100 books like Who Really Matters

By Art Kleiner,

Here are 100 books that Who Really Matters fans have personally recommended if you like Who Really Matters. 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 Enchiridion

Eve Poole Author Of Leadersmithing: Revealing the Trade Secrets of Leadership

From my list on what you really need to know about leadership.

Why am I passionate about this?

It is shocking how many leaders suffer from imposter syndrome, and how little practical advice is out there about how to help. It’s been my mission to identify not only precisely what leaders need to be able to do well, but also how can they learn these things in the most efficient and durable way. Leadersmithing sets out a practical path to mastery and provides the toolkit leaders will really need. After I wrote it, I took on some senior leadership roles of my own. Even before Covid I had stress-tested the wisdom of this book, and post-covid I am even more confident that this leadership book really helps.

Eve's book list on what you really need to know about leadership

Eve Poole Why did Eve love this book?

Epictetus is the Stoic who inspired the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Stoicism is the intellectual origin of cognitive behavioral therapy and a way for leaders to train themselves to focus on the things they can change, rather than breaking their hearts over things over which they have no control. The Enchiridion has the virtue of being much shorter than Aurelius’ Meditations, and contains pithy observations and advice like ‘it is not events that disturb people, it is their judgment concerning them,’ and ‘don’t hope that events will turn out the way you want, welcome events in whichever way they happen: this is the path to peace.’ Leaders need to be good at detachment, and Stoicism can provide valuable tools to help.

By George Long, Epictetus,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Although he was born into slavery and endured a permanent physical disability, Epictetus (ca. 50–ca. 130 CE) maintained that all people are free to control their lives and live in harmony with nature. We will always be happy, he argued, if we learn to desire that things should be exactly as they are. After attaining his freedom, Epictetus spent his career teaching philosophy and advising a daily regimen of self-examination. His pupil Arrian later collected and published the master's lecture notes; the Enchiridion, or Manual, is a distillation of Epictetus's teachings and an instruction manual for a tranquil life. Full…


Book cover of The Prince

Keith Grint Author Of Leadership: A Very Short Introduction

From my list on understanding why we get the leaders we do.

Why am I passionate about this?

There’s something about leadership that intrigues me. I was an army child and that might help explain why I was expelled from school and had a rather unorthodox pre-academic career: I had fourteen jobs in nine years between leaving school and starting university, and several of those involved significant leadership roles that clashed with managerial authority. Both my undergraduate degrees and my doctorate were focused on trying to understand how authority worked, so it was almost inevitable that I ended up as a leadership scholar. But my greatest achievements have been co-founding the journal Leadership in 2005 and its related International Studying Leadership Conference, now in its 20th year.

Keith's book list on understanding why we get the leaders we do

Keith Grint Why did Keith love this book?

Machiavelli is often despised as the man who promoted both authoritarian leaders and the notion that the ends justify the means, but this is to misunderstand the importance of the context within which he was writing: 16th century Florence – which was besieged by enemies on every side who proclaimed adherence to the Christian faith but acted as monsters. Machiavelli’s writing made two things clear to me. First, leaders and leadership cannot be understood if you abstract them from their context – when political morality is a contradiction in terms then leaders must be wary of sacrificing their followers for the sake of that same fallacious morality. Second, he lays out how dictators obtain and retain power – and in doing so establishes what we need to do to stop them or remove them. 

By Niccolò Machiavelli, Tim Parks (translator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Here is the world's most famous master plan for seizing and holding power.  Astonishing in its candor The Prince even today remains a disturbingly realistic and prophetic work on what it takes to be a prince . . . a king . . . a president.  When, in 1512, Machiavelli was removed from his post in his beloved Florence, he resolved to set down a treatise on leadership that was practical, not idealistic.  In The Prince he envisioned would be unencumbered by ordinary ethical and moral values; his prince would be man and beast, fox and lion.  Today, this small…


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 Mr. Happy

Eve Poole Author Of Leadersmithing: Revealing the Trade Secrets of Leadership

From my list on what you really need to know about leadership.

Why am I passionate about this?

It is shocking how many leaders suffer from imposter syndrome, and how little practical advice is out there about how to help. It’s been my mission to identify not only precisely what leaders need to be able to do well, but also how can they learn these things in the most efficient and durable way. Leadersmithing sets out a practical path to mastery and provides the toolkit leaders will really need. After I wrote it, I took on some senior leadership roles of my own. Even before Covid I had stress-tested the wisdom of this book, and post-covid I am even more confident that this leadership book really helps.

Eve's book list on what you really need to know about leadership

Eve Poole Why did Eve love this book?

The leader’s most important job is to set the right culture for their organization. People will copy what you do, not what you say. This simple little book shows you the truth of that: When Mr Miserable comes to stay, Mr Happy doesn’t give him pep talks. He just keeps on being happy until Mr Miserable is too. As a leader, you need to relentlessly role model the behavior you want, until it finally catches on.

By Roger Hargreaves,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mr. Happy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

The bestselling children's books series for over 50 years!

Mr Happy is from Happyland where everyone is happy! When he meets Mr Miserable, the most miserable person in the world, Mr Happy has an idea about how to make him happy too.

The Mr Men and Little Miss have been delighting children for generations with their charming and funny antics. Bold illustrations and funny stories make Mr Men and Little Miss the perfect story time experience for children aged two up. Have you met them all?


Book cover of Making Work Human: How Human-Centered Companies Are Changing the Future of Work and the World

Bruno R. Cignacco Author Of The Art of Compassionate Business: Main Principles for the Human-Oriented Enterprise

From my list on conscious business.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a consultant, author, and researcher, for several years I have been very passionate about the study of companies that are very successful in the marketplace, but that are also human-oriented. In other words, I am very interested in companies that are profitable, but at the same time, are kind, compassionate, and caring with their main stakeholders. I like that these companies continually aim to foster robust long-term relationships with these stakeholders, and look for win-win agreements with them. What I love about these companies is that they focus on the quantitative aspects of business (e.g., profitability, growth, etc.) but also in its qualitative aspects (empathy, support, gratitude, generosity, etc.).

Bruno's book list on conscious business

Bruno R. Cignacco Why did Bruno love this book?

I personally recommend this book because it clearly pinpoints the importance of some relevant values (e.g., gratitude, purpose, meaning) and their practical application to the work environment. I like the way this text discusses the regular use of these values and their direct relationship with business key parameters (e.g., growth, etc.). I found useful the description of the human workplace shown in the book, which includes traits like trust, meaningful work, empowerment, and others. There are some interesting insights on the importance of employee experience and specific ways to enhance it, among other topics. Finally, it is interesting that this book is littered with valuable statistical data backing its more relevant themes.   

By Eric Mosley, Derek Irvine,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Join the movement to harness the transformative power of people-and lead your company to superior business results!

By building a sense of belonging, purpose, meaning, happiness, and energy in every employee, you'll create a profound connection between your workforce and your organization and its goals. And that's the key to business success.

From the pioneers of the management strategy that has transformed business culture worldwide, Making Work Human takes you step by step through the process of implementing a culture of performance and gratitude in the workplace, seizing the competitive edge and driving business sustainability. Mosley and Irvine use game-changing…


Book cover of Rocking the Boat: How Tempered Radicals Effect Change Without Making Trouble

Carol T. Kulik Author Of Human Resources for the Non-HR Manager

From my list on making work a better place to be.

Why am I passionate about this?

The average person spends over 90,000 hours at work over a lifetime – that’s roughly one quarter to one third of a person’s life. I’m an academic researcher who studies work. I know how to design workplaces that are good for organizations (high productivity) and the people who work in them (high employee well-being). But if we leave it all up to senior management, we won’t generate positive changes fast enough. There’s a robust body of evidence that we can all use to make our local workplaces more supportive, inclusive, and fulfilling. I’m on a mission to make the world a better place, one workplace at a time. 

Carol's book list on making work a better place to be

Carol T. Kulik Why did Carol love this book?

This book explains how any employee – not matter their role – can take action to make their workplaces better (without burning career bridges behind them).

I am inspired by Professor Meyerson’s insistence that any employee (not just managers, not just the CEO) can be an agent for positive change. What I particularly love about this book is her focus on small wins. Positive change in work environments is about accumulating small changes, not about huge transformational restructures.

I also love the fact that the book’s recommendations can be applied to any social issue. You can follow your passion to make your workplace more inclusive, more environmentally sustainable, or more socially responsible.

By Debra E. Meyerson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Most people feel at odds with their organizations at one time or another: Managers with families struggle to balance professional and personal responsibilities in often unsympathetic firms. Members of minority groups strive to make their organizations better for others like themselves without limiting their career paths. Socially or environmentally conscious workers seek to act on their values at firms more concerned with profits than global poverty or pollution. Yet many firms leave little room for differences, and people who don't "fit in" conclude that their only option is to assimilate or leave. In Rocking the Boat, Debra E. Meyerson presents…


Book cover of The Culture Solution: A Practical Guide to Building a Dynamic Culture so People Love Coming to Work and Accomplishing Great Things Together

Dan Purvis Author Of 28 Days to Save the World: Crafting Your Culture to Be Ready for Anything

From my list on new entrepreneurs and small business leaders.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I went back to school for my MBA, I was looking for a way to apply the passion I’d found for changing lives for a better world. Studying business started my journey toward founding Velentium, a medtech engineering firm, in 2012. The pandemic was a make-or-break season for every industry, medtech included. We were determined to do our part, but were faced with an unprecedented challenge: boost the world’s emergency ventilator production from hundreds per month to thousands per week—in just 28 days. We succeeded—and it was a spiritually moving experience. I wrote 28 Days to Save the World in hopes of inspiring other organizations to punch above their weight class like we did.

Dan's book list on new entrepreneurs and small business leaders

Dan Purvis Why did Dan love this book?

From the author of The Dream Manager comes a book that will challenge and inspire the core of your organization. Kelly’s bread-and-butter as a business coach and motivational speaker shows in his writing style—be prepared to have the six key lessons reinforced through repetition (great for those of us who read in short bursts with lots of life happening in between). But this book has a strong practical aspect too. Applying its lessons will fill your to-do list for months to come!

By Matthew Kelly,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Culture is about creating empowerment, not entitlement . . .

Culture is not about bringing your dog to work, free lunches, unlimited vacation, or even casual Fridays. Culture is not a collection of personal preferences.

Our thinking about culture has been kidnapped and polluted by the spectacular, attention-grabbing fads that 99 percent of organizations cannot implement. It is time to get beyond these "here today, gone tomorrow" illusions that foster entitlement, complacency, and mediocrity, so we can start implementing the timeless principles that are: The Culture Solution.

The six foundational principles of a Dynamic Culture are universal and unchanging. In…


Book cover of Novations: Strategies for Career Management

Jon Younger Author Of Agile Talent: How to Source and Manage Outside Experts

From my list on talent management.

Why am I passionate about this?

The future of talent management is now. I’m a teacher, consultant, and board member who is deeply interested in the social and economic impact of the freelance revolution. Millions of people around the world are now working for themselves as independent professionals or “solopreneurs”. Millions more are taking on freelance assignments to augment their income or increase their expertise and experience. Technology makes it possible for professionals in many fields to work remotely and free themselves from the limitations of their local economy. These benefits organizations by offering greater access to talent and gives professionals greater access to opportunity. 

Jon's book list on talent management

Jon Younger Why did Jon love this book?

Gene Dalton and Paul Thompson changed the way we think about career development through their research and what they called the four stages of development. It has influenced career development and talent management practices in companies around the world. Deeply accessible and practical, the four stages are fully described and the book is rich in application tools, methods and best practices.

By Gene W. Dalton, Paul H. Thompson,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

1 HARDCOVER BOOK WITH DUST COVER


Book cover of The Leader on the Couch: A Clinical Approach to Changing People and Organisations

Jody Michael Author Of Leading Lightly: Lower Your Stress, Think with Clarity, and Lead with Ease

From my list on leading lightly in organizations and in life.

Why am I passionate about this?

At 29 I was one of the first female traders on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, building my own all-female trading company. I lost everything in 1987, which gave me a stellar opportunity to understand my power to choose how I responded to the turmoil. Now, I’m an internationally credentialed Master Certified Coach, Board Certified Coach, University of Chicago-trained psychotherapist, and Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Over 25 years ago I founded my coaching company, Jody Michael Associates. We focus on building emotional intelligence, executive presence, and mental fitness. When we help our clients learn to lead lightly, they take themselves, their teams, and their organizations to new levels of awareness, discernment, and performance.

Jody's book list on leading lightly in organizations and in life

Jody Michael Why did Jody love this book?

This is an undercelebrated leadership book.

Rarely do we go “under the hood” to understand the drivers that account for 90% of our day-to-day behavior. Understanding the core impetus behind a leader’s behavior and decisions is clearly one of my passions, and this book is an interesting read in that regard. 

In this book, Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries deftly deconstructs the way we believe we make decisions to reveal that, regardless of the veneer of rationality we maintain, our emotional responses to formative events early in life remain our inner compass.

His comparison of disparate paths to self-development exposes unexpected parallels which lend strength to his argument that feelings play an important role in leadership.

By Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Despite the proven benefits of emotional intelligence, organizational life has typically been hostile to the inner world of feeling. Rationality is deemed superior to feeling, which can contaminate judgment. But without feeling there is no passion, and no action. This book sets out to change people and organizations for the better, by revealing the 'dark side' of leadership behaviour and its impact on performance. Tapping into the startling parallels between the journey to emotional intelligence, the process of psychoanalysis, the practice of leadership coaching and the Zen journey to enlightenment, renowned thinker Manfred Kets de Vries helps executives, consultants, and…


Book cover of Administrative Behavior

Ananish Chaudhuri Author Of Experiments in Economics: Playing Fair with Money

From my list on emotions and economic decisions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am Professor of Experimental Economics at the University of Auckland where my work lies at the interface of economics and psychology. In a discipline (and a world) that tends to emphasize human self-interest, I have always been interested in our willingness to engage in unselfish behavior. Incentivized decision-making experiments with human participants where payments depend on the nature of their decisions are a powerful way of analyzing behavior. Are people willing to put their money where their mouth is? My background running experiments made me well-positioned to study some of these questions; a lot of them in collaboration with other social scientists including psychologists and political scientists. 

Ananish's book list on emotions and economic decisions

Ananish Chaudhuri Why did Ananish love this book?

To a large extent, the research agenda that is subsumed under the rubric of “behavioral economics” started with the idea of bounded rationality and the departures from the utility maximizing model of economics.

Many of the ideas pursued in this line of work owe their origin to the work of Herbert Simon, whose doctorate was in political science from Chicago in 1943 but who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1978 for combining ideas from mathematics, psychology, economics, and computer science to understand decision making in large organizations. This is not to suggest that none of this was known before.

In fact, some people consider Adam Smith to be the first behavioral economist for his work The Theory of Moral Sentiments, which incorporates ideas from David Hume that it is passion (or emotions) that drive human behavior rather than deliberative reasoning. But, by and large, Simon’s work provided…

By Herbert A. Simon,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

In this fourth edition of his ground-breaking work, Herbert A. Simon applies his pioneering theory of human choice and administrative decision-making to concrete organizational problems. To commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the book's original publication, Professor Simon enhances his timeless observations on the human decision-making process with commentaries examining new facets of organizational behavior. Investigating the impact of changing social values and modem technology on the operation of organizations, the new ideas featured in this revised edition update a book that has become a worldwide classic.
Named by Public Administration Review as "Book of the Half Century," Administrative Behavior is…


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