In today’s fast-paced world, it’s more important than ever to seek out new ideas that can help us be better. Our team here at Linkage is constantly on the lookout for the latest and greatest insights in leadership development.
And, we’re eager to keep challenging ourselves so that we can guide the thousands of leaders we work with each year, like you on your own journey to greatness.
But, where to begin? We asked our own leadership experts to share the leadership books that have inspired them recently—and the great news is that they’re all just a click away on Amazon. Happy reading!
Alexander B. Martin, Principal Consultant
Social Physics: How Social Networks Can Make Us Smarter by Alex Pentland
This fast read opens a revolutionary new field of study to the layman: social physics, or the study of human systems and behavior using Big Data and toolkits borrowed from across the sciences. Alex Pentland co-founded the MIT Media Lab and currently leads its Human Dynamics lab and is one of the most cited computer scientists in the world. Forecasting the future, let alone the complex and the often-irrational behavior of crowds, has always been haphazard and incomplete; Pentland makes a worthy case for this system of thinking as a path forward.
Pair with Weapons of Math Destruction by Cathy O’Neil; another fast read that takes aim at the algorithms that drive our decisions and lives. Longlisted for the National Book Award.
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage (100th Anniversary Edition) by Alfred Lansing
Year after year, I return to this short book about Shackleton’s doomed voyage to Antarctica. It is at once a famous study in leadership and team culture, and one of the greatest adventure stories ever told. Lansing is a master storyteller and leads us through three years on the ice and all its’ attendant hardships, impossible decisions, and unlikely triumphs. As a portrait of a leader, we walk away in awe of Shackleton, but also of the culture of the team he built with the now-famous newspaper ad: “Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages. Bitter cold. Long months of complete darkness. Constant danger. Safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success.”
Pair with Endurance by Frank Arthur Worsley; a much more detailed contemporary account of the voyage by the captain of the HMS Endurance.
Angela Hicks, Instructional Designer
Dear Madam President: An Open Letter to the Women Who Will Run the World by Jennifer Palmieri
Social change is slow. In the U.S., women have had the right to vote for less than one hundred years. This book is a movingly personal account of the loss of a dream and a plea for what’s possible and what’s needed in women who lead. Framed as an empowering letter to the first woman president, and by extension, all women working to succeed in any field, this book is filled with forward-thinking, practical advice for all women.
Mark Hannum, Senior VP of Research and Development
The Imperative of Integration by Elizabeth Anderson
Elizabeth Anderson demonstrates that, despite progress toward racial equality, African Americans remain disadvantaged on virtually all measures of well-being. Weaving together extensive social science findings–in economics, sociology, and psychology–with political theory, this book provides a compelling argument for reviving the ideal of racial integration to overcome injustice and inequality, and to build a better democracy.
Dr. John Bargh, the world’s leading expert on the unconscious mind, presents a groundbreaking book which gives us an entirely new understanding of the hidden mental processes that secretly govern every aspect of our behavior.
Jill Ihsanullah, Senior VP of Consulting
Every woman leader should invest in this fantastic guide. Much has been written about the external disadvantages women face in the workplace. In this unique contribution to the field, my colleague Susan MacKenty Brady helps readers determine whether they have personally internalized and translated society’s messaging about what it means to be a “woman” into behaviors that hold them back. Alongside delightful stories of real women, Brady presents actionable steps we can take to tame our inner voice and advance in our careers. It’s practical, clear, and powerful.
Danielle Lucido, Affiliate Network Director
With the strain of the infamous “double-bind” women face in the marketplace, gaining support and navigating a career can be difficult at times. This book brings to light behavior that we unconsciously exhibit that can be preventing us from being perceived in a positive light. It also includes an assessment, so you can begin creating your own development plan.
Sam Lam, President of Linkage Asia
This is a great take on an old subject matter. Doerr approaches MBOs with a modern twist and brings it up to date. The book dives into the goal-setting system of Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) that has helped tech giants from Intel to Google achieve explosive growth—and how it can help any organization thrive.
I was introduced to Samuel A. Culbert by Warren Bennis and went on to work with him on a few programs at UCLA. In this book, Culbert puts managers on notice, explaining that the traditional performance review has built a corporate culture based on fear and intimidation. His solution? The performance preview, which holds people accountable for their actions and their results, while giving managers and employees the kind of feedback they need to improve their skills.
Diana Gruber, Principal Consultant
The Road Back to You by Ian Cron and Suzanne Stabile
This book is a “primer” for learning the Enneagram—a personality typing tool that is psychospiritual in origin, and helps one identify one’s core “wounds” and “gifts”. I am particularly interested in understanding the different gifts that each category brings to the table—in my professional or personal relationships, as a team member, and especially as a leader.
What books have recently inspired your leadership journey? Share your recommendations with us in the comments below.