Slideshow 19 books IT leaders should read this summer

Published
  • May 25 2016, 10:13am EDT

19 books IT leaders should read this summer

Looking to further develop your skills and boost your career while taking much welcomed time off this summer? This reading list from the SIM Regional Leadership Forum may be just what you need.

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

By Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler

(McGraw-Hill Education; 2nd edition; 2011; 272 pages)

Amazon prices are $16.54 for hardcover, $11.50 for paperback, and $10.18 for the Kindle version.

Communication skills are among the most important in any manager’s toolkit, and the authors help you understand how to make them really count when it matters most. The four authors are cofounders of VitalSmarts, an innovator in corporate training and organizational performance. Over 1,000 reviewers commented on this title on Amazon, giving it a 4.5 star rating.

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Leadership is an Art

By Max DePree

(Crown Business; reprint edition; 2004; 148 pages)

Amazon prices are $10.36 for paperback, $11.99 for Kindle version.

This book has been around for a while now – since 1989 – but it remains one of the most popular leadership development titles – selling more than 800,000 copies. DePree, CEO of Herman Miller Inc., an office furniture manufacturer, offers a humanitarian approach to managing others.

The Leadership Moment: Nine True Stories of Triumph and Disaster and Their Lessons for Us All

By Michael Useem and Warren Bennis

(Crown Business; revised edition; 1999; 336 pages)

Amazon prices are $13.82 for paperback, and $13.99 for the Kindle version.

Rather than offer up a series of corporate strategy case studies to support their leadership views, the authors focus on examples of people that face true personal “moments of truth,” and use them as opportunities to do great things in business or life.

Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change

By William Bridges and Susan Bridges

(Da capo Lifelong Books; Third Edition; 2009; 192 pages)

Amazon prices are $10.78 for paperback, and $11.99 for the Kindle version.

William Bridges is a globally recognized expert on the subject of the human side of change. In his earlier work, “Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes,” he introduced the notion of “transition,” which he explores in depth here as it relates to organizational change.

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Man’s Search for Meaning

By Viktor E. Frankl, William J. Winslade and Harold S. Kushner

(Beacon Press; 1st edition; 2006; 184 pages)

Amazon’s prices are $6.98 for paperback, and $7.99 for the Kindle version.

Author Viktor Frankl spent three years at the Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps in World War II, where he certainly had opportunity to reflect on mankind and meaning. As a professor of neurology and psychiatry, he developed the school of logotherapy, which helps patients discover meaning in their lives. The first and largest section of this book is devoted to his experiences in the concentration camps, where his father, mother, brother, and wife all died.

The Nibble Theory and the Kernel of Power

By Kaleel Jamison

(Jossey-Bass Inc.; 1984; 74 pages)

Amazon prices are $20.84+ for hardcover, $23.70+ for paperback)

From the Amazon description: “The Nibble Theory leads you toward a new sense of personal power and unlimited personal growth – growth that arises from values and strengths which lie at the center of every personality.”

The Old Man and the Sea

By Ernest Hemmingway

(Scribner; reprint edition; 1995; 128 pages)

Amazon’s prices are $7.18 for the paperback, and $9.99 for the Kindle version.

This literary classic probably needs little introduction, and indeed, was required reading in high school English departs for many years. The book earned Hemmingway a Nobel Prize, as it captured in magnificent imagery the struggle of the old fisherman Santiago with the giant fish. As one reviewer noted: it is a true tale of great success in the midst of failure.

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The Prince

By Niccolo Machiavelli

(Dover Publications; reprint edition; 1992; 80 pages)

Amazon prices are $7.53+ for the hardcover, $2.25 for the paperback, and $0.99 for the Kindle version.

This classic was written in 1512 when the author, after 14 years of patriotic service, was suddenly fired from his job as secretary to the Second Chancery of the Signoria, and decided to set this thoughts on politics and public service to paper. The result was an unflinching look at the harsh realities of politics, and how virtue has no role to play in it. The Prince is said to remain to this day one of the most candid and realistic looks at practices of power and politics.

Theft of the Spirit: A Journey to Spiritual Healing

By Carl Hammerschlag

(Touchstone; 1994; 176 pages)

Amazon prices are $0.01+ for the hardcover, $13.95 for the paper, and $8.99 for the Kindle version.

From the Amazon description: “Using Native American experience as an example, the author provides advice on living wisely, well, and spiritually in an increasingly materialistic world.”

The Zen of Listening: Mindful Communication in the Age of Distraction

By Rebecca Z. Shafir

(Quest Books; revised edition; 2003; 272 pages)

Amazon prices are $12.91 for the paperback, and $8.98 for the Kindle version.

Shafir is chief of speech pathology at the Massachusetts Lahey Clinic, and she turns her attention here to the lost art of listening. She does so from a clinical perspective, offering advice on relaxation, focus, desire to learn, strategies to improve awareness, and exercises and activities to develop listening skills. It is often said that the best leaders are better listeners than speakers.

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Two Old Women: An Alaskan Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival

By Velma Wallis

(Harper Perennial; 20th anniversary edition; 2013; 160 pages)

Amazon prices are $12.15 for the paperback, and $11.99 for the Kindle version.

This novel is based on an Athabascan Indian legend which has been passed down for several generations. It concerns the suspenseful and inspiring tale of two old women who are abandoned by their tribe during a brutal winter famine and their efforts to survive and support each other.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0

By Travis Bradberry, Jean Greaves, and Patrick M. Lencioni

(TalentSmart; 2009; 255 pages)

Amazon prices are $14.54 for the hardcover, and $13.81 for the Kindle version.

The authors offer advice to help you deal with emotions creatively, and to accurately measure and increase emotional intelligence. They do so with a survey tool that readers can take, which is based on surveys of over 500,000 people in various emotional situations.

Leadership Passages: The Personal and Professional Transitions That Make or Break a Leader

By David Dotlich

(Jossey-Bass; 1st edition; 2004; 240 pages)

Amazon prices are $22.85 for the hardcover, and $15.99 for the Kindle version.

The leadership journey includes many crossroads, which serve as opportunities for professionals to learn, grow, and advance their careers. This book helps the reader best prepare for these opportunities, recognize them when they present themselves, and set themselves on the right path to success.

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Unthink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius

By Erik Wahl

(Crown Business; 1st Edition; 2013; 224 pages)

Amazon prices are $16.94 for the hardcover, and $12.99 for the Kindle version.

The author follows in the tradition of “A Whole New Mind” and “The War of Art” in exploring the power of creativity and its ability to help achieve superior performance.

Cultivate: The Power of Winning Relationships

By Morag Barrett

(Greenleaf Book Group Press; 2nd edition; 2016; 216 pages)

Amazon prices are $19.20 for the hardcover, and $7.99 for the Kindle version.

Author Morag Barrett stresses the importance of leaders in gathering smart and creative people around them. Indeed, even leaders with a great business plan and top-shelf products will achieve little without the right people to execute on that plan. What makes leaders fail most often? The inability to cultivate relationships and develop soft skills, she argues.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

By Patrick Lencioni

(Jossey-Bass; 1st edition; 2002; 229 pages)

Amazon prices are $110.95+ for hardcover, $16.75 for paperback, and $13.82 for the Kindle version.

The author uses a fictional tale to explore hard truths about critical business procedures involving a troubled Silicon Valley firm. He writes about five dysfunctions that plague the firm, including absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability and inattention to results.

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Leading With Soul: An Uncommon Journey of Spirit

By Lee G. Bolman and Terrence E. Deal

(Jossey-Bass; 3rd edition; 2011; 304 pages)

Amazon prices are $15.48 for hardcover, and $13.00 for Kindle version.

This is a quasi-religious look at leadership and spiritual growth, told through a series of dialogs between a master and student. Through their exchanges, and the prompting of the student, the master quickly discovers he has even more to learn than his student.

The Post-American World

By Fareed Zakaria

(W.W. Norton & Company; 1st edition; 2008; 304 pages)

Amazon prices are $4.32+ for hardcover, and $4.49 for paperback edition.

This is not a book about the decline of the United States, but of the rise of everyone else. It looks at a new world in which the U.S, no longer dominates the world economy, orchestrates geopolitics, or overwhelms other cultures. It looks at the impacts on other countries, governments and cultures of this dramatic change in political confidence, national pride and international problems.

Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow

By Tom Rath and Barry Conchie

(Gallup Press; 1st edition; 2008; 266 pages)

Amazon prices are $17.85 for the hardcover, and $119.99 for the Kindle version.

The authors identify three keys to being a more effective leader: knowing your strengths and investing in the strengths of others; getting people with the right strengths on their team; and understanding and meeting the four basic needs of those who look to them for leadership.