summer reading for leaders

Top Leadership Books for Summer 2021

May 20th, 2021  | 

Published in Leadership

Continuous learners can get lost in these books. Here are my top leadership books for this summer:

For the fourth straight summer I’m sharing reading recommendations because previous posts have proven popular. As we emerge from a period as challenging as any in recent memory, these seven books—some new, others classic—invite you to learn, lead and laugh.

The Motive by Patrick Lencioni

The Motive
by Patrick Lencioni

Lencioni’s previous 11 books examine the “how” of leadership. This one—told as a fable of a struggling CEO—examines the “why.”


Is This Anything by Jerry Seinfeld

Is This Anything?
by Jerry Seinfeld

I bought this book four months into the pandemic and laughed out loud as I read Seinfeld’s “bits” that he’d saved during his 45 years as a comic. Next to a vaccine for COVID, laughter is good medicine.


Fit for Growth by Vinay Couto, John Plansky, & Deniz Caglar

Fit for Growth
by Vinay Couto, John Plansky, & Deniz Caglar


Less about cutting and more about pruning unhealthy programs, processes and people to focus on and then double down on the “few differentiating capabilities—the things [an organization does] better than any other company.”


Six Thinking Hats by Edward De Bono

Six Thinking Hats
by Edward De Bono


Each of us walks around with more than 100 cognitive biases. This timeless book (first published in 1985) is a short, powerful guide for leveraging a team’s strengths (and minimizing biases) to explore new possibilities and make better decisions.


First, Break All The Rules by Marcus Buckingham

First, Break All the Rules
by Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman


Based on two gargantuan research studies by Gallup surveying more than one million employees, this book distills that research into 12 simple questions that distinguish the characteristics separating high-performing organizations from all the rest.


The Man Who Ran Washington by Peter Baker and Susan Glasser

The Man Who Ran Washington
by Peter Baker & Susan Glasser


Regardless of your political leanings, leaders can learn James A. Baker III who wielded power and pragmatism while serving six U.S. presidents and “negotiated with Democrats at home and Soviets abroad, rewrote the tax code, assembled the coalition that won the Gulf War, brokered the reunification of Germany and helped bring a decades-long nuclear superpower standoff to an end.” Baker’s style of leadership is “a lost art in today’s fractured nation.”


The Insider's Guide to Rejuvenating Underperformers by Greg Bustin

The Insider’s Guide to Rejuvenating Underperformers
by Greg Bustin


Before we blame others who are underperforming, we first need to look in the mirror. This new, free eBook provides concepts, questions and tools for coaching underperformers, including many not included in my full-length book Accountability. Download your free copy of the eBook today.


Enjoy! redbox

About the Author: Greg Bustin advises some of the world’s most admired companies and leaders, and he’s dedicated a career to working with CEOs and the leadership teams of hundreds of companies in a range of industries. He’s facilitated more than 200 strategic planning sessions, he’s delivered more than 500 keynotes and workshops on five continents, and he coaches leaders inspired to take their career to the next level. His fourth leadership book—Accountability: The Key to Driving a High-Performance Culture (McGraw-Hill) — is a Soundview Executive Best Business Book.

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