15 Books That Inspire Our Inspirational Guests

New year, new decade, new goals. Like most of you, I like to set some loose goals at the beginning of each year. And, since this is the start of a new decade, I’ve personally set a goal to not just read more, but also to take away something important from each book and put it into practice daily. Whether it is industry-specific, business- or leadership-focused, or simply to enhance my cultural outlook, good books provide best practices and, more importantly, spur your imagination and creativity.

If you’ve set a similar goal to either read more, enhance your skillset or simply expand how you look at the world, take a look at the reading list we’ve compiled based on what our inspirational “Take a Moment” podcast guests have on their bookshelves.

  1. The Emotionally Intelligent Leader – Daniel Goleman

Goleman first introduced the concept of emotional intelligence (EI) as a critical element in business and leadership. In this book, he explores how effective leaders distinguish themselves with higher levels of empathy to bring thoughtful and deliberate decisions. He also covers how to guide leaders to the direct ties between EI and measurable business results.

  1. Why Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Team Pulls Together and Others Don’t – Simon Sinek

It’s not always easy to get people on board with your ideas, decisions and your company’s “Why?”. This book is a solid read on how to build a company culture that inspires your teams to deeply trust and commit — and be willing to take risks to bring more innovation to the organization.

  1. Seducing Strangers: How to Get People to Buy What You’re Selling (The Little Black Book of Advertising Secrets) – Josh Weltman

From the co-producer of Mad Men, this book draws out Weltman’s expertise from more than 25 years of experience as an advertising creative director. This is essentially a playbook on the art of persuasion. Learn the rules and principles behind closing a deal and winning over fans from his insights and insider stories.

  1. How Full Is Your Bucket – Tom Rath and Donald Clifton

How did you feel after a particular interaction with another person? Whether that person is a significant other, best friend, coworker or a complete stranger, think about whether that interaction left you feeling more positive and uplifted or negative and drained. In their book, Rath and Clifton examine how the briefest of interactions can affect your relationships, health and longevity — and share strategies on how to fill your bucket.

  1. StrengthsFinder 2.0 – Tom Rath

This book aims to help you uncover your talents. Rather than dwelling and spending time on fixing your shortcomings, apply the strategies listed here to enhance your unique set of strengths.

  1. Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness – Jeffery Gitomer

A lighthearted, fun read with practical advice on making sales you can apply in business today.

  1. Just F*ing Demo! Tactics for Leading Kickass Product Demos – Rob Falcone

If your demos leave your audience confused or overwhelmed, this book offers tactics to overcome challenges to leading clear, relevant demos that exceed audience expectations so you can get to the heart of what truly matters for them.

  1. Man’s Search for Meaning – Viktor Frankl

In his memoir chronicling his experiences in Nazi concentration camps in WWII, psychiatrist Frankl explores the theory that, while suffering is unavoidable, it’s the discovery and pursuit of what each person finds meaningful that shapes a renewed purpose. And with this, people find the will to move forward.

  1. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World – Adam Grant

Using anecdotes and studies from across industries, Grant explores how to improve the world by becoming original and championing novel ideas and values that buck outdated traditions and improve the status quo. He provides practices on recognizing good ideas, ways to build a coalition of allies and how to choose the right time to act among others.

  1. Daring Greatly – Brene Brown

A book on having courage. Brown talks about how vulnerability is at the center of both difficult (fear, grief, etc.) and uplifting (love, empathy, innovation, etc.) emotions and how having the courage to be uncomfortable helps uncover a more powerful version of yourself.

  1. Dare to Lead – Brene Brown

Brown couples her 20-plus years of research with stories and examples on how transformative leaders and teams can use empathy, connection and courage to do better. In doing so, they create not only lasting corporate cultures but also remain relevant through technological innovations like artificial intelligence (AI).

  1. The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact – Chip and Dan Heath

This book dives into the mechanics of an experience and what can make it memorable — bad or extraordinary. Don’t just leave it to chance for your customers to have meaningful and memorable experiences with your brand, discover how to effectively create defining moments.

  1. Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence – Max Tegmark

MIT professor Tegmark examines some of the tough questions around AI and its effect on mankind. This book strikes up conversations on AI’s significance on controversial issues, from superintelligence and consciousness to power and meaning.

  1. Pachinko – Min Jin Lee

A moving and profound 20th Century saga that follows four generations of a poor, immigrant Korean family as they fight to make their own destiny in a foreign land – Japan. This book gives you a glimpse into what life was like through pivotal moments in history, including Japan’s colonization of Korea, WWII in East Asia and the changing role of women in Asian culture.

  1. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand In the Way of True Inspiration – Ed Catmull

From the co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios comes this book on creativity and originality in business. It’s a solid read for managers and leaders who aspire to take their employees to infinity and beyond. Catmull dissects the values and techniques that have made Pixar so beloved and profitable.

In addition to these great reads, stay tuned for our informative interview with Genesys CEO, Tony Bates, on January 22. Learn more about how he takes good companies to great, his leadership philosophies on employee engagement and experience, and his outlook on the future of technology. Listen to all episodes of “Take a Moment” online today.

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