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Recommendations for the Best Personal Growth Books


I can't stress this enough: You've got to motivate yourself in order to motivate your team. You don't motivate people, they motivate themselves (or they don't). If you model motivated behavior, so will your team! Read on for a few suggestions on books to help you make it great!

You Can Experience...A Purposeful LifeJames Emery White

I recently finished this book, and I strongly recommend it. Pastor White does a fantastic job of reminding us that our call to serve the Lord can come in many shapes, sizes, and colors. I think the biggest thing I learned from this book is that you don't have to be a pastor to serve the Lord and make a difference in the world. By focusing on serving the Lord, you can, as the title says, experience a purposeful life. I know it's definitely helped me re-focus my energies on the right things, instead of just things.

21 Indispensable Qualities of Leadership: Becoming the Leader Others Will FollowJohn C. Maxwell

From Amazon.com's review:Why do some people consistently inspire others to follow their lead? In The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader, Maxwell identifies these top traits as character, charisma, commitment, communication, competence, courage, discernment, focus, generosity, initiative, listening, passion, positive attitude, problem-solving, relationships, responsibility, security, self-discipline, servanthood, teachability, and vision--and then defines them in ways that readers can absorb and utilize.

I can't say it much better than that. The way Maxwell breaks down leadership qualities into easy to understand character qualities is absolutely fantastic. Character is what defines a leader, and these traits are what people of character have. A must-read for leaders in any position.

Now, Discover Your Strengths Marcus Buckingham

It's great to read a book that helps you find what you're strong in and encourages you to work to make those stronger, instead of working against what you know you're good at. You have to buy this book to take the personal survey. A great follow-up to First Break All the Rules, and one I encourage anyone who isn't sure where her/his strengths are. I would encourage you to even buy a copy for each of your team, so they can take the StrengthsFinder test.

Five Patterns of Extraordinary Careers Spencer Stuart

A remarkable book about how to stand out from your peers and have a better career. My favorite lesson: It's better to ask for forgiveness after the fact than it is to ask for permission ahead of time.

Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson

Of course, what book list would be complete without this book all about CHANGE (or is it just about cheese?) Another book that is well worth the listen, but also worth reading.

7 Habits of Highly Effective PeopleSteven Covey

Another must have in your leadership library. If you read a lot of books, you're practicing one of Covey's habits, "sharpening the saw." I'm also looking forward to reading about the 8th Habit but I haven't picked it up yet.

How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci Discover Your Genius: How to Think Like History's Ten Most Revolutionary Minds Michael Gelb

I've met Michael, and he is so on the mark with his writings. Learn how to think more creatively and be more artistic (yes, that is important no matter what your position, or what you family or bosses tell you)

The Brand You 50Re-imaginePursuit of Wow!Tom Peters

Tom Peters is a new favorite author of mine, and one who is has motivated me to work on many new projects in 2005.

What Should I Do With My Life?Po Bronson

A book that tells us that it's okay NOT to know what you want to do, and that even the people we think are completely happy may not be, but also that we make our own happiness, it all depends on how you deal with it. Buy the paperback because it has 7 new stories!

Rhinoceros SuccessScott Alexander

This was recommended to me by my last manager, and is an incredibly quick read. It's all about leading, and how sometimes you have to do the unpopular (change usually) to make a difference and stand out as a leader. Be a rhino!

Advanced RhinocerologyScott Alexander

This books is a nice sequel to Rhinocerous Success and I enjoyed it a great deal. A few things it reminded me of is that leaders are often under attack from all sides, and it's important to watch your own back because often nobody else will.

Phil Gerbyshak leads a team of IT help desk professionals in Milwaukee, WI, and finds that sharing his knowledge is a crucial component in his success as a leader and as a person. Phil's personal philosophy is paraphrased from Tim Sanders' fantastic book Love is the Killer App: "Share your knowledge, your network, and your love. The rest will follow." Read more of Phil's musings at http://makeitgreat.blogspot.com


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