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leadership philosophy

Leadership books that have impacted me greatly

This is intended to be a short list of books that really changed how I think, with a small blurb about how I think about each one.

The Top 3

Immunity to Change

This book unlocked something deep for me – a new attitude towards approaching challenge, change, growth, and knowledge at work. If you’re feeling stuck this book can and will help.

The Fifth Agreement

I read this book with discernment – there’s a lot of “woo woo, spirit-world” language here – to take what’s valuable to me personally while disregarding the rest. This book built on the concepts in Immunity to Change for me and showed me how to think about reality in a much clearer and more effective way.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

This is the #1 book I’d recommend to all new managers and aspiring leaders – it lays out an easy-to-understand and holistic framework any team can rally around to work toward results more effectively.

Honorable Mention

Extreme Ownership

This is a close 4th-place for me and introduced me to a clear mindset I could embrace to feel authorship of all the results in my world (while still working on a team!). If you’re feeling a little zany, listen to the audio book – it’s read by the authors, both of whom are former Navy Seals with awesome gravelly voices ✨

Nonviolent Communication

This book, despite its grandiose name, simply taught me to communicate in a way that is authentic and doesn’t trigger other people’s emotions – a super important and valuable skill to have in life and work.

Radical Candor

This book taught me why it’s mission-critical to be authentic, say what you mean, and reveal more of yourself to the people you’re working with? Read Radical Candor.

Start with Why

This book started me along a longer path oriented toward a new paradigm of leading – one where every single person on your team is a leader and decision-maker. Start with Why started me thinking about what my role could be in a world where it’s better if other people make most of the decisions.

An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization

This book gave me a hard look at how to build teams and companies with growth and transparency as a #1 priority and convinced me that bold, growth-first companies are much more successful than traditional organizations.

Changing on the Job

This book is a great “chaser” book to Immunity to Change and dug me deeper into how I as a leader can work with individuals on my team to unblock them and help them grow by their own steam.

Good Strategy, Bad Strategy

Simply the authoritative read on how to think about strategy. For me this was a super pivotal book for my understanding of how businesses win in the market through bold strategic choices.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

This book brought a lot of things I had picked up in passing home for me into a concise framework around how we make meaning and find motivation in our work.

Tiny Habits

I love this book because it clearly gets into the psychology of how habits are formed – super applicable to my own behaviors and how I think about building software that changes how users work.

An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management

This book is a super prescriptive deep dive into one experienced leader’s mental models and tactical advice for running an engineering organization. I mostly agree with the author, but we’re not always in sync. If you’re looking for some concrete pieces of advise and are good at taking what’s valuable to you from a book and leaving the rest, look no further.