The most recommended books on organizational effectiveness

Who picked these books? Meet our 42 experts.

42 authors created a book list connected to organizational effectiveness, and here are their favorite organizational effectiveness books.
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Book cover of Excellence Dividend: Meeting the Tech Tide with Work That Wows and Jobs That Last

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

From my 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

Joey Havens Why did Joey love this book?

So many insights for leaders in one book and they are summarized one after one.

The power of connecting is stressed over and over. Diversity of teams tops the expertise of individuals. The power of investing in the soft edge (people). This book is a must-read for anyone wanting to lead others.

By Thomas J. Peters,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Brilliantly simple, actionable guidelines for success that any business leader can immediately implement. 

“Tom Peters' new book is a bundle of beautiful dynamite. While I've been a CEO for 30 years, I still learned much worth knowing from The Excellence Dividend.  You will too.”
—John C. Bogle, founder, Vanguard

For decades Tom Peters has been preaching the gospel of putting people first, and in today's rapidly changing business environment, this message is more important than ever. With his unparalleled expertise and inimitable charisma, Peters provides a roadmap for you and your organization to thrive amidst the tech tsunami, and he…


Book cover of Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World

Jeffrey Engle Author Of All the War They Want: Special Operations Techniques for Winning in Cyber Warfare, Business, and Life

From my list on introducing military tactics into your leadership.

Who am I?

As a veteran of the United States Army Special Operations Command, my time in the army will always guide my actions. When I began my career in cybersecurity and later took on the role of President and Chair of Conquest Cyber, I looked to my military experience for guidance. The lessons I learned from leaders were much like those I’ve learned through these books, and they are lessons that will benefit any leader, business owner, or founder. 

Jeffrey's book list on introducing military tactics into your leadership

Jeffrey Engle Why did Jeffrey love this book?

I’m a proud fighter against the conventional. Bigger is not necessarily better; Compliance is not enough. General McChrystal spends much of his book sharing in this mindset. His experience leading the Joint Special Operation Task Force in their efforts to take down Al Qaeda is inspiring, but for those less military-minded leaders, he shares other examples of where small and agile teams have found success in a hospital ER to NASA. It’s bold, fun to read, and fast-paced. Team of Teams is worth the read for leaders at any stage of their career. 

By Stanley McChrystal, Tantum Collins, David Silverman

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

As commander of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), General Stanley McChrystal discarded a century of management wisdom and pivoted from a pursuit of mechanical efficiency to organic adaptability.

In this book, he shows how any organization can make the same transition to act like a team of teams - where small groups combine the freedom to experiment with a relentless drive to share their experience.

Drawing on a wealth of evidence from his military career and sources as diverse as hospital emergency rooms and NASA's space program, McChrystal frames the existential challenge facing today's organizations, and presents a compelling, effective…


Book cover of The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses

Muhammad Mashhood Alam Author Of Transforming an Idea Into a Business with Design Thinking: The Structured Approach from Silicon Valley for Entrepreneurs and Leaders

From my list on design thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship.

Who am I?

I've been driving innovation in various capacities with world’s leading companies and start-ups for the last 23 years in Silicon Valley. I've been granted six US patents, won two prestigious design awards including the Red Dot award, and published a book on transforming an idea into a business using Design Thinking. What I've learnt is that at the core of any successful business lies the value to the end user who uses the solutions. As I got exposed to Design Thinking earlier on in my career, I realized its immense power in delivering human-centered innovations. I regularly speak at several industry & entrepreneurial events and various business schools around the world. 

Muhammad's book list on design thinking, innovation, and entrepreneurship

Muhammad Mashhood Alam Why did Muhammad love this book?

The Lean Startup is a book that presents a new approach to entrepreneurship and innovation that focuses on creating products that meet the needs of customers while minimizing waste and maximizing efficiency.

Ries argues that many startups fail because they spend too much time and resources building products that customers don't want, and that a better approach is to quickly develop and test ideas using a process of continuous improvement.

Ries outlines a framework for implementing a lean startup approach, which includes identifying the target customer, creating a minimum viable product, and using rapid experimentation and feedback to improve the product.

He also emphasizes the importance of metrics and data analysis in guiding decision-making and measuring progress.

I have found it a practical and informative book that offers valuable insights and strategies for entrepreneurs and innovators looking to create successful and sustainable businesses.

By Eric Ries,

Why should I read it?

6 authors picked The Lean Startup as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLING SENSATION

'The Lean Startup changes everything.' - Harvard Business Review

----------

Most new businesses fail. But most of those failures are preventable.

The Lean Startup is a new approach to business that's being adopted around the world. It is changing the way companies are built and new products are launched.

Essential reading for any ambitious entrepreneur, The Lean Startup will teach you to identify what your customers really want. You'll learn how to test your vision continuously, adapting and adjusting before it's too late.

With over a million copies sold across the globe, now is your time…


Book cover of Positively Energizing Leadership: Virtuous Actions and Relationships That Create High Performance

Edward D. Hess Author Of Own Your Work Journey! The Path to Meaningful Work and Happiness in the Age of Smart Technology and Radical Change

From my list on helping you become your best self.

Who am I?

My entire academic life of over 20 years has been focused on how to help people and organizations become their Best Self. I am the author of 15 books. Six of my books were published by Academic Presses: Cambridge University Press; Stanford University Press; and Columbia Business School Publishing. My work has appeared in over 400 global media publications including Fortune magazine, European Business Review, HBR, SHRM, Fast Company, WIRED, Forbes, INC., Huffington Post, Washington Post, Business Week, the Financial Times, CEO World as well as on CNBC Squawk Box, Fox Business News, Big Think, WSJ Radio, Bloomberg Radio with Kathleen Hayes, Dow Jones Radio, MSNBC Radio, Business Insider, and Wharton Radio.

Edward's book list on helping you become your best self

Edward D. Hess Why did Edward love this book?

I have read well over 100 books about leadership and this book by Professor Kim Cameron is my top favorite because it illustrates the power of positive energy and virtuous behaviors: gratitude, humility, kindness, generosity, compassion, integrity, etc.

This book gives you the tools to enable the highest levels of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral performance. We are living in a new Era – the Era of Smart Technology which will require all of us to excel. This book will help you do that!

By Kim Cameron,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

This practical guide, the first to show how leaders can achieve extraordinary results through the positive energy generated by virtuous interactions with employees, is written by one of the giants in the study of positive leadership.

This book reveals one of the most important but frequently ignored factors that lead to spectacular performance in organizations. Kim Cameron, a true pioneer in the study of positive leadership, offers validated scientific evidence that all individuals are inherently attracted to and flourish in the presence of positive energy, a principle known in biology as heliotropism. Further, he shows that the positive relational energy…


Book cover of Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader's Guide to the Real World

Khadijah Butler Author Of The CDB Scholarship Monthly Planner

From Khadijah's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Entrepreneur Philanthropist Traveler Reader Queen of naps

Khadijah's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Khadijah Butler Why did Khadijah love this book?

Sometimes your boss gets it right, and sometimes they don’t! The “lies,” or misconceptions, are what we’re told, and this book does an outstanding job deconstructing those lies.

I loved the authors’ ability to illustrate how monolithic organizations keep us stagnant and how critical it is for us to lean into our own strengths, not the company’s culture or values. The perfect book to read during performance review season! 

By Marcus Buckingham, Ashley Goodall,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Nine Lies About Work as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Forget what you know about the world of work

You crave feedback. Your organization's culture is the key to its success. Strategic planning is essential. Your competencies should be measured and your weaknesses shored up. Leadership is a thing.

These may sound like basic truths of our work lives today. But actually, they're lies. As strengths guru and bestselling author Marcus Buckingham and Cisco Leadership and Team Intelligence head Ashley Goodall show in this provocative, inspiring book, there are some big lies--distortions, faulty assumptions, wrong thinking--that we encounter every time we show up for work. Nine lies, to be exact.…


Book cover of Deep Purpose: The Heart and Soul of High-Performance Companies

Dan Pontefract Author Of Work-Life Bloom: How to Nurture a Team that Flourishes

From my list on making you think about purpose and meaning.

Who am I?

Since 2014 I have studied, researched, and written about the concepts of meaning and purpose. In 2016, I published a book entitled The Purpose Effect dedicated solely to the topic. In Work-Life Bloom, two of the key work-life factors that make up the accompanying model focus on meaning and purpose. I am known for urging people to declare their purpose, writing it down, and sharing it far and wide. My declaration is as follows: “We’re not here to see through each other; we’re here to see each other through.”

Dan's book list on making you think about purpose and meaning

Dan Pontefract Why did Dan love this book?

Ranjay Gulati delves—dare I say—deeply into the significance of purpose-driven organizations in today's business landscape.

The book emphasizes how cultivating a strong, authentic purpose can lead to exceptional performance and long-term success.

What I loved is that Gulati highlights that purpose is not just a tagline but rather a dynamic, guiding force that drives innovation, collaboration, and resilience. He shows how it can help decision-making.

Gulati shares several compelling case studies and practical tools that helped me affirm my position on the concept of organizational purpose. If you’re passionate about transformative leadership, Deep Purpose will inspire you to create meaningful impact in your organization.

By Ranjay Gulati,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

'If you want to be inspired to build more sustainable organizations, Deep Purpose should be your next read' Arianna Huffington, Founder & CEO, Thrive Global

'Insightful, practical, and timely' Adam Grant, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Think Again and host of the TED podcast WorkLife

'Deep Purpose points to the conversations we must have right now about how to redefine the role of business in society, restore trust, and enhance our license to operate ... Highly recommended' Paul Polman, former CEO, Unilever

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Distinguished Harvard Business School professor Ranjay Gulati takes readers inside some of the world's most…


Book cover of The Ultimate Sales Machine: Turbocharge Your Business with Relentless Focus on 12 Key Strategies

David Jenyns Author Of SYSTEMology: Create time, reduce errors and scale your profits with proven business systems

From my list on business systems and processes for small business owners.

Who am I?

After I successfully systemised myself out of my digital agency and brought in a CEO to run it, I became a systems devotee… I founded systemHUB and launched a movement called SYSTEMology to help business owners worldwide achieve freedom from daily operations and scale their business—like I did. My mission now involves supporting certified SYSTEMologists who assist business owners with SYSTEMology implementation, conducting workshops, delivering keynote addresses, hosting the Business Processes Simplified podcast, and nurturing the growing community of SYSTEMologists.

David's book list on business systems and processes for small business owners

David Jenyns Why did David love this book?

I highly recommend The Ultimate Sales Machine for business owners or entrepreneurs looking to simplify their business processes and get their sales game on point.

This book offers practical and universally applicable advice on organisational alignment, time management, and standardisation to increase efficiency and improve sales. What stuck with me was the importance of focusing on the fundamentals that drive thriving sales rather than trying to do too many things at once.

Chet Holmes' material is out-of-the-park great, offering sound and simple business advice to grow your business stronger than ever. Reading this book changed the way I approach sales and marketing, and I reckon anyone who’s keen on business greatness should give it a read.

By Chet Holmes,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

NEWLY REVISED AND UPDATED

The bestselling business playbook for turbocharging any organization, updated for modern audiences with new and never-before-seen material

Every single day 3,076 businesses shut their doors. But what if you could create the finest, most profitable and best-run version of your business without wasting precious dollars on a thousand different strategies? When The Ultimate Sales Machine first published in 2007, legendary sales expert Chet Holmes gave us the key to do just that. All you need is to focus on twelve key areas of improvement—and practice them over and over with pigheaded discipline.

Now, a decade later,…


Book cover of The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks Than Others Do in 12 Months

Curtis Jenkins Author Of Vision to Reality: Stop Working, Start Living

From my list on accelerating your success.

Who am I?

During a meeting in Fall 2020, a fellow business owner shared that they were about to lose everything and that no one would help them financially to get over this setback. This struck a chord with me, as I come from North Philadelphia and saw many small business owners struggle and ultimately lose their businesses. Thus, my personal goal is to help 1000 small businesses annually, giving them the gift of time, realizing their vision and mission, and leaving a legacy of prosperity. By supporting small businesses, I hope to make a positive impact on families, friends, and communities, creating a world of successful small business owners.

Curtis' book list on accelerating your success

Curtis Jenkins Why did Curtis love this book?

If you want to achieve your goals faster and accelerate your productivity, The 12 Week Year should be at the top of your list.

This book teaches you how to get more done in less time by compressing your goals into 12-week cycles. By doing this, you can experience a full year of experiences in 12 weeks, accelerating your ability to grow your business or achieve your goals.

The book’s core message is that time is your most valuable asset, and you should use it wisely to achieve your desired lifestyle. Reading this book can help you develop a mindset that focuses on achieving your goals faster and enjoying more of life’s experiences. 

By Brian P. Moran, Michael Lennington,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The 12 Week Year as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The guide to shortening your execution cycle down from one year to twelve weeks Most organizations and individuals work in the context of annual goals and plans; a twelve-month execution cycle. Instead, The 12 Week Year avoids the pitfalls and low productivity of annualized thinking. This book redefines your "year" to be 12 weeks long. In 12 weeks, there just isn't enough time to get complacent, and urgency increases and intensifies. The 12 Week Year creates focus and clarity on what matters most and a sense of urgency to do it now. In the end more of the important stuff…


Book cover of Innovation: The Five Disciplines for Creating What Customers Want

Bartley J. Madden Author Of Value Creation Principles: The Pragmatic Theory of the Firm Begins with Purpose and Ends with Sustainable Capitalism

From my list on knowledge building and value creation.

Who am I?

My intellectual journey has focused on three related passions: understanding how firms create value and the link to their stock market valuations, systems thinking, and knowledge building. This has led to the Madden Center for Value Creation at Florida Atlantic University that promotes the key value creation principles that are the foundation for a prosperous society. Prosperity is more widely shared through a society rooted in dynamism with enthusiastic support for experimentation, knowledge building, and innovation by firms. The Madden Center offers a Certificate in Value Creation online course that packages a learning experience to upgrade the knowledge, skills, and resources you need to create value. 

Bartley's book list on knowledge building and value creation

Bartley J. Madden Why did Bartley love this book?

For almost six decades, I have studied the histories of firms and their successes and failures in creating value. I am always looking for heavy hitters who write about their thinking/doing process. Curt Carlson qualifies.

When he was CEO of SRI International, he guided the conception and development of HDTV, Siri, the computer mouse, electronic banking, robotic surgery which evolved into Intuitive Surgical (the dominant robotics surgical firm with its Da Vinci system), and much more.

I first found Carlson via a Harvard Business Review article in which he laid out his proven steps for value creation that seem so straightforward, yet are rarely followed. I wanted a more comprehensive discussion, and I got it with this book.    

By Curtis R. Carlson, William W. Wilmot,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

Nothing is more important to business success than innovation . . . And here’s what you can do about it on Monday morning with the definitive how-to book from the world’s leading authority on innovation

When it comes to innovation, Curt Carlson and Bill Wilmot of SRI International know what they are talking about—literally. SRI has pioneered innovations that day in and day out are part of the fabric of your life, such as:

•The computer mouse and the personal computer interface you use at home and work

•The high-definition television in your living room

•The unusual numbers at the…


Book cover of Humanocracy: Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them

Bartley J. Madden Author Of Value Creation Principles: The Pragmatic Theory of the Firm Begins with Purpose and Ends with Sustainable Capitalism

From my list on knowledge building and value creation.

Who am I?

My intellectual journey has focused on three related passions: understanding how firms create value and the link to their stock market valuations, systems thinking, and knowledge building. This has led to the Madden Center for Value Creation at Florida Atlantic University that promotes the key value creation principles that are the foundation for a prosperous society. Prosperity is more widely shared through a society rooted in dynamism with enthusiastic support for experimentation, knowledge building, and innovation by firms. The Madden Center offers a Certificate in Value Creation online course that packages a learning experience to upgrade the knowledge, skills, and resources you need to create value. 

Bartley's book list on knowledge building and value creation

Bartley J. Madden Why did Bartley love this book?

Humanocracy addresses perhaps the biggest opportunity for value creation at scale, i.e., transitioning large command-and-control corporations to flatter organizations.

What I like most is the combination of rigorous thinking, plain language, and company stories illustrating the worldwide movement to purge bureaucracy. I have personally studied one of the companies spotlighted, the preeminent steel manufacturer Nucor. Four layers of management from the CEO to those working in the steel plants.

The authors understand what makes Nucor excel (page 82): “True to the spirit of humanocracy, Nucor’s model isn’t about pushing employees to do more, but giving them the opportunity to be more—more than blue collar workers, more than order takers, more than mere operators, more than employees… every job can be a good job.”  

By Gary Hamel, Michele Zanini,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A Wall Street Journal Bestseller

In a world of unrelenting change and unprecedented challenges, we need organizations that are resilient and daring.

Unfortunately, most organizations, overburdened by bureaucracy, are sluggish and timid. In the age of upheaval, top-down power structures and rule-choked management systems are a liability. They crush creativity and stifle initiative. As leaders, employees, investors, and citizens, we deserve better. We need organizations that are bold, entrepreneurial, and as nimble as change itself. Hence this book.

In Humanocracy, Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini make a passionate, data-driven argument for excising bureaucracy and replacing it with something better. Drawing…