Professional Development Reading List

The following books have meaningfully impacted my personal and professional development over the years. As a group they provide a well rounded foundation of knowledge around organizational development, leadership, management, decision making and strategy. I reassess the list annually however a book needs to have a material impact over a meaningful period of time and scenarios to merit an update.

A number of these books are far from new releases. In today’s consumer centric, constantly searching for the new, novel thing atmosphere I would encourage you to apprise yourself with knowledge that has stood the test of time. We should be sure we are aware of new developments and constantly assess their value against established, successful principles.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t

Author: Jim Collins

A study on and conclusions from how some of the most successful business entities have accomplished what they have in their industries. Jim describes the patterns and structures that made these organizations unique and successful. While some of the examples may be dated, the organizational development principles articulated stand the test of time.

The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done

Author: Peter Drucker

Peter Drucker is a staple of leadership that has positively impacted a generation of executives. This is a great read on how to be as effective as possible in a leadership role. Where many people feel they have arrived and are tempted to become stagnant or bogged down in bureaucratic inefficiency, Peter provides practical strategies for having continual, material, positive impacts on your company.

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Author: Simon Sinek

Simon highlights one of biggest keys to successful leadership. Giving people a “Why” to justify and inspire the time, money and investment needed to accomplish great things with an organization of people. If your team doesn’t have a meaningful reason to contribute beyond their compensation then you will struggle to accomplish the extraordinary.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things

Author: Ben Horowitz

Business and leadership are rarely about making the right decision with all the facts. It is frequently making the best decision from difficult options while lacking details you would have in a perfect world. Ben provides interesting examples and pragmatic views on handling these tough decisions.

The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Author: Malcolm Gladwell

Malcom provides a captivating breakdown of some of the biggest sales and product “tipping points” in recent decades. He analyzes and articulates the factors that come together to generate the ground swells that differentiated them from being something novel to being a game changing phenomenon.