7 Must Read Books This Year

I like to read widely, because I believe the discipline you are engaged in can be greatly enriched by other disciplines. Below are 7 books I really enjoyed this year and feel I am a better leader because of. If you’re going to read, make sure these must read books are on your list.

They are listed in no particular order, but I have shared why I liked them and then included the blurb so you know what each book is about. The book can be found through the link.

START WITH WHY – Simon Sinek

I really like Sinek’s leadership approach and philosophy. This simple question “Why?” if taken seriously will transform what you do and how you do it. Knowing why you do what you do and why you are asking others to do things is integral to leading with excellence. It is also too easily forgotten. The book is well researched, easy to read and yet challenging, and will be a timely reminder to all who read it.

Simon Sinek’s recent video on ‘The Millennial Question‘ went viral with over 150 million views. Start with Why is a global bestseller and the TED Talk based on it is the third most watched of all time.Why are some people and organisations more inventive, pioneering and successful than others? And why are they able to repeat their success again and again?In business, it doesn’t matter what you do, it matters WHY you do it.Start with Why analyses leaders like Martin Luther King Jr and Steve Jobs and discovers that they all think in the same way – they all started with why.Simon Sinek explains the framework needed for businesses to move past knowing what they do to how they do it, and then to ask the more important question-WHY?Why do we do what we do? Why do we exist? Learning to ask these questions can unlock the secret to inspirational business. Sinek explains what it truly takes to lead and inspire and how anyone can learn how to do it.

 

FRUITFULLNESS ON THE FRONTLINE – Mark Greene

When it comes to taking your faith into your workplace, this is the most effective book I’ve read on the subject. It’s well written, interwoven with fresh wisdom and wonderful stories and is very practical. Greene presents a Biblical framework that can help anyone who dares implement it take their Christian faith and see it powerfully affect the places they live their lives in.

In this horizon-expanding, spirit-lifting, heart-warming book Mark Greene serves up a liberating view of how God can and does work in and through us in our daily lives. Whether you’re a student or retired, at the gym or at work, at the school gate or in the supermarket, here is a fresh and original framework for fruitfulness which will open up a host of possibilities to make a difference for Christ among the people you naturally meet in the places you find yourself day by day. Brimming with true stories, the combination of fresh Biblical insight, humour and practical steps will not only spark your imagination; it will enrich your sense of wonder at the greatness and grace of the God who not only gave his life for us, but invites us to join him in his glorious, transforming work.

 

LEONARDO DA VINCI – Walter Isaacson

Isaacson writes great biographies and this one is no exception. Leonardo da Vinci’s life was astounding in so many ways, and this book gives you an informed insight into it all. What I most valued from this book was the power of curiosity, wonder and reflection.  Da Vinci was constantly spell bound by the world around him and that seems like a wonderful position from which to live one’s life. It is a fascinating insight into a fascinating man.

The #1 New York Times Bestseller `Walter Isaacson is not an art historian, he’s simply a lover of Leonardo, who manages to communicate the sheer joy of this remarkable man’Books of the Year – The Times `Walter Isaacson keeps the mortal man to the fore. For all his supernatural gifts as an artist and natural scientist. Leonardo was resolutely human (illegitimate, vegan, in need of patrons) rather than the near deity of legend. Isaacson is an assured guide to Leonardo’s fallibility – so many projects started, so few completed – as well as his extraordinary curiosity and his even more remarkable painterly skills that were sharpened by intense observation.

 

SEEKING ALLAH, FINDING JESUS – Nabeel Qureshi

This book was incredible. It penetrates to the core of the reader as Nabeel Qureshi explores his journey from Islam to Christianity, while ruthlessly interrogating both faiths. He is an intelligent man with a huge heart and this journey really uncovers so many of the facets that should be informing all of our relationships. It was raw, beautiful, crazy and at times very confronting. I highly recommend this one, for all of you who read my blog.

An Unexpected Journey from Islam to Christianity In Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, Nabeel Qureshi describes his dramatic journey from Islam to Christianity, complete with friendships, investigations, and supernatural dreams along the way. Providing an intimate window into a loving Muslim home, Qureshi shares how he developed a passion for Islam before discovering, almost against his will, evidence that Jesus rose from the dead and claimed to be God. Unable to deny the arguments but not wanting to deny his family, Qureshi’s inner turmoil will challenge Christians and Muslims alike. Engaging and thought-provoking, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus tells a powerful story of the clash between Islam and Christianity in one man’s heart-and of the peace he eventually found in Jesus. “I have seldom seen such genuine intellect combined with passion to match …truly a ‘must-read’ book.” -Ravi Zacharias

 

CRUCIAL CONVERSATIONS – Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

The beauty of this book is it offers readers the tools to have better conversations. From making others feel safe, to standing back and not being drawn into conflicts, to articulating exactly what it is you want and should say in difficult conversations. This book is a gem. It’s well researched with hours and hours of practical research behind it, every person who is in a relationship of any kind should read this.

More than 1.5 million copies sold!Crucial Conversations has dominated the New York Times bestseller list for 10 years . . . and counting! The long-awaited second edition of Crucial Conversations is exactly what’s needed to help professionals keep up with today’s faster-paced, higher-stakes business environment . . . where every conversation, every relationship, is more crucial than ever. Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler (Orem, UT) are top international corporate consultants and cofounders of Vitality Alliance, Inc., and VitalSmarts. Together they have developed corporate training programs for dozens of Fortune 500 companies.

 

DEEP WORK – Cal Newport

I’ve mentioned Newport’s work previously but this book could be a life-saver for some of you. I loved it because it makes you refocus, slow down and adopt a different perspective, firstly on work and then on everything else. Newport is a University Professor, who works deeply, to benefit others who are wanting their work to count for more.

Many modern knowledge workers now spend most of their brain power battling distraction and interruption, whether because of the incessant pinging of devices, noisy open-plan offices or the difficulty of deciding what deserves your attention the most. When Cal Newport coined the term ‘deep work’ on his popular blog, Study Hacks, in 2012, he found the concept quickly hit a nerve. Most of us, after all, are excruciatingly familiar with shallow work instead – distractedly skimming the surface of our workload and never getting to the important part. Newport began exploring the methods and mindset that foster a practice of distraction-free productivity at work, and now, in DEEP WORK, he shows how anyone can achieve this elusive state. 

 

QUIET – Susan Cain

This book reveals that our world is built for extroverts to thrive, while introverts can find themselves shrinking away. It has helped me understand how people different to me experience the world differently. I’m not an introvert (I’m actually 50/50 intro/extro) but this book has brilliant insight for those of you who feel bad for being an introvert and a timely message for those of you who are extroverted.

At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking, reading to partying; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over brainstorming in teams. Although they are often labeled “quiet,” it is to introverts that we owe many of the great contributions to society–from van Gogh’s sunflowers to the invention of the personal computer. Passionately argued, impressively researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet shows how dramatically we undervalue introverts, and how much we lose in doing so. 

If you’re looking for other must read book suggestions these lists may help:

Books Every Emerging Leader Should Read

Books Every Developing Leader Should Read

Books Every Seasoned Leader Should Read

What books have you enjoyed this year?

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