I heard a cliche early on in my adolescence that really stuck with me, “Leaders are readers”.  Being someone who has not always been super efficient as a reader at first I was discouraged as it came off as if you didn’t read, you did not have the right to lead people. This cannot be farther from the truth, what I can tell you though, is that the leaders who have had the most impact in my life did so by steering me toward books that they knew would allow me to self discover a truth – and that is the hidden diamond of this abused cliche. While I’m not sure I was ever officially diagnosed with being dyslexic, growing up, reading was not something I did for fun – I would do all that I needed to in order to complete an assignment. I would seek out information on how to solve issues or learn a new skill – but when it came to fiction or fantasy books, just never appealed to me. What would appeal to me and what causes me to go out of my to read, and even listen to an audio version (especially if read by the author) is if it held special value to me because it nearly immediately impacted me in a way that I could use in the near future.

#3 – Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill (1937 – Unedited Edition)

There was a period that I would read this book about once a year, and thanks to a master mind group that I found because of this group was able to listen to this as an audio book! This book helped shape a mindset that has served me well.  The illustration that is used at the very first few chapters of the book really hit home – knowing that you could be that close to a result, but in the process of giving up on yourself you never saw the result. In fact, it might be time to read this again! I will stress, do NOT get the 21st century version of this book – I believe that version is what has given this classic text a bad name in some circles.

#2 -Drive, Daniel H Pink

Motivation is one of the most misunderstood things when it comes to business.  It has been too often believed that the only motivator is money, so when you need more out of someone you should offer incentives.  Daniel takes a great hard look at this and makes a strong case for intrinsic motivation. Social Scientists have known these things for years, but most mangers fail to understand these truths.  You can see a great preview of this book in his TED talk, “The Puzzle of Motivation”. Spoiler – once you take money off of the table (i.e. the person is paid fairly for the position they are in) you then have to operate in Autonomy, Mastery, Purpose to really motivate someone.

#1 – Start with Why, Simon Sinek

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it” This phrase has been ringing in my head ever since I first saw Simon present his talk at TED. The codified message of the Golden Circle and how he communicates the need to Start from Why is so important to be an inspired leader. The massive thing that I instantly took away from this book and his talk was the power in presenting why I do what I do at Blinds.com rather than try to explain the What and the How. You see, when you start with why – all of the rest fall in to place. I urge you to read this book!!!  Even before that – I urge you to watch his talk, if you are not hooked after that let me know.