Career-critical lessons aren’t learned purely through independent willpower: this is a fact that the greatest of leaders can verify. For them, earning a place at the top meant recognizing that leadership–while it may at times seem insular and isolated–is a process of community. By listening when the time is right and the advice is strong, leadership is performed not as a string of static-minded commands, but a fluid, adaptive act. Familiarizing yourself with the qualities, philosophies, and choices that define the world’s greatest movers and shakers is as easy as exploring these titles, all of which are rich in expertise.
“Leadership” by James MacGregor-Burns
In a systematic review that spans generations, James Macgregor Burns delves into the factors that separate true leaders–who work with followers to achieve mutual benefit–from what he terms “power wielders:” figures who seize control to facilitate an ego-driven agenda, with no consideration as to how its fulfillment will affect their subjects. To draw this distinction, Burns lays out the paradigm of transactional vs. transforming leaders. While the former swaps value in a cold exchange, i.e. elected politicians promising renewed social services in return for popular support, the latter is propelled by personal morality to serve not themselves, but their followers’ cause–even after they achieve power.
“Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World” by Adam Grant
All industries thirst for creativity; for those capable of squeezing from their mind the first drops that prophesy a monsoon of innovation. “Originals” is dedicated to illuminating the habits, tendencies and thought patterns that produce original concepts. Grant backs his points with surprising science–such as a study which reveals that some of history’s most original creations, from the Gettysburg Address to the Mona Lisa, were actually the product of procrastination. By highlighting the non-conformist attitudes of modern superachievers like Steve Wozniak, J.J Abrams, Jerry Seinfeld and more, “Originals” demonstrates the end result it encourages in readers: novel thoughts and a unique presentation.
“The Slight Edge: Secret to a Successful Life” by Jeff Olson
There is a mindset common to all those who win; it’s the “slight edge” that separates achievers from daydreamers. Olson dispels the fantasy of the overnight superstar, and instead focuses on how small, everyday lifestyle changes, such as reading a small amount every day–will compound over time into the skills needed to meet your goals. Olson illustrates how simple, positive changes in how you approach daily tasks can banish toxic habits and guarantee success.