Personal Leadership Library
The image above is a photo of the Trinity College Dublin library.
“It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.”
Books to Help You Grow
Here you will discover books to exercise your mind, enhance your learning, and advance your insights. Reading enables leadership and personal growth, and highlighted are some great books to add to your leadership reading list.
There are 3 sections with book recommendations on this page:
- Great books on Communication – The art of speaking well to audiences
- Great books on Leadership – Learning to lead yourself and others
- Great books on Life – Learning to live well and have a fulfilling life
All of these books are in my own personal library and I recommend them. The links are to the amazon product pages for each of the books (with affiliate links).
These should be in your own library, or are great gifts for others.
Great Books on Communication
All of these books are available on Amazon here.
These are books that I have in my own personal collection and use often as reference and guide to the act of communicating well with people.
The best summary of logical, structured thinking for communication
The Pyramid Principle 3rd Edition [Barbara Minto] is the best book on structuring your material for presentation. It is the bible for all strategy consultants. This will help you structure your thinking in a way that is clear for the audience.
The best book on listening.
The New York Times and Washington Post bestseller that changed the way millions communicate “[Crucial Conversations] draws our attention to those defining moments that literally shape our lives, our relationships, and our world. . . . This book deserves to take its place as one of the key thought leadership contributions of our time.”
―from the Foreword by Stephen R. Covey, author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
A textbook on telling stories
Robert McKee's screenwriting workshops have earned him an international reputation for inspiring novices, refining works in progress and putting major screenwriting careers back on track. Quincy Jones, Diane Keaton, Gloria Steinem, Julia Roberts, John Cleese and David Bowie are just a few of his celebrity alumni. Writers, producers, development executives and agents all flock to his lecture series, praising it as a mesmerizing and intense learning experience.
Renowned communications researcher, consultant, and speech coach Max Atkinson presents these findings and more in a groundbreaking and refreshing approach that highlights the secrets of successful communication, and shows how anyone can put these into practice and become an effective speaker or presenter.
The best summary of what makes a presentation stick
Why do some ideas thrive while others die? And how do we improve the chances of worthy ideas? In Made to Stick, accomplished educators and idea collectors Chip and Dan Heath tackle head-on these vexing questions. Inside, the brothers Heath reveal the anatomy of ideas that stick and explain ways to make ideas stickier, such as applying the “human scale principle,” using the “Velcro Theory of Memory,” and creating “curiosity gaps.”
Experience-driven, practical, to the point - The Seven Minute Star is your entertaining guide to becoming a great speaker! Whatever profession you may have these 15 steps will propel you up the stairs where you'll find your seven minutes of glory - on stage.
Great Books on Leadership
All of these books are available on Amazon here.
These are books that I have in my own personal collection and have been instrumental in helping me grow as a leader and a teacher of leadership.
Good To Great : Why Some Companies Make The Leap and Others Don't [Jim Collins] on Amazon.com. Can a good company become a great one and, if so, how? after a five-year research project, collins concludes that good to great can and does happen.
One of the most inspiring and impactful books ever written, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has captivated readers for 25 years. It has transformed the lives of Presidents and CEOs, educators and parents— in short, millions of people of all ages and occupations.
A first-rate book—based on an impressive mass of research, written in a lively style and providing just the right balance of intellectual seriousness with practical advice on how to break our bad habits.
Malcolm Gladwell takes us on an intellectual journey through the world of "outliers"--the best and the brightest, the most famous and the most successful. He asks the question: what makes high-achievers different?
Recognizing that, as in the famous opening line of his book, “Life is difficult” and that the journey to spiritual growth is a long one, Dr. Peck never bullies his readers, but rather guides them gently through the hard and often painful process of change toward a higher level of self-understanding.
In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Patrick Lencioni once again offers a leadership fable that is as enthralling and instructive as his first two best-selling books, The Five Temptations of a CEO and The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive. This time, he turns his keen intellect and storytelling power to the fascinating, complex world of teams.
A hands-on, proven approach to mastering the art and science of leadership. Based on 10 years of development and research with thousands of managers at hundreds of seminars, the authors have devised the L4 System which consists of a highly refined method for working with individuals and groups that promotes teamwork, maximizes potential and totally utilizes resources.
After dominating the scholastic chess world for ten years, Waitzkin expanded his horizons, taking on the martial art Tai Chi Chuan and ultimately earning the title of World Champion. How was he able to reach the pinnacle of two disciplines that on the surface seem so different? "I've come to realize that what I am best at is not Tai Chi, and it is not chess," he says. "What I am best at is the art of learning."
Drawing on Zen philosophy and his expertise in the martial art of aikido, bestselling author Gorge Leonard shows how the process of mastery can help us attain a higher level of excellence and a deeper sense of satisfaction and fulfillment in our daily lives. Whether you're seeking to improve your career or your intimate relationships, increase self-esteem or create harmony within yourself, this inspiring prescriptive guide will help you master anything you choose and achive success in all areas of your life.
What if conflicts at home, conflicts at work, and conflicts in the world stem from the same root cause? What if we systematically misunderstand that cause? And what if, as a result, we systematically perpetuate the very problems we think we are trying to solve? From the authors of Leadership and Self-Deception comes an international bestseller that instills hope and inspires reconciliation. Through a moving story of parents who are struggling with their own children and with problems that have come to consume their lives, we learn from once-bitter enemies the way to transform personal, professional, and global conflicts, even when war is upon us.
Great Books on Life
All of these books are available on Amazon here.
These are great books that should be read as a guide to living a good, fulfilling human life.
Born the son of a flamboyant, bigamous snake-oil salesman and a pious, straitlaced mother, Rockefeller rose from rustic origins to become the world's richest man by creating America's most powerful and feared monopoly, Standard Oil. Branded "the Octopus" by legions of muckrakers, the trust refined and marketed nearly 90 percent of the oil produced in America.
Larry Darrell is a young American in search of the absolute. The progress of his spiritual odyssey involves him with some of Maugham's most brilliant characters - his fiancée Isabel whose choice between love and wealth have lifelong repercussions, and Elliott Templeton, her uncle, a classic expatriate American snob. Maugham himself wanders in and out of the story, to observe his characters struggling with their fates.
This is basically a play-by-play story of an est transformational weekend. Written in third person. As a teacher this has helped me develop methods for being present in the classroom and creating engagement at a deep level with participants.
Nelson Mandela is one of the great moral and political leaders of our time: an international hero whose lifelong dedication to the fight against racial oppression in South Africa won him the Nobel Peace Prize and the presidency of his country. Since his triumphant release in 1990 from more than a quarter-century of imprisonment, Mandela has been at the center of the most compelling and inspiring political drama in the world. As president of the African National Congress and head of South Africa's antiapartheid movement, he was instrumental in moving the nation toward multiracial government and majority rule. He is revered everywhere as a vital force in the fight for human rights and racial equality.
Mohandas K. Gandhi is one of the most inspiring figures of our time. In his classic autobiography he recounts the story of his life and how he developed his concept of active nonviolent resistance, which propelled the Indian struggle for independence and countless other nonviolent struggles of the twentieth century.
Winner of the Pulitzer prize in 1974 and the culmination of a life's work, The Denial of Death is Ernest Becker's brilliant and impassioned answer to the "why" of human existence. In bold contrast to the predominant Freudian school of thought, Becker tackles the problem of the vital lie -- man's refusal to acknowledge his own mortality. In doing so, he sheds new light on the nature of humanity and issues a call to life and its living that still resonates more than twenty years after its writing.
Psychiatrist Viktor Frankl's memoir has riveted generations of readers with its descriptions of life in Nazi death camps and its lessons for spiritual survival. Between 1942 and 1945 Frankl labored in four different camps, including Auschwitz, while his parents, brother, and pregnant wife perished. Based on his own experience and the experiences of others he treated later in his practice, Frankl argues that we cannot avoid suffering but we can choose how to cope with it, find meaning in it, and move forward with renewed purpose. Frankl's theory-known as logotherapy, from the Greek word logos ("meaning")-holds that our primary drive in life is not pleasure, as Freud maintained, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful.
Why mastery of a skill is better than theory.
This is the story for people who follow their hearts and make their own rules…people who get special pleasure out of doing something well, even if only for themselves…people who know there’s more to this living than meets the eye: they’ll be right there with Jonathan, flying higher and faster than they ever dreamed.
*The story of Cain and Abel brought into today's context. *
The masterpiece of Steinbeck’s later years, East of Eden is a work in which Steinbeck created his most mesmerizing characters and explored his most enduring themes: the mystery of identity, the inexplicability of love, and the murderous consequences of love's absence. Adapted for the 1955 film directed by Elia Kazan introducing James Dean and read by thousands as the book that brought Oprah’s Book Club back, East of Eden has remained vitally present in American culture for over half a century.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces has influenced millions of readers by combining the insights of modern psychology with Joseph Campbell’s revolutionary understanding of comparative mythology. In these pages, Campbell outlines the Hero’s Journey, a universal motif of adventure and transformation that runs through virtually all of the world’s mythic traditions. He also explores the Cosmogonic Cycle, the mythic pattern of world creation and destruction.
“Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.”
George Bernard Shaw