Business Strategy

6 Timeless Books for Business Leadership Success

02.16.2023 4 Minutes

Learning is a lifelong process, and as the saying goes — while not all readers are leaders, all leaders must be readers.

As our world continues to change and evolve, staying in front of emerging trends and on top of best practices is essential for all leaders and often determine those businesses that simply survive and those that thrive.

We should all aspire to better our best — below are six books that lay the groundwork for growing leadership that steers business excellence.

Good to Great by Jim Collins

Good to Great

by Jim Collins

Good to Great is a seminal leadership and business management book that describes the systems and processes that “good” companies can follow to achieve “great” and enduring success. This book provides clarity for why having the right team and setting the right goals can help an organization excel. Collins reminds us that organizations can build momentum by focusing on the elements that matter the most to create a flywheel effect for your business — keeping you on track toward your goals and vision.

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CEO Excellence

CEO Excellence: The Six Mindsets That Distinguish the Best Leaders from the Rest

by Carolyn Dewar, Scott Keller, and Vikram Malhotra

CEO Excellence describes the six areas that set great CEOs apart from the rest, and grounds each of these behaviors in business best practices. Much like how Good to Great describes the qualities that set great organizations apart from the rest, CEO Excellence explores the specific responsibilities that CEOs have for ensuring business success — ranging from setting the direction and directing the organization toward a common goal to engaging with board members and managing personal effectiveness. This book serves as a blueprint for how CEOs can more effectively manage their organizations through effective leadership.

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Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Think and Grow Rich

by Napoleon Hill

Over my career, Think and Grow Rich has consistently been put forward by leaders I admire as one of the greatest books to define one’s path to “rich” thinking — both professionally and personally. First published in 1937, it’s a treasure trove of wisdom and insight. Hill focuses on the psychological power of thought and the effect it can have on how we live and lead every day. Simply put, this book makes the point that success is directly related to knowing what you want to achieve and having a pure and driving passion to actually achieve it. Think and Grow Rich is a great book to be savored chapter-by-chapter and discussed amongst a group of peers to share your ideas as you read and learn together about Napoleon Hill’s mastermind thinking.

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Deep Work

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World

by Cal Newport

Deep Work makes the case that the ability to focus without distraction is essential to success — allowing you to quickly master complicated information and produce better results in less time. Newport provides practical advice on how you can nurture your ability to work deeply. This book reminds us we all feel a constant pull toward shallow work that has no lasting impact on your organization or your life. Getting past this pull to focus deeply on the things that matter is a secret weapon that will arm us to succeed in today’s distractible world.

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What Got You Here Won't Get You There

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

by Marshall Goldsmith

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There is a masterclass in how developing and honing your soft skills leads to more effective leadership and communication practices. This book focuses on actionable tactics you can use to nurture interpersonal work relationships through habits you can build into your daily life. Behaviors like listening more and saying “thank you” when you’re offered feedback, while small, can accumulate over time and build enhanced credibility among your team and other leaders in your organization.

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Who Moved My Cheese

Who Moved My Cheese

by Spencer Johnson

Who Moved My Cheese is a short, allegorical work that delves into the idea of disruption. The story describes a maze in which two mice and two “Littlepeople” live — both pairs searching for Cheese, a metaphor for happiness and success. Johnson then explores what happens when each pair’s source of Cheese dries up, describing two common outcomes of disruption in business. First, being prepared for disruption and agile enough to move in a different direction. Second, getting angry and disappointed at how unfair the situation is. While short, this story serves as an excellent reminder that disruption is inevitable, and our ability to face disruption head-on is entirely a product of forethought and attitude.

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