More Books on Leadership, Equity, Innovation, Belonging

More Books November 2023

Two dozen books on Leadership, Innovation, Belonging, Equity, Fiction, and Faction.


BE 2.0 (Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0): Turning Your Business into an Enduring Great Company

by Jim Collins  | Dec 1, 2020 | 4.8 out of 5 stars 609

A roadmap for leaders of enduring greatness.  Recaps the lessons learned from 35 years of research on enduring organizations.  Getting the right people on the bus is finding #1.  Great vision can’t happen without great people.  Offers a clear framework for vision building, strategy, and execution.

The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations

by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner  | Jan 4, 2023 | 4.8 out of 5 stars 49

Every edition keeps getting better. A classic. This seventh edition is clear, crisp, well-researched, and includes many illustrations. The best comprehensive book on leadership.  Worth reading again and again.  Their formula:  Model the way; Inspire shared vision; Challenge the process; Enable others; Encourage the heart.

HBR Guide to Setting Your Strategy

by Harvard Business Review  | Aug 11, 2020 | 4.5 out of 5 stars 50

Highlights on strategy from the best of Harvard Business Review.  My best takeaway: There are four strategies for change: Classic and Visionary are used 75% of the time and work well in stable times.  Shaping and Adaptive work well in uncertain times but are used only 25% of the time.

How to Decide: Simple Tools for Making Better Choices

by Annie Duke  | Oct 13, 2020 | 4.4 out of 5 stars 883

It is not quite as good as her other two books, but lots of solid ideas on decision-making.  Beware, she says, of simple pros and cons and lists.  Give more weight to risk, reward, and impact.  Develop decision-making criteria before debating.  Listen more. Ask more. Talk last.

Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away

by Annie Duke  | Oct 4, 2022 | 4.6 out of 5 stars 584

The world’s best poker player writes about when to hold and when to fold.  There is a fine line, she says, between grit and quit.  Grit is seen as a success. Quit as a failure.  But we often learn far more from failure than we do from success.

The Art of Strategic Leadership: How Leaders at All Levels Prepare Themselves, Their Teams, and Organizations for the Future

by Steven J. Stowell and Stephanie S. Mead  | Feb 16, 2016. 113

Offers an excellent overview of seven skills for strategic leaders. It is poorly written and painful to read but has good research-based lessons learned.

The Wise Advocate: The Inner Voice of Strategic Leadership

by Art KleinerJosie Thomson, et al. | Jan 29, 2019

Re-label, Re-frame, Re-focus.  It ties together brain research, leadership, and higher-order thinking. He says we need wise counsel to help us think beyond our blind spots.

Both/And Thinking: Embracing Creative Tensions to Solve Your Toughest Problems

by Wendy SmithMarianne Lewis, et al. | Aug 9, 2022 | 4.5 out of 5 stars 75

Written by the inventor of the “both/and” concept.  It shares a few good tools and stories but way too much detail.

Leading in Tough Times: Overcome Even the Greatest Challenges with Courage and Confidence

by John C. Maxwell  | Jul 13, 2021 | 4.8 out of 5 stars 346

This super short book is an excellent recap of Maxwell’s best ideas from his other books.

The Magic of Thinking Big

by David Joseph Schwartz | Dec 2, 2014 | 4.7 out of 5 stars 16,085

Similar to Dale Carnegie.  A Classic. Timeless principles from 1959 with (now humorous) examples from real life. Emphasizes mindset and relationships to accomplish big goals.

What Makes a Leader? (Harvard Business Review Classics)

by Daniel Goleman  | Jun 27, 2017 | 4.3 out of 5 stars 66

An interview between Daniel Goleman and Jack Welch.  Keep it simple, be decisive, and act confidently.  Do “competency modeling.” Find the best in class for your area of need and then post for those specific skills. Don’t post for generic skills or assume you know best.

Win Every Argument: The Art of Debating, Persuading, and Public Speaking

by Mehdi Hasan  | Feb 28, 2023 | 4.6 out of 5 stars 574

This is an over-the-top fun read, especially in audio.  And you learn some valuable lessons.  The author is a British Muslim, earning his chops in the competitive work of broadcast.  Great value in lessons per page.  Good stories, sound principles, and practical action steps.


The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success

by Megan McArdle  | Feb 11, 2014 | 4.2 out of 5 stars 240

Written from personal experience of bouncing back from life’s toughest setbacks.  Mixes personal stories and lots of humor with research and statistics.

The Burnout Challenge: Managing People’s Relationships with Their Jobs

by Christina Maslach and Michael P. Leiter  | Nov 15, 2022 | 4.2 out of 5 stars 25

Find the right spot for each employee.  No amount of “fix-it” will help an employee not well fitted to their assignment.  Part 1 is research; Part examples; Part 3 recommendations.

Boundaries for Leaders (Enhanced Edition): Results, Relationships, and Being Ridiculously In Charge

by Henry Cloud  | Apr 16, 2013 | 4.7 out of 5 stars 951

Worth buying, reading, re-reading, giving to others.  Timeless truths.  I wish I had read and applied the learnings in this book years ago.

The Art of Caring Leadership: How Leading with Heart Uplifts Teams and Organizations

by Heather R. Younger and Stephen M. R. Covey | Apr 13, 2021

The author was laid off during a downsizing.  Started podcasts.  Learned great secrets of caring leadership from dozens interviewed on her podcasts.

Humble Leadership: The Power of Relationships, Openness, and Trust

by Edgar H. Schein and Peter A. Schein | Aug 14, 2018 | 4.5 out of 5 stars 438

Use the power of relationships, openness, and trust to create a positive and inclusive work environment where individuals can thrive and contribute to the organization’s success.

The Song of Significance: A New Manifesto for Teams

by Seth Godin  | May 30, 2023 | 4.6 out of 5 stars 177

Enroll, empower, and engage to inspire the best work.  The solution to quiet quitting is teams.

Creation and Invention

Ideaflow: The Only Business Metric That Matters

by Jeremy UtleyPerry Klebahn, et al. | Oct 25, 2022 | 4.8 out of 5 stars 173

The authors are from the Stanford D (Design) School.  Their secret? Create psychological safety to unlock the creativity flow.  It takes 2000 ideas to generate a few promising prototypes and one winner.  Innovate lots, elevate less, test, and iterate until you find a winner.

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

by Eric Ries  | Sep 13, 2011 | 4.5 out of 5 stars 15,862

Experiment constantly. Learn from failure. Validate learning.  It is 1000 little things that succeed. Think big. Start small. Build MVPs – Minimally Viable Products – to see if anyone will use them.

The Ministry Of Common Sense: How to Eliminate Bureaucratic Red Tape, Bad Excuses, and Corporate BS

by Martin Lindstrom and Marshall Goldsmith | Jan 19, 2021 | 4.3 out of 5 stars 249

Delightful, humorous, and action-oriented.  Common sense says go talk to the customer and re-engage with staff.  Work hard to get honest feedback … and act on it.

Leadership Made Simple: Practical Solutions to Your Greatest Management Challenges

by Ed Oakley And Doug Krug | Oct 2, 2006 | 4.9 out of 5 stars 7

Valuable ideas on every page of this short book.  Create a positive work environment by building on what works, positive relationships, and continuous improvement.  Shows the power of a positive approach for harnessing employee energy, engagement, and ownership

Miracle and Wonder: Conversations with Paul Simon

by Malcolm Gladwell, Bruce Headlam, et al. | 4.7 out of 5 stars 71

Paul Simon is one of the best songwriters of the century, with hits in nearly every decade of his life.  Why? Because he continues to experiment, learn, and grow.  The audio version is an actual conversation between Gladwell and Simon.

Equity and Justice

Entry Planning for Equity-Focused Leaders: Empowering Schools and Communities

by Jennifer Perry CheathamRodney Thomas, et al. | Oct 25, 2022 | 5.0 out of 5 stars 15

This is an excellent book combining on-the-ground interviews, case studies, and literature reviews.  Every page overflows with valuable tools and ideas for both equity and entry planning.

Great on Their Behalf: Why School Boards Fail, How Yours Can Become Effective

by AJ Crabill | Mar 22, 2023 | 4.7 out of 5 stars 35

Focusing on student achievement goals is priority one for school districts.  AJ Crabill has invented, refined, and implemented strategies that work.  Well-written manual for student-centered success.

How a City Learned to Improve Its Schools (Continuous Improvement in Education Series)

by Anthony S. Bryk (Author), Sharon Greenberg (Author), Albert Bertani (Author), & 3 more

35-year case study of how Chicago Public Schools went from worst to first in student learning.  Shorter might have been better, but takeaways on every page.  These are great examples of how the system keeps learning, getting more innovative, and building better systems.

A Fever in the Heartland: The Ku Klux Klan’s Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them

by Timothy Egan  | Apr 4, 2023 | 4.6 out of 5 stars 1,635

Another remarkable book by Timothy Egan.  Here, he tells the story of the KKK and how they terrorized the US until one woman gave her life to stop them.  Reads way too much like our present times.

The Aftermath: The Last Days of the Baby Boom and the Future of Power in America

by Philip Bump  | Jan 24, 2023 | 3.9 out of 5 stars 143

Baby boomers are old, white, conservative, religious … and fading.  Surprisingly, they are no longer the largest generation.  Millennials comprise a smaller percentage of a much larger nation.

Poverty, by America

by Matthew Desmond  | Mar 21, 2023, | 4.5 out of 5 stars 1,100

This is similar to the book Aftermath but shorter and easier to follow.  The US is the wealthiest nation on earth and the least equitable.  We have a more significant percentage of the poor and give more tax breaks to the rich.


Answering the Call: The Doctor Who Made Africa His Life: The Remarkable Story of Albert Schweitzer

by Ken Gire (Author) | Mar 18, 2013 | 4.4 out of 5 stars    159 ratings

Philosopher, Theologian, Musician, Doctor.  He was destined for greatness and found it in an African hospital where he gave his all for the people he came to love.  Through war hardship and limited resources, he kept finding ways to serve people better.

Dickens and Prince: A Particular Kind of Genius

by Nick Hornby  | Nov 15, 2022 | 4.2 out of 5 stars 162

The author compares and contrasts two prolific artists: Charles Dickens and the musician Prince.  Each learned by producing more than anyone could imagine and folding that new learning back into new and original work.  Staying close to the top of their game over time.

Rough Sleepers: Dr. Jim O’Connell’s urgent mission to bring healing to homeless people

by Tracy Kidder  | Jan 17, 2023, | 4.6 out of 5 stars 489

Another great story by Tracy Kidder.  Here, he tells the story of Dr. Jim O’Connell, who created a remarkable homeless ministry in Boston.  He was known for making midnight rounds and finding caring and compassionate workarounds to serve the poorest of the poor.

A Crack in the Edge of the World: America and the Great California Earthquake of 1906

by Simon Winchester  | Feb 5, 2013 | 4.4 out of 5 stars 442

Simon Winchester is one of the best at making history read like a page-turner. Here, Winchester tells the story of earthquakes across America, the impact on San Francisco, and how the city fathers rebranded the earthquake as just another fire like Chicago.

Write Useful Books: A modern approach to designing and Refining Recommendable Nonfiction

by Rob Fitzpatrick and Adam Rosen | Jul 4, 2021 | 4.6 out of 5 stars 519

Write quick drafts. Rewrite. Then, share your unfinished work widely.  Learn from feedback. Your book will be better and more likely to sell due to the 100s who helped create it.

Rising From the Deep: The Seattle Kraken, a Tenacious Push for Expansion, and the Emerald City’s Sports Revival

by Geoff Baker  | Nov 1, 2022, | 4.4 out of 5 stars 26

The inside story of the many fits and starts of trying to bring professional basketball and hockey to Seattle.

Fiction, Fact-ion, and History

The White Cascade: The Great Northern Railway Disaster and America’s Deadliest Avalanche

by Gary Krist  | Jan 22, 2008 | 4.5 out of 5 stars 653

America’s deadliest avalanche during a 1910 snowstorm on Stevens Pass (WA). The story is well told, and you keep hoping for a better outcome, but in the end, 96 died.

The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder

by David Grann  | Apr 18, 2023 | 4.5 out of 5 stars 8,649

On the best seller list.  The tale of a shipwreck at the tip of South America and the remarkable resilience of several parties given up for lost.  Each party tells a different story of “mutiny or murder.” I pushed myself to finish it.  Long, convoluted.  Read it for the history more so than the plot.

Lessons in Chemistry: A Novel

by Bonnie Garmus  | Apr 5, 2022

4.6 out of 5 stars 192,429

Look at those ratings—a good read.  Compelling plot. Well told. A poignant retelling of inconvenient truths about how women have been treated … and, by implication, how much further there is to go.

Triple: A Novel

by Ken Follett  | Feb 3, 2015 | 4.3 out of 5 stars 14,515

The story of how Israel stole enough plutonium (literally a boatload) to make a nuclear bomb.  And how that bomb ensured their survival during the subsequent wars.  Described as Faction by the author.  Well researched (never confirmed) … as close to the truth as he could make it.

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