100 books like Orbiting the Giant Hairball

By Gordon MacKenzie,

Here are 100 books that Orbiting the Giant Hairball fans have personally recommended if you like Orbiting the Giant Hairball. 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 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 The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth

Karen Meager Author Of Rest. Practise. Perform.: What elite sport can teach leaders about sustainable wellbeing and performance

From my list on helping you banish burnout forever.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I worked in clinical practice as a psychotherapist, I worked with many burnt-out clients and always found it frustrating that the conventional wisdom was to take time off or stop working, which is just not practical (or desirable) for many people. I was always looking for alternative things people could do to help themselves. Then I experienced burnout myself, and whilst it was dreadful, I learnt first hand how to put all of this into practice, hence my research on the topic. I now work with people and organisations in high pressured, innovative environments where the focus is on preventing burnout rather than recovering.

Karen's book list on helping you banish burnout forever

Karen Meager Why did Karen love this book?

In organisations, culture can drive or protect people against burnout, and I love Amy’s work because she addresses a wide range of organisational issues through the topic of psychological safety.

I find the ideas and concrete strategies described in this book can flex to almost any type of business and she provides just enough science to convince the more academically minded whilst remaining practical and realistic.

By Amy C. Edmondson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Conquer the most essential adaptation to the knowledge economy

The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth offers practical guidance for teams and organizations who are serious about success in the modern economy. With so much riding on innovation, creativity, and spark, it is essential to attract and retain quality talent-but what good does this talent do if no one is able to speak their mind? The traditional culture of "fitting in" and "going along" spells doom in the knowledge economy. Success requires a continuous influx of new ideas, new challenges, and critical thought,…


Book cover of Tomorrowmind: Thriving at Work with Resilience, Creativity, and Connection—Now and in an Uncertain Future

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?

I’m a longtime fan of the work BetterUp Labs has done in the research field of human performance, and this book, co-written by BetterUp’s Chief Innovation Officer Gabriella Rosen Kellerman, is a delightful collection of its insights.

With additional guidance from co-author Marty Seligman, commonly known as the father of positive psychology, Tomorrowmind offers an anthropological perspective on the evolution of our work experience and how our cultural expectations have shifted.

By shining a light on helpful case studies throughout, it demonstrates how we’ll need to change our individual mindsets and behaviors to operate effectively in the future of work. If you care about creativity and connection in your workplace, this will be an important addition for your bookshelf.

By Gabriella Rosen Kellerman, Martin E. P. Seligman,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Thrive in your career with this radical, future-proofed approach to work in a world where automation, globalization, and downsizing are an urgent and threatening reality—from experts in workplace mental health, Gabriella Kellerman, CPO of BetterUp, and world-renowned psychologist Martin Seligman.

In recent years, workplace toxicity, industry volatility, and technology-driven turnover have threatened the psychological well-being of employees. When we can’t flourish at work, both personal success and corporate productivity suffer. As we sit on the cusp of some of the most turbulent economic changes in history, many of us wonder how we can not only survive but flourish in our…


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 A Beautiful Constraint: How to Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages, and Why It's Everyone's Business

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?

No matter what field you are in or the mission of your team, leadership is about navigating constraints, identifying obstacles, solving problems, and searching for breakthrough innovation.

It can be frustrating, and it can be, well, beautiful, especially when overcoming those constraints delivers new growth for you and your team and new value for your organization. Packed with stories and smart strategies, this book will help you see problems for what they are - opportunities, and give you the tools and the courage to face them straight on.

By Adam Morgan, Mark Barden,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

An inspiring yet practical guide for transforming limitations into opportunities A Beautiful Constraint: How to Transform Your Limitations Into Advantages And Why It's Everyone's Business Now is a book about everyday, practical inventiveness, designed for the constrained times in which we live. It describes how to take the kinds of issues that all of us face today lack of time, money, resources, attention, know-how and see in them the opportunity for transformation of oneself and one's organization's fortunes. The ideas in the book are based on the authors' extensive work as business consultants, and are brought to life in 35…


Book cover of ReCulturing: Design Your Company Culture to Connect with Strategy and Purpose for Lasting Success

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?

Ever wonder how some of the world’s biggest company leaders think about culture? Curious how talent was developed at Adobe, Twitter, and WeWork?

Filled with successes and hard lessons learned, ReCulturing artfully summarizes how culture shows up across the workplace and what you can do to shape it. Through her in-the-trenches stories and helpful prompts, Melissa demystifies the process of connecting culture to your company’s North Star.

I found myself enthusiastically head-nodding throughout and will generously refer to her helpful frameworks as I partner with clients on culture initiatives.

By Melissa Daimler,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Drive business sustainability, growth, and profits by taking a systematic approach to culture transformation

It's no secret that culture is the key to attracting and engaging top talent and seizing the competitive edge. But the vast majority of culture efforts fail as quickly as they started. Why? Because leaders are missing the big picture. They're creating and communicating values but failing to ensure the values are tied to the purpose and the strategy of the company while also being integrated into processes, operations, and behaviors.

In ReCulturing, Melissa Daimler solves this persistent problem by helping you develop a "systems" perspective…


Book cover of Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness, and Well-Being

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?

Many of us are looking for the secrets to a happy life, so I was delighted to discover Shawn Achor’s book, Big Potential, include a bundle of them.

Combining ample scientific research and compelling narrative, this book is packed with memorable stories and strategies to immediately apply to work environments. I often return to its dog-eared pages to get inspired and isolate the behaviors that lead to greater connection.

For readers who aim to develop talent in others or are looking to tap into their own potential, this is a thoughtful and generous read.  

By Shawn Achor,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Forget everything you thought you knew about being your best. It's not about your own skills or talents. Instead, real success in work and life comes from your connections and relationships - the teams you build around you, the friends you make - and getting the best out of them. You hugely amplify your own potential by helping others around you to realise theirs.

A TED talk star with over 16 million views, Shawn Achor is one of the world's leading experts on happiness and personal success - and author of the positive psychology classic The Happiness Advantage. Now, in…


Book cover of Creative Clarity

Karen Hold Author Of Experiencing Design: The Innovator's Journey

From my list on mastering design thinking.

Why am I passionate about this?

Inspired by the brilliant Silicon Valley technologists that I worked with in the early 90s and the pioneering design work of my husband’s grandfather, Leroy Grumman, I believe that design thinking is one of the most important reasons to believe that teams can achieve extraordinary results. It increases the likelihood of implementation of ideas by enhancing any companies’ abilities to align, learn, and change together. I have made it my mission to build creative capacity in individuals, organizations, and cities using the language of design thinking so that everyone can make positive change within their sphere of influence.

Karen's book list on mastering design thinking

Karen Hold Why did Karen love this book?

It is hard to pick just one Jon Kolko book to recommend because all of his books are brilliant. My copy of Creative Clarity is dog-eared and heavily underlined which is an indicator of just how much I rely on it over and over again. I like it because Kolko articulates the specific conditions necessary to achieve creative cultures and most importantly details how to do it. Mastering design thinking is much more than learning new tools and building the mindsets and behaviors to deepen your experience, it is about solving more problems and ultimately creating more impact. This book will help you do that. 

By Jon Kolko,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This book is built on a simple premise: Most companies don't know what creativity really is, so they can't benefit from it. They lack creative clarity.  Creative clarity requires you to do four things: 1. Choreograph a creative strategy, describing a clear future even among the blurry business landscape.
2. Grow teams that include those creative, unpredictable outcasts;  give them the space to produce amazing work; and build a unique form of trust in your company culture.
3. Institutionalize an iterative process of critique, conflict, and ideation.
4. Embrace chaos but manage creative spin and stagnation.  This book is primarily…


Book cover of Employment with a Human Face: Balancing Efficiency, Equity, and Voice

Adrian Wilkinson Author Of Human Resource Management: A Very Short Introduction

From my list on managing people and working lives.

Why am I passionate about this?

My grandfather was a labour activist in Hull in the UK and my father had many classic labour texts such as the book by Tressell, listed below. That got me interested in the world of work and later more specifically in managing people. I moved from studying economics to employment relations /human resource management. Given that most of us (workers) spend 80,000 hours of our lives at work - more time than we are likely to spend on any other activity during our lifetimes - how we spend these lives has remained a source of fascination

Adrian's book list on managing people and working lives

Adrian Wilkinson Why did Adrian love this book?

This is a brilliant scholarly book (which has been valuable in my own work) arguing that the traditional economic view of the employment relationship needs to be balanced with employee entitlement to fair treatment (equity) and the opportunity to have meaningful input into decisions (voice). 

The aim is to strike a balance between efficiency, equity, and voice and give employment “a human face”, allowing for shared prosperity and human dignity.

By John W. Budd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Employment with a Human Face as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

John W. Budd contends that the turbulence of the current workplace and the importance of work for individuals and society make it vitally important that employment be given "a human face." Contradicting the traditional view of the employment relationship as a purely economic transaction, with business wanting efficiency and workers wanting income, Budd argues that equity and voice are equally important objectives. The traditional narrow focus on efficiency must be balanced with employees' entitlement to fair treatment (equity) and the opportunity to have meaningful input into decisions (voice), he says. Only through a greater respect for these human concerns can…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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