40 books like Mastering the Basics

By Dean Karrel,

Here are 40 books that Mastering the Basics fans have personally recommended if you like Mastering the Basics. 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 The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement

Steve Fenton Author Of Web Operations Dashboards, Monitoring, & Alerting

From my list on DevOps from before DevOps was invented.

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a programmer and technical author at Octopus Deploy and I'm deeply interested in DevOps. Since the 1950s, people have been studying software delivery in search of better ways of working. We’ve seen many revolutions since Lincoln Labs first introduced us to phased delivery, with lightweight methods transforming how we wrote software at the turn of the century. My interest in DevOps goes beyond my enthusiasm for methods in general, because we now have a great body of research that adds to our empirical observations on the ways we work.

Steve's book list on DevOps from before DevOps was invented

Steve Fenton Why did Steve love this book?

I was a long-time skeptic about the business novel format, but The Goal changed my mind.

In this book, Goldratt presents concepts like Theory of Constraints with a business thriller (seriously). You get to live the same aha moments as the protagonist, Alex Rogo, as he encounters the pipe-smoking philosopher Jonah.

The setting may be a factory, but you’ll find many parallels to your DevOps work in this book.

By Eliyahu M. Goldratt, Jeffrey Cox,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked The Goal as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

*A Graphic Novel version of this title is now available: "The Goal: A Business Graphic Novel"

30th Anniversary Edition. Written in a fast-paced thriller style, The Goal, a gripping novel, is transforming management thinking throughout the world. It is a book to recommend to your friends in industry - even to your bosses - but not to your competitors. Alex Rogo is a harried plant manager working ever more desperately to try improve performance. His factory is rapidly heading for disaster. So is his marriage. He has ninety days to save his plant - or it will be closed by…


Book cover of Please Understand Me II: Temperament, Character, Intelligence

Andrea Nelson Trice Author Of Strong Together: Building Partnerships Across Cultures in an Age of Distrust

From my list on people who want to change the world.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a faculty member and program evaluator, I’ve spent over two decades exploring questions around cross-cultural dynamics, empowerment, and human flourishing. I care deeply about vulnerable people and the misuse of power, and I find joy in conducting research that can improve people’s lives. I recognize that my early work as a counselor brings a unique perspective to my work, as does my childhood, which was partially spent in the Peruvian rainforest. 

Andrea's book list on people who want to change the world

Andrea Nelson Trice Why did Andrea love this book?

Using the Myers Briggs Type Indicator as the framework, this book offers deep insights into why we think, feel, and function the way we do.

I first read this book years ago and still find myself referring back to it on a regular basis when new issues come up in my life, such as a potential career change. This book truly does help me to understand myself better as well as to understand significant others in my life.

How I’m wired affects how I work, the work I’m drawn to, and how I interact with others. This insight, I have found, is crucial if I am to help make the world a better place. 

By David Keirsey,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Please Understand Me II as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Rev. ed. of: Please understand me. 3rd ed. c1978.


Book cover of Coaching Essentials for Managers: The Tools You Need to Ignite Greatness in Each Employee

Todd Dewett Author Of Dancing with Monsters: A Tale About Leadership, Success, and Overcoming Fears

From my list on how people skills support great leadership.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by the relationships component of leadership. I’ve worked for major service firms, taught MBAs for years, advised many teams and organizations, and educated millions via my courses on LinkedIn Learning. When I look at performance, I see the same issues popping up over and over: people issues! You can know a lot about how to run a team operationally or how to roll out a change step by step – but it’s all for nothing if you don’t know how to positively relate to and lead others. Communication, motivation, empathy, etc. – these are the essential people skills required to allow you to actually add value with your business knowledge.  

Todd's book list on how people skills support great leadership

Todd Dewett Why did Todd love this book?

It’s fascinating when terms and ideas become popular and pervasive, yet everyone has a slightly different take on what it is they are talking about. 

Coaching might be the best example ever in business. It’s a vital skill set, yet only in the last couple of decades have we begun to effectively grapple with what it is, how to do it, and the outcomes it produces.  Sara Canaday’s book is wonderful because it addresses these issues with great focus and clarity.

It’s the perfect first book for anyone who wants to dive in to coaching. It’s not too complex or academic, rather quick and applied. She offers a model, helps you understand how to actually use it, and sets you up to engage coaching far more effectively.  

By Sara Canaday,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Coaching Essentials for Managers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

One of the first books in McGraw Hill's NEW Business Essentials Series-filled with the tools managers need to boost employee confidence, engagement, and performance through coaching.

As a manager, an essential and rewarding part of your job is to get the best from your employees-to help them overcome challenges, meet (and exceed) their goals, and maintain a high level of engagement and performance in today's new world of work. Like many other leadership skills, coaching is one you can hone and perfect with the right information and tools-and Coaching Essentials for Managers provides exactly that.

At a time when leaders…


Book cover of Quick Confidence: Be Authentic, Boost Connections, and Make Bold Bets on Yourself

Todd Dewett Author Of Dancing with Monsters: A Tale About Leadership, Success, and Overcoming Fears

From my list on how people skills support great leadership.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by the relationships component of leadership. I’ve worked for major service firms, taught MBAs for years, advised many teams and organizations, and educated millions via my courses on LinkedIn Learning. When I look at performance, I see the same issues popping up over and over: people issues! You can know a lot about how to run a team operationally or how to roll out a change step by step – but it’s all for nothing if you don’t know how to positively relate to and lead others. Communication, motivation, empathy, etc. – these are the essential people skills required to allow you to actually add value with your business knowledge.  

Todd's book list on how people skills support great leadership

Todd Dewett Why did Todd love this book?

I am a big fan of this book! Selena uses a voice that is warm, positive, and personal to share her ideas. 

From building confidence, to interacting with others, and dealing with challenges and setbacks, this is a career “must read.” It’s ostensibly about confidence, but really, it’s way more. I was an organizational behavior for years teaching MBA students, and this has all of the topical coverage you’d want to convey in any course related to leadership and career success. 

But instead of being boring like a textbook, it stays focused on crisp actionable advice for improving how you think, interact, and achieve. Not to mention, her use of short examples and anecdotes makes it a fast fun read too. Highly recommended.

By Selena Rezvani,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Hands-on, bite-sized strategies for improving your confidence

In Quick Confidence: Be Authentic, Create Connections and Make Bold Bets On Yourself, best-selling author and renowned leadership speaker Selena Rezvani delivers an effective and eye-opening new approach to building confidence and presence for professionals. In the book, the author walks you through-and helps you leap over-the 9 most common obstacles that stand in the way of building authentic confidence. She offers digestible actions, behaviors, and exercises you can use to change the way you think and the way you present yourself to others.

Relying on sound, scientifically validated data, the book helps…


Book cover of Not Your Job: Discover the surprising way to save time, avoid burnout, and do what you love forever

Kathleen Allen Author Of Entrepreneurship For Dummies

From my list on inspiring you to get off your butt and start a business.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a real passion for entrepreneurship, so much so that I married an entrepreneur and produced two children who became entrepreneurs. During my 25 years as a professor in the Greif Entrepreneurship Center at the University of Southern California, one of the top programs in the U.S., I had the privilege of inspiring and mentoring hundreds of new entrepreneurs. I found my passion in technology businesses. I had the business skills needed to help scientists and engineers raise funding, bring their inventions to market, and build their companies. I managed to start and run four ventures of my own as well as write several books about entrepreneurship.

Kathleen's book list on inspiring you to get off your butt and start a business

Kathleen Allen Why did Kathleen love this book?

I like this book because it’s very complementary to Peter Thiel’s book.

It emphasizes how to make yourself the focus of your “zero to one” effort.

Too many entrepreneurs burn out before they go the distance, usually because they’re exhausted and frustrated trying to manage their employees and all the tasks associated with the business.

Brantley, a successful entrepreneur, proposes a new approach that gets entrepreneurs out of micromanaging (which they tend to do) by leveraging the time and talent of their best people.

I tend to get myself into the weeds on things that are important to me (like a business), and this book helped me see what I was doing before I did any real damage.

I think you’ll feel like he wrote the book for you. No fluff, just great advice and tools you can actually use.

By Pierce Brantley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Not Your Job as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

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?

The insights in this groundbreaking book apply across the board, from social and family life to interacting and managing others in organizational life.

What factors are at play when people of high IQ flounder while those who are more modestly endowed succeed? Goleman argues that the difference is Emotional Intelligence, which, as he explains, comprises empathy, effective social skills/communication, self-awareness, self-regulation, and motivation.

I’ve watched too many of the allegedly best and brightest, tough-minded executives flame out because they failed to rein in emotional impulse, read others’ feelings, or handle interpersonal relationships. The skills are learnable, and in today’s asymmetric, hybrid, matrixed organizations, they are essential for success.

By Daniel Goleman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The groundbreaking bestseller that redefines intelligence and success Does IQ define our destiny? Daniel Goleman argues that our view of human intelligence is far too narrow, and that our emotions play major role in thought, decision making and individual success. Self-awareness, impulse control, persistence, motivation, empathy and social deftness are all qualities that mark people who excel: whose relationships flourish, who are stars in the workplace. With new insights into the brain architecture underlying emotion and rationality, Goleman shows precisely how emotional intelligence can be nurtured and strengthened in all of us.


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…


Book cover of The School of Life: An Emotional Education

Wendy Thomas Russell Author Of Relax It's Just God: How and Why to Talk to Your Kids about Religion When You're Not Religious

From my list on finding your own philosophy of life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m drawn to the intersection of psychology, philosophy and pragmatism — a dynamic that can be found in the books I write, the conversations I enjoy, and the ways I choose to spend my down time. By getting in touch with my personal psychology (influenced by my brain chemistry, temperament and upbringing) and studying various philosophies (from the Stoics to Alain de Botton), I have begun to find my own truth and formulate my own best practices in life. I don’t always nail it — not by a long shot — but that’s why it’s called a practice. There are so many different ways to live a contented life. It can be awfully rewarding to locate your own.

Wendy's book list on finding your own philosophy of life

Wendy Thomas Russell Why did Wendy love this book?

Since discovering Religion for Atheists, while researching my first book, I have loved me some Alain de Botton, but I recommend this one because I think it offers the most in terms of practical wisdom across a host of categories. Alain has spent his life doing for others what I spend a lot of time doing for myself: Trying to discover universal truths that lead to a greater enjoyment of life without having to resort to religious dogma or magical thinking. He explains plainly how to love life for what it offers, wholly accept what it does not, and understand that we all, truly, are in this together.

By The School of Life,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Discover everything you were never taught at school about how to lead a better life...

'Amazing. He talk about sophisticated things in simple but not simplistic ways. A beautiful book that you should have in your home' Chris Evans

By the bestselling author of The Consolations of Philosophy, The Art of Travel and The Course of Love

'Alain de Botton likes to take big, complex subjects and write about them with thoughtful and deceptive innocence' Observer

As heard on Elizabeth Day's How to Fail podcast

We spend years in school learning facts and figures but the one thing we're never…


Book cover of Welcome to Monsterville

Karen Krossing Author Of Monster vs. Boy

From my list on middle-grade about monsters and facing our fears.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was small, a goblin lived in my closet. I was sure of it. At night, I huddled under my blanket, listening to the unexplainable noises coming from my closet. And yet, I also have felt like that monster hiding in the closet—afraid to enter the wide world, afraid of who I might meet and what they might think of me. I have felt different. Misunderstood. This list of monstrous middle-grade books shows how our story monsters are more than metaphors. They are a way to understand ourselves, our big emotions, our daydreams, and our nightmares. I guarantee these books will delight and empower younger and older readers.

Karen's book list on middle-grade about monsters and facing our fears

Karen Krossing Why did Karen love this book?

Visit Monsterville to discover fun poems for middle-grade readers paired with wondrous illustrations of the monsters that live there.

From a monster house that dances to a hunger monster that eats Dad’s apple crumble, this book feels like an invitation to frolic and feel a range of emotions from gratitude to sadness. I dream in monsters. Do you? 

By Laura Shovan, Michael Rothenberg (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Welcome to Monsterville, where the residents are anything but ordinary. The monsters here are "friendly! thoughtful! shy and scary," much like their human neighbors. Readers will meet a monster house who plays hopscotch and makes the sidewalks quake, laugh at a bubblegum-headed monster's epic tantrum, and cry with a monster called Sadness.

This quirky collection of illustrated poems is a celebration of friendship, emotional intelligence, and creative play as a form of healing.


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.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in emotional intelligence, leadership, and emotions?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about emotional intelligence, leadership, and emotions.

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