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.”

Oscar Wilde

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:

  1. Great books on Communication – The art of speaking well to audiences
  2. Great books on Leadership – Learning to lead yourself and others
  3. 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.

Best

Conor

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.

Nov 14, 2012 - amazon.com - 201
The Pyramid Principle: Barbara Minto

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.

Dec 08, 2015 - amzn.to - 260
Crucial Conversations Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High, Second Edition

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

Dec 08, 2015 - amzn.to - 183
Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting (Methuen Film)

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.

Dec 08, 2015 - amzn.to - 240
Lend Me Your Ears: All You Need to Know about Making Speeches and Presentations

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.

Dec 08, 2015 - amzn.to - 230
Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

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.”

Dec 08, 2015 - amzn.to - 200
The Seven Minute Star: Become a great speaker in 15 simple steps

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.

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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.

Dec 08, 2015 - amzn.to - 214
Good To Great : Why Some Companies Make The Leap and Others Don't

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.

Dec 08, 2015 - amzn.to - 177
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change

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.

Dec 08, 2015 - amzn.to - 206
The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

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.

Dec 08, 2015 - amzn.to - 217
Outliers: The Story of Success

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?

Dec 08, 2015 - amzn.to - 178
The Road Less Traveled, Timeless Edition: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values and Spiritual Growth

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.

Dec 09, 2015 - amzn.to - 245
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

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.

Dec 09, 2015 - amzn.to - 189
The Leader's Window: Mastering the Four Styles of Leadership to Build High-Performing 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.

Dec 09, 2015 - amzn.to - 196
The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance

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."

Dec 09, 2015 - amzn.to - 191
Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment

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.

Dec 09, 2015 - amzn.to - 189
The Anatomy of Peace: Resolving the Heart of Conflict

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.

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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.

Dec 09, 2015 - amzn.to - 206
Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr.

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.

Dec 09, 2015 - amzn.to - 213
The Razor's Edge

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.

Dec 09, 2015 - amzn.to - 235
The Book of Est

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.

Dec 09, 2015 - amzn.to - 204
Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

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.

Dec 09, 2015 - amzn.to - 191
Gandhi: An Autobiography - The Story of My Experiments With Truth

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.

Dec 09, 2015 - amzn.to - 240
The Denial of Death

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.

Dec 09, 2015 - amzn.to - 174
Man's Search for Meaning

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.

Dec 09, 2015 - amzn.to - 238
Jonathan Livingston Seagull: The Complete Edition

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.

Dec 09, 2015 - amzn.to - 211
East of Eden (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics)

*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.

Dec 09, 2015 - amzn.to - 225
The Hero with a Thousand Faces (The Collected Works of Joseph Campbell)

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.

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“Make it a rule never to give a child a book you would not read yourself.”

George Bernard Shaw

  • What books have made a difference in your life? What book do you often give as a gift to others? What is your favourite novel? I’d love to hear your ideas.

  • lazaros

    Thank you Conor for your personal list. One of my favorite is Skills with people (Les Giblin)

    • I’ll find a copy! thanks for the recommendation 😉

    • Thanks Lazaros – I’ll be getting a hold of a copy of that book!

  • Jason Creviston

    Nice list! I’ve now put a few of those on mine, so thank you! Two of the more recent ones that I’ve read, which have had a big personal impact on me, are The ONE Thing by Gary Keller and The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. I wish everyone would read those two books! When it comes to communication, I like John Maxwell’s Everyone Communicates Few Connect. Leadership, it’s hard to go wrong with The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes & Posner. If you like Patrick Lencioni, you should consider reading his book The Advantage: Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business. One other book which had a huge impact on me was Wooden on Leadership by John Wooden; it’s much more than just about leadership.

    • Thanks – I will have a look at The ONE thing and The Slight Edge – I’ve read the Maxwell, Kouzes & Posner… I’ve read lots of Lencioni books… but not The Advantage.

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  • Júlia

    Conor, tus palabras han llegado a mi corazón y me quedo con las ganas y la impresión de que nuestros caminos se voverásn a cruzar.
    No se suficiente inglés (todavía) para leer estos libros Están en castellano o catalán?
    Gracias
    Júlia

    • 😉 No sé cuales estan en castellano… sé que Victor Frankl “El hombre en busqueda del sentido” si que esta en castellano: http://amzn.to/2qhnQx2 y es increible como libro.