5 of the Most Insightful Business Leadership Books of 2017

5 of the Most Insightful Business Leadership Books of 2017

Great business leaders understand the importance of keeping up with changes in the business world. While all business leaders should have a bookshelf that contains the classic works on leadership, they also need to keep track of new ones as they are published. Reading business leadership blogs is a great way to learn about new books. Individuals can also look at new entries on the best-seller lists to figure out what to read. After all, many competitors are probably also reading those books and benefitting from the guidance they provide. Some of the best business leadership books that have been published in 2017 include:

1. The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams by Sam Walker

In this book, Sam Walker examines some of the most successful sports teams in history to ascertain importance lessons about leadership and team building. In order to compare teams, he created a series of weighted metrics to find out which teams stood the test of time and found 16 teams that belonged to a class of their own. In The Captain Class, he looks at the Boston Celtics from 1957 to 1969. The team won 11 championships over the course of 12 years. Walker found that the team had one key player that served as a leader, but not someone who stood out as a superstar like Michael Jordan. Looking at the 15 other teams on the list of top performers, he identified one player who held the team together in each case. This discovery led to what Walker calls the captain theory. The lessons of what made a great captain are directly applicable to the workplace, which makes The Captain Class one of the most important books for business leaders to read in 2017.

2. The One Device by Brian Merchant

Since 2017 marks the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, Brian Merchant decided to take a look at what exactly went into designing and producing the leading smartphone. The iPhone largely transformed the way in which people think about and interact with technology, and it has made the world remarkably more connected with continued innovations such as FaceTime and iMessage. Merchant takes a deep dive into the various decisions that were made behind the scenes to bring this product to the market and maintain its position at the top now that several other companies are creating smartphones. The book is replete with important lessons for business leaders, particularly for those who endeavor to be innovators and disruptors. However, virtually any leader will learn some important lessons about creativity and collaboration in the workplace.

3. One Mission: How Leaders Build a Team of Teams by Chris Fussell

Many business leaders find inspiration from tales of military conflict. Indeed, military leadership has a number of parallels with business leadership. This fact becomes very apparent in One Mission. Chris Fussell looks at what happens when highly trained teams with a great deal of resources meet an enemy who is largely unprepared, yet aligned based on a common narrative. Business leaders can learn what effective action means and about some templates that they can apply in their own daily lives where the consequences of action or inaction are much less grave. Fussell draws on his own experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan and reflects on how disjointedness among American teams put the nation at a serious disadvantage when faced with Al Qaeda.

4. Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change by Ellen Pao

In Reset, Ellen Pao recounts her story of suing venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers for discrimination and subsequently losing. Despite the loss, the court case brought an incredible amount of attention to Silicon Valley culture, which is largely male and white. While the book is essentially about Pao’s struggle to empower underrepresented people in the business world, individuals can learn a lot about the power and value of diversity and—perhaps more importantly—the downside of failing to create a diverse environment. The book has a lot to say about creating a changing culture that can empower leaders to look more critically at their own organizations and assess potential weaknesses. Reset was considered by both McKinsey and the Financial Times as a finalist for the title of Business Book of the Year.

5. Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life by Susan David

In 1995, Daniel Goleman published Emotional Intelligence, a book that introduced the idea of the emotional intelligence quotient and the importance that it can play in the hiring process. Now, more than two decades later, Harvard Medical School psychologist Susan David has introduced the idea of emotional agility, which is defined as the ability to self-manage. The book draws on the recent push for self-awareness in business leadership and shows leaders how they can change their behavior to align with their values and intentions and then maintain those new behaviors. Much of the book focuses on how leaders can learn to live outside of their comfort zone and push their boundaries to grow and operate with intention rather than set themselves on autopilot.