Leadership Toolbox: Reading List

 A Reading List for Leaders, by Ryan Hansen

Imagine, if you can, suddenly finding yourself with some extra time on your hands. Perhaps your office is closed to the public and you are working from home for the next few weeks, wiping out hours of commuting and meetings from your schedule. How will you spend this newfound time?

Certainly, you will have to adjust to your new surroundings and adapt your habits to fit new routines. Would you use this time to learn a new skill or knock out some chores you have been putting off? Maybe you're a personal-growth junkie like me, and you need something to keep your mind occupied so you can stay focused and motivated. To that end, I surveyed our Alloy team members to create a list of our favorite books on personal growth and professional development.

You can see the list for yourself, and if anything speaks to you, go ahead and grab a copy for yourself from Amazon (links included below).

Jamie's Favorites:

Put Your Dream to the Test - John C. Maxwell
There is a reason that John Maxwell is considered the leadership guru of our generation. His books challenge the reader to think bigger and reach higher. This book offers ten questions to guide you as you work to make your dream a reality. (Amazon)

9 Things You Simply Must Do - Dr. Henry Cloud
Dr. Cloud is a career counselor (just like Jamie!) and uses his years of experience and observations to create a practical guide to getting more out of life. (Amazon)

Leadership and Self-Deception - The Arbinger Institute
This book has been on shelves around the world since 2000, and you can see why when you read it. Enjoy this fascinating study of leadership and self-justification, explained through brilliant storytelling. (Amazon)

StrengthsFinder 2.0 - Tom Rath
From our neighbors at Gallup, StrengthsFinder was a revolutionary idea in the world of leadership. The counter-intuitive concept: focus on building on your strengths rather than on "fixing" your weaknesses. This assessment is one of Alloy's favorite coaching tools. (Amazon)

The Speed of Trust - Stephen M. R. Covey
As Stephen Covey explains in this book, trust drives everything. Nothing overcomes a lack of trust - not need, not desire, and not fear. This book is written for individuals at any level, from budding leaders to tenured executives. (Amazon)

Emotional Intelligence - Daniel Goleman
Ah, yes, emotional intelligence. It's another one of those "soft skills" that nobody can quite put a finger on. Or can we? Goleman's book was one of the first to scientifically explain this key to success. (Amazon)

Haley's Favorites:

The Four Tendencies - Gretchen Rubin
This book is all about expectations (internal and external) and how we respond to them. Gretchen Rubin explains the four basic tendencies that each of us expresses as we encounter expectations all around us. She even has a quiz to let you determine your own Tendency! (Amazon)

You Are a Badass - Jen Sincero
If you know Haley, you know why she loves this book. Jen Sincero shares her insights into getting what you want from life in a characteristically candid and hilarious style. (Amazon)

Daring Greatly - Brene Brown
If uncertainty terrifies you, if vulnerability unnerves you, if courage seems like a great idea for other people - this is the book for you. Learn to embrace risk by stepping out of your comfort zone and into your potential. (Amazon)

Grit - Angela Duckworth
What is the secret to achievement? According to Angela Duckworth, it's not talent. It's focused persistence - the stuff she calls "grit." If you like a mental challenge, you will love this engaging study on mental toughness. (Amazon)

The Greatest You - Trent Shelton
This book is an insider's guide to unlocking your potential, written by a guy who thought he had it all, then thought he had lost it all. Trent Shelton shares his story of rising from a college football star to a failed NFL prospect, then rising again. We saw Trent on stage last fall, and he is a spectacularly gifted communicator. (Amazon)

Ryan's Favorites:

High Performance Habits - Brendon Burchard
Have you ever wondered what high-achievers do to become high-achievers? Well, Brendon Burchard did too. He surveyed thousands of high performers to pick out six key habits to weave into your life. Grab a copy, or hear the audio version for free on his podcast, The Brendon Show. (Amazon)

Today Matters - John C. Maxwell
John once told a crowd of coaches that he would recommend new leaders start with this book. It's a well-written tribute to the compounding power of the little things: valuing health, relationships, education, and more. Most of all, it's about taking advantage of the opportunity presented by each new day. (Amazon)

Know What You're FOR - Jeff Henderson
Former Chick-fil-A executive and current pastor Jeff Henderson shares his best insights into building organizational culture from the ground up. The book covers everything from marketing strategies to customer service, all in service of a people-first culture. (Amazon)

Joy, Inc. - Richard Sheridan
This is another book all about organizational culture, written by a cultural architect from Menlo Innovations. Menlo is legendary in the software development space, particularly for revolutionizing the rules for how their people worked. Richard Sheridan explains how and why they did it, warts and all. What started as a sacrilegious, hare-brained idea grew into the gold standard for software companies. (Amazon)

Cindy's Favorites:

Rhinoceros Success - Scott Alexander
You probably didn't expect an instructional handbook on how to act more like a rhinoceros, but that's what Scott Alexander created. Learn how to apply audacity, courage, excitement, persistence, and more to achieve the success you want in life. (Amazon)

Rare Leadership - Marcus Warner
Have you ever thought about the term, "emotional maturity?" Well, you will with this book! Marcus Warner explores this concept by combining theology, counseling, and brain science to build a roadmap to the next level of leadership. (Amazon)


I hope you find this list helpful, even inspirational, as you look to figure out your new workflow. Questions or comments for the Alloy team? Send us a note at solutionsteam@alloystrong.com!


Some of the links posted above are affiliate links, and Alloy may earn a commission if you purchase through them. This does not affect the price you pay. Keep in mind that our team recommended these books because of their quality, not because of a commission. The decision is yours, and the choice to buy something is completely up to you.

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