Annotated Professional Development Reading List

Send your recommendations to

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh.  See my full book review and free professional development guide to accompany this book here.  I like this book because it is a great illustration of the power of values-based leadership.

The Medici Effect by Frans Johansson.  The premise of this book is that "great innovative breakthroughs can be explained by the intersection of disciplines and cultures."  I like this book as a starting point because it gets you thinking about making connections between all the different experiences you bring to the table - that perspective which only you can provide.

Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie.  This book includes a code for you to go online and find out what your top five strengths are.  The book breaks the strengths down into four domains and shows you how they each work to produce results.  The premise of the book is that you will get further developing your strengths than working on your weaknesses (unless, of course, one of your weaknesses is a career derailed).  I think the unstated genius of the book is that to have a balanced team (or someone to work with) you can choose someone with strengths in areas you are not strong in. Why work to build competence in a weak area when you can partner with an expert!

The Introverted Leader by Jennifer Kahnweiler.  Dr. Kahnweiler shows Introverts how to their preference and her 4 P's Process to become better leaders.  For those of us who have a preference for Extraversion, the book shows us a process that works regardless of preference and gives us a perspective on what those with another preference need.  The chapters cover all the major work areas so it is also a great place to start a reflective professional development project.

The Four Disciplines of Execution by Chris McChesney.  Strategy without execution is really nothing more than a day dream.  This offering from the FranklinCovey brain trust is for those people who want to focus on achieving results.  The idea of prioritizing Wildly Important Goals and working towards them creates positive, proactive, engaged teams.

The Next Level by Scott Eblin.  The Next Level is about the transition from specialist/technician to executive, from the doer to the planner, from the specific to the general.  It is about what you need to let go of when you move up the chain (doing everything yourself) and what you need to pick up (seeing the big picture).  In other words, being the go-to-person is what got you where you are today.  But "what got you here, won't get you there."  You need to be able to let go what you are good at and what you have been rewarded for in the past to pick up the new skills and presence you will need to be a successful executive.

The Purpose Linked Organization by Alaina Love and Marc Cugnon.  See my prior post on this book here.  What makes you feel like you are contributing?  Is it something you do in your current position?  How could you do more?  The book includes access to an online assessment and stories and recommendations by archetype.  A great place to start when you aren't sure where you want to go next.

Leadership the Eleanor Roosevelt Way by Robin Gerber.  See my prior post on this book and author here.  This book focuses on Eleanor's leadership by harnessing the passion she felt to make the world a better place for others.  Read it when you need to reconnect your leadership style with your passion and values.