100 books like A Beautiful Constraint

By Adam Morgan, Mark Barden,

Here are 100 books that A Beautiful Constraint fans have personally recommended if you like A Beautiful Constraint. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of On the Edge: Leadership Lessons from Mount Everest and Other Extreme Environments

Chris Shipley Author Of The Empathy Advantage: Leading the Empowered Workforce

From my list on giving first-time managers the confidence to lead.

Why am I passionate about this?

I found myself leading a newsroom in my mid-20s. No one took me aside and told me how to lead a group of ambitious reporters, most of whom were half-again my age. Maybe that’s the same for you. There are lots of leadership books, and it’s easy to go astray (A fellow editor quoted Machiavelli a lot; it didn’t work out well for him). Instead, I found good guidance in authors who advised me to be authentic, think differently, and lead with compassion. Many years have since passed, and I’ve had the privilege to lead great teams and mentor many young leaders. We always start with being more human.

Chris' book list on giving first-time managers the confidence to lead

Chris Shipley Why did Chris love this book?

What does mountaineering have to do with leadership? Far more than you might think.

Alison Levine extrapolates her experiences leading the first all-women team to attempt to summit Mt. Everest into clear lessons that, if you grasp them early, will turn you into an expedition leader at work. The book wraps great leadership advice in a compelling adventure story (Do they make it to the summit?), told with Alison’s signature wit.

It’s a quick and enjoyable read and a great start to your leadership library.

By Alison Levine,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On the Edge as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Alison Levine is a high altitude mountaineer and polar explorer. Born with a heart-condition that has resulted in three separate surgical procedures, she is one of those rare people who confront life head-up. The result is this book, which details her experiences scaling the world's tallest mountain peaks to hiking across the frozen climes of the North and South Poles.

When not out on the trail, she teaches leadership skills to West Point cadets, and is also the leading motivational speaker for Keppler's, one of the nation's top speakers' bureaus. She did more than 100 major corporate events last year…


Book cover of Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool's Guide to Surviving with Grace

Anne Jacoby Author Of Born to Create: How Creativity Sparks Connection, Innovation, and Belonging in Our New World of Work

From my list on organizational culture to spark creativity and connection.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m on a mission to cultivate creativity at work! After starting my career in the performing arts, I made a pivot to corporate life over 20 years ago and haven’t looked back. What I’ve discovered is how essential creativity is in any workplace, and how its impact on organizational culture is underrated. Effective leaders prioritize connection, creativity, and make culture a strategic priority. After learning from hundreds of artists, entrepreneurs, and business leaders, I wrote this book to highlight their stories—unpacking how they bring creativity to life in their work. My hope is readers leave with tools to spark more meaningful connection and creative work experiences.

Anne's book list on organizational culture to spark creativity and connection

Anne Jacoby Why did Anne love this book?

A refreshingly unconventional business book read, Orbiting the Giant Hairball reveals Gordon MacKenzie’s long-tenured career at Hallmark and distills his reflections on what it means to be a creative human in a traditional corporate environment.

Illustrated with playful art throughout, this book invites deeper meditation on how our creative spirit shows up in our work—and life. For the non-linear thinkers among us, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable escape.

By Gordon MacKenzie,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Orbiting the Giant Hairball as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Creativity is crucial to business success. But too often, even the most innovative organization quickly becomes a "giant hairball"--a tangled, impenetrable mass of rules, traditions, and systems, all based on what worked in the past--that exercises an inexorable pull into mediocrity. Gordon McKenzie worked at Hallmark Cards for thirty years, many of which he spent inspiring his colleagues to slip the bonds of Corporate Normalcy and rise to orbit--to a mode of dreaming, daring and doing above and beyond the rubber-stamp confines of the administrative mind-set. In his deeply funny book, exuberantly illustrated in full color, he shares the story…


Book cover of The Influential Mind: What the Brain Reveals about Our Power to Change Others

Chris Shipley Author Of The Empathy Advantage: Leading the Empowered Workforce

From my list on giving first-time managers the confidence to lead.

Why am I passionate about this?

I found myself leading a newsroom in my mid-20s. No one took me aside and told me how to lead a group of ambitious reporters, most of whom were half-again my age. Maybe that’s the same for you. There are lots of leadership books, and it’s easy to go astray (A fellow editor quoted Machiavelli a lot; it didn’t work out well for him). Instead, I found good guidance in authors who advised me to be authentic, think differently, and lead with compassion. Many years have since passed, and I’ve had the privilege to lead great teams and mentor many young leaders. We always start with being more human.

Chris' book list on giving first-time managers the confidence to lead

Chris Shipley Why did Chris love this book?

The best leaders are great influencers, persuading people to get behind an initiative, adopt a new approach, and maybe even have a change of mind.

Turns out that many of the ways we’re taught to influence – make a strong argument, show compelling data, insist that we are right, among other tactics – simply don’t work with the way our brains are wired. In this deeply researched yet highly readable book, neuroscientist Tali Sharot unwraps the mysteries of persuadable brains and leaves you with the tools to better advocate for your ideas at work and beyond.  

By Tali Sharot,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Selected as a best book of 2017 by Forbes, The Times, Huffington Post, Bloomberg, Greater Good Magazine, Stanford Business School and more.

'A timely, intriguing book' Adam Grant, New York Times bestselling author of Originals and Give and Take

'This profound book will change your life. An instant classic' Cass R. Sunstein, bestselling co-author of Nudge

Part of our daily job as humans is to influence others; we teach our children, guide our patients, advise our clients, help our friends and inform our online followers. We do this because we each have unique experiences and knowledge that others may not.…


Book cover of The Anxious Achiever: Turn Your Biggest Fears into Your Leadership Superpower

Jocelyn Davis Author Of Insubordinate: 12 New Archetypes for Women Who Lead

From my list on women done with leaning in.

Why am I passionate about this?

On Jan 30, 2013, I was sacked for "insubordination." No notice, no severance. My bosses threatened the other employees with dismissal if they talked to me. I'd been at the company for decades, rising from entry level to the executive team; after years of striving, it was a devastating blow. Once I picked myself up, I realized I’d leaned in so far, I’d toppled over. So I set off on a new path. Today, I have a master’s degree in Eastern classics, four leadership books, and one historical novel, and I’m committed to helping high achievers—women, especially—find their own paths to happy success: paths beyond “lean in.”

Jocelyn's book list on women done with leaning in

Jocelyn Davis Why did Jocelyn love this book?

I am an anxious achiever. In fact, I’m an overachiever with a diagnosed anxiety disorder.

The great thing about this book is that, while it’s no substitute for the medications and therapy we anxiety sufferers may need, it helps us see that we’re not alone; moreover, that we can succeed not just despite our anxious personality, but because of it.

Good things happen, says Morra Aarons-Mele, “when we learn to manage anxiety and take advantage of its hidden gifts.” In other words, we can lean in (to our fear) and conquer. If you’re like me, well versed in the ways of an edgy brain, skip straight to Part Two, which offers a powerful toolset for managing anxiety at work.

By Morra Aarons-Mele,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Anxious Achiever as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A timely and compelling guide to managing the anxiety that comes with succeeding and leading-from entrepreneur, mental health advocate, and top-rated podcaster Morra Aarons-Mele.

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses in the world. But in our workplaces, anxiety has been a hidden problem-there in plain sight but ignored. Until now.

The Anxious Achiever is a book with a mission: to normalize anxiety and leadership. As leadership expert and self-proclaimed anxious achiever Morra Aarons-Mele argues, anxiety is built into the very nature of leadership. It can-and should-be harnessed into a force for good.

Inspired by the popular podcast of…


Book cover of Unreasonable Success and How to Achieve It: Unlocking the 9 Secrets of People Who Changed the World

Jodie Cook Author Of Ten Year Career: Reimagine Business, Design Your Life, Fast Track Your Freedom

From my list on ambitious entrepreneurs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a post-exit entrepreneur who writes books and articles about entrepreneur psychology and how to run a business without it running you. At 22, I started an agency that I ran for ten years before selling it in 2021. During that time I made countless mistakes, learned from them, and figured out how to run a successful business while living an extraordinary life. I write about how other entrepreneurs can do the same. I refuse to believe you have to compromise between work and life. I think you can do work that you love while traveling the world, prioritizing health, and having a great time. 

Jodie's book list on ambitious entrepreneurs

Jodie Cook Why did Jodie love this book?

I love this book! The author has studied world-class performers in every field to find trends and share his insights across nine landmarks. After reading, you will feel confident that you have the potential to be one of those high achievers he speaks about! Koch has successfully identified the steps to achieving success and provides a blueprint for how to go about it. This book is full of ideas, insights, and inspiration that will help you realize your own unreasonable success. It's an invaluable resource to anyone looking to make a big impact.

By Richard Koch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Unreasonable Success and How to Achieve It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Can We Map Success?

Successful people typically don’t plan their success. Instead they develop a unique philosophy or attitude that works for them. They stumble across strategies which are shortcuts to success, and latch onto them. Events hand them opportunities they could not have anticipated. Often their peers with equal or greater talent fail while they succeed. It is too easy to attribute success to inherent, unstoppable genius.

Bestselling author and serial entrepreneur Richard Koch charts a map of success, identifying the nine key attitudes and strategies can propel anyone to new heights of accomplishment:

Self-belief

Olympian Expectations

Transforming Experiences…


Book cover of Your Next Five Moves: Master the Art of Business Strategy

Shaynuh Sloane Author Of Jaded Choyce

From my list on women managing challenging professional experiences.

Why am I passionate about this?

When writing about the everyday challenges that women face within the workplace, I aim to express the events that occur before, during, and after the experience. Unpopular belief, life doesn’t go back to normal for most of us, as getting back to normal from any traumatic experience will leave you shielded. I found my voice through writing about my passion for enabling female empowerment. My path as a woman in leadership came from understanding the lack of consistent supportive resources, encouragement, and validation, amongst women in the workplace. Through my writing, I aim to creatively empower and encourage my readers to find their voice. 

Shaynuh's book list on women managing challenging professional experiences

Shaynuh Sloane Why did Shaynuh love this book?

In this great read, Patrick bet David opens the opportunity to strategize on planning ahead. In this book, there is the opportunity to clarify where you want to be in life and how you plan to get there. The path begins with understanding how you personally identify yourself, to how you plan to take action on it. After gaining clarity on who you are as a person, you then are able to enhance your strategy as a leader. This book gave great insight to people who feel that they are stuck in a limited place or position, exposing them to their full potential and endless possibilities. 

By Patrick Bet-David,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Your Next Five Moves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the creator of Valuetainment, the #1 YouTube channel for entrepreneurs, and "one of the most exciting thinkers" (Ray Dalio, author of Principles) in business today, comes a practical and effective guide for thinking more clearly and achieving your most audacious professional goals.

Both successful entrepreneurs and chess grandmasters have the vision to look at the pieces in front of them and anticipate their next five moves. In this book, Patrick Bet-David "helps entrepreneurs understand exactly what they need to do next" (Brian Tracy, author of Eat That Frog!) by translating this skill into a valuable methodology. Whether you feel…


Book cover of The Imagination Machine: How to Spark New Ideas and Create Your Company's Future

Rita Gunther McGrath Author Of Discovery-Driven Growth: A Breakthrough Process to Reduce Risk and Seize Opportunity

From my list on understanding how breakthrough innovation happens.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I first started in the field of strategy, all the cool kids were doing industry-level analysis. Order of entry, strategic groups, R&D intensity…anything you could get sufficient data about to run complex models was the order of the day. Those of us studying the ‘insides’ of corporations, particularly the process of innovation, were kind of huddled together for warmth! Today, strategy and innovation have come together in a remarkable way, but I find that most people still don’t understand the processes. One of my goals is to de-mystify the innovation process – these books will give you a great start in understanding the practices that are too bewildering for too many people.  

Rita's book list on understanding how breakthrough innovation happens

Rita Gunther McGrath Why did Rita love this book?

This unusually formatted and provocative book delivers on its promise, which is that harnessing human imagination is a predictable, replicable process. Beginning with the first seeds of what gets our imaginations going (hint: when things aren’t chugging along as expected) to a recipe for how not to let those sparks die out as an idea becomes more mainstream, the book is chock full of examples, anecdotes, how to’s and more. And one of my favorite aspects of it is that it also has a multimedia guide to what BCG calls the “napkin gallery,” a virtual museum devoted to the earliest instances of some of the most important inventions ever commercialized.   

By Martin Reeves, Jack Fuller,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A guide for mining the imagination to find powerful new ways to succeed.

We need imagination now more than ever-to find new opportunities, rethink our businesses, and discover paths to growth. Yet too many companies have lost their ability to imagine. What is this mysterious capacity? How does imagination work? And how can organizations keep it alive and harness it in a systematic way?

The Imagination Machine answers these questions and more. Drawing on the experience and insights of CEOs across several industries, as well as lessons from neuroscience, computer science, psychology, and philosophy, Martin Reeves of Boston Consulting Group's…


Book cover of Lean Analytics: Use Data to Build a Better Startup Faster

Gojko Adzic Author Of Impact Mapping: Making a Big Impact with Software Products and Projects

From my list on for new software product managers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a software developer turned independent software vendor, learning about product management as a way to launch more successful products. I’m a co-founder of MindMup, a popular collaboration tool used by millions of students and schoolchildren worldwide, and Narakeet, an innovative video maker for people who are not video professionals. The books from this list helped me create successful products that users love, and successfully compete with companies that have several orders of magnitude more staff and resources. 

Gojko's book list on for new software product managers

Gojko Adzic Why did Gojko love this book?

Other books will teach you to focus on outcomes, but then the next question is what kind of outcomes are worth focusing on. This is where Lean Analytics comes in. The real gem from this book is the model of Five Stages of Growth, suggesting a typical progression of outcomes that product managers should follow when growing a product from an idea to a marketplace winner. It’s an invaluable thinking tool for new and experienced product managers alike. In addition, the book documents what kind of metrics various successful products tracked throughout growth, and provides some amazingly useful reference values for key business metrics for different categories of software products.

This book is great as an introduction to business metrics for new product managers, focusing specifically on software products. I recommend reading this before any other metrics book, as it’s very practical and relatable.

By Alistair Croll, Benjamin Yoskovitz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lean Analytics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Whether you're a startup founder trying to disrupt an industry or an intrapreneur trying to provoke change from within, your biggest challenge is creating a product people actually want. Lean Analytics steers you in the right direction. This book shows you how to validate your initial idea, find the right customers, decide what to build, how to monetize your business, and how to spread the word. Packed with more than thirty case studies and insights from over a hundred business experts, Lean Analytics provides you with hard-won, real-world information no entrepreneur can afford to go without. Understand Lean Startup, analytics…


Book cover of Edge: Turning Adversity Into Advantage

Roberta Chinsky Matuson Author Of Can We Talk?: Seven Principles for Managing Difficult Conversations at Work

From my list on maximizing your talent.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m one of the world’s leading experts on the maximization of talent, who is the author of six books on leadership and talent. I’m also a LinkedIn Top Voice in Leadership and Workplace, and one of the few people who was a guest on The O’Reilly Factor, with Bill O’Reilly, who left the show unscathed.

Roberta's book list on maximizing your talent

Roberta Chinsky Matuson Why did Roberta love this book?

I can’t recall the last time I read a business book in less than a week’s time. Laura’s book is so well written that I didn’t want to put it down. I loved this book so much, that I made it a point to meet the author. Laura Huang shows that success is about gaining an edge: that elusive quality that gives you an upper hand and attracts attention and support. She teaches you how to find a competitive edge when the obstacles feel insurmountable. Having met Laura, I can tell you she writes exactly how she speaks. Great book. Grab a copy.

By Laura Huang,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

There's power in owning the obstacles you might face. This book shows you how to unlock it.

In an ideal world, we'd succeed based on our actual skills and performance. But in the real world, subtle perceptions and stereotypes - about appearance, race, gender, experience and more - colour others' perceptions. The result might be that your hard work isn't noticed or appreciated, your effort doesn't lead to proportional rewards and your good ideas aren't taken seriously.

But it doesn't have to be that way. As Harvard Business School Professor Laura Huang has discovered, there's a way to flip stereotypes…


Book cover of An Audience of One: Reclaiming Creativity for Its Own Sake

Mary Potter Kenyon Author Of Called to Be Creative: A Guide to Reigniting Your Creativity

From my list on to jumpstart your creativity.

Why am I passionate about this?

I began exploring the topic of creativity after my mother’s death in 2010. Mom was an extremely creative woman. The mother of ten children, living in poverty, she was a self-taught artist who managed to beautify her simple home with her art, building a home business selling paintings, woodcarvings, wall hangings, and quilts she created. When I began speaking to groups of women about creativity, I was shocked to discover just how few of them saw themselves as creative. Thus began my odyssey into creativity research and therapeutic art, and the resulting book and workshops that inspire and encourage others to discover their creative self.

Mary's book list on to jumpstart your creativity

Mary Potter Kenyon Why did Mary love this book?

I was introduced to Srini through his first book, when I realized that "Unmistakables" are my people. Rao, host of the podcast The Unmistakable Creative, argues that we should stop worrying about creating art for money or fame, but focus on creating for an audience of one, ourselves. Rao’s words speak to the inner spark that may have been doused in our childhood, that deep restlessness we carry within. This book includes fascinating true stories of creatives who took this path, along with research from creativity experts.

By Srinivas Rao,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked An Audience of One as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The creator of the Unmistakable Creative podcast makes a counterintuitive argument: By focusing your creative work on pleasing yourself, you can increase your productivity, happiness, and (eventually, paradoxically) the size of your audience.

Creating for your own pleasure--whether you're writing a novel, composing songs, or painting a landscape--can seem pointless. It's tempting to focus on pursuing money and fame, rather than the process itself. But as Srini Rao warns, creating then turns into a chore that can harm your self-esteem and suck the pleasure out of life, rather than being a source of joy.

Rao, host of the podcast The…


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