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Ilana's 10 Best Books For Leaders to Leap into Success

Some of you have asked me about books/Audible recommendations for leadership growth and leaping successfully in your career. Here are the 10 best books for leaders that I've read (not in any particular order):

  1. Start with Why - How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek This is a book from 2009 so completely not new but I never understood why you need an entire book to describe a concept. Well, until I read it. Simon gives many fascinating examples that really make you think. Worth listening to this audible just for the examples. Overall I enjoyed the case studies and certainly some of his points (even if at times I didn't agree with all of them).

  2. Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou This book is told more like a mystery novel vs. a true story so when you also know this is a real story it makes it even more intriguing. I really enjoyed listening to it. It also sparks some great questions of what you would do if you found yourself in this situation. Great read.

  3. Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah This is certainly something you want to enjoy on Audible since Trevor brilliantly mimics all the African dialects, making you feel part of the story. There were sections which I had my kids also listen to because he has such an inspiring story and he is a great storyteller. If you are looking for a relatively light read with some good laugh (and a handful of shocking sections) - this is a good one for you!

  4. The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins The concept here is super simple - when you are afraid or hesitate count to yourself 5-4-3-2-1 and just do it. Not sure I needed an entire book for it but honestly I tried this technique with my kid and it does work. Mel is also a great storyteller and I love the way she writes and talks so I did enjoy this book. If anything, listen to at least the first few chapters because this way of thinking does help.

  5. Traction: How Any Startup Can Achieve Explosive Customer Growth by Gabriel Weinberg This is my go to book on ideas for go-to-market and getting traction for startups and businesses. Their examples are great even if a bit outdated (wish they had an update of the book!). Whether you are an entrepreneur, a business owner, a marketer or someone who wants to raise their personal brand - this is a great read for you.

  6. Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts by Brené Brown This is an interesting book on dealing with fear and including vulnerability in your leadership. She has some great quotes throughout the book. One of my favorites: "The problem is not the feeling of fear. Most leaders will admit to feel lots of types of fear. The question is how we respond to fear and how we build courage and build resistance". In my free Leap Academy online training I want to help professionals with imposter syndrome which is super common, I was hoping to find more tips on dealing with fear, but it's still a good read.

  7. Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations by Thomas L. Friedman This book gives you an interesting perspective on how fast things are changing around us these days and how this is impacting our world today. It also describes the influence on the individual and humanity as a whole and shares insights on thriving in a time of change. In Silicon Valley, especially when working close to startups, I felt like some of these was obvious but certainly some great points in this book that are worth thinking about.

  8. The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age by Reid Hoffman This is a great book about the need of leadership to empower and grow their employees and not be afraid of employees wanting to leave. This includes how to build teams with entrepreneurial mindset and how to let the individual grow within their career.

  9. Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth At first this book somewhat annoyed me but I did get a few interesting points about the importance of grit and raising kids with grit. Some people I know loved it - so worth giving it a read/listen.

  10. The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons This is the only one on my list that isn't for personal development but for pure joy. I don't read many such books but this one caught me by surprise. A sweeping saga of love and war that you will never forget. If you want a book that you will not be able to put down (at least the women in the crowd) - give yourself this gift. You will not be sorry :-)


If you want to leap to leadership, land a dream role or start a business so that you can gain the impact, reputation, pay or balance you want - Schedule a time to chat!


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