Learning never exhausts the mind. – Leonardo da Vinci
As we kick off a New Year, here are a few books that I’ve read recently and loved. If you’re looking for a new read, I invite you to consider one of these!
The first book is really short and a very easy read. When you first get it, you’ll definitely ask, “What was Ron thinking?” The book is called Roll With It by Kim Z. Garrett. Kim has an incredible story and definitely “leaned in” to find her success. She was one of the first 150 employees at Facebook, made a lot of money as a sales director for them and retired at age 40. In her book, she also talks about the legitimate struggles she had – including a really horrific upbringing as a child. She talks about the challenges of being a working mom, even with a lot of money and a very successful husband. It is an overall great story about honesty and transparency that I am completely in love with.
The next book is Smartcuts by Shane Snow. It is a great book about how leaders have to be smart and not just stay “in the plow.” Eventually, if you go long enough, you can get the whole field plowed using a horse, but why do that if you can afford a John Deere tractor? As leaders today, we have to cover a whole lot more ground in the same amount of time and have better quality than what a horse can do. Smartcuts talks about the inflection points in all of our leadership and finding that smartcut, not a shortcut. Shortcuts rarely lead to long-term sustainable growth. It is a smartcut that allows us to succeed in ways that are really different.
The third book is Ask It by Andy Stanley. Andy is a pastor, but this book is about decision making and the one question you should be asking yourself when you are faced with decisions. It seems like a pretty simple concept, but I found it profound in my leadership and I think others will too.
Another one of the books I enjoyed this year is The Year Without Pants by Scott Berkun. It talks about his year working at WordPress.com and the future of what work looks like. Is working remotely really the wave of the future? Scott shares how organizations like WordPress.com have changed how we work and communicate, both today and tomorrow. I found it to be insightful, and it inspires me to spend more time thinking about how to put these concepts into play.
The Hard Things About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz discusses how leaders have to make tough decisions and do it the hard way sometimes. It is about the lessons learned and how to really find long-term success.
The sixth book that I would throw in – as a bonus – is The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. It is a faith-based book about commitment and deciding what you want. In order to achieve big dreams, you have to be intentional about discovering those dreams and drawing a circle around them in prayer. This is not a book about walking hand-in-hand with God and then everything will happen easily. It’s more of a “go big” mentality. For those who really enjoy faith-based leadership, it is a standard that should be on everyone’s bookshelves.
Those are the books that I recommend to kick off your New Year! They are great books about building your own leadership and this time of year, that is something incredibly important.
Question: What books have you read recently that you would recommend to fellow leaders?