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5 Books Every Great Business Leader Needs to Read

illustration of a book, pencil and pen

Summer is the perfect time to catch up on your reading list and if you’re anything like us, you’ve probably got a stack on your nightstand calling your name. Yet while the latest mystery or beach read might be tempting, it can be hard to let loose poolside when your business doesn’t take a summer vacation. But that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a good read. We’ve rounded up a selection of five must-reads for business leaders. From the inspiring to the introspective, each of these books is sure to help you build your leadership skills and gain a new perspective on your business.

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

Curiosity and compassion can go a long way in leading a successful team or business. In “Dare to Lead,” Brené Brown encourages leaders to break the status quo and defy a culture of scarcity — one often defined by a fear of letting go of power, being vulnerable or connecting on a deep level. Brown is a University of Houston professor and #1 New York Times bestselling author widely known for her work exploring empathy, courage, vulnerability and connection. In this book, she digs into how these human qualities — or lack thereof — impact leadership.

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t

Why do some teams stick together and succeed in the face of obstacles, why others — even those with loads of talent and incentives — crash and burn? The answer may come down to leadership. In “Leaders Eat Last,” Simon Sinek does a deep dive into how business leaders can create the right conditions and environments for their teams to thrive.

The Brand Gap: How to Bridge the Distance Between Business Strategy and Design

We’ll be the first to tell you that your business’ brand matters. But we also understand that connecting the idea of branding to your day-to-day business may not be second nature — yet. That’s where Marty Neumeier’s “The Brand Gap” comes in. As one of the most-read books on branding, “The Brand Gap” relates business strategy to brand execution using tangible, easy-to-follow examples that all readers can connect with — from emerging entrepreneurs to marketing veterans.

The Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable

According to Seth Godin’s “The Purple Cow,” businesses have two options: be remarkable or be invisible. As a business leader, the choice is yours. But what does it take to truly stand out from the herd? In this bestseller, Godin introduces the idea of a creating something phenomenal, counterintuitive, exciting and even flat-out unbelievable — your own “purple cow” — to transform your business and find success.

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t

We’re rounding out this list with a classic. Jim Collins’ research-driven, #1 bestseller “Good to Great” is widely hailed as a must-read — and for good reason. Collins and his research team take an in-depth look at companies who beat the odds and made the leap from good to great. They also compare and contrast their results with companies who struggled to make the leap and, ultimately, couldn’t find their footing. What makes the difference between sustained success and the inability to lift off to the next level? According to their research, it turns out it’s often a matter of conscious choice and discipline.

We hope you enjoy your summer readings and come away with a new collection of dog-earned, annotated or Post-It laden books. We want to hear what you think! Let us know what your favorite marketing or leadership books are. We’ll be sure to add them to our list.