin

Talk Triggers by Jay Baer and Daniel Lemin


Verbal recommendations are some of the most powerful marketing materials out there. Nearly everyone is more likely to follow up on a friend’s endorsement than on a banner ad, so why do we give so little attention to the power of the spoken word? Talk Triggers is a how-to guide for getting people to talk about your business and turning word of mouth into a powerful leadership tool.

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WTF?! (Willing to Fail): How Failure Can Be Your Key to Success by Brian Scudamore with Roy H. Williams

WTF?! (Willing to Fail) by Brian Scudamore with Roy H. Williams


For entrepreneurs, failure is inevitable; the key to being a good leader is learning the right things from it. WTF?!  contains numerous stories and examples demonstrating how you can turn failure into something positive for you and your business. Brian Scudamore offers lots of relatable experiences that can push entrepreneurs beyond viewing themselves as failures.

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The Sensational Leader by Duane Cummings

The Sensational Leader by Duane Cummings


We’ve all been thrust into roles we didn’t ask for. In The Sensational Leader, former Leadercast CEO Duane Cummings profiles Thomas Frickle, a salesman pushed by unexpected life events to become a leader. Through his mentors’ poignant advice, Frickle gains empathy, cultural sensitivity and courage. By elevating others, he rediscovers his own values and a deeper sense of self.

The Miracle Equation


The Miracle Equation: The Two Decisions That Move Your Biggest Goals from Possible, to Probable, to Inevitable by Hal Elrod 

For Hal Elrod, success is just a simple math problem: If you develop a solid and steadfast faith that you can achieve your goals and combine that with consistently high levels of effort, you can make your aspirations a reality. The Miracle Equation carefully outlines how you can break this process down into its most fundamental parts and apply them to your life. 

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear 

People are ultimately just a collection of the habits and activities they engage in on a daily basis. If you’re wanting to change your life for the better, it’s often necessary to start with the things you do without thinking. Atomic Habits is a great guide for improving your life by starting with the small stuff in order to make big changes. 

Clockwork: Design Your Business to Run Itself by Michael Michalowicz 

It’s every manager’s dream: a business that operates autonomously. While there really is no such thing, that doesn’t mean micromanagement is the only option. Learning to take a step back to create business processes that don’t require your constant attention is the key to running a successful business that won’t ruin your work-life balance in the process. While getting there is never easy, Clockwork makes it possible. 

The Life Giving Leader


The Life-Giving Leader: Learning to Lead from Your Truest Self by Tyler Reagin 

Leadership is never just about getting your team to increase profits. Leading a group of people means motivating them, inspiring them, and establishing deeply personal relationships in order to develop tight bonds. The Life-Giving Leader shows not only why you should take a person-focused leadership approach, but also how you can make it happen.

Is there a Hole in Your Bucket List?


Is There A Hole In Your Bucket List?: How To Overcome Obstacles That Keep You From Achieving Your Goals by Marilyn Sherman 

Not every person has a tangible bucket list, but everyone has things he wants to do, see, or accomplish while he can. Is There A Hole In Your Bucket List? is a must-read for anyone looking to develop a plan for future self-actualization. Whether it’s discovering what you truly want to do or overcoming fears about new experiences, Sherman’s book is a great guide for achieving your goals.

Victim to Victor: How to Overcome the Victim Mentality to Live the Life You Love by Nick Santonastasso

Nick Santonastasso’s story is inspiring enough as it is—he became an internationally renowned bodybuilder and internet personality, despite losing both legs and one of his arms early in life—even without this beautifully written book. Nick’s philosophy is one of constant perseverance, and Victim to Victor shows how an attitude like that can take someone from the bottom to the top with incredible speed. 

People-First Culture: Build a Lasting Company By Shifting Your Focus From Profits to People by Michel Falcon 

The crux of this book is in the title: If you want to build a company that makes it through the best and worst times, a constant focus on profits isn’t going to cut it. Oftentimes, you can’t control your business’s profits the way you’d hope to, but you can control who makes up your business. The best companies may have high profits, but they also have the most dynamic and exciting thinkers in business today. People-First Culture is a how-to guide for anyone looking to make sure that she puts people over everything else as a leader.

The Coffee Bean: A Simple Lesson to Create Positive Change by Jon Gordon and Damon West

Sometimes, the most insightful reads are the stories that touch us the most deeply. The Coffee Bean is a simple parable about how you can change the world to fit your vision without changing your vision to fit the world. Though short, it’s filled with meaningful and inspiring imagery that will convince you to make your world reflect your values and ideas like never before.

Living With the Monks


Living with the Monks: What Turning Off My Phone Taught Me about Happiness, Gratitude, and Focus by Jesse Itzler 

It may seem a bit gimmicky, but Jesse Itzler’s time in upstate New York with Russian Orthodox monks is actually an insightful read for anyone looking to change his perspective on what it means to live a valuable life. Living with the Monks is a story about how being a fish out of water can give you valuable insight into how a different pace can lead to a different life overall. 

Building A Story Brand


Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen by Donald Miller 

Attention has become one of the most valuable commodities out there today. In a world where creating a captivating message has become invaluable, Building a StoryBrand belongs on the shelf of anyone looking to capture customers’ focus for anything longer than a split-second. By using storytelling to create a captivating message, you can help your brand rise above the noise—and this book can show you how.

Never Lose a Customer Again


Never Lose a Customer Again: Turn Any Sale into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days by Joey Coleman 

Customer retention is perennially one of the biggest concerns for businesspeople across the board. For Joey Coleman, keeping clients around isn’t about flashy marketing materials or hyper-stylized pitches; it’s about demonstrating care and attention throughout the sales process and beyond. Giving your client retention an overnight boost might sound impossible, but the tips in Never Lose a Customer Again can go a long way toward making that happen.

Exactly What to Say


Exactly What to Say: The Magic Words for Influence and Impact by Phil M. Jones 

The leaders with the best attitudes or ideas sometimes still struggle to verbalize what’s going on in their mind. Whether you’re trying to close a sale or pitch your business to investors, you need to be able to come up with the right way to say what you need to say. Phil Jones’ book is a great roadmap for refining your speaking skills for maximum sharpness.

It's All About Cex


It's All about CEX!: The Essential Guide to Customer and Employee Experience by Jason S. Bradshaw 

Every person in business has at some point heard the mantra “The customer is always right!” Whether or not that’s completely true, it is true that maintaining a high-quality customer and employee experience is absolutely critical for success. It’s All about CEX! effectively outlines the best ways for putting people first without sacrificing your financial goals. 

Leadership is a story that has no end. Leaders need to constantly learn and evolve in order to shepherd their organizations in an ever-changing world. Staying on top of the newest insights can help leaders of all kinds keep themselves—and their teams—at peak performance.

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