81 books like Primed to Perform

By Neel Doshi, Lindsay McGregor,

Here are 81 books that Primed to Perform fans have personally recommended if you like Primed to Perform. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve said all along that the people I’ve surrounded myself with are the most important part of everything I do - my crew is what helps push me forward and supports me when things are tough. It’s a really important skill to have to continually do two things: better understand myself, through both outside learning and deepening self-awareness, and continue to learn about other people and strengthen all of the relationships I have, both inside and outside of business.

Helaine's book list on business books for digging into your relationship with yourself and others - which is the key to success

Helaine Knapp Why did Helaine love this book?

I loved reading this book so much the first time that I then re-read it every year while I was building CITYROW and gifted it to all employees. Every time I picked it up, I extracted new learnings, saw ideas differently, and came back to my company with deeper insights.

This book is both wide and deep, and I found it compelling time and time again, reflective of where I was in my building journey. I still reference key points in all my work today and credit it as a foundation for some of the reasons why I have embarked on the entrepreneurial journey. 

By Jim Collins,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Good to Great as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

________________________________
Can a good company become a great one? If so, how?

After a five-year research project, Jim Collins concludes that good to great can and does happen. In this book, he uncovers the underlying variables that enable any type of organisation to make the leap from good to great while other organisations remain only good. Rigorously supported by evidence, his findings are surprising - at times even shocking - to the modern mind.

Good to Great achieves a rare distinction: a management book full of vital ideas that reads as well as a fast-paced novel. It is widely regarded…


Book cover of The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Achieving Your Wildly Important Goals

Donald Summers Author Of Scaling Altruism: A Proven Pathway for Accelerating Nonprofit Growth and Impact

From my list on essential reading for nonprofit leaders.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent most of my adult life using entrepreneurial business practices and principles to redesign and transform nonprofits. From my very first nonprofit organizational acceleration, I was hooked. The wealth one receives from helping other people is so much richer and more satisfying than money–altruism is truly life's greatest pleasure. You know the movie The Sixth Sense where the little kid sees dead people everywhere? I am the same way, except everywhere I look, I see uncaptured opportunities for social impact. I live and breathe social impact strategy, governance, financing, evaluation, and change management. Because by fixing problems in those areas, organizations are able to do more to make the world a better place.  

Donald's book list on essential reading for nonprofit leaders

Donald Summers Why did Donald love this book?

Planning is easy, but execution is hard. Nonprofit leaders can gain a clear, practical understanding of how to measure and execute an organization's progress toward social impact goals with the clear, simple, and compelling four disciplines of execution.

It is simply terrific for putting strategy into practice. You will learn the key concepts from 4DX. We found reading it like getting a new set of glasses that brings the world of management into focus and allows us to see a pathway to success.

By Chris McChesney, Sean Covey, Jim Huling

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Fully revised and updated, the definitive guide for leaders on how to create lasting organisational change.

Do you remember the last major initiative you watched die in your organisation? Did it go down with a loud crash? Or was it slowly and quietly suffocated by other competing priorities? By the time it finally disappeared, it's quite likely noone even noticed.

Almost every company struggles with making change happen. The 4 Disciplines of Execution: Revised and Updated is meant to help you reach the goals you've always dreamed of with a simple, repeatable, and proven formula. In this updated edition of…


Book cover of Great by Choice

Donald Summers Author Of Scaling Altruism: A Proven Pathway for Accelerating Nonprofit Growth and Impact

From my list on essential reading for nonprofit leaders.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent most of my adult life using entrepreneurial business practices and principles to redesign and transform nonprofits. From my very first nonprofit organizational acceleration, I was hooked. The wealth one receives from helping other people is so much richer and more satisfying than money–altruism is truly life's greatest pleasure. You know the movie The Sixth Sense where the little kid sees dead people everywhere? I am the same way, except everywhere I look, I see uncaptured opportunities for social impact. I live and breathe social impact strategy, governance, financing, evaluation, and change management. Because by fixing problems in those areas, organizations are able to do more to make the world a better place.  

Donald's book list on essential reading for nonprofit leaders

Donald Summers Why did Donald love this book?

Good to Great is one of the best business books written, but it doesn't tell the full story. While Collins has other books, the most important companion to my prior recommendation is Great By ChoiceReally, these books should be seen as a Part 1 and a Part 2.

The elements in this book are every bit as important–specifically, the "20 Mile March" piece is one that continues to resonate with me. More battle-tested wisdom from one of the world's greatest business scholars.

By Jim Collins, Morten T. Hansen,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Great by Choice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE NEW QUESTION
Ten years after the worldwide bestseller Good to Great, Jim Collins returns with another groundbreaking work, this time to ask: Why do some companies thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others do not? Based on nine years of research, buttressed by rigorous analysis and infused with engaging stories, Collins and his colleague, Morten Hansen, enumerate the principles for building a truly great enterprise in unpredictable, tumultuous, and fast-moving times.

THE NEW STUDY
Great by Choice distinguishes itself from Collins's prior work by its focus not just on performance, but also on the type of unstable environments faced…


Book cover of How To Solve The Mismanagement Crisis

Donald Summers Author Of Scaling Altruism: A Proven Pathway for Accelerating Nonprofit Growth and Impact

From my list on essential reading for nonprofit leaders.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have spent most of my adult life using entrepreneurial business practices and principles to redesign and transform nonprofits. From my very first nonprofit organizational acceleration, I was hooked. The wealth one receives from helping other people is so much richer and more satisfying than money–altruism is truly life's greatest pleasure. You know the movie The Sixth Sense where the little kid sees dead people everywhere? I am the same way, except everywhere I look, I see uncaptured opportunities for social impact. I live and breathe social impact strategy, governance, financing, evaluation, and change management. Because by fixing problems in those areas, organizations are able to do more to make the world a better place.  

Donald's book list on essential reading for nonprofit leaders

Donald Summers Why did Donald love this book?

Business management guru Ichak Adizes lays out a simple, memorable formula for helping you create high-performing teams.

As he deftly explains, conflict among teams comes from the failure to recognize that everyone brings different concerns and priorities to the workplace. These four "thinking styles" are embedded in our brains, and good teamwork requires 1) we learn what these styles are, 2) how to recognize coworkers' different styles, and 3) how to meet them in the middle. Critically, organizational leadership teams need all four styles.

Nothing replaces reading this fascinating and critically important guide to understanding your own strengths and executing on job #1 for management: selecting and building successful teams. So while Collins says, “Get the right people on the bus,” Asizes gives you actionable insights on how to do that. 

Book cover of Carrots and Sticks: Unlock the Power of Incentives to Get Things Done

Fumio Sasaki Author Of Hello, Habits: A Minimalist's Guide to a Better Life

From my list on harnessing the power of habits.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I became a minimalist, I found that having less made my household chores so much easier. Before then, I thought I was a loser who lets dirty dishes and laundry pile up. But when my environment changed, what I had believed was my personality also shifted. Once my apartment was tidy, it became a habit to do the dishes right away and vacuum the floor before going out, and my life became consistently enjoyable. But other habits were harder nuts to crack, like quitting drinking or exercising regularly. In Hello, Habits I write about my journey of acquiring these habits through a process of trial and error.

Fumio's book list on harnessing the power of habits

Fumio Sasaki Why did Fumio love this book?

Hyperbolic discounting is a term used in behavioral economics to describe our tendency to overvalue immediate gratification while undervaluing future rewards. When asked to choose between getting (A) one apple a year from now or (B) two apples a year and a day from now, people pick (B). However, if the choice is between getting (A) one apple today or (B) two apples tomorrow, people find (A) more attractive. Why is it so difficult to acquire good habits, like going to bed early or getting important work done, instead of playing with our smartphone? The idea of hyperbolic discounting offers a brilliant explanation, shedding light on the troublesome natures we humans possess. Although that’s not the main focus of this book, it’s still an excellent, easy-to-read introduction to behavioral economics.

By Ian Ayres,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Could you lose weight if you put $20,000 at risk? Would you finally set up your billing software if it meant that your favorite charity would earn a new contribution? If you’ve ever tried to meet a goal and came up short, the problem may not have been that the goal was too difficult or that you lacked the discipline to succeed. From giving up cigarettes to increasing your productivity at work, you may simply have neglected to give yourself the proper incentives.

In Carrot and Sticks, Ian Ayres, the New York Times bestselling author of Super Crunchers, applies the…


Book cover of Why We Do What We Do: Understanding Self-Motivation

Ian D. Brooks Author Of Intention: Building Capabilities to Transform Your Story

From my list on personal development books.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have a passion for helping people realize being better through sharing my thoughts and experiences to guide them on their path. My curiosity of understanding “why people do what they do?” started when I was 13. The search for this questions evolving answer led me on an educational, career, and personal journey that authored a unique perspective to move people forward. Working with people for over 25 years through clinical therapy, personal coaching, and now through my company Rhodes Smith Consulting, I see patterns in the struggle to transform. Books offer me new perspectives or reinforce old ones in expanding my knowledge and helping people master their own intentions. Enjoy!

Ian's book list on personal development books

Ian D. Brooks Why did Ian love this book?

Understanding ourselves starts with understanding our motivations and shifting our thoughts toward internal empowerment. Why We Do What We Do offers an exploration into acting with autonomy and understanding how to manage ourselves consciously. Our internal empowerment is achieved through reframing success where the focus is placed on creating space for outcomes, balancing motivation through experience, and managing the pressures of the external environment. I am a firm believer that you can build a plan, but your path is your path. Allowance for the personal freedom to explore your path given autonomy and competence is core to motivation. This book elicits a perspective toward making changes in a way that’s true to your choices and managing the noise that surrounds you. 

By Edward L. Deci, Richard Flaste,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Why We Do What We Do as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What motivates us as students, employees, and individuals?

If you reward your children for doing their homework, they will usually respond by getting it done. But is this the most effective method of motivation? No, says psychologist Edward L. Deci, who challenges traditional thinking and shows that this method actually works against performance. The best way to motivate people-at school, at work, or at home-is to support their sense of autonomy. Explaining the reasons why a task is important and then allowing as much personal freedom as possible in carrying out the task will stimulate interest and commitment, and is…


Book cover of You Owe You: Ignite Your Power, Your Purpose, and Your Why

Jonathan Conyers Author Of I Wasn't Supposed to Be Here: Finding My Voice, Finding My People, Finding My Way

From my list on helping to shape your view of the world and yourself.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've always had a passion for reading deep personal stories that provide me with a better understanding of the world and equip me with the tools and life lessons I need to continue growing as a person. I believe that storytelling's vulnerability is one of the most powerful instruments for self-reflection, self-healing, and ultimately, for us to evolve into better versions of ourselves through introspection.

Jonathan's book list on helping to shape your view of the world and yourself

Jonathan Conyers Why did Jonathan love this book?

ET is a formidable force, and this book unequivocally proves it.

It underscores the importance of taking control of your life and embarking on the journey to become the best version of yourself – something we all aspire to. ET breaks down this journey and shares the secrets to waking up, taking action, and uncovering your "why."

I highly recommend this book to anyone in search of motivation and a roadmap for achieving their full potential. It serves as a vital first step that we all must take, which in return will lead us to build a support network of village members on our path towards greatness.

By Eric Thomas,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • “You Owe You is full of insight and guidance for those seeking their inner selves.”—MICHAEL B. JORDAN
 
No matter your story or your struggle, Eric Thomas—celebrated motivational guru, educator, and problem-solver to many of the top athletes and business leaders—will “help you work harder, discover your real motivation, and crack the code of enduring success” (Ed Mylett, #1 bestselling author of The Power of One More)

If you feel like success is for others, that only certain people get to have their dreams fulfilled, Eric Thomas’s You Owe You is your wake-up call. His urgent…


Book cover of Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Scott Greenberg Author Of Stop the Shift Show: How to Turn Your Struggling Hourly Workers Into a Top-Performing Team

From my list on managing employees and building teams.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated with the relationship between personal growth and professional performance. Why is it in the same environment, doing the same work, some people can excel while others struggle? Most chalk it up to external circumstances that can’t be controlled. Others focus on tactics. But I’ve learned top-performers are masters at the human side of their work–the way they think, lead and serve–and that’s what gives them their edge. All of my work centers around infusing hard skills with improved soft skills, and getting better results in the process. That’s the stuff I find delicious, and it’s what I speak and write about.

Scott's book list on managing employees and building teams

Scott Greenberg Why did Scott love this book?

Finally, someone has revealed the truth about what really motivates people.

Pink challenges traditional motivational techniques and sheds light on the key drivers of high performance. My clients complain a lot about their employees, and often it’s because they don’t understand them as well as they think they do. I’m grateful to have people like Daniel Pink out their sharing the insights people need to become better bosses who can lead better teams.

Really good read. 

By Daniel H. Pink,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

The New York Times bestseller that gives readers a paradigm-shattering new way to think about motivation from the author of When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing

Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That's a mistake, says Daniel H. Pink (author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others). In this provocative and persuasive new book, he asserts that the secret to high performance and satisfaction-at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things,…


Book cover of Human Motivation

Richard E. Boyatzis Author Of Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth

From my list on building leadership skills through models.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a professor and scientist, using my Intentional Change Theory (ICT), I have studied sustained desired change of individuals, teams, organizations, communities, and countries since 1967. I have authored more than 200 articles and 9 books on leadership, competencies, emotional intelligence, competency development, coaching, neuroscience, and management education (including the international best-seller, Primal Leadership with Daniel Goleman and Annie McKee and the recent Helping People Change with Melvin Smith and Ellen Van Oosten). I run several Coursera MOOCs, including Inspiring Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence which has over a million enrolled from 215 countries.

Richard's book list on building leadership skills through models

Richard E. Boyatzis Why did Richard love this book?

To me, an important book should: (1) help us to understand and see things differently; (2) be based on careful research and empirically based; and (3) stand the test of time.

Motivating others is the primary purpose if leaders. McClelland led research into the unconscious processes that motivate people. Using projective techniques and latent coding of myths, folklore, music, prayers, literature and such, he and his colleagues unlocked the deeper messages socialized into people. In this book, McClelland reveals a rich 50 year history of rigorous research from psychology, anthropology, sociology, and history. His theory of motivation is the most liberating and useful, as well as validated through voluminous research. He compiled and updated his many books, articles and those of colleagues in this, his last magnum opus. If you wish to learn about Needs for Achievement, Affiliation and Power and how they explain everything from effectiveness to relationships to…

By David C. McClelland,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Human Motivation, originally published in 1987, offers a broad overview of theory and research from the perspective of a distinguished psychologist whose creative empirical studies of human motives span forty years. David McClelland describes methods for measuring motives, the development of motives out of natural incentives and the relationship of motives to emotions, to values and to performance under a variety of conditions. He examines four major motive systems - achievement, power, affiliation and avoidance - reviewing and evaluating research on how these motive systems affect behaviour. Scientific understanding of motives and their interaction, he argues, contributes to understanding of…


Book cover of Incentivology: The Forces That Explain Tremendous Success and Spectacular Failure

Dennis Gentilin Author Of The Origins of Ethical Failures: Lessons for Leaders

From my list on business ethics students and practitioners.

Why am I passionate about this?

My interest in business ethics was forged in the fire of personal experience. In 2004, shortly after commencing my career in the banking and finance industry, I was publicly named as one of the “whistleblowers” in a trading scandal that rocked one of Australia’s largest financial institutions. The fallout was everything you’d expect from a major governance failure: the resignation of the Chair and CEO, large financial losses, significant reputational damage, and criminal charges for the traders involved. The experience caused me to ask, “Why?” Specifically, why do ethical failures happen? And why will they continue to happen? In the years since, I have spent considerable time reflecting deeply on these questions.

Dennis' book list on business ethics students and practitioners

Dennis Gentilin Why did Dennis love this book?

The majority of (if not all) ethical failures in the business world are caused by suboptimal (and at times completely flawed) incentives. If one wants to be a serious business ethics practitioner, then a basic understanding of incentives is a must – they matter. In this book, Jason Murphy provides a whirlwind tour of how incentives operate to drive both positive and perverse outcomes across a range of settings. The book is packed full of stories to illustrate the power of incentives and I think Murphy is onto something with the title – Incentivology should be a compulsory course in any undergraduate business or public policy course. And for Australian-based students and practitioners an extra bonus – Murphy is a local author.

By Jason Murphy,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Rewards. Punishments. Prices. The Nobel Prize. Candy Crush. Incentives take more forms than you might expect and they can be hard to spot, but they shape our lives in ways that we rarely examine.

Some incentives are obvious, like for example, publicly committing to doing something you dislike in order to motivate you to do something difficult, like lose weight. But, many of the most powerful incentives are accidental, and invisible even to those who designed them. Some are tame - and some are most definitely not. Whether it's bounties for criminals or Instagrammable meals, training your dog or saving…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in motivation, Starbucks, and nonprofits?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about motivation, Starbucks, and nonprofits.

Motivation Explore 504 books about motivation
Starbucks Explore 7 books about Starbucks
Nonprofits Explore 21 books about nonprofits