“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” —Harry S. Truman
2020 has been a crazy year for everyone, and if this time has taught us anything it is the value of being flexible and adaptive. Businesses pivoted, workers tapped into new hard skill sets and the entire world experienced personal and professional changes every day. As Charles Darwin famously stated, “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”
This has been a time when the true leaders have stepped forward, adapted and changed to meet the world, their industry and their employees where they’re at. When we think of great leaders, it’s easy to envision traits of confidence, inspiration, flawless communication and trust… but among these vital traits should also be adaptability. According to a study by MIT which surveyed 20,000 businesses, adaptability was the crucial component identified for the businesses that maintained success. This isn’t only for corporations — in a workforce that has begun to value soft skills more and more, your years of work experience might not be the only thing a hiring manager reviews in your next interview. With adaptability being deemed “the most important soft skill of all,” according to FastCompany, you will want to embody this skill set more than ever.
If you want to be a strong leader, you must be adaptable, and by default, you’ve got to be a learner.
One of the best ways I have found to learn rapidly and grow as a leader is the habit of reading every day. Reading has been found to activate a complex network of circuits and signals in the brain, which become stronger and more sophisticated over time. By reading regularly you not only are strengthening your brain, but also increasing your ability to emphasize with others, broaden your vocabulary and actually reduce cognitive decline… all of which are valuable skill sets for a leader to maintain. Take it from Warren Buffet who reads 500 pages a day, or Mark Cuban who reads for three hours every day… if you want to lead, you must read.
Since there are so many books out there, it can be overwhelming to pick the ones worth reading. After all, you need your mindset right and you need to filter the best information to make the best decisions in a chaotic and changing system.
To help you cut through heaps of books and find books worth investing here, here are six books I’ve read this year, that I believe every leader should read:
We live in a highly individualistic culture and we’re trained in a public education system that focuses on competition. Each student is taught to do everything on their own and is graded against their peers. Who Not How provides a framework for being relational and collaborative, and for building more teamwork in all areas of your life.
This book is coauthored by Dan Sullivan and Dr. Benjamin Hardy who together break down Dan’s methodology on entrepreneurship in action. Rather than asking, “How can I do this?” when you have a goal or challenge, this book trains you to ask, “Who can do this for me?” or “Who can help me do this?”
This book is for you if: You are a leader or team member looking for ways to optimize your execution, take action on visions you previously didn’t have time for and understand the value of building a team that truly works together.
- It is possible to build a successful business and life without killing yourself to do so.
- Societal norms, like assumptions about abilities declining with advanced age, can be bypassed in order to create a life that you want to live.
- The success you want is possible as long as you are willing to retrain your brain to stop basing your potential on what you alone can do and instead focus on the endless connections you can create.
If you’re wanting to get inspiration from people who faced much harder challenges than we’re facing now, read this book. It will show you how people met and faced challenges, kept their cool and ultimately succeeded in spite of difficulty. In this read, Ryan Holiday and coauthor Stephen Hanselman break down how the Stoics like Marcus Aurelius, actually lived their lives.
This is not a history book, it is a work of art packed with one lesson after another about how to live a life filled with courage, justice and wisdom. If that doesn’t scream the virtues of a true leader, I don’t know what will.
This book is for you if: You are looking for a shift in your perspective, some positive reminders about how life has been and can be or you want to simply become a better person and leader.
- The lives of the Stoics and the lessons they learned are still applicable today. We can always learn from the history of others.
- A universal understanding of how to apply Stoic theory to daily life.
Starting a business or building a new team takes not only strategic tactical skills but also a mindset to persevere through the ups and downs of building something. This book breaks down the different phases of creating, building and scaling a truly effective business.
Author Scott Oldford does more than share business tips, his words show you how to let go of financial fears and build a mindset to scale your business, improve your profits and create momentum that will take your business and career to new heights.
This book is for you if: You are starting a business but have become paralyzed about what to do next, feel stuck in the cycle of your career or are ready to break into the next financial bracket of your business.
- Your bank account is a direct reflection of your emotions and thoughts, and in order to earn more money you must first fix your emotions.
- Business isn’t only about making money, it’s also about giving yourself freedom to do what you want every day. So first and foremost, build a business that meshes with the life you want to live.
You advance yourself aggressively in life by getting mentored and being a mentor. It all has to do with your approach to relationships. If you’re seeking to give value and help other people achieve their goals—whether you’re a mentor or mentee—then you’ll be the biggest beneficiary of all. If you’re stressed or struggling in 2020, perhaps you need to get specific mentoring on whatever goals you’re trying to achieve. Additionally, perhaps you should look around and do some mentoring yourself.
The read is coauthored by Shark Tank’s Kevin Harrington and serial entrepreneur Mark Timm. These two vibrant men teach you the importance of relationships and mentors. I can personally attest that, without having mentors, it’s hard to do much of anything, and at the same time, without being a mentor yourself, your life will likely lack meaning and purpose.
This book is for you if: You are ready to understand the value of relationships in your business life if you are struggling to manage your personal and professional worlds separately or are looking for some inspiration from a successful entrepreneur.
- Being an entrepreneur can be lonely, but if you surround yourself with mentors, advocates and allies your odds for success are exponential.
- Plan no more than 80% of the way rather than long-term strategizing for better success in executing your dreams.
- There is great power in embracing failure and finding the motivation and confidence to take action.
Talking about money is one of the most avoided and uncomfortable topics discussed, more so than sex! In this book, author and Bravo! star Ryan Serhant approaches the topic with confidence and ease… and after reading and applying his insight, you can too.
While this book walks readers through how to embody big money energy, it isn’t all about the number in your bank account. Whether it’s school, a relationship, a job or running your own business, everyone starts from the bottom and must eventually climb to the top. If you aren’t sure how to break through to that next level and reach that peak in the distance, Ryan shares precisely how to do that.
This book is for you if: You are tired of seeing others get exactly what they want while you’re sprinting on a hamster wheel going nowhere.
- Attaining your dreams is possible, but you must be willing and committed to doing whatever it takes.
- While you can’t always change your initial circumstances or the balance of your bank account, there is one thing you can change… your energy.
Whether it be in business or in your personal life, there is one contributing factor that often sets successful people apart: the relationships they build. In the book Powershift, bestselling author and star of ABC’s Shark Tank Daymond John reveals how to make a good impression, hone in a win-win negotiation style and build relationships that last.
We are living in a time where the workforce is in flux, and millions of workers are on the job hunt. Having a solid network to collaborate and connect with is key to landing a job you love or building the life you want. The lessons within the pages of this book offer what every leader needs to adapt and to win.
This book is for you if: You feel as though you are not in control of your power, and you are not content with settling for where you currently are.
- There is an inner power you can tap into and use to pivot and surpass your goals.
- Step-by-step instructions on how to identify your power and put it to work to build influence and expand your relationships after walking away from a negotiation.
Becoming adaptable and being a better leader comes down to seeing the bigger picture. These books will help you do just that in their own unique way. Your success lies in your own hands, so fill them with a book from time to time.
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