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5 must-read Books for Aspiring Leaders

You are aiming high and building capabilities to not only manage things but drive positive impact at work. Here is our recommended selection of books that can inspire and (why not?) accelerate your growth as an aspiring leader.

10% Happier by Dan Harris

10% Happier by Dan Harris recommended

Dan Harris, the anchor of Nightline, sets out on an unexpected, humorous, and deeply skeptical quest through the bizarre worlds of spirituality and self-help, and he finds a real, doable method to be happier.

Dan Harris realized he needed to make some changes after experiencing a panic attack on Good Morning America that was broadcast nationwide. He has never been religious and now finds himself on an odd journey with a disgraced pastor, an enigmatic self-help guru, and a group of brain scientists.

Everybody has a voice in their head. It's what causes us to snap at people without cause, obsessively check our emails, overeat when we're not hungry, and focus on the past and future at the expense of the present. Most people would assume that this voice will always be with us and that there is nothing we can do to quiet it, but Harris discovered a useful technique for doing just that. Instead of the miracle treatments promoted by the self-help swamis he met, meditation is what he had always believed to be either impossible or pointless. Harris dove further into the subject of meditation after learning about studies that says it can do everything from lower blood pressure to practically rewire your brain.

Trust Factor by Paul J. Zak

Trust Factor by Paul J. Zak recommendation

Business executives have been arming themselves with every book, theory, incentive, and programme known to man for decades, but poisonous cultures, as well as the misery and low productivity they bring, continue to plague businesses all over the world.

Paul Zak, a neuroscientist, demonstrates in his book Trust Factor that our fundamental brain processes contain the solutions we've been seeking. Simply said, trust is the key to fostering an engaging, supportive, and positive culture that keeps your staff motivated. Your brain experiences a happy rush of oxytocin when someone shows you trust, which prompts you to return the favour.

In this book, Zak discusses today's challenges like:

  • The impact of brain chemicals on behavior

  • Why trust is undermined?

  • How to encourage trust among your staff

This book also includes scientific suggestions for fostering high levels of trust. Stop reusing the same failed tactics and initiatives to enhance culture. You can establish a continuous cycle of trust-building between your management and personnel by utilizing the straightforward processes in Trust Factor, putting an end to obstinate workplace routines.

Drive by Daniel H. Pink

Drive by Daniel H. Pink recommended book

Most people think that using prizes like money to inspire people is the ideal approach—also known as the "carrot and stick" approach. That's an error, contends Daniel H. Pink. In this thought-provoking and compelling book, he makes the case that the key to high performance and satisfaction—at work, in school, and at home—lies in our fundamentally human desire to take control of our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better for both ourselves and the world around us. In his exposé of the discrepancy between what science understands and what business practices, Pink draws on four decades of scientific research on human motivation to show how this influences every part of life. He looks at the three components of real motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan

Search Inside Yourself by Chade-Meng Tan recommended book

Search Inside Yourself was initially created by an early Google engineer and personal-growth pioneer: Chade-Meng Tan. Meng has condensed emotional intelligence into a collection of useful, tested tools and abilities that everyone can pick up and hone. The skills offered by Search Inside Yourself will be extremely helpful for you, regardless of whether your goals are to improve attention and creativity, lessen stress, become more positive and resilient, create rewarding relationships, or just be successful. This is your road map to increasing creativity and productivity, discovering purpose and fulfilment in your job and life, and accomplishing all of this while experiencing great serenity, compassion, and pleasure.

In Search Inside Yourself, the author shows how to harness empathy and compassion to become an outstanding leader, calm your mind on demand and bring it back to a state of natural happiness, deepen self-awareness in a way that fosters self-confidence, and create highly effective partnerships based on trust and open communication.

Grit by Angela Duckworth

Grit by Angela Duckworth recommended book

Angela Duckworth, the daughter of a scientist who regularly remarked on her lack of "genius," is a well-known scholar and professor. Her early, eye-opening experiences in teaching, corporate advising, and neuroscience led to her theory on what really motivates success: not brilliance, but a special blend of enthusiasm and persistent long-term effort.

In Grit, she takes us into the field to meet soldiers who are having a difficult time adjusting to life at West Point, instructors who work in some of the most challenging classrooms, and young National Spelling Bee finalists. She also draws fascinating lessons from the past and demonstrates what can be learned from current research on peak performance.

Some of Grit's most insightful observations include: how to spark a lifelong interest; the power of the Hard Thing Rule; how any effort you make ultimately counts twice toward your goal; grit can be learned, regardless of IQ or circumstances; when it comes to child-rearing, neither a warm embrace nor high standards will work by themselves; and so much more. Grit is a book about what goes through your thoughts when you fall and how that makes all the difference.

We hope you will enjoy and learn from these books and it helps you in your upcoming leadership journey ahead.


Written by Prasidhi Poddar

Wondering Why traditional coaching doesn't work in your organization? Check this insightful conversation with Meredith Bell on the Learn with Bessern Podcast


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