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Recommended Books for Your Leadership Bookshelf

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Ever wanted to read some business leadership books but didn’t know where to start, beyond the obvious? In this post, Jen Stirrup connects books to specific themes for leadership reflection. We would also like to invite you to a virtual Leadership Book Club aimed at women, but everyone is welcome to join in, and that does include every gender (there are at least three).

To join the Women’s Leadership Book Club, please register your details here and I will be in touch. The launch date is 8th March, which is International Women’s Day. The theme for IWD2021 is ‘Choose to Challenge’ and I set up this virtual Women’s Leadership Book Club so we could challenge ourselves and work to help ourselves with our own challenges.

In this post, I’ve put together a list of useful books for leadership to get you started. As much as I love Simon Sinek, David Allen and other luminaries, I’ve picked books that you may not have come across before. I’ve targeted some key themes and challenges that impact growing female leaders. The themes are listed below, along with a selected book along with a review.

  • Suffering from Imposter Syndrome and wondering if you will ever be enough?
  • Want to know more about business ethics but not sure where to start?
  • Feeling overwhelmed and finding it hard to define your tasks? 
  • Ever needed some practical advice on ethics in the workplace? 
  • Do you want to learn more about being a leader in inclusion in the workplace?

Women's Leadership Book Club details

Sign up here (link) to join the virtual Women’s Leadership Book Club. Note that I’m just collecting details so I can communicate with you about the virtual Women’s Leadership Book Club. I will not pass your details on or sell your details because that’s just plain icky.

Each month, as a community, we will select a book that will help readers rise to the challenges of leadership. The plan of the Women’s Leadership Book Club is that I will set up two Virtual Zoom calls a month, one in the UK timezone and one in the US timezone. I’ll set up a Slack channel so that we can discuss the book whenever we like, and we can have a community vote on the next book. 

We will kick off on 8th March, when I will email everyone with Slack details, Zoom call details and I’ll choose a book to get us started. Once we get up and running from the second month onwards, we will have a vote to choose a book as a community. We can keep a list of books that we would like to read. I’m hoping to get an author visit to join some of our sessions.

Whetting your Leadership appetite with some Recommended books

I’ve selected a few leadership books that are my personal favourites to date. We will choose other books for the virtual Women’s Leadership Book Club but I thought it might be helpful for you to see the type of books that we will read. 

Suffering from Imposter Syndrome and wondering if you will ever be enough?

The Experience Business: Why Price-Focused Businesses Fail And What Winners Do Instead by James Sinclair, a former professional clown who took his magician and children’s party entertainment business to a multi-million dollar empire. This is an excellent, down-to-earth book that is packed with great advice about creating a business that builds on your experience. 

This book has been selected because it packs a boost for self-confidence by encouraging you to stick with your message and your talents, and helps you to see that you add value. The book walks you through creating experience rules that you can adapt to your own business and career so that you can build a reputation on success and good experiences. People don’t deal with businesses; they build with people, and this book will give you confidence in growing your business based on your experience. I

f you suffer from Imposter Syndrome, then this book is for you; read it, and implement the ideas that are most useful to you. The backstory itself is fascinating, where Sinclair goes from a clown to a multi-millionaire. Oh, it’s a great read.

Want to know more about business ethics but not sure where to start?

Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman by Yvon Chouinard is a great read and it may even inspire you to change your procurement habits to emphasise sustainability. This book is the story of Patagonia and their ethics-led business. It will provoke you to consider ethics, both professionally and personally. Even if you have no interest in outdoor sports, you will be inspired by the tough, ethics-led decisions that Chouinard made in his position as the CEO of Patagonia. This book will inspire you to think carefully about ethics in your business, and it may even help you to think more carefully about your own purchasing decisions on a personal level. Chouinard’s book is well-written, engaging and very honest about the company’s mistakes as well as their successes. Patagonia led trailblazing innovations in employee welfare and women’s issues such as high-quality childcare for employees, and he inspires by putting his employees first. As we all grow in leadership, this book will help you to think about your teams and how you can balance getting the best from people while delivering your organization’s goals. 

Feeling overwhelmed?

Read FAST: 4 Principles Every Business Needs to Achieve Success and Drive Results by Gordon Tredgold, which helps you to break down your projects by following the FAST mantra: Focus, Accountability, Simplicity, and Transparency. Tredgold walks you through some real examples and helps you to become successful through achieving your goals. There’s real wisdom in this little book, and it should be on your reading list. Tredgold also has a wealth of YouTube videos and a mailing list, and it is well worth signing up for these nuggets of wisdom. 

Ever needed some practical advice on ethics in the workplace?

Read: Intentional Integrity: How Smart Companies Can Lead an Ethical Revolution by Airbnb’s General Counsel and Chief Ethics Officer Robert Chesnut. Airbnb has had to tackle a range of ethical issues, and the book offers insights into why certain ethical decisions were made. The book is punctuated with examples which are very relatable, and it offers advice which you could implement in your own business and life. Often, it’s better to make these decisions before you are in that situation, and this book will help prompt you to consider different scenarios. Chesnut is a great communicator and this book is a great read.

Do you want to learn more about being a leader in inclusion in the workplace?

Read: The 5 Disciplines of Inclusive Leadership. This book acts as your personal coach to walk you through inclusive leadership and inclusive growth. The reality is that underrepresented groups, such as ethnic and racial minorities, do not feel that their voice is being heard in the workplace. This book has a research-based approach and provides a model for you to use. Realistically, all leaders should strive for inclusion.

What's your favorite business book?

If you have any other books you’d recommend, please pop them in the comments section. We would love to hear from you!

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