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I read 199 books about leadership. Only these 5 actually helped

I have been reading since I can remember, and I am doing my best to pass this habit on to my team. 

Having read countless books on management and leadership, I have learned that not all of them are useful or can revolutionize one’s views. Here are 5 books I can truly recommend to everyone. Each of them made me a better manager and gave me a renewed and improved outlook on team leadership. 

No B.S. Ruthless Management of People and Profits: No Holds Barred, Kick Butt, Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Really Getting Rich by Dan Kennedy

Mr. Kennedy’s work has changed my view of management and played a big role in shaping me into the leader I am today. The book is filled with interesting thoughts and views on various management approaches. 

No B.S. Ruthless Management of People and Profits: No Holds Barred, Kick Butt, Take-No-Prisoners Guide to Really Getting Rich by Dan Kennedy has opened my eyes to what proper management looks like and what an efficient manager acts like. 

For three years running, this book has been the most popular in the SupportYourApp corporate library and book clubs. 

The lesson I learned: a team is only as effective as its manager. A simple rule that can help any manager be the best leader imaginable.  

No Room for Small Dreams by Shimon Peres

Written by a former President of Israel, Shimon Peres, the book describes the authors’ pursuit of his dreams, no matter how big and unattainable they seemed, as well as his positive outlook on any situation. 

One of the most memorable moments of the entire books was Peres’ answer to a question a young man asked him during his inauguration: “Mr. President, with due respect, after such a long career, why would you keep working at your age?” to which Shimon Peres answered “Why do I serve? … I suppose I never considered the alternative.”

Just like many leaders of the present, Shimon Peres couldn’t imagine doing anything else but leading and pushing the people he was responsible for to greatness. 

The lesson I learned: nothing is unattainable if you believe in yourself and your skills and put your mind to new achievements and successes. 

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Are you doing what you are supposed to? 

This is the question you will be asking yourself during and after reading Mr. McKeown’s work. This little book contains so many thoughts and ideas, it deserves a separate review. 

For now, I’ll say this — if you are looking for ways to clean out your schedule and focus on things that matter to you and your career, then Essentialism is the book for you. 

My favorite quotes: 

  • Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less, either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.

  • What if we stopped celebrating being busy as a measurement of importance? What if instead we celebrated how much time we had spent listening, pondering, meditating, and enjoying time with the most important people in our lives?

  • If it isn’t a clear yes, then it’s a clear no.

  • You can do anything, but not everything.

The lesson I learned: focus on what matters, and your potential will become limitless.

The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden

Is motivation real? Of course. 

Does it work like a magical spark that helps us achieve success no matter what? 

Not really. 

The Motivation Myth told me a lot about the correlation between motivation and success. I was surprised that motivation doesn't come first, but stems from success. Being successful in an endeavor can motivate us to keep on pushing and achieving more, which, in turn, results in an even greater motivation and the cycle goes on. 

The lesson I learned: do not set SMART (specific, meaningful, attainable, realistic, and time bound) goals. It is impossible to make a goal meaningful. It either has a meaning or it doesn't. Being bound by certain time scopes can also hardly help professionals achieve their goals faster. What it will do is put additional pressure on a person, which will only block their way to success. Set goals that matter and can be achieved. And remember — success is our greatest motivator. 

It’s Okay to Be the Boss by Bruce Tulgan

The feeling of wanting to be everybody’s friend is familiar to me. I have been there, and I have made and paid for this mistake. Behind this desire hides the real role of leadership, which is to manage people and push them to success. Every leader who recognizes it is bound to be successful. 

This and many more thoughts run through Mr. Tulgan’s work. Those who want to be a better leader and are looking for ways to focus on their management and their team are sure to find at least a couple of interesting thoughts in the book. 

The lesson I learned: a team, whose leader really follows their productivity and development, cannot fail. 

In a world, where almost everything has gone digital, can books still help business owners get the knowledge they need to be successful? The example of my team and our book club proves they can and will. Books are the past and the future of learning. They inspire, teach, and help us become better at what we do. 


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Daria Leshchenko

Daria Leshchenko

CEO and Managing Partner


Member since

28 Jan 2021



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