100 books like Good to Great

By Jim Collins,

Here are 100 books that Good to Great fans have personally recommended if you like Good to Great. 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 A Guide to Rational Living

Howard M. Guttman Author Of When Goliaths Clash: Managing Executive Conflict to Build a More Dynamic Organization

From my list on managing those "keep you up at night" organizational issues.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the principal of Guttman Development Strategies (GDS), an organization development firm that works with senior executives and their teams in major corporations globally to build horizontal, high-performance teams, provide leadership coaching, and develop leadership skills. I am a speaker and author of three acclaimed management books and dozens of articles in business publications.

Howard's book list on managing those "keep you up at night" organizational issues

Howard M. Guttman Why did Howard love this book?

We all make ourselves. How well we do it is our choice!

This book has had a profound impact on my approach to executive coaching and organizational change, where a key difficulty that compromises performance centers on self-limiting and misguided beliefs. Drs. Ellis and Harper focus on self-management techniques that shift the focus from “them” to “you.” We can change negative emotions and behaviors that stem from our own thinking. It’s our choice as to what we think and emote.

This book, based on clinical research, provides readers with insights and techniques to permanently shift their game.

By Albert Ellis,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Guide to Rational Living as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Direct, get-to-the-heart-of-the-problem methods to teach you what you do to needless upset yourself and make yourself emotionally stronger by the creators of the most popular forms of therapy in the world.

From the foreword by publisher Melvin Powers:
Years ago, after two decades of burning the midnight oil, reading manuscripts which professed to have all the virtues this one actually possesses, I found the original New Guide to Rational Living—a gem that has become a classic in the field of psychology.

Since then, I am delighted to say, I have sold 1.5 million copies of this book in previous editions.…

Book cover of They Ask, You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today's Digital Consumer

Kevin Stansfield Author Of The BIG Dipper: How to Survive the Rollercoaster Ride of Business Ownership

From my list on helping build a great business.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been around businesses most of my life. Both my parents ran them, and as an accountant and business coach, I have helped many grow and be successful. I have also seen many businesses fail, including my father’s, and so I have been passionate about what it takes to build a successful business for many years. I am constantly on the lookout for great authors who have been through a journey and learn from their successes and failures. It was hard to select only 5 books in this review as I have read so many, but I hope that you find these as useful as I have.

Kevin's book list on helping build a great business

Kevin Stansfield Why did Kevin love this book?

I am always on the lookout to learn from experts in their field, and Marcus Sheridan is clearly one of these. Having built his swimming pool business to a Multimillion dollar revenue, it was great of him to put his marketing lessons into this book so that people like me could copy them.

His insights into building a website into an industry-leading reference site that pulls in so much more business were a revelation. He gave a clear structure on where to start, what to include, and how to make the search engines love the content that I post.

By Marcus Sheridan,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked They Ask, You Answer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The revolutionary guide that challenged businesses around the world to stop selling to their buyers and start answering their questions to get results; revised and updated to address new technology, trends, the continuous evolution of the digital consumer, and much more

In today's digital age, the traditional sales funnel-marketing at the top, sales in the middle, customer service at the bottom-is no longer effective. To be successful, businesses must obsess over the questions, concerns, and problems their buyers have, and address them as honestly and as thoroughly as possible. Every day, buyers turn to search engines to ask billions of…

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

Ed Evarts Author Of The Bravery Trick: Four Easy Ways to Say Hard Things

From my list on building your unique leadership style.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been interested in leadership style since my teenage years. My father was a leader in a retailing organization, and I was entranced by behaviors that seemed to connect with others and those that did not. As I grew older, I started to think about leadership style behaviors and models that might capture the most effective ones. While I recognize that leadership needs vary based on industry, scope, and tenure, I do believe that we all should know the leadership styles that are important to us to the extent that we can describe them if we are asked to do so.

Ed's book list on building your unique leadership style

Ed Evarts Why did Ed love this book?

We often times spend all of our energy on the ways we should behave as a leader and do not put any energy into recognizing behaviors that are not helping us. Also, as your career unfolds, what might have worked for you previously may no longer be effective, yet we continue doing this behavior as it worked in the past.

I needed insight into my overall leadership behaviors and greater insight into behaviors I needed to evolve or move away from. Behaviors like “Failure to give proper recognition,” “Passing judgment,” and “an excessive need to be me” are all behaviors from which I needed to grow away and evolve. This is stuff we don’t hear enough of—often, we focus too much on where we need to go and not what we are doing now.

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 Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time

Eric G. Flamholtz Author Of Growing Pains: Building Sustainably Successful Organizations

From my list on the stages and challenges of organizational growth.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm Professor Emeritus at UCLA and have also been on the faculty of Columbia University and The University of Michigan, where I received my PhD degree. I founded Management Systems Consulting, which works with entrepreneurial firms in the US and globally to scale up, in 1978. I've served on the board of a firm (99 Cents Only Stores) that scaled up and was a NYSE listed firm. I've advised CEOs who have created global champion firms and been recognized as leaders in their space. I've authored or co-authored several books including Creating Family Business Champions; Corporate Culture: The Ultimate Strategic Advantage; Changing the Game; and Leading Strategic Change.

Eric's book list on the stages and challenges of organizational growth

Eric G. Flamholtz Why did Eric love this book?

This book is by the founder of a company that has successfully navigated the stages of growth from a start-up to a sustainably successful organization and become a global champion or recognized leader in its space. Accordingly, the book is from the “horse’s mouth.” Schultz and his coauthor take the reader on the journey of the development of one of the classic entrepreneurial successes of our time. He details the challenges, his thinking, and the responses that were made to create the Starbucks of today. The book provided s the reader with a rare opportunity to participate in the Starbucks journey from a vision to the reality of building a great company. 

By Howard Schultz,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Pour Your Heart Into It as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In Pour Your Heart Into It, former CEO and now chairman emeritus Howard Schultz illustrates the principles that have shaped the Starbucks phenomenon, sharing the wisdom he has gained from his quest to make great coffee part of the American experience.

The success of Starbucks Coffee Company is one of the most amazing business stories in decades. What started as a single store on Seattle's waterfront has grown into the largest coffee chain on the planet. Just as remarkable as this incredible growth is the fact that Starbucks has managed to maintain its renowned commitment to product excellence and employee…

Book cover of Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose

Fabian Geyrhalter Author Of Bigger Than This: How to turn any venture into an admired brand

From my list on on creating an admired brand.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Creative Director turned Brand Strategist who loves creating clarity for brand transformations. I do so for small companies and Fortune 500s alike, but the thrill is the same. At the end of the day that hands-on (actually more of a ‘brain on’) work coupled with my books on branding and my podcast Hitting The Mark (where I talk with some of today’s most mesmerizing founders about the intersection of brand clarity and startup success) is doing my part in creating more admired brands in this world. I hope the books on this list will inspire and enable you to do the same for your own company.

Fabian's book list on on creating an admired brand

Fabian Geyrhalter Why did Fabian love this book?

It was a tough decision, and I definitely still want you to read Seth Godin’s books, but I settled on the late Tony Hsieh’s Delivering Happiness since great company culture is the foundation to an admired brand. I strongly believe in that and spreading how Tony created the phenomenon that is the Zappos culture, you will realize that paying your top employees hard cash to quit is actually one of the many ways to set your company on the path of becoming an admired brand.

By Tony Hsieh,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Delivering Happiness as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

- Pay brand-new employees $2,000 to quit
- Make customer service the responsibility of the entire company-not just a department
- Focus on company culture as the #1 priority
- Apply research from the science of happiness to running a business
- Help employees grow-both personally and professionally
- Seek to change the world
- Oh, and make money too . . .

Sound crazy? It's all standard operating procedure at Zappos, the online retailer that's doing over $1 billion in gross merchandise sales annually. After debuting as the highest-ranking newcomer in Fortune magazine's annual "Best Companies to Work For"…

Book cover of Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You about Being Creative

Peggy Dean Author Of Mindful Sketching: How to Develop a Drawing Practice and Embrace the Art of Imperfection

From my list on creative books for the wildly imperfect artist.

Why am I passionate about this?

My journey into art began as a serendipitous discovery that unfolded through curiosity. As a “can’t-be-tamed” creative, I understand the tug-of-war artists feel – craving to learn skills and create “quality” pieces, while also thumbing the snooze-fest of sticking to one thing. Been there, done that, got the paint-splattered t-shirt. This has ignited a passion for encouraging others to find their own creative voice, as I've navigated the same path while building a multifaceted career in watercolor, gouache, line drawing, urban sketching, brush lettering, and calligraphy…need I go on? The thing is, I will because there is still so much to be explored.

Peggy's book list on creative books for the wildly imperfect artist

Peggy Dean Why did Peggy love this book?

I can't recommend this book highly enough, and here's why: it completely shattered my misconceptions about originality in the creative process. Kleon's candid and approachable narrative made me realize that all art is, in some form, a reinterpretation or recombination of what already exists.

This book came into my life at a pivotal moment, just when I was grappling with the dreaded "impostor syndrome" and the paralyzing belief that everything I created needed to be unprecedented. Kleon's perspective is liberating. He argues that embracing influences and integrating them into your work is not only acceptable but essential for creativity. 

By Austin Kleon,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Steal Like an Artist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When asked to talk to students at Broome Community College in upstate New York in the spring of 2011, Austin Kleon wrote a simple list often things he wished he'd heard when he was their age: 'Steal like an artist; Don't wait until you know who you are to start making things; Write the book you want to read; Use your hands; Side projects are important; Do good work and put it where people can see it; Geography is no longer our master; Be nice (the world is a small town.); Be boring (it's the only way to get work…

Book cover of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance

Diana Drake Long Author Of Dream It, Design It, Live It: The Ultimate Guide to Manifesting Your Next-Level Life

From my list on creativity, happiness and success in life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been enthralled with the idea of “dreams come true” for as long as I can remember. In middle school, I discovered the field of psychology. I made weekly trips to the library and read books on personal development, spirituality, and memoirs. This commitment to learning and growth has never wavered. Those early seeds that I planted and nurtured have bloomed into my long-standing career of professional coaching, facilitation, and leading transformational retreats. My passion is empowering others to believe in their dreams and goals and bring them to life. 

Diana's book list on creativity, happiness and success in life

Diana Drake Long Why did Diana love this book?

This is another excellent book that I highly recommend. As a researcher and psychologist, Dr. Duckworth paves the way for anyone to understand the "secret" to success–whether you are a student, a parent, a business owner, or a CEO. The key to achieving desired results is not strictly based on talent. In her research, Dr. Duckworth reveals that it is a blend of both passion and persistence, which she calls "grit.” I’ve learned to incorporate "grittiness" into all my important projects. (She offers a grittiness assessment that is quite useful).

The book has many real-life examples of what it takes to achieve peak performance. I found Dr. Duckworth's body of work liberating. She shows us that grit can be learned and how to combine passion with persistence to achieve greater heights. 

By Angela Duckworth,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked Grit as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


In this must-read for anyone seeking to succeed, pioneering psychologist Angela Duckworth takes us on an eye-opening journey to discover the true qualities that lead to outstanding achievement. Winningly personal, insightful and powerful, Grit is a book about what goes through your head when you fall down, and how that - not talent or luck - makes all the difference.

'Impressively fresh and original' Susan Cain

Book cover of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

Sean Lemson Author Of One Drop of Poison: How One Bad Leader Can Slowly Kill Your Company

From my list on avoid being the leader everyone wants to leave.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have worked for some really toxic leaders in my lifetime. Over the decades, I’ve figured out that even well-intentioned people can be toxic leaders without knowing it. As a team and leadership performance coach for the past 15 years, my job has been to help leaders show up as people others want to follow; to help employees feel cared for, and as a result, be intrinsically motivated to care about their company’s mission. These books represent the figurative fuel in my tank for this work, and I hope you find them useful.

Sean's book list on avoid being the leader everyone wants to leave

Sean Lemson Why did Sean love this book?

We’ve heard that trust is a foundational part of high-performing teams for decades, but no one does as good a job connecting the dots between a lack of trust and low performance as Lencioni does in this book.

I continually use his five dysfunctions model in reverse to spot toxic company cultures and then walk leaders backward to see how the root cause is a lack of trust. Once leaders see this with their own eyes, they can’t shake it, and they immediately start to see how detrimental it is when they make their organizations unstable with constant reorganizations and layoffs. An understanding of what’s in this book was foundational for me to help leaders who don’t want to be toxic.

By Patrick M. Lencioni,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Five Dysfunctions of a Team as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Five Dysfunctions of a Team Patrick Lencioni once again offers a leadership fable that is as enthralling and instructive as his first two best-selling books, The Five Temptations of a CEO and The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive. This time, he turns his keen intellect and storytelling power to the fascinating, complex world of teams. Kathryn Petersen, Decision Tech's CEO, faces the ultimate leadership crisis: Uniting a team in such disarray that it threatens to bring down the entire company. Will she succeed? Will she be fired? Will the company fail? Lencioni's utterly gripping tale serves as…

Book cover of The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done

Patrick Forsyth Author Of Successful Time Management: How to be Organized, Productive and Get Things Done

From my list on common sense to help you succeed in business.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having begun my career in publishing, I worked for many years as a management consultant and trainer; alongside that, I have written and published many books offering advice on management, marketing, and job skills, like the time management book shown above, a bestseller now in its sixth edition. I have always thought management often fails by overlooking the importance of issues rather than finding things difficult; I hope my business writing helps identify priorities and shows that the deployment of various techniques and skills can be manageable–and useful.

Patrick's book list on common sense to help you succeed in business

Patrick Forsyth Why did Patrick love this book?

This was perhaps the first bestselling business book and became a classic. Drucker coined many maxims, for example, saying that if you don’t know where you are going, any road will do. This is obvious, but how many flounder for lack of clear objectives?

Good, sound common sense is here that stands a new look in the present day, even if it comes from a time when legislation and political correctness made things more straightforward while leaving some current issues unaddressed.

By Peter F. Drucker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

What makes an effective executive?

The measure of the executive, Peter F. Drucker reminds us, is the ability to "get the right things done." This usually involves doing what other people have overlooked as well as avoiding what is unproductive. Intelligence, imagination, and knowledge may all be wasted in an executive job without the acquired habits of mind that mold them into results.

Drucker identifies five practices essential to business effectiveness that can, and must, be learned: Managing time Choosing what to contribute to the organization Knowing where and how to mobilize strength for best effect Setting the right priorities…

Book cover of The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations

Larry Osborne Author Of Sticky Teams: Keeping Your Leadership Team and Staff on the Same Page

From my list on for leaders seeking to build effective teams.

Why am I passionate about this?

Dr. Larry Osborne is a leadership mentor and practitioner with a rare mix of both theological and leadership expertise. He's been a mentor and major influencer for many of the largest and fastest-growing churches in the US while providing leadership to North Coast Church as it grew from 125 to over 13,000 in weekend attendance.

Larry's book list on for leaders seeking to build effective teams

Larry Osborne Why did Larry love this book?

The value of this book is not in advocating for leaderless organizations. It's in understanding the inherent power of decentralized leadership to foster greater innovation, powerfully respond to crisis, and continually morph in the face of rapidly changing culture and environments.

By Ori Brafman, Rod A. Beckstrom,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

If you cut off a spider's head, it dies; if you cut off a starfish's leg it grows a new one, and that leg can grow into an entirely new starfish. Traditional top-down organizations are like spiders, but now starfish organizations are changing the face of business and the world.

What's the hidden power behind the success of Wikipedia, craigslist, and Skype? What do eBay and General Electric have in common with the abolitionist and women's rights movements? What fundamental choice put General Motors and Toyota on vastly different paths?

Ori Brafman and Rod Beckstrom have discovered some unexpected answers,…

5 book lists we think you will like!

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