If you follow 3×5 Leadership, even just casually, you know that I emphasize reading as a critical means of self-development. So far, 2018 has been an extremely impactful time of learning through reading for me. If you want to learn my thoughts on reading for self-development, I encourage you to check out my “Leaders are Readers” series and my Junior Officer Reading & Self-Development List.
I humbly share my reading list, below, to start a “conversation” with readers. I want to get others to not only think about the value of reading, but to help offer recommendations of what books to consider.
My final semester of graduate school this past spring afforded me some wonderful reading opportunities. I have been able to complete 35 books in the first half of 2018. Trust me, I’m extremely shocked by that number, as I’ve never read at that kind of volume before. About half of these books were audiobooks; those titles are annotated with an asterisk (*) below. If you would like to learn how to better leverage audiobooks, you can read my thoughts on how I do so on my “Leaders are Readers” series post.
If you have not yet, I encourage you to explore the 3×5 Leadership Bookshelf. This is my comprehensive reading resource offering the 3×5 Leadership recommended reading list, reviews of select books, recommended reading lists, and other resources to aid in your self-development reading. Finally, you can check out the books I read in 2017 here and here.
Top 3 Books of 2018 So Far
7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Power Lessons in Personal Change, by Stephen R. Covey
Amidst our culture currently obsessed with overnight success and “life hacks,” this book is the enduring guidepost to inform leaders of the value of character, discipline, organization, and care for others. This book does so much more than help you improve your leadership; it challenges you to become a better spouse, parent, neighbor, and human being. When you incorporate the principles of “Quadrant II leadership” + emphatic listening + commitment to “sharpening the saw,” you cannot go wrong (you’ll have to read the book to understand those three principles).
The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups, by Daniel Coyle
To be honest, I thought this book would be another simple, yet enjoyable “airport” leadership book. Nope. This book was outstanding. It offers a model of successful team building, broken into three simple messages leaders communicate through a myriad of behaviors and attitudes. Ultimately, through some post-reading reflection, I’ve come to boil Coyle’s model into communicating these messages: 1) you’re important and safe here, 2) I need you to be successful, and 3) what we are doing is important. I highly encourage you to make The Culture Code one of you next books.
Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card*
Of all the recommended science fiction books for military leaders, I think this is the best for junior officers, as it tells an exciting tale of a young man growing from an individual, to a follower, to a leader, and ultimately to a leader developer. Ender showcases leader qualities necessary in today’s complex environment, often considered “soft” skills, such as humility and empathy, while still being decisive and effective.
“Making Sense of the World”: Political, Historical, and Economic Nonfiction Books
Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World, by Ian Bremmer*
The Next 100 Years: A Forecast for the 21st Century, by George Friedman*
@War: The Rise of the Military-Internet Complex, by Shane Harris*
The Future of Power, by Joseph S. Nye, Jr.*
A World in Disarray: American Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Old Order, by Richard N. Haass*
Herding Tigers: Master the Transition from Maker to Manager, by Todd Henry
Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies, by Jim Collins and Jerry I. Porras
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell*
The Patton Mind, by Roger H. Nye
George Washington on Leadership, by Richard Brookhiser
The Reflective Practitioner: How Professionals Think in Action, by Donald A. Schön
A War of Gifts (Ender’s Saga #1.1), by Orson Scott Card*
Ender in Exile (Ender’s Saga #1.5), by Orson Scott Card*
Children of the Mind (Ender’s Saga #4), by Orson Scott Card*
Xenocide (Ender’s Saga #3), by Orson Scott Card*
First Meetings in Ender’s Universe (Ender’s Saga #0.5), by Orson Scott Card*
Speaker for the Dead (Ender’s Saga #2), by Orson Scott Card*
Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor, by Clinton Romesha*
Black Hearts: One Platoon’s Descent Into Madness in Iraq’s Triangle of Death, by Jim Frederick*
The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge, by David McCullough*
Grey Eminence: Fox Connor and the Art of Mentorship, by Edward Cox
Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen, by Donald Miller
Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters, by Richard P. Rumelt
Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, by Michael Hyatt
Be Mature (James): Growing Up in Christ, by Warren W. Wiersbe
Be Alive (John 1-12): Get to Know the Living Savior, by Warren W. Wiersbe
Be Transformed (John 13-21): Christ’s Triumph Means Your Transformation, by Warren W. Wiersbe
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