The most recommended books on organizational culture

Who picked these books? Meet our 48 experts.

48 authors created a book list connected to organizational culture, and here are their favorite organizational culture books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of organizational culture book?


Stress-Proof Your Life

By Eliz Greene,

Book cover of Stress-Proof Your Life: High Performance Under Pressure

Maura Thomas Author Of Attention Management

From the list on to skyrocket your career.

Who am I?

I’ve spent my entire career working with people who have achieved impressive personal and professional success, but in a way that leaves them exhausted, overwhelmed, and stressed. My passion is to help them see that exhaustion is optional, and they can offer their unique gifts to the world in a way that inspires and energizes them. The collection of books I’ve recommended here provide a wonderful starting point for some of the most common challenges I see my clients experiencing: distraction, overcoming unhelpful habits, stress and burnout, and the growing prevalence of remote work and distributed teams. This collection is for busy, driven professionals who are dedicated to personal growth.

Maura's book list on to skyrocket your career

Why did Maura love this book?

What I love about this book is that it offers such a useful and practical approach to dealing with stress and becoming more resilient. The author teaches readers how to become immune to the most common causes of stress, instead of typical techniques to deal with stress like meditation. My work depends on helping people make the best use of their most important resources—not time or money, but body and mind. And stress is an unavoidable part of life that damages our well-being, dampens our energy, and saps our motivation. Stress-Proof Your Life provides solutions to stress based on original research and unique advice, and every busy person needs these solutions.

By Eliz Greene,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stress-Proof Your Life as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The secret to reducing your stress is not a better work-life balance, nor is it in meditation or mindfulness.

Chronic high stress—the kind contributing to heart disease—is not caused by an inability to decompress, but rather external factors that are out of our control—namely, overwhelm and uncertainty. So, while most people are focusing on either eliminating or coping with their stressors, they should be working to become immune to unavoidable stress.

Stress-Proof Your Life leverages insights from Eliz Greene’s 17 years of research, including a 4,000-person study, to provide the reader with stress management techniques that actually work. Through data-driven…

Corporate Lifecycles

By Ichak Adizes,

Book cover of Corporate Lifecycles: How and Why Corporations Grow and Die and What to Do About It

Eric G. Flamholtz Author Of Growing Pains: Building Sustainably Successful Organizations

From the list on the stages and challenges of organizational growth.

Who am I?

I'm Professor Emeritus at UCLA and have also been on the faculty of Columbia University and The University of Michigan, where I received my PhD degree. I founded Management Systems Consulting, which works with entrepreneurial firms in the US and globally to scale up, in 1978. I've served on the board of a firm (99 Cents Only Stores) that scaled up and was a NYSE listed firm. I've advised CEOs who have created global champion firms and been recognized as leaders in their space. I've authored or co-authored several books including Creating Family Business Champions; Corporate Culture: The Ultimate Strategic Advantage; Changing the Game; and Leading Strategic Change.

Eric's book list on the stages and challenges of organizational growth

Why did Eric love this book?

The framework presented in Corporate Lifecycles deals with the same core issue of Stages and Challenges of Organizational Growth as dealt with in my own book, but from a different perspective. The author is a former academic who has developed his own framework of corporate lifecycles and his methodology of organizations working through them. The book presents a different framework of corporate life cycles and emphasizes the managerial styles that are appropriate to reach stage of the corporate lifecycle. The author has seen and worked with a large number of companies that have employed his methods. He presents his perspective and insights for this role as a participant-observer. 

By Ichak Adizes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Likens corporations to living organisms and traces their developmental stages, discussing the normal, even healthy problems that lead to growth at these stages, as well as the unusual problems that can cause a company's death

Bound By a Mighty Vow

By Diana B. Turk,

Book cover of Bound By a Mighty Vow: Sisterhood and Women's Fraternities, 1870-1920

Jana Mathews Author Of The Benefits of Friends: Inside the Complicated World of Today's Sororities and Fraternities

From the list on making you wish you joined a sorority or fraternity.

Who am I?

In 2011, I was a newly minted college professor who was trying to support my students’ interests (Greek life) in hopes that they would return the favor and support mine (medieval literature). Never in a million years would I have guessed that accepting an invitation to attend a Greek event on campus would snowball into receiving a bid to join a National Panhellenic Conference sorority and serve as its faculty advisor. Somewhere along the way, I realized that my perspective uniquely positioned me to shed new light on the longstanding controversies plaguing these organizations and provide a new lens through which to view their impact not only on campus culture but society at large. 

Jana's book list on making you wish you joined a sorority or fraternity

Why did Jana love this book?

There aren’t a lot of scholarly studies of fraternities and sororities in part because, until recently, academia didn’t see the topic as worthy of serious study.

Turk’s groundbreaking study dives deep into the archives to tell the origin story of the oldest Panhellenic sorority, and in the process, reveals a dramatic shift in organizational culture between its early years and second and third generations.

You’ll have to read the book to find of what happened and why…

By Diana B. Turk,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bound By a Mighty Vow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A look at the intricate history of collegiate women's support networks-otherwise known as sororities
Sororities are often thought of as exclusive clubs for socially inclined college students, but Bound by a Mighty Vow, a history of the women's Greek system, demonstrates that these organizations have always served more serious purposes. Diana Turk explores the founding and development of the earliest sororities (then called women's fraternities) and explains how these groups served as support networks to help the first female collegians succeed in the hostile world of nineteenth century higher education.
Turk goes on to look at how and in what…

A Bigger Prize

By Margaret Heffernan,

Book cover of A Bigger Prize: How We Can Do Better than the Competition

Cath Bishop Author Of The Long Win: The Search for a Better Way to Succeed

From the list on reframing success to sustain high performance.

Who am I?

I’ve been fascinated by the question of ‘what does success look like’ throughout my life: from growing up, to becoming an Olympic rower, to working as a diplomat in high-pressure situations and conflict-affected environments, to becoming a parent, and now my current work as a leadership and culture coach in organisations across business, sport, and education. History and social conventions have led us to define success in ever narrower ways; I wanted to help us understand that and redefine success more meaningfully, for the long-term. I think it’s a question in all our minds - I hope you enjoy the books on this list as you reflect on what success looks like for you!

Cath's book list on reframing success to sustain high performance

Why did Cath love this book?

I read this book at a time where I was seeing how competitive environments were holding people back and constraining performance but nobody seemed to be noticing.

But Margaret Heffernan, a brilliant thought leader, had noticed it.

In this book, she uses fascinating examples across business, education, and sport to challenge conventional thinking and show that collaboration and cooperation can often be so much more effective than competition.

I was privileged to speak to her as I was writing my book and receive her warm support.

By Margaret Heffernan,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Co-winner of the 2015 Salon London Transmission PrizeGet into the best schools. Land your next big promotion. Dress for success. Run faster. Play tougher. Work harder. Keep score. And whatever you do,make sure you win.Competition runs through every aspect of our lives today. From the cubicle to the race track, in business and love, religion and science, what matters now is to be the biggest, fastest, meanest, toughest, richest.The upshot of all these contests? As Margaret Heffernan shows in this eye-opening book, competition regularly backfires, producing an explosion of cheating, corruption, inequality, and risk. The demolition derby of modern life…

Leaders Eat Last

By Simon Sinek,

Book cover of Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't

David Worrell Author Of The Entrepreneur's Guide to Financial Statements

From the list on building culture, teamwork, and leadership.

Who am I?

Entrepreneurs have a tough lot in life. We dream of creating value for others, yet we are often cursed to pay a huge price in our own lives. My experience as an entrepreneur is no different – I struggled through three mediocre business startups, learning a little bit more with each one. Along the way, I have put my lessons learned into writing: textbooks, how-to guides and even cover stories for Entrepreneur magazine. Combining my own experience and the best advice from other entrepreneurs, I have systematically improved my current company… and have finally broken free of the curse! Now I love to share my experience with other business owners like you!

David's book list on building culture, teamwork, and leadership

Why did David love this book?

Building a great company and a great team takes more than love and data. In Leaders Eat Last, I learned the science behind why we join teams, why we leave a team, and how to build a team where people want to stay.

It turns out that being a part of a team is in our DNA. Literally. We have survived as a species by working together, and our brains produce pleasure chemicals when we are standing shoulder to shoulder with a co-worker.

But that’s not what makes this book great. Simon Sinek references both large companies and the military to make his case. Among other thoughtful insights, Sinek argues that the dedication, drive, and sacrifice that make the Air Force such a formidable team can be similarly created within work teams and companies. 

This is a must-read if you want to really understand why and how we work together…

By Simon Sinek,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Leadership is not a rank, it is a responsibility. Leadership is not about being in charge, it is about taking care of those in your charge.

When we take care of our people, our people will take care of us. They will help see that our cause becomes a reality.

In Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek, internationally bestselling author of Start With Why, investigates these great leaders from Marine Corps Officers, who don't just sacrifice their place at the table but often their own comfort and even their lives for those in their care, to the heads of big business…

The Culture Map

By Erin Meyer,

Book cover of The Culture Map: Breaking Through the Invisible Boundaries of Global Business

James Stanier Author Of Become an Effective Software Engineering Manager: How to Be the Leader Your Development Team Needs

From the list on engineers that want to become fantastic managers.

Who am I?

Ever since my teenage self stumbled into the world of computer programming, I’ve been fascinated by how technology is built. This isn’t limited to just how the software or hardware is architected; I’m just as fascinated by how teams and companies work together in order to get the job done. I’m currently Director of Engineering at Shopify, and previously I helped grow Brandwatch from start-up to scale up to successful acquisition. Along the way I’ve blogged what I’ve learned and have published two books: one being the subject of this list, and the other being Effective Remote Work. I live in Cumbria, UK.

James' book list on engineers that want to become fantastic managers

Why did James love this book?

This book is one of the most skillful and actionable executions of an incredibly complex topic: how do we successfully work with people from different cultures?

The book covers techniques for unpicking cultural differences and better understanding our own so that people from dramatically different backgrounds can work better together: a topic that is close to the heart of all of us in an increasingly globalized and interconnected world.

The most fun part of this book is an exercise that you can do with your team to highlight and understand cultural differences. Despite sounding like a potential minefield, you’ll come out with a clear perspective on how each individual approaches building trust, prefers to give and receive negative feedback, and navigates decision-making in a group.

By Erin Meyer,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Whether you work in a home office or abroad, business success in our ever more globalized and virtual world requires the skills to navigate through cultural differences and decode cultures foreign to your own. Renowned expert Erin Meyer is your guide through this subtle, sometimes treacherous terrain where people from starkly different backgrounds are expected to work harmoniously together.When you have Americans who precede anything negative with three nice comments French, Dutch, Israelis, and Germans who get straight to the point ( your presentation was simply awful") Latin Americans and Asians who are steeped in hierarchy Scandinavians who think the…

No Rules Rules

By Erin Meyer, Reed Hastings,

Book cover of No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention

Tom Gilb Author Of Competitive Engineering: A Handbook For Systems Engineering, Requirements Engineering, and Software Engineering Using Planguage

From the list on learning successful invention and business methods.

Who am I?

I am a self-taught guy, having started in my first job at IBM Oslo, when I was 18 years old, as punched card machine operator, and plug-board ‘programmer'. I did night studies in sociology/philosophy for 10 years at University of Oslo. I read about 30 books a year, and I’m 82 in 2023. I have spent most of my career as an independent international consultant to corporations and governments, while building up my ideas of useful methods to solve problems. In retirement, I love to spread my ideas, and learn more. I also write about 5 new books a year, when at my Oslofjord Summer cabin. They're all digital and free or free samples. 

Tom's book list on learning successful invention and business methods

Why did Tom love this book?

From my notes after I read it, “Great content and organization. Triggered me to write and plan a 2022 Book.”

There was specific practical content like removing vacation policy, removing travel and expenses policy. An opening the books, which showed the practices behind the no rules idea, and their consequent results in the business. As a consultant, these give me a tool for discussion with clients. What if you did the same?

Again a great leader, and successful businessperson, using persistence and imagination to deal with the forces against change.

By Erin Meyer, Reed Hastings,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked No Rules Rules as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Hard work is irrelevant. Be radically honest. Adequate performance gets a generous severance. And never, ever try to please your boss.

These are some of the ground rules if you work at Netflix. They are part of a unique cultural experiment that explains how the company has transformed itself at lightning speed from a DVD mail order service into a streaming superpower - with 125 million fervent subscribers and a market capitalisation bigger than Disney.

Finally Reed Hastings, Netflix Chairman and CEO, is sharing the secrets that have revolutionised the entertainment and tech industries. With INSEAD business school professor Erin…

The High Potential's Advantage

By Jay Conger, Allan Church,

Book cover of The High Potential's Advantage: Get Noticed, Impress Your Bosses, and Become a Top Leader

Angela Champ Author Of The Squiggly Line Career: How Changing Professions Can Advance a Career in Unexpected Ways

From the list on accelerating your career.

Who am I?

Although I’ve worked in many professions and industries, a common theme in all my jobs is that I love helping people succeed in their careers. I’ve started or sponsored employee networks that focused on professional development, I’m a certified coach that focuses on propelling a client’s career, and I am a conference keynote speaker on the topics of careers and leadership. Everyone deserves to have a great career that makes them want to jump out of bed on Monday morning and that provides a good living and lifestyle. I love to make that happen!

Angela's book list on accelerating your career

Why did Angela love this book?

If you’re early- or mid-career and seeking to climb the ladder, this book offers great advice on how to advance and how to position yourself as high potential within your organization. 

The authors look at five key differentiators, which they call the “X factors,” that set people apart from average performers.

I’ve worked in large and small companies throughout my career and can attest that these “X factors” really are what we look for when we are deciding who is a key player within our organization.

By Jay Conger, Allan Church,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Do You Know What It Takes to Be a High Potential in Your Organization?

Being seen as a high-potential leader is essential to getting promoted and reaching your organization's upper echelons, but most companies keep their top-talent list a closely guarded secret. And the assessment process they use to decide who is and isn't a future leader is an even greater mystery.

The High Potential's Advantage takes you behind the scenes and shows how you can get on, and stay on, your company's fast track. Leadership development experts Jay Conger and Allan Church draw upon decades of research and experience--designing…

The Challenge Culture

By Nigel Travis,

Book cover of The Challenge Culture: Why the Most Successful Organizations Run on Pushback

Tina Kuhn Author Of The E Suite: Empathetic Leadership for the Next Generation of Executives

From the list on leadership during a transition.

Who am I?

As I moved up in leadership, I found I was not prepared to manage people during uncertain and difficult times. Transitions bring about the worst in people. They get fearful and that causes bad behavior by triggering defense mechanisms. The books I listed are a progression of books that helped me to understand how transitions and change affect people and gave me a framework to continue to learn and increase my leadership skills. I then decided to write about new insights I gained in leadership to help others and have published two books and am writing articles on Medium.

Tina's book list on leadership during a transition

Why did Tina love this book?

Nigel Travis, chairman of Dunkin’ Brands, discusses why the most effective leaders have people around them with a diversity of thoughts, opinions, and approaches. Travis believes the best way for organizations to succeed in today’s environment is to embrace challenges and encourage pushback. He maintains that everyone in an organization must be able to question the status quo, to talk in a civil way about difficult issues, and to debate strategies and tactics without fear of reprisal.

I love the practice of what he calls “coffee chats,” to open his thought aperture. The attendees were able to ask him any questions within the bounds of civility. As he said, “The purpose of the coffee chat is to provide an open and safe forum for people to ask questions, share information, articulate ideas, express opinions, and surface disagreements.” 

By Nigel Travis,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'The Challenge Culture is a must-read for employers and employees alike, and promises to get ideas for long-term success percolating.' - Robert Kraft, chairman and CEO of the Kraft Group

'Nigel's career, vision and humanity are very refreshing' - Claude Littner, former Chief Executive of Tottenham Hotspur and author of Single-Minded: My Life in Business

Challenge is essential for survival and sustained success in today's volatile world.

We live in an era when successful organisations can fail in a flash. But they can cope with change and thrive by creating a culture that supports positive pushback: questioning everything without disrespecting…

Creativity, Inc.

By Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace,

Book cover of Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Karen Eber Author Of The Perfect Story: How to Tell Stories that Inform, Influence, and Inspire

From the list on unleashing your storytelling and creativity.

Who am I?

I have told stories since the age of five when I shared one about my different colored eyes. Tired of being pointed at and ridiculed for the thing I loved most about myself, I learned that stories can shift energy and create connection, even in the most artificial of settings. I’ve spent my career working in and with the Fortune 500 building leaders, teams, and culture, one story at a time. I’ve used storytelling to persuade people when one had the authority to say yes but 99 others could say no. Stories not only slowed their “No,” but they also helped me recruit them to persuade the decision makers.

Karen's book list on unleashing your storytelling and creativity

Why did Karen love this book?

Pixar movies have been seen all over the world by humans of all ages. They make us laugh, smile, and wipe tears.

Pixar has some of the best storytellers on the planet and Creativity, Inc. shares more about how they’ve built their engine. This book looks at the business side of creativity and how you create a culture that can sustain and navigate producing top-quality films every year.

It offers wonderful insights on how to lead people, navigate difficult moments, and bring the best out of others. If creativity or storytelling are any part of your business or life, this book is for you!

By Ed Catmull, Amy Wallace,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Part autobiography, part history of Pixar, part business book, Creativity Inc is a stimulating, feel-good, insightful and highly inspirational collection of lessons in creativity and business from the president of Pixar and Disney Animation, Ed Catmull.

'Just might be the best business book ever written.' -- Forbes Magazine
'Great book. Wish I could give it more than 5 Stars' -- ***** Reader review
'Incredibly inspirational' -- ***** Reader review
'Honestly, one of the best books I've read in a long time' -- ***** Reader review
'Read it and read it again, then read it again and then again' -- *****…

Radical Candor

By Kim Scott,

Book cover of Radical Candor

Eric Brechner Author Of Agile Project Management with Kanban

From Eric's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Career coach Educator Math geek Despiser of waste Father and husband

Eric's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Eric love this book?

This unfortunately titled book reflects my own philosophy and recommendations for managing software engineers. The title is unfortunate because there's nothing radical about the author's recommendations, at least not to me.

The focus is on providing compassionate candor to your staff, caring personally about them while directly challenging them in areas where they should improve. The first part of the book explains why you should take this approach, including its benefits. The second part provides clear and specific guidance on attaining those benefits.

Having been a manager and coach for over 25 years, I'm often asked what management book I recommend. Until now, my choices were too esoteric or too academic. Now, I recommend Radical Candor.

By Kim Scott,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Radical Candor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Featuring a new preface, afterword and Radically Candid Performance Review Bonus Chapter, the fully revised & updated edition of Radical Candor is packed with even more guidance to help you improve your relationships at work.

'Reading Radical Candor will help you build, lead, and inspire teams to do the best work of their lives.' - Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In.

If you don't have anything nice to say then don't say anything at all . . . right?

While this advice may work for home life, as Kim Scott has seen first hand, it is a disaster when adopted…

Applied Empathy

By Michael Ventura,

Book cover of Applied Empathy: The New Language of Leadership

Minter Dial Author Of Heartificial Empathy: Putting Heart into Business and Artificial Intelligence

From the list on artificial intelligence, emotions, and empathy.

Who am I?

Having studied literature at university and been a closet nerd, coding at night in a dank basement room, I've always been intrigued by the interface between human and machine. Then, as a senior executive in a large multinational, I was acutely aware of the value of empathy as a leadership skill. In a world that is increasingly divided and divisive, I’ve become an empathy activist. I believe that the business world can be a force for positive change, but as a society we will need to engage in a much more meaningful and rigorous debate about the ethics involved in the opportunities offered by using artificial intelligence and robots in the workplace. 

Minter's book list on artificial intelligence, emotions, and empathy

Why did Minter love this book?

With business conditions and prospects looking so difficult, we will need to be ever more strategic in the use of our resources. In this light, Michael Ventura’s practical approach to inserting empathy into leadership and how businesses should function with a higher degree of empathy is a tremendous read. Ventura uses a host of case studies based on the work he’s done with his company, Sub Rosa. As such, the material is real life and the book is packed with a host of great and practical exercises. While it’s all about empathy in business, the book is also a good reminder of how empathy can be useful in our private lives, our intimate relationships and in society in general. 

By Michael Ventura,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Michael Ventura, entrepreneur and CEO of award-winning strategy and design practice Sub Rosa, shares how empathy - the ability to see the world through someone else's eyes - could be what your business needs to innovate, connect, and grow.

Having built his career working with iconic brands and institutions such as Google and Nike, and also The United Nations and the Obama Administration, Michael Ventura offers entrepreneurs and executives a radical new business book and way forward.

Empathy is not about being nice. It's not about pity or sympathy either. It's about understanding - your consumers, your colleagues, and yourself…

Creative Clarity

By Jon Kolko,

Book cover of Creative Clarity

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

From the list on mastering design thinking.

Who am I?

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

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…

Rocking the Boat

By Debra E. Meyerson,

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 the list on making work a better place to be.

Who am I?

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

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 Anticipatory Organization: Turn Disruption and Change into Opportunity and Advantage

Joey Havens Author Of Leading with Significance: How to Create a Magnetic, People-First Culture

From the list on creating a people-first workplace culture.

Who am I?

I am passionate about giving people the benefit of good intentions and my faith calls me to care and serve others. Today, I believe my purpose is to help inspire leaders to trust in the inherent good in people while caring and serving them in intentional ways that leads to high performance. I have been blessed immensely and want to give back to others so their journey can be one of significance. As former CEO of my company, I had no roadmap which made our journey even more difficult. Now, I have experienced the joy, the fulfillment, and the abundance of building a people-first culture.  Together we can make a difference for so many people.

Joey's book list on creating a people-first workplace culture

Why did Joey love this book?

We are in an exponential world today and we grew up in an incremental world for businesses. 

Daniel not only helps us understand how to anticipate more of the future, he teaches us how to anticipate which is one of the most important skills for business leaders today. After reading his book, I also worked through his anticipatory leader course. 

By understanding the power of being anticipatory, I have used his techniques to lead our firm to bigger opportunities. In the future of work, anticipating what people will want and need, provides a distinctive advantage. 

By Daniel Burrus,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Technology-driven change is accelerating at an exponential rate, but moving fast in the wrong direction will only get you into trouble faster! Reacting to problems and digital disruptions, no matter how agile you and your organization are, is no longer good enough. The Anticipatory Organization teaches you how to separate the Hard Trends that will happen, from the Soft Trends that might happen, allowing you to jump ahead with low risk and the confidence certainty can provide. Accelerate innovation and actively shape the future - before someone else does it for you! Digital transformation has divided us all into two…

The Culture Solution

By Matthew Kelly,

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 the list on new entrepreneurs and small business leaders.

Who am I?

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

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…


By Joseph Finder,

Book cover of Paranoia

Kayla Perrin Author Of We'll Never Tell

From the list on surprise suspense twists.

Who am I?

I’m absolutely passionate about suspense stories, especially ones with killer twists. Maybe it’s all the crime shows I watch, but the motives for crimes are so wide and varied, and I love when the unexpected is explored in fiction. I’m also intrigued by stories about missing people and the myriad of reasons behind why they go missing–especially when things aren’t always what they seem. Whether it’s the missing who return years later or hints of them suddenly appear, I can’t help but get wrapped up in a story that keeps you on the edge of your seat guessing what might happen next! I try for great twists in my novels.

Kayla's book list on surprise suspense twists

Why did Kayla love this book?

I picked this book up because it was super cheap in hardcover. It had an interesting premise with a suspense set in the business world between two competing companies. Not typically my thing, but I gave it a chance because of the price. Once I started to read it, Joseph Finder became one of my favorite authors. I could not put this down and read it in three days. It had me on the edge of my seat as the main character has to infiltrate another company, and OMG, the twist at the end! I loved this book so much that I decided to attend the Thrillerfest conference in Phoenix that year because Joseph Finder would be there. Yep, that’s how much I loved the book. I met him and gushed like a fool!

By Joseph Finder,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

From the writer whose novels have been called "thrilling" (New York Times) and "dazzling" (USA Today) comes an electrifying novel, Joseph Finder's Paranoia, a roller-coaster ride of suspense that will hold the reader hostage until the final, astonishing twist.

Now a major motion-picture starring Harrison Ford, Liam Hemsworth, and Gary Oldman.

Adam Cassidy is twenty-six and a low-level employee at a high-tech corporation who hates his job. When he manipulates the system to do something nice for a friend, he finds himself charged with a crime. Corporate Security gives him a choice: prison - or become a spy in the…

I'll Be Back

By Shep Hyken,

Book cover of I'll Be Back

Brittany Hodak Author Of Creating Superfans: How To Turn Your Customers Into Lifelong Advocates

From the list on turning your customers into superfans.

Who am I?

I’m passionate about customer experience because it’s the number-one reason businesses succeed or fail. Regardless of the size (or budget!) of your company, you can set yourself apart—and create superfan customers!—by focusing on being exceptional in the areas that really matter. I grew up watching my dad prioritize customer service, first as a fast-food restaurant manager and then at a car dealership, and I know firsthand that how you treat your employees and your customers makes all the difference! 

Brittany's book list on turning your customers into superfans

Why did Brittany love this book?

If you’re looking for a book on customer service or customer experience, you have to read one of Shep Hyken’s books! Shep is the world’s top customer service expert, a hall-of-fame speaker, and one of my biggest mentors (you could say I’m his superfan!). His most recent book, I’ll Be Back is my personal favorite of his because of its focus on the organizational culture that’s needed to drive a customer-centric brand. 

By Shep Hyken,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I'll Be Back as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How do you build a business that thrives during good times and bad? Is there a strategy that can set up  your company up for success, no matter what curveballs the world may throw your way? There is: Turn customers into repeat customers, and turn repeat customers into loyal customers.
Renowned customer service and experience expert Shep Hyken maintains that delivering an amazing customer service experience that keeps customers coming back for more is everyone’s job. Customer service is not a department. It’s not just for people on the front lines. It’s the responsibility of everyone in the organization, from…

Book cover of Spirituality, Corporate Culture, and American Business: The Neoliberal Ethic and the Spirit of Global Capital

Chad E. Seales Author Of Religion Around Bono: Evangelical Enchantment and Neoliberal Capitalism

From the list on American evangelicalism and neoliberal religion.

Who am I?

I've always been fascinated by the ways religion reconciles contradiction. Both of my parents were public school teachers in the panhandle of Florida, and I now work at a public university in Texas, yet the culture in which I was raised, of white evangelicalism, supported economic policies of neoliberalism that defunded public life. My interest in American religion is motivated by the question of why we participate in systems that harm us. This is an economic question, but sufficient answers must address the power of religion to shape what we see as morally good and bad. These books all do that.

Chad's book list on American evangelicalism and neoliberal religion

Why did Chad love this book?

Austin, Texas, where I now live, is home to the first Whole Foods in America. Before the chain of grocery stores was bought out by Amazon, I used to shop there. Then I stopped, or well, I no longer went as often, because I learned in LoRusso's book that company founder John Mackey promoted a libertarian spirituality that considered government interference morally hostile and went as far as to proclaim Obama Care a form of fascism. 

By James Dennis Lorusso,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Spirituality, Corporate Culture, and American Business as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

By the early twenty-first century, Americans had embraced a holistic vision of work, that one's job should be imbued with meaning and purpose, that business should serve not only stockholders but also the common good, and that, for many, should attend to the "spiritual" health of individuals and society alike.

While many voices celebrate efforts to introduce "spirituality in the workplace" as a recent innovation that holds the potential to positively transform business and the American workplace, James Dennis LoRusso argues that workplace spirituality is in fact more closely aligned with neoliberal ideologies that serve the interests of private wealth…

The Toyota Way

By Jeffrey K. Liker,

Book cover of The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World's Greatest Manufacturer

Michael K. Levine Author Of People Over Process: Leadership for Agility

From the list on if you want to lead great software delivery teams.

Who am I?

I’ve been doing large-scale software development at great US businesses from the introduction of the PC to the cloud explosion. From my earliest successes (online banking at US Bank in 1985!) to my biggest failures (Wells Fargo “Core” disaster in 2006), I’ve always sought better ways of doing things. These five books all were important to my learning and remain highly relevant, and I hope you find them useful as well. 

Michael's book list on if you want to lead great software delivery teams

Why did Michael love this book?

I spent my career leading software engineering at two of America’s top banks. It’s not all innovative work, as you might guess, and here is where Toyota comes in. 

Toyota teaches the difference between routine, standardized work (where we use predictive process control) and creative work (where we use adaptive process control). Balancing this in practice is a key to being a great software engineering leader. For those manufacturing-like processes (incremental feature addition, defect repair) the Toyota manufacturing way became the basis of the Agile movement a decade later: flow, pull, level work, quality the first time, process standardization and continuous improvement, and closeness to customers. Toyota Way provides a deeper understanding than any agile seminar. 

By Jeffrey K. Liker,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

How to speed up business processes, improve quality, and cut costs in any industry

In factories around the world, Toyota consistently makes the highest-quality cars with the fewest defects of any competing manufacturer, while using fewer man-hours, less on-hand inventory, and half the floor space of its competitors. The Toyota Way is the first book for a general audience that explains the management principles and business philosophy behind Toyota's worldwide reputation for quality and reliability.

Complete with profiles of organizations that have successfully adopted Toyota's principles, this book shows managers in every industry how to improve business processes by: