While there are always many books that influence me in a given year, I include in this list books that have to do pretty directly with leading, coaching, teaching and learning, as well as the systems that support and / or impede those actions.
Though I consider fiction to be every bit as illuminating as non-fiction—this year’s Americanah by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and There There by Tommy Orange have been favorites—I also confine this list to non-fiction.
One of my goals this year is to read even more. If yours is also and you haven’t yet read these books, I encourage you to include them on your 2019 to-read list.
1. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover is a testament to the power of and thirst for learning as Westover describes her courageous journey from imposed limitation to self-invention.
2. Becoming by Michelle Obama. Obama describes herself as “an ordinary person who finds herself on an extraordinary journey who, by sharing her story, hopes to create space for other stories and other voices”. This book makes it utterly clear why Michelle Obama is the most admired woman in the U.S.
3. There Will Be No Miracles Here: A Memoir by Casey Gerald. Traveling from South Dallas to Yale and Wall Street, Gerald questions the American Dream.
4. The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters by Priya Parker. Understanding why we gather—to acknowledge, to learn, to challenge, to change—teaches us how to organize gatherings that are relevant and memorable.
5. This Is Your Brain on Coaching: The Neuroscience of the International Coach Federation Competencies (e-book) by Ann Betz with contributions by Amorah Ross. The authors describe the book as “our best attempt to provide some scientific grounding for masterful, and often magical way that coaches work to activate human awareness and development.” A fascinating read!
6. Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Heart by Brene Brown. Brown says that when we dare to lead, we don’t pretend to have the right answers; we stay curious and ask the right questions.
7. Never Stop Learning: Stay Relevant, Reinvent Yourself and Thrive by Bradley Staats. A Next Big Idea Club selection, Never Stop Learning makes the case that in a learning economy, people succeed and provide value based on how quickly and well they learn. Staats provides a framework for being a lifelong learner.