14 Best Book Recommendations From Conscious Business Leaders

Terkel
Mar 10

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7 min read

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Table of Contents

Do you want to know what books conscious business readers want you to read?

To help business owners or managers reach their highest potential in their jobs, we asked business leaders from different sectors this question for their best book recommendations. From Dan Breznitz’s Book Innovation in Real Places to Sheryl Sandberg’s Book Lean In, here are 8 books that may help you become a better leader. 

Here are 14 Best Book Recommendations From Conscious Business Leaders: 

  • Innovation in Real Places 
  • Turn the Ship Around
  • Things that Make Us Smart
  • Good to Great
  • Difficult Conversations 
  • Extreme Ownership
  • Leading at a Higher Level 
  • The Self-evolved Leader 
  • Start Something that Matters
  • The Intelligent Investor
  • Dare to Lead 
  • Theory U
  • Silver Threads: Living a Life of Gratitude
  • Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Innovation in Real Places

I would recommend Innovation in Real Places: Strategies for Prosperity in an Unforgiving World by Dan Breznitz to any conscious business leader. This extraordinary novel challenges every notion we’ve built about what innovation truly means in the modern world. Breznitz focuses on how tech-obsessed we are as a society and how deeply it has limited and warped our perspectives on growth and innovation. He challenges us to remove the invention of tech from our attempts to innovate and instead get back to what it is at its core: the devising of improved products and services in a way specific to each community. I loved this book because it reminded me that we don’t all have to copy Silicon Valley, and in fact, we absolutely shouldn’t.

Stephen Light, Nolah Mattress

Turn the Ship Around

Turn the Ship Around by L. David Marquet. It has been extremely helpful when building my business. This book is a guide to creating an executive team with high levels of accountability and transparency, and I refer back to its wisdom regularly when determining best practices for growing my company efficiently. It reminds me that empowering my team will prompt them to work at their highest levels, taking the initiative to solve problems within their specialty that I didn’t even realize we had. Building a passionate workforce you can trust and allowing them to thrive is key to building a successful business.

Shaun Price, MitoQ

Things that Make Us Smart

Things that Make Us Smart by Donald Norman. It focuses not just on designing the best technology and why that’s important. It also concentrates on how and why technology should be “human-centered.” This book is a popular one and great for a conscious business leader.

Brittany Kaiser, Gryphon Digital Mining

Good to Great 

If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what sets great companies apart from the rest, this book is a must-read. Jim Collins breaks down 3 key stages — disciplined people, disciplined thought, disciplined action, which if executed well, can transform a good organization into one that’s a step above the ordinary. If you’re looking for some deep insight into business, I’d blindly recommend this great book.

Harry Morton, Lower Street

Difficult Conversations 

It is easy to become so honed in on goals that leaders often forget the everyday conflicts that have to be waded through, requiring an extensive toolbox, and why I highly recommend reading Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen. These types of challenges are normal, and if they cause uncomfortable situations, for many, the natural reaction is to avoid them altogether, which can damage company culture.

Encountering an underperforming employee, a conflict between team members, or an angry customer are commonplace business occurrences, and this book provides a step-by-step guide on how to approach these familiar situations constructively and effectively.  Difficult Conversations is a must-read for any leader wanting to know how to deal with the day-to-day challenges, and not just handle the big picture.

Woody Sears, Hearhere

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win

The principles of leadership aren’t situational. Whether you’re on the battlefield or in the boardroom, leading is leading. And leadership at every level is the most critical element in the success or failure of a team. It initiates ownership, empowering team members to stop making excuses and step up and lead. But it’s not just taking ownership of the wins but also the losses. Because when employees take ownership of problems, problems get solved. We are a company of owners who have diverse backgrounds and skills, but we’re all passionate about building a more efficient and inclusive infrastructure — together. So, we’re never satisfied with our results and take responsibility as a team without any excuses or blame. Leading up the chain of command creates a culture of accountability that is crucial for accomplishing goals, completing assignments, and making decisions. Extreme Ownership helps with that. 

Jason Sherman, TapRm

Leading at a Higher Level 

I would recommend Leading at a Higher Level by Ken Blanchard for a conscious leader because this book helps in making you realize your power, unleash your potential, and do the same for others around you. Blanchard shares insights on world-class leadership and discusses how to build a workplace with a foundation of trust, collaboration, and mentorship. The book teaches you to create visions and targets and other values that will help inform and guide your leadership journey.

Brogan Renshaw, Modelers Central

The Self-evolved Leader

The Self-Evolved Leader by Dave McKeown has been a big catalyst for how I run my business and has changed my approach to leadership. This book is part self-improvement book, part leadership manual. It clearly breaks down and defines the skills you need to cultivate to improve your leadership and become a more effective leader. It also showcases the impact that building those skills can have on you both personally as well as organization-wide. By the end of this book, if you follow the advice within, you’ll become a far better leader.

Mark Pierce, Cloud Peak Law Group

Start Something that Matters

I would recommend Start Something that Matters by Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS, the shoe company. He discusses how a business can be driven by purpose, do good in the world and still make a profit. Finding ways to improve the lives of others through a company mission is more critical than ever. Start Something that Matters is incredibly inspiring and provides insight into building a company that makes the world a better place.

Sumeer Kaur, Lashkaraa

The Intelligent Investor 

This is the best book recommended for a conscious business leader. This is conscious advice from a great investor Benjamin Graham that will help them in the future. For decades, he has been considered one of the greatest investors of all time, and this book is his greatest contribution to the art of “value investing.” This book is considered the Stock market Bible due to the experienced suggestions related to stocks and other kinds of universal investing projects. Benjamin Graham provides “layman-friendly help in establishing and implementing an investing policy.” It tells us that a prudent investor makes controversial but smart investments in bargains relative to the current asset value. It protects investors from significant errors, minimizes the chances of loss, and assists them in developing long-term company strategies. So, I believe that this is a must-read book for every conscious business leader.

Ryan Yount, Luckluckgo

Dare to Lead 

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown is an excellent book for any conscious business leader. If you’re unsure about your management style or want to improve your empathy skills, reading this book and following Brown’s work will help you greatly. Business leaders have an unconditional responsibility to continue asking questions, learning, and growing their leadership skills. That’s what being a conscious leader really is. Brown’s emphasis on embracing vulnerability is incredibly eye-opening and important.

Anne-Marie Faiola, Bramble Berry

Theory U

I suggest reading the book Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges by Otto Scharmer. Scharmer explains how groups and organizations can create a “heart-centered” leadership through the power of listening with full attention and presence. This way, they can connect with themselves and others.

Theory U is a single process with five movements. The first includes Co-initiating, where leaders are encouraged to stop and listen to others and what life calls them to do. The second is Co-sensing, where they observe their environment with an open mind and heart. The third is Presencing by connecting to their source of inspiration. Fourth is Co-creating by developing new ways of doing things. And fifth, Co-evolving entails introducing new approaches that will help everyone thrive together harmoniously.

The Theory U concept helped me become more self-aware and focused on building a “we” culture than a “me” culture, and I believe it will influence other leaders in the same way.

Siva Mahesh, Dreamshala

Silver Threads: Living a Life of Gratitude

I’ve been biased since I wrote it, but gratitude has long been overlooked as a powerful lever for improving our personal and professional lives. 95% of employees agree a grateful boss is more likely to be successful, and yet 60 percent of people never or rarely express gratitude at work. 

In my own research, I found that actively engaging in workplace gratitude for just four weeks improved job satisfaction, confidence, and well-being. And in our personal lives, over 90% of American teens and adults indicate that expressing gratitude made them “extremely happy” or “somewhat happy.” Gratitude is a powerful antidote for the isolation that plagues so many people in today’s world by connecting us on a tangible level and reminding us that we are not alone. Silver Threads: Living a Life of Gratitude is an approachable journey towards making gratitude part of our daily lives, with clear explanations of why it matters, and practical recommendations for ways we can make that happen.

Sarah Ratekin, Happiness Is Courage

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

In the spirit of Women History Month, I would recommend Sandberg’s Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead as one of the best books for business leaders.

As a woman in business and a leader of a women-ran company, I was deeply moved by the book, and I think that it’s an almost mandatory read for anyone (not just women). Sandberg gives a lot of advice in the book, but the piece that resonated with me the most was to “Treat your career like a jungle gym, not a ladder.”.

I will always and forever recommend this book as “We move closer to the larger goal of true equality with each woman who leans in.” 

Cynthia Halow, PersonalityMax

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