100 books like Execution

By Ram Charan, Larry Bossidy,

Here are 100 books that Execution fans have personally recommended if you like Execution. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters

Simon Court Author Of Founder's Legacy: 50 Game-Changing Leadership Lessons for Building a Great Business

From my list on books for founders trying to be in the 10% of businesses that succeed.

Why am I passionate about this?

For the last 25 years, I have been a coach to business founders, leaders, and leadership teams. My work has taken me to every continent from my base in London. A lot of my work is done behind closed doors, but I have been instrumental in building two unicorns in the last decade. I’m a founder myself and have always been fascinated by what it takes to succeed as a founder. I have a powerful conviction that learning to lead is the heart of it. The books I love are either based on real-world research or deeply practical and based on hands-on experience. Practice trumps theory every time in my world!

Simon's book list on books for founders trying to be in the 10% of businesses that succeed

Simon Court Why did Simon love this book?

This book makes strategy practical for founders, and strategy is so often done badly and contributes to business failure.

The essence of it is to recognize and solve the “decisive challenge.” For example, Elon Musk identified and solved the decisive challenge facing SpaceX when he made Falcon 9 the world’s first orbital class reusable rocket.

Back down to earth, strategy has to face the business challenges honestly and provide a coherent approach to tackling them. This book genuinely helps us to do just that.

By Richard Rumelt,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked Good Strategy Bad Strategy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Richard Rumelt's Good Strategy/Bad Strategy was published in 2011, it immediately struck a chord, calling out as bad strategy the mish-mash of pop culture, motivational slogans and business buzz speak so often and misleadingly masquerading as the real thing.

Since then, his original and pragmatic ideas have won fans around the world and continue to help readers to recognise and avoid the elements of bad strategy and adopt good, action-oriented strategies that honestly acknowledge the challenges being faced and offer straightforward approaches to overcoming them. Strategy should not be equated with ambition, leadership, vision or planning; rather, it is…


Book cover of Working With Emotional Intelligence

John Beeson Author Of The Unwritten Rules: The Six Skills You Need to Get Promoted to the Executive Level

From my list on advancing and succeeding at the executive level.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent many years as a management consultant to a range of big, global corporations, smaller companies, and not-for-profits. I also headed up succession planning and management development at two major companies. I decided to go into this field based on a strong conviction, a conviction that continues today: that leadership counts. Strong leaders benefit people in their organizations and, ultimately, society itself. Having worked with many senior leaders and led organizations myself, I know the range of pressures executives face and how easy it is to fail. Companies need a supply of capable, well-equipped senior leaders, and those who aspire to top-level positions need guideposts about achieving their career aspirations. 

John's book list on advancing and succeeding at the executive level

John Beeson Why did John love this book?

This book has more than stood the test of time.

Goleman played a key role in popularizing the notion of emotional intelligence. It’s a key skill for any executive but one I find is often misunderstood. Goleman makes a strong case that one’s emotional intelligence is rooted firmly in self-control and self-mastery. That is, you can’t really tune into others in a deep way unless you are in control of yourself and your emotions. I use this book often in my coaching, and it’s a revelation to many senior leaders and aspiring executives. 

By Daniel Goleman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Working With Emotional Intelligence as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Do you want to be more successful at work? Do you want to improve your chances of promotion? Do you want to get on better with your colleagues? Daniel Goleman draws on unparalleled access to business leaders around the world and the thorough research that is his trademark. He demonstrates that emotional intelligence at work matters twice as much as cognitive abilities such as IQ or technical expertise in this inspiring sequel.


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

Jude Sclater Author Of Think Like a Coach: Empower your team through everyday conversations

From my list on managers who want to empower their teams.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a practical, straight-talking New Zealander who has lived in the UK since 2007. I’ve coached managers for over a decade, and one thing they all have in common is that they want to develop and empower their teams. What I love the most about my work is seeing the ‘aha’ moments unfold when they work out a path that is right for them. I’ve chosen these books for the ‘aha’ moments they sparked in me, and I hope they do the same for you.

Jude's book list on managers who want to empower their teams

Jude Sclater Why did Jude love this book?

I love this book because the title tells you all you need to know, and the short chapters packed with stories and practical advice show you what to do about it. Goldsmith’s direct yet gentle style shines through, and you can see why he’s considered one of the best coaches in the world.

The most helpful thing for me is that he gives you examples of things to say, for example, when asking for feedback. One thing to be aware of is that the language is a bit dated, especially around gender, and many of the behaviors may speak more to men than women. Marshall addresses this in a book co-written with Sally Helgesen called How Women Rise, which I’m reading right now.

By Marshall Goldsmith, Mark Reiter,

Why should I read it?

6 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…


The Managing People Practice Manual

By Neil Thompson,

Book cover of The Managing People Practice Manual

Neil Thompson Author Of The Managing People Practice Manual

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Writer Educator Adviser

Neil's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

This manual addresses the need to ensure that people are at the centre of the organisation. There has never been a timelier reminder of the need to ensure that leading, supporting and developing staff are critical aspects of creating the right organisational culture to grow and develop. Written with sensitivity, it brings together essential learning and underpinning theoretical knowledge and frameworks to promote effective practice.

This is an essential handbook for managers and leaders who want to develop the full potential of their people. It not only covers the fundamental issues of human resource management, but also highlights important topics that organisations find difficult to address, such as empowerment, stress management, mental health, equality, diversity, inclusion, and the promotion of well-being at work.

The Managing People Practice Manual

By Neil Thompson,

What is this book about?

It is refreshing to come across an HR book that bridges the gap perfectly between the academic theory and the practicality of ‘how to do it'. Dr Neil Thompson takes us on a humanistic journey that genuinely captures the human dimension of people management. This is an extremely helpful manual full of important and practical information about promoting well-being to achieve the best outcome for various everyday people management issues. The easy-to-understand inclusive language of this book calls to anyone interested in people management, meaning this is a perfect book for students, HR leaders, and practitioners. I know I will…


Genres
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Book cover of It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy

Gary DePaul Author Of Nine Practices of 21st Century Leadership: A Guide for Inspiring Creativity, Innovation, and Engagement

From my list on contemporary leadership books that guide us in the new normal.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 2014, I was laid off from my management role at Lowe’s Home Improvement. Instead of starting another job, I took several months to reflect on my leadership experiences and researched how leadership has evolved in the 21st Century. Based on a detailed analysis of 14 books, including the five I recommend, I wrote my first book that explains how to practice 21st-century leadership (now in its second edition). After publishing, I’ve written another leadership book, several blogs, and have been a keynote speaker. I now host the Unlabeled Leadership Podcast, which helps listeners learn how everyday people practice leadership.

Gary's book list on contemporary leadership books that guide us in the new normal

Gary DePaul Why did Gary love this book?

If you are like me and want to figure out how to help your team become unstuck, you are not alone!

Through his real-life journey, you’ll discover how Captain Abrashoff transformed the crew of the USS Benfold from being low in morale and underperforming to one of the most engaged and high-performing crew in the Navy! I found his story impressively illustrates behaviors that anyone can adopt to build a team’s culture.

After reading the book, I had the privilege of meeting Abrashoff and hearing him talk about his Navy experience, which exemplified the value of his book even more. Abrashoff’s examples and stories can be your call to action that helps you transform a group of employees into a high-performing team!

By Michael Abrashoff,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked It's Your Ship as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The story of Captain D. Michael Abrashoff and his command of USS Benfold has become legendary inside and outside the Navy. Now Abrashoff offers this fascinating tale of top-down change for anyone trying to navigate today's uncertain business seas. When Captain Abrashoff took over as commander of USS Benfold, a ship armed with every cutting-edge system available, it was like a business that had all the latest technology but only some of the productivity. Knowing that responsibility for improving performance rested with him, he realized he had to improve his own leadership skills before he could improve his ship. Within…


Book cover of Leadership Is an Art

Steve Arneson Author Of What Your Boss Really Wants from You: 15 Insights to Improve Your Relationship

From my list on for helping leaders develop to their full potential.

Why am I passionate about this?

After a career as an HR and learning & development executive at PepsiCo, AOL, and Capital One, I founded Arneson Leadership Consulting to provide coaching, talent management, and leadership development solutions to corporations and non-profit organizations.  I have a passion for helping leaders develop to their full potential and believe all leaders have the capacity to learn and grow. But development doesn’t just magically happen – you have to be willing to work at it. Whether it’s taking a course, gathering 360 feedback, or reading a best-selling book, the best leaders know they must never stop learning.

Steve's book list on for helping leaders develop to their full potential

Steve Arneson Why did Steve love this book?

This classic by Max De Pree (the former CEO of Herman Miller) looks at leadership as a kind of stewardship, stressing the importance of building relationships, initiating ideas, and creating a lasting value system within an organization. Rather than focusing on the “how” of corporate life, he stresses that leaders need to explain the “why.” He writes that the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality and the last is to say thank you. De Pree offers dozens of memorable leadership anecdotes that will have you wishing you’d worked for him at some point in your career! A wonderful gem of a book, it’s lessons will resonate with any leader who is trying to build a winning culture. 

By Max DePree,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In what has become a bible for the business world, the successful former CEO of Herman Miller, Inc., explores how executives and managers can learn the leadership skills that build a better, more profitable organization.

Leadership Is an Art has long been a must-read not only within the business community but also in professions ranging from academia to medical practices, to the political arena. First published in 1989, the book has sold more than 800,000 copies in hardcover and paperback. This revised edition brings Max De Pree’s timeless words and practical philosophy to a new generation of readers.

De Pree…


Book cover of The Extraordinary Leader.:Turning Good Managers Into Great Leaders

Steve Arneson Author Of What Your Boss Really Wants from You: 15 Insights to Improve Your Relationship

From my list on for helping leaders develop to their full potential.

Why am I passionate about this?

After a career as an HR and learning & development executive at PepsiCo, AOL, and Capital One, I founded Arneson Leadership Consulting to provide coaching, talent management, and leadership development solutions to corporations and non-profit organizations.  I have a passion for helping leaders develop to their full potential and believe all leaders have the capacity to learn and grow. But development doesn’t just magically happen – you have to be willing to work at it. Whether it’s taking a course, gathering 360 feedback, or reading a best-selling book, the best leaders know they must never stop learning.

Steve's book list on for helping leaders develop to their full potential

Steve Arneson Why did Steve love this book?

The Extraordinary Leader is a remarkable combination of expert insight and extensive research. The authors analyzed more than 200,000 assessments describing 20,000 managers—by far the most expansive research ever conducted for a leadership book. This book will take you inside the process of becoming a successful leader, as the authors detail the various skills needed to earn the respect of the people you lead. This is a must read for aspiring and experienced leaders alike and is one of my go-to manuals on how to develop leaders. One of the few books I’ve read cover-to-cover more than once, I’m confident you’ll come away with data-driven insights that you can begin to implement in your leadership role.

By Joseph Folkman, John Zenger,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

People can learn how to lead. This was the position John H. Zenger and Joseph R.Folkman took when they wrote their now-classicleadership book The Extraordinary Leader-and it'sa fact they reinforce in this new, completely updatededition of their bestseller.

When it was first published, The ExtraordinaryLeader immediately attracted a wide audience ofaspiring leaders drawn to its unique feature: theextensive use of scientific studies and hard data,which served to demystify the concept of leadershipand get readers thinking about the subject ina pragmatic way.

Now, Zenger and Folkman revisit the subject to addressleaders' most pressing concerns today. Theresult is an up-to-date, essential leadership…


Book cover of The Mind Of The Strategist: The Art of Japanese Business

George S. Yip Author Of China's Next Strategic Advantage: From Imitation to Innovation

From my list on business and military strategy and execution.

Why am I passionate about this?

My career in business strategy as a manager, consultant, and academic developed via my lifelong passion for military strategy and tactics, reading countless books on the Battle of Marathon through to the Third (!) World War. When I was introduced to business strategy in an MBA program, it was love at first lecture. I progressed to a doctorate in “Business Policy” at Harvard Business School as the second doctoral student of the then unknown Michael Porter. My main contribution has been the concept of global strategy for multinational companies. My focus is now on how Chinese companies are moving from imitation to innovation and reinventing management control.

George's book list on business and military strategy and execution

George S. Yip Why did George love this book?

Written in 1982 as one of the earliest books on strategy and still very relevant today. Ohmae was head of McKinsey Japan at the time of Japan's dominance in global business and contributed to the success of many Japanese companies. I had the great honor of meeting Ken Ohmae once and persuading him a few years later to provide an endorsement for my own book. Ohmae’s book explores the ways in which the strategist must think, the key principles and thought patterns that real-world strategists have used to move their companies forward in Japan and throughout the world. A timeless classic that is not just about Japan.

By Kenichi Ohmae,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Masterful Analysis of Company, Customer, and Competition Kenichi Ohmae - voted by The Economist as "one of the world's top five management gurus" - changed the landscape of management strategy in "The Mind of the Strategist". In this compelling account of global business domination, Ohmae reveals the vital thinking processes and planning techniques of prominent companies, showing why they work, and how any company can benefit from them. Filled with case studies of strategic thinking in action, Ohmae's classic work inspires today's managers to excel to new heights of bold, imaginative thinking and solutions. "In many ways, Ohmae can…


Book cover of The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire: From the First Century CE to the Third

George S. Yip Author Of China's Next Strategic Advantage: From Imitation to Innovation

From my list on business and military strategy and execution.

Why am I passionate about this?

My career in business strategy as a manager, consultant, and academic developed via my lifelong passion for military strategy and tactics, reading countless books on the Battle of Marathon through to the Third (!) World War. When I was introduced to business strategy in an MBA program, it was love at first lecture. I progressed to a doctorate in “Business Policy” at Harvard Business School as the second doctoral student of the then unknown Michael Porter. My main contribution has been the concept of global strategy for multinational companies. My focus is now on how Chinese companies are moving from imitation to innovation and reinventing management control.

George's book list on business and military strategy and execution

George S. Yip Why did George love this book?

Of the many books explaining the success of the Roman Empire, this is by far the best in that it shows how Rome continually adapted its strategy in building and sustaining its empire. Rome's strategy was not ceaseless fighting but comprehensive strategies that unified force, diplomacy, and an immense infrastructure. Initially relying on client states to buffer attacks, Rome moved to permanent frontier defense. Finally, as barbarians began to penetrate the empire, Rome fielded large armies in a strategy of defense-in-depth. This book's lesson for business strategy is that companies need to constantly adapt their strategies as their circumstances change. The book also has powerful implications for modern geopolitical strategy—be flexible in both means and ends.

By Edward N. Luttwak,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Grand Strategy of the Roman Empire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the height of its power, the Roman Empire encompassed the entire Mediterranean basin, extending much beyond it from Britain to Mesopotamia, from the Rhine to the Black Sea. Rome prospered for centuries while successfully resisting attack, fending off everything from overnight robbery raids to full-scale invasion attempts by entire nations on the move. How were troops able to defend the Empire's vast territories from constant attacks? And how did they do so at such moderate cost that their treasury could pay for an immensity of highways, aqueducts, amphitheaters, city baths, and magnificent temples? In The Grand Strategy of the…


Book cover of Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army

Laurence W. Marvin Author Of The Occitan War: A Military and Political History of the Albigensian Crusade, 1209–1218

From my list on premodern western warfare.

Why am I passionate about this?

From my earliest memories I’ve always been interested in military history, and as a young man I served in the U.S. Navy on a nuclear submarine. As an ardent bibliophile, my home and office overflows with books. As a professor, for the past 25 years I’ve been fortunate enough to teach a broad survey on western military history, which gives me the opportunity to experiment with many books for my own and the students’ enjoyment. The books on this list are perennial favorites of the traditional-age undergraduates (18-22) I teach, but will appeal to any reader interested in premodern military history. 

Laurence's book list on premodern western warfare

Laurence W. Marvin Why did Laurence love this book?

There’s an old saying that states, “Amateurs discuss battles; Professionals discuss logistics.” 

Engel’s book proves the point, arguing that the Macedonian king’s real genius was not tricky moves on the battlefield, but by making sure his men had enough food and water to sustain themselves for twelve years.  One of the great things about this book is that Engels covers things that work for any premodern era: how much a human or animal can carry; how much food and water they consume on a daily basis, and what it requires to keep tens of thousands of humans on the march adequately supplied. 

You’ll never think the same way about premodern warfare again after reading it.

By Donald W. Engels,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Alexander the Great and the Logistics of the Macedonian Army as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'The most important work on Alexander the Great to appear in a long time. Neither scholarship nor semi-fictional biography will ever be the same again...Engels at last uses all the archaeological work done in Asia in the past generation and makes it accessible...Careful analyses of terrain, climate, and supply requirements are throughout combined in a masterly fashion to help account for Alexander's strategic decision in the light of the options open to him...The chief merit of this splendid book is perhaps the way in which it brings an ancient army to life, as it really was and moved: the hours…


Book cover of Leadership Presence

John Beeson Author Of The Unwritten Rules: The Six Skills You Need to Get Promoted to the Executive Level

From my list on advancing and succeeding at the executive level.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve spent many years as a management consultant to a range of big, global corporations, smaller companies, and not-for-profits. I also headed up succession planning and management development at two major companies. I decided to go into this field based on a strong conviction, a conviction that continues today: that leadership counts. Strong leaders benefit people in their organizations and, ultimately, society itself. Having worked with many senior leaders and led organizations myself, I know the range of pressures executives face and how easy it is to fail. Companies need a supply of capable, well-equipped senior leaders, and those who aspire to top-level positions need guideposts about achieving their career aspirations. 

John's book list on advancing and succeeding at the executive level

John Beeson Why did John love this book?

In the course of researching my book, I spoke to a number of people responsible for selecting senior leaders in their organizations and asked what they looked for. A strong majority mentioned executive or leadership presence—although few could define or describe it with any degree of specificity. But an “I’ll know it if I see it” approach doesn’t cut it for people who want to reach the executive level.

This book is a compilation of highly practical articles that, taken together, not only define leadership presence but suggest tangible steps to develop and project it. 

By Harvard Business Review, John Beeson, Amy J.C. Cuddy , Deborah Tannen , Amy Jen Su

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Lead with charisma and confidence.

Many leaders consider "executive presence" a make-or-break factor in high-powered promotions. But what is this elusive quality, and how do you develop it?

This book explains how to build the charisma, confidence, and decisiveness that top leaders project. Whether you're delivering a critical presentation or managing a hectic meeting, you'll be inspired to approach the situation with new strength.

This volume includes the work of:

Deborah Tannen Amy J. C. Cuddy Amy Jen Su

This collection of articles includes "Deconstructing Executive Presence," by John Beeson; "How New Managers Can Send the Right Leadership Signals," by…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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