100 books like The Effective Executive

By Peter F. Drucker,

Here are 100 books that The Effective Executive fans have personally recommended if you like The Effective Executive. 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 The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

Ken Wilcox Author Of Leading Through Culture: How Real Leaders Create Cultures That Motivate People to Achieve Great Things

From my list on leadership showing the art of motivating people.

Who am I?

Ken began his career as an Assistant Professor of German Studies at the University of North Carolina. After ten years in academe, he went to the Harvard Business School, following which he embarked on a 36-year career banking. Ken worked at Shawmut Bank, Bank of New England, and from 1990 through 2019 at Silicon Valley Bank. Mr. Wilcox earned a master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School, as well as a PhD in German studies Ohio State University. He published Leading Through Culture: How Real Leaders Create Cultures that Motivate People to Achieve Great Things and soon he'll be publishing a second book One Bed Two Dreams: When Western Companies Fail in China.

Ken's book list on leadership showing the art of motivating people

Ken Wilcox Why did Ken love this book?

This book was so helpful that reading it inspired our company to actually hire Lencioni to coach us for the first couple of years of my tenure.

The book analyzes why teams fail and what can be done to prevent it. The causes Lencioni identifies are almost universal and his suggestions for avoiding these pitfalls are both practical and effective.

This book can help any leadership team improve.

By Patrick M. Lencioni,

Why should I read it?

5 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 Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't

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.

Who am I?

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?

I like the redemptive quality of this book. Moving from mediocre, merely good companies to great ones is not a function of organizational DNA but of holding fast to certain traits and practices.

Collins and his research team’s rigorous analysis provides a detailed analysis of the key factors that propelled 11 companies from so-so to exceptional. He begins with leadership, “Level 5 Leadership,” which squares with my own approach to organizational change, which happens first with the top executive team.

The eight key factors that he identifies are essential building blocks for any organization wanting to transition from business as usual to business as unusually successful.

By Jim Collins,

Why should I read it?

11 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 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.

Who am I?

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 Rod A. Beckstrom, Ori Brafman,

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,…


Book cover of Raving Fans

Bruno Hilgart Author Of French Fry Leadership: How to Attain Profits Through Serving People

From my list on creating highly motivated, self-sufficient teams.

Who am I?

I've been blessed in my career, beginning as a 16-year-old, being an assistant manager at 17, a general manager at 20, and the face of the franchise at the age of 30 for over 16 years. This has led to me learning how to get people more motivated to perform their work than they ever thought possible when they accepted the position. I spent over 30 years literally “growing up” with this company and in this business, having been exposed to some of the best companies within their respective industries, learning how they source, on-board, train, and retain their team members, as well as some of the most influential motivational speakers throughout the world.

Bruno's book list on creating highly motivated, self-sufficient teams

Bruno Hilgart Why did Bruno love this book?

This book took our customer service performance in our company to levels we had never seen before. All of our leaders read this book and then the magic began.

The premise is that satisfied customers just are not good enough. They need to be “raving fans’ of us meaning, they actually become advocates of your business! This led to sales and traffic that exceeded our peers in all measurable ways while truly making our work more fun than we ever thought.

By Ken Blanchard, Sheldon Bowles,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

With a new foreword by Ken Blanchard

A straightforward and snappy guide to successful customer service from the author of the bestselling The One Minute Manager.

Raving Fans, in a nutshell, is the advice given to a new Area Manager on his first day - in an extraordinary business book that will help everyone, in every kind of organisation or business, deliver stunning customer service and achieve miraculous bottom-line results.

Raving Fans is written in the parable style of The One Minute Manager and uses a brilliantly simple and charming story to teach how to define a vision, learn what…


Book cover of The Moment of Clarity: Using the Human Sciences to Solve Your Toughest Business Problems

Gregg Bernstein Author Of Research Practice: Perspectives from UX researchers in a changing field

From my list on understanding user research.

Who am I?

After a career that took me from designer to design professor, I’ve spent the past decade leading user research practices for growing product organizations. I’m excited about user research because it positions us closer to the people we design for, and challenges us to capture and explain complex scenarios in service to them. Though there are many books that teach user research, my list of recommendations is meant to demonstrate why we research, how we make sense of what we learn, and where research might take us.

Gregg's book list on understanding user research

Gregg Bernstein Why did Gregg love this book?

Authors Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel Rasmussen run consulting company ReD, where they put ​​anthropologists, sociologists, economists, journalists, and designers together to deeply understand humans in service of their clients. In The Moment of Clarity, the authors share their methods and approach via rich case studies, including their impactful work supporting LEGO in better aligning its products to its customers.

By Christian Madsbjerg, Mikkel B. Rasmussen,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Businesses need a new type of problem solving. Why? Because they are getting people wrong. Traditional problem-solving methods taught in business schools serve us well for some of the everyday challenges of business, but they tend to be ineffective with problems involving a high degree of uncertainty. Why? Because, more often than not, these tools are based on a flawed model of human behavior. And that flawed model is the invisible scaffolding that supports our surveys, our focus groups, our R&D, and much of our long-term strategic planning. In The Moment of Clarity, Christian Madsbjerg and Mikkel Rasmussen examine the…


Book cover of Sensemaking: The Power of the Humanities in the Age of the Algorithm

Wayne Moloney Author Of The Wentworth Prospect: A novel guide to success in B2B sales

From my list on B2B salespeople to stay relevant and successful.

Who am I?

Everyone survives by selling something whether we wear the title or not. Selling has been my career, even before I was a salesperson. I started my career in engineering but quickly realised my passion was in developing business, not designing industrial ventilation systems. Helped by a boss who also saw I was better suited to roles other than engineering (he wasn’t so polite) I went on to enjoy a successful career spanning 4 decades working in Australian, Asian, and European markets that embraced all facets of sales and business development. Helped by great mentors and learning from the experience of others, I have endeavoured to give back by mentoring business owners, salespeople, and writing.

Wayne's book list on B2B salespeople to stay relevant and successful

Wayne Moloney Why did Wayne love this book?

The internet delivers us a tsunami of information. Approximately 328.77 million terabytes of data are created each day – 60 times more than in 2010 and estimated to grow at 20% per year.

How can we make sense of this? What is valuable and what is not? What is real, what is fake?

Mardsbjerg argues that our fixation with data makes us lose touch with reality and that we need to be making sense of the world through deep, nuanced engagement with culture, language, and history.

By Christian Madsbjerg,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A FINANCIAL TIMES BUSINESS BOOK OF THE MONTH (APRIL 2017) Humans have become subservient to algorithms. Every day brings a new Moneyball fix - a maths whiz who will crack open an industry with clean fact-based analysis rather than human intuition and experience. As a result, we have stopped thinking. Machines do it for us. Christian Madsbjerg argues that our fixation with data often masks stunning deficiencies, and the risks for humankind are enormous. Blind devotion to number crunching imperils our businesses, our educations, our governments, and our life savings. Too many companies have lost touch with the humanity of…


Book cover of The Challenger Launch Decision: Risky Technology, Culture, and Deviance at NASA

Janet Vertesi Author Of Shaping Science: Organizations, Decisions, and Culture on NASA's Teams

From my list on NASA and space exploration, from a human perspective.

Who am I?

Also known as “Margaret Mead among the Starfleet,” I’m a Princeton professor who has been embedded with NASA missions for two decades as a social scientist. I’ve observed missions to Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Pluto, and beyond; consulted with NASA as a sociological expert; and written two books, with a third on the way. Growing up, I always loved science and technology, but not just for the ideas: for the people behind the findings, the passion they bring to their work, and the ways in which culture and politics play a role in how science gets done. Writing about this, I hope to humanize science and make it accessible for everyday readers.

Janet's book list on NASA and space exploration, from a human perspective

Janet Vertesi Why did Janet love this book?

What happens when a sociologist who studies white-collar crime and deviant behavior in corporations turns to one of the biggest technological catastrophes of the twentieth century?

Hauntingly, Vaughan finds that there were no evil masterminds, greedy administrators, or risk-taking rebels behind the Challenger launch after all—just a group of highly talented engineers doing their jobs.

I enjoyed her thick description of the routine checks, risk analyses, and exacting reviews that go into engineering a space shuttle, but they’re also deeply unsettling: because she shows us that the certainty that comes from our everyday activities can lead us all astray.

A masterpiece of historical sociology, rigorously documented down to the last detail, this classic changed how I think about the role organizations can easily play in producing disasters.

By Diane Vaughan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

When the Space Shuttle Challenger exploded on January 28, 1986, millions of Americans became bound together in a single, historic moment. Many still vividly remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they heard about the tragedy. Diane Vaughan recreates the steps leading up to that fateful decision, contradicting conventional interpretations to prove that what occurred at NASA was not skullduggery or misconduct but a disastrous mistake. Why did NASA managers, who not only had all the information prior to the launch but also were warned against it, decide to proceed? In retelling how the decision unfolded…


Book cover of Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon

Nektarios Oraiopoulos Author Of From Breakthrough to Blockbuster: The Business of Biotechnology

From my list on bringing new ideas to life.

Who am I?

I am a professor of technology management at the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge. I have interacted and learned from hundreds (or possibly thousands) of students and senior executives on how they develop new products and more broadly how they make better decisions in business and life. I am hoping that the books I shared with you will move you in that direction too. 

Nektarios' book list on bringing new ideas to life

Nektarios Oraiopoulos Why did Nektarios love this book?

I love this book because it gives an insider’s view of Amazon’s decision-making processes and culture that enabled all these amazing products to be created.

It shows that Amazon’s exponential growth for over two decades was not the outcome of luck, but of excellent management and leadership skills at every step of the way. Even if you are not interested in business, you will learn a lot about thinking in productive ways and making better decisions. 

By Bill Carr, Colin Bryar,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'Essential for any leader in any industry' - Kim Scott, bestselling author of Radical Candor

Working Backwards gives an insider's account of Amazon's approach to culture, leadership and best practices from two long-time, top-level Amazon executives.

Colin Bryar and Bill Carr joined Amazon in the late 90s. Their time at the company covered a period of unmatched innovation that brought products and services - including Kindle, Amazon Prime, Amazon Echo and Alexa, and Amazon Web Services - to life. Through the story of these innovations they reveal the principles and practices that drive Amazon's success.

Through their wealth of experience…


Book cover of The Innovator's Solution: Creating and Sustaining Successful Growth

Marty Neumeier Author Of The Brand Gap

From my list on brand strategy.

Who am I?

In my younger days I was a graphic designer and copywriter, approaching brands largely from a creative viewpoint. Over the years I’ve discovered that creative work is much more powerful when harnessed to business strategy, and business strategy is much more powerful when combined with exceptional creative work. I’ve characterized the gulf between strategy and creativity as the “brand gap,” which has led to eight books on branding and a school for professional mastery called Level C.

Marty's book list on brand strategy

Marty Neumeier Why did Marty love this book?

After Positioning, this is the most influential book in brand innovation. The authors show how scrappy startups can disrupt incumbents with products and services that seem “not good enough” at first, but end up reordering an entire industry. They also show how incumbents can defend against such aggressive moves. A seminal work.

By Clayton M. Christensen, Michael E. Raynor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Innovator's Solution as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An innovation classic. From Steve Jobs to Jeff Bezos, Clay Christensen's work continues to underpin today's most innovative leaders and organizations. A seminal work on disruption--for everyone confronting the growth paradox. For readers of the bestselling The Innovator's Dilemma--and beyond--this definitive work will help anyone trying to transform their business right now. In The Innovator's Solution, Clayton Christensen and Michael Raynor expand on the idea of disruption, explaining how companies can and should become disruptors themselves. This classic work shows just how timely and relevant these ideas continue to be in today's hyper-accelerated business environment. Christensen and Raynor give advice…


Book cover of QBQ! The Question Behind The Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life

Michael J. Marquardt and Bob Tiede Author Of Leading with Questions: How Leaders Discover Powerful Answers by Knowing How and What to Ask

From my list on asking questions that will change you and the world.

Who are we?

Michael Marquardt is Professor Emeritus of Human and Organizational Learning at George Washington University, where he directed the Global Certificate and Executive Leadership Programs. He's a Co-founder and first President of the World Institute for Action Learning. Dr. Marquardt has authored 27 books and his publications has sold over a million copies. Bob Tiede is on the U.S. Leadership Development Team at Cru, an interdenominational Christian parachurch organization. His blog, LeadingWithQuestions.com is in its 11th year and followed by Leaders in over 190 countries. Bob is the author of Great Leaders ASK Questions, Little Book of Big Leading With Questions Quotes, and 262 Questions Paul the Apostle of Christ Asked.

Michael's book list on asking questions that will change you and the world

Michael J. Marquardt and Bob Tiede Why did Michael love this book?

Too often, too many of us, ask “Victim Questions” like “When are they going to train me?” or “When are they going to tell us what’s going on?”

Instead of asking “Victim Questions” John teaches us to ask  “QBQs” (The Question Behind the Question).  For example, “What could I do to get trained?” or “How could I find out what is going on?  Asking QBQ’s has consistently moved me from being stuck to having a way forward! 

By John G. Miller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked QBQ! The Question Behind The Question as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No one can successfully achieve goals and new objectives, provide outstanding service, engage in exceptional teamwork, make change in their community or lead other people without personal accountability.

After decades of working with organisations and individuals, John G. Miller knows that the troubles that plague them cannot be solved by pointing fingers and blaming others. Rather, the real solutions are found when each of us recognizes the value of our own accountability. In this book, Miller explains how negative, ill-focused questions like "Who dropped the ball?" harm rather than help. Conversely, when we begin to ask better questions - QBQs,…


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