The best books for leaders with the courage to be transformational

Why am I passionate about this?

I've been fascinated throughout my career by what makes an effective leader. I read about leadership; I carefully observed effective leaders; and I worked hard to become a leader. After a 40-year career, I concluded that nonprofit leaders required a leadership model that met the unique challenges of leading a nonprofit organization and that I was the right person to write the book. I'm proud of The 5 Truths for Transformational Leaders. I believe the book addresses the unique challenges of leading a nonprofit organization. I hope you discover how to use its principles to make a bigger difference in achieving your organization’s mission. Nothing could be more important for the future of our nation.


I wrote...

The 5 Truths for Transformational Leaders: How Nonprofit Organizations Thrive, Grow, and Make a Profound Difference

By Ed Mishrell,

Book cover of The 5 Truths for Transformational Leaders: How Nonprofit Organizations Thrive, Grow, and Make a Profound Difference

What is my book about?

Nonprofit organizations represent the promise and aspirations of America. Every day in communities big and small, nonprofits bring people together to work for the common good, transforming our shared beliefs into lifesaving action. The organizations that make the biggest impact are blessed with extraordinary leaders. 

The 5 Truths for Transformational Leaders delivers an insightful and practical discussion of how to achieve extraordinary results. The audience is engaged in a dialogue about how to adopt and apply each of the five truths to strengthen and increase the impact of their organization. Readers will benefit from the book’s step-by-step guidance and advice as the five key principles of mission-driven leadership are explored. Everyone leaves with a blueprint for exceptional, growth-oriented leadership to transform their organization’s reach and impact.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't

Ed Mishrell Why did I love this book?

I believe this is absolutely the very best book about leadership ever written. 

If you are only going to read one book about leadership this is it. Every aspiring leader should read it and keep a copy close at hand. The book begins with the profound statement: “Good is the enemy of great.”   Only the very best most disciplined leaders have the will to aspire to greatness. 

Based on extensive research, Collins shares how leaders with discipline create great organizations that achieve phenomenal results. It isn’t easy, but the book provides a road map for leaders with the will and the courage to build great organizations.

By Jim Collins,

Why should I read it?

14 authors picked Good to Great as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

________________________________
Can a good company become a great one? If so, how?

After a five-year research project, Jim Collins concludes that good to great can and does happen. In this book, he uncovers the underlying variables that enable any type of organisation to make the leap from good to great while other organisations remain only good. Rigorously supported by evidence, his findings are surprising - at times even shocking - to the modern mind.

Good to Great achieves a rare distinction: a management book full of vital ideas that reads as well as a fast-paced novel. It is widely regarded…


Book cover of What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful

Ed Mishrell Why did I love this book?

People get promoted because they are good at their jobs and have achieved excellent results. What they may not understand is that success in their new role will require something very different. Working harder at what made them successful is not the answer.

Marshall Goldsmith provides aspiring leaders with the keys to growing into an effective leader as they work their way up the corporate ladder. This book helped me at a critical point in my development as a leader to understand and address the things that were holding me back. 

I have given a copy of this book to many friends and colleagues when they have been promoted. If you feel stuck in your career, read this book.

By Marshall Goldsmith, Mark Reiter,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked What Got You Here Won't Get You There as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Your hard work is paying off. You are doing well in your field. But there is something standing between you and the next level of achievement. That something may just be one of your own annoying habits.Perhaps one small flaw - a behaviour you barely even recognise - is the only thing that's keeping you from where you want to be. It may be that the very characteristic that you believe got you where you are - like the drive to win at all costs - is what's holding you back. As this book explains, people often do well in…


Book cover of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Ed Mishrell Why did I love this book?

I first read this inspiring and thoughtful book many years ago. When I finished the book, I immediately purchased a copy of the book for everyone I worked with and asked that we talk about how to integrate the seven habits into our work. 

Covey provides a way of thinking about yourself, your work, and your personal life that can enable you to be more successful in your career and maybe more importantly live a fuller happier life. The 7 Habits contains the wisdom of the ages, every aspiring leader should read the book carefully and apply each of the 7 Habits to every aspect of their life.

By Stephen R. Covey,

Why should I read it?

13 authors picked The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times bestseller - over 25 million copies sold
The No. 1 Most Influential Business Book of the Twentieth Century

"[Thirty] years after it first appeared, the wisdom of The 7 Habits is more relevant than ever. On an individual level people are burning out, and on a collective level we are burning up the planet. So Dr. Covey's emphasis on self-renewal and his understanding that leadership and creativity require us to tap into our own physical, mental, and spiritual resources are exactly what we need now." Arianna Huffington

One of the most inspiring and impactful books ever written,…


Book cover of The Cycle of Leadership: How Great Leaders Teach Their Companies to Win

Ed Mishrell Why did I love this book?

I’ve had the good fortune to work with Noel to develop a leadership program for Boys & Girls Clubs leaders that is based largely on the content of The Cycle of Leadership.

Noel believes the most successful leaders are teachers. To succeed they need a teachable point of view about how the organization will succeed. The teachable point of view is shared relentlessly shared at every opportunity with all stakeholders. 

Part of this conversation is inviting feedback. Thus, the cycle, leaders teach, they receive feedback, and their teachable point of view evolves. One of my greatest learnings from this book was a deeper understanding of how the mission of an organization needs to be the basis for decisions and actions. This provided me with the courage and conviction to act.

By Noel M Tichy, Nancy Cardwell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cycle of Leadership as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Leadership Engine, Noel Tichy showed how great companies strive to create leaders at all levels of the organization, and how those leaders actively develop future generations of leaders. In this new book, he takes the theme further, showing how great companies and their leaders develop their business knowledge into "teachable points of view," spend a great portion of their time giving their learnings to others, sharing best practices, and how they in turn learn and receive business ideas/knowledge from the employees they are teaching.

Calling this exchange a virtuous teaching cycle, Professor Tichy shows how business builders from…


Book cover of Joan Garry's Guide to Nonprofit Leadership: Because the World Is Counting on You

Ed Mishrell Why did I love this book?

While there are thousands of books on leadership there are few that specifically address the challenges of leading a nonprofit organization. 

Leading a nonprofit is different; authority is diffused and widely shared, success is difficult to define and competition for resources is intense. Or, as Joan states “nonprofits are messy.” Joan provides a practical guide to leaders based on her experience as a leader and consultant.  

Her approach is down to earth straight forward and sprinkled with a dash of humor. Hearing Joan speak and subsequently reading her book several years ago was the first impetus for me to explore writing about nonprofit leadership. Thank you Joan.

By Joan Garry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Joan Garry's Guide to Nonprofit Leadership as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a world where the old rules no longer apply, nonprofit leadership is more important than ever

Now in its second edition, Joan Garry's Guide to Nonprofit Leadership is a must-have resource for organizations of all shapes and sizes wanting to make a bigger difference in the world. Filled with real-life stories and concrete strategies, this practical guide helps develop the specialized skills and mindset needed to successfully lead and manage a stable and impactful world-class organization.

A lot has happened since Joan Garry's Guide to Nonprofit Leadership was first published in 2017. The COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 election cycle,…


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Book cover of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

Michael Bungay Stanier Author Of The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Coaching is a wonderful technology that can help people be a force for change… and is often wrapped up in mystic and woo-woo and privilege that makes it inaccessible and/or unattractive to too many. I want being more coach-like—by which I mean staying curious a little longer, and rushing to action and advice-giving—to be an everyday way of being with one another. Driven by this, I’ve written the best-selling book on coaching this century (The Coaching Habit) and have created training that’s been used around the world by more than a quarter of a million people. I’m on a mission to unweird coaching.

Michael's book list on unexpectedly useful books about coaching

What is my book about?

The coaching book that's for all of us, not just coaches.

It's the best-selling book on coaching this century, with 15k+ online reviews. Brené Brown calls it "a classic". Dan Pink said it was "essential".

It is practical, funny, and short, and "unweirds" coaching. Whether you're a parent, a teacher, a leader, or even a coach, you can stay curious longer.

By Michael Bungay Stanier,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Coaching Habit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Look for Michael's new book, The Advice Trap, which focuses on taming your Advice Monster so you can stay curious a little longer and change the way you lead forever.

In Michael Bungay Stanier's The Coaching Habit, coaching becomes a regular, informal part of your day so managers and their teams can work less hard and have more impact.

Drawing on years of experience training more than 10,000 busy managers from around the globe in practical, everyday coaching skills, Bungay Stanier reveals how to unlock your peoples' potential. He unpacks seven essential coaching questions to demonstrate how-by saying less and…


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