Dr. Colleen Batchelder

How to Become a Better Leader: 10 Books that Will Change Your Life

books in black wooden book shelf

Becoming a better leader is all about taking action––and part of that action is adding certain books to your library. It’s not enough to want to change or make an impact. You need to be willing to put in the work. And that means pulling up Amazon.com and adding some books to your cart.

If you’ve always admired great leaders or want to be a better leader yourself, I recommend adding these ten titles to your library.

These books have developed my own leadership habits and shaped the direction of my life.

Here are my top ten favorites that I believe every leader should read at least once in their lifetime:

Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones by James Clear

This book has so many highlighted pages there are barely any empty spaces left. It’s a go-to resource that has helped me cultivate new habits, replace old ones, and stay consistent.

James Clear gives you the tools that you need to create a permanent change. And shows you how to shift your mindset to reach your goals.

If you’re just starting out in business or are already an entrepreneur, this book is a must-read. It will show you how tiny habits can turn into remarkable results.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who wants to make some serious changes in their life one step at a time.

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Every time I watch one of Simon’s TED Talks or read Start With Why, it inspires me to be the best leader possible for my employees and fellow entrepreneurs. His contagious enthusiasm and energy are inspiring.

This book shows you how to build a loyal community of customers and fans who believe in your business’s mission.

It’s about finding your purpose, focusing on it with every decision that you make, and constantly communicating it to the people around you. I’d recommend this book for anyone looking to find their own leadership style and discover their own path.

Grit: Passion, Perseverance, & The Science of Success by Angela Duckworth

This book offers a more scientific approach to developing your own grit.

It encourages you to get out of your comfort zone and shows how talent matters less than effort. It also proves that with enough time, anyone can find their true potential.

This book is helpful in cultivating the traits necessary for success. And it’s a must-read for any leader looking to motivate employees or team members.

I’d recommend this book for any leader who wants to cultivate and motivate a team of employees, managers, or entrepreneurs. It’s about finding your own path and doing what you love even if it seems impossible at first.

Rich Bitch: A Simple 12-Step Plan for Getting Your Financial Life Together…Finally by Nicole Lapin

Don’t be fooled by the name. It’s actually an inspiring story of how Lapin went from broke to making millions.

It’s a great resource for anyone who is struggling with their finances, looking to build wealth, or just starting out in business. I’d recommend this book for any young entrepreneur trying to navigate the world of finance and business.

This book is always nearby and has made such a difference in my life. I’ve changed the way I think about finances and how I handle money. And I think every business leader will shift their mindset after reading this book.

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know by Adam Grant

Adam Grant is one of those authors that I enjoy reading no matter what topic he’s writing about. This book shows you how to think more critically. It also shows you how to recognize the difference between facts and opinions, and be open-minded to new ideas.

As a leader, one of the most difficult things to do is to unlearn poor habits. But this book will help you develop a new perspective and make better decisions––and embrace the unknown.

I’d recommend this book for any leader, especially those who are just starting out. Your business might not be anywhere near what you want it to be, but if you start off with the right mindset, the sky is the limit.

After all, the best leaders constantly learn––they are able to rethink, adapt, and change their views with the right information.

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by  Brené Brown

Brené Brown has spent her entire career researching shame and vulnerability––and she’s discovered some fascinating insights on how people can find courage in the midst of their fear.

Dare to Lead will help you develop your leadership style by showing you how to expand your comfort zone, embrace what makes you vulnerable, and develop the courage necessary for success.

This book is an essential read for any leader looking to improve. I’d recommend this book because it’s about finding your own place as a leader, learning how to embrace vulnerability, and using it for good.

After reading this book, I’ve never looked at vulnerability in the same way. I’m much more open to embracing my flaws and using them for good––and this has led me to become a better leader––and a better person.

The Long Game: How to Be a Long-Term Thinker in a Short-Term World by Dorie Clark

Dorie Clark is a consultant, keynote speaker, and expert in the area of executive education and strategy. In this book, she offers advice on how to develop self-awareness and focus on the long game––not just short-term wins.

As a leader, you can’t think about what will be helpful in five minutes; you need to look at your entire career path and ask yourself if it’s sustainable. This is especially important for entrepreneurs or managers who are looking to make a difference.

This book is great for leaders or managers at any level, but especially college graduates or startup CEOs who feel like they have to be ten steps ahead of the game––and they’re overwhelmed as a result.

This book will help you be more realistic and think about the long term so that your business can evolve over time––not just now, but in ten years too. That’s what makes this such an important read: it’s not only practical advice for today––it has staying power and will keep your business relevant twenty years from now.

Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock

Laszlo Bock was the Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google––and in this book, he shares some valuable insights on how to get the best from your team and build a dynamic business.

Work Rules! takes you inside one of the most innovative companies ever created and shows how it operates behind closed doors.

Laszlo Bock offers specific advice on things like hiring and training employees, dealing with conflict between team members, and offering feedback that will propel your business forward.

If you want to know more about what it’s really like at Google––and how they grew to become one of the most recognizable companies in the world––then this book is a must-read.

This is one of my favorite leadership books of all time because it’s not just about being a better leader––it teaches you how to be your best self.

Inclusive Leadership: The Definitive Guide to Developing and Executing an Impactful Diversity and Inclusion Strategy by Charlotte Sweeney and Fleur Bothwick

Charlotte Sweeney and Fleur Bothwick are consultants who specialize in diversity, inclusion, leadership development, and talent management.

Both authors perpetuate the idea that it’s not enough to offer lip service when it comes to diversity and inclusion––you need to take real action. And they show you how to back up your intentions with implementation.

This is one of my favorite books for two reasons: firstly, it’s written by two women who know what they’re talking about. Secondly, their advice is practical and actionable.

They don’t just share their opinions on what’s wrong––they offer real solutions that you can implement tomorrow, not in some distant future where your company or team has completely transformed.

If you want your company or team to be more inclusive, then this book will help you execute an impactful strategy that other companies can follow too.

More Sales, Less Time: Surprisingly Simple Strategies for Today’s Crazy-Busy Sellers by Jill Konrath

This book is my absolute favorite! I read it about once a month and skim through the highlighted sections just to remind myself of the most important points.

Leadership means nothing unless you have the time to lead. Jill gives you the tools that you need to be more efficient, so you can focus on the things that matter most.

Jill Konrath teaches you how to do more with less time, so your business can grow while you take a step back. It doesn’t matter what type of company or team you lead––this book will teach you some valuable lessons that will change the way you run your day and lead your company.

The 10 books on this list will teach you how to be a better leader––but more importantly, they’ll help you become the best version of yourself. So, fill up your Amazon cart and get these best-sellers before the holidays. Give yourself a gift this year.

As a Leadership Strategist, Diversity and Inclusion Consultant, Executive Coach, and National Speaker, I help leaders create companies where Millennials and Generation Z want to work. My doctoral background in leadership and global perspectives also gives me an added edge because I approach generational dissonance from all directions, including from an anthropological, theological, sociological, and ethnographic lens.
Newsletter

Check out some articles that I’ve written for publications.