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Leadership Professional Development

50+ Best Professional Development Books for Your Book Club

By Meaghan Maybee on December 19, 2022

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Meaghan Maybee
Meaghan Maybee

As pc/nametag's in-house Word Wizard, Meaghan creates educational content that brings people together and drives meaningful conversations in the events industry.

Calling all reading enthusiasts! 📖 Are you looking to grow in your career, improve your professionalism, and kickstart your development goals? If so, you've come to the right place. Read on to find my best list yet of leadership books for book club, filled with awesome tips, tricks, and insights for professional development. Get ready, because you're about to wow your boss.

Make sure to download the many free ebooks we've sprinkled throughout the article!

Are you short on professional development funds? Give your local library some love or download an app like Libby to read the books on this list for free. Then, check out pc/nametag's tools and resources for more educational resources you can download right now.


Find Your Next Great Read 📘:

woman reads a professional development book outside

Top Business Leadership Books

Spark: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success

Authors: Angie Morgan, Courtney Lynch, Sean Lynch

Are you a doer, thinker, innovator, or key influencer at your organization? If so, you're a "spark" - a person who is a catalyst for personal and organizational change. Learn how to cultivate seven key leadership behaviors covered in this book, all of which will help you become the best "spark" you can be! Anyone can serve as a catalyst for change—will it be you?

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don't Know

Author: Adam Grant

Intelligence isn't just about learning; it's also about rethinking and unlearning. In this thought-provoking book, you'll learn how to "argue like you're right, but listen like you're wrong." You'll learn how to embrace the joy of being wrong, handle charged conversations, and become a lifelong learner. Learn how to "let go" of views and opinions that no longer serve you well and maintain mental flexibility.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups

Author: Daniel Coyle

Culture is not something you are; it’s something you do. The power is in your hands! This New York Times Bestseller reveals the secrets of highly successful groups. You'll learn where great culture comes from, how to build it, and how to strengthen a company culture that needs fixing. This is a must-read book for leaders looking to create environments where people can innovate and problem-solve.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

Author: Patrick Lencioni

If you’re looking to become an exceptional team leader, this book is for you. You'll learn about the “five dysfunctions” of why teams struggle, and what you can do to overcome common hurdles. When it comes to building a more effective team, leadership requires just as much courage as it does insight! Grab this awesome professional development book for business!

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Hit Makers: How to Succeed in an Age of Distraction

Author: Derek Thompson

How is pop culture created? Why do some things become popular, and others don’t? According to Derek Thompson, nothing "goes viral." Popular movies, songs, and mobile apps become successes in today's crowded media environment for a reason. Discover the hidden psychology of why we like what we like and how cultural markets shape our lives.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don't

Author: Simon Sinek

What if we lived in a world where everyone loved going to work, felt trusted and valued during the day, and returned home feeling fulfilled? According to Sinek, this isn't a crazy notion! The greatest leaders have the power to create environments in which people work together to do remarkable things. Read fascinating stories that cover key differences between successful teams and those that fail.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Culture by Design: 8 Simple Steps to Drive Better Individual and Organizational Performance

Author: David J. Friedman

“Culture” has become one of the hottest catchphrases among organizations and leadership teams. Yet, it can be difficult to understand what culture really is. In this game-changing book, David Friedman creates a roadmap for building a high-performing culture any team can use. Read tips, stories and examples in this conversational and easy-to-follow book.

➔ Get it on Amazon.

woman reads a book in bed

Top Leadership Development Books

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

Author: Michael Bungay Stanier

After training more than 10,000 busy managers around the world, Bungay Stanier reveals what he's learned about unlocking your team's potential. By saying less and asking more, you can develop leadership methods that produce great results! This how-to manual covers interactive training tools, practical habits, time-saving strategies and lots more!

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Radical Candor (Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity)

Author: Kim Scott

Great bosses maintain strong relationships with employees. That’s why in this book, you’ll find the three key principles of building better relationships: “Make it personal, get (sh)it done, and understand why it matters.” This book is great for people who want to create a productive work environment in which their team members can thrive.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


The Art of Authenticity: Tools to Become an Authentic Leader and Your Best Self

Author: Karissa Thacker

Did you know that you can become a better leader by becoming your best self? According to Karissa Thacker, everyone brings different sides of themselves to various situations. This book will show you how to increase effectiveness by "presenting" the most appropriate side of yourself to any situation. Gain the tools and skills you need to create the long-lasting, positive change your organization needs.

➔ Get it on Amazon.

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The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Author: Stephen R. Covey

According to Stephen Covey, every person has habits. Some are positive, some are negative, and some have little-to-no impact on your daily life. In this book, Covey teaches how to eliminate bad habits, while also building upon the good ones. Check out this book if you want to learn how to practice and sharpen your most productive habits.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever

Author: Michael Bungay Stanier

In this witty and conversational book, Bungay Stanier unpacks seven essential coaching questions to guide your team towards greater results. This book takes a fresh, innovative approach to the traditional how-to manual through insider insights, research-based evidence, and interactive training tools to turn practical advice into practiced habits.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t

Author: James C. Collins

“How can good companies, mediocre companies, and even bad companies achieve greatness?” In this book, James Collins reveals the answer to what makes a company shift from “good” to “great.” Readers will gain insight from his five-year study on the key determinants of greatness, including leadership skills required to achieve success.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

Author: Simon Sinek

Why are some people and organizations more innovative and profitable than others? Why do some earn greater loyalty from customers and employees? According to Simon Sinek, many successful leaders start with the "why." People won't truly buy into an idea unless they understand the "why" behind it. Learn more from this accomplished author and TED Talk speaker in his novel.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


thee women meet for employee book club

Best Books for Motivation and Success

The Power of Moments

Authors: Chip Heath, Dan Heath

Why do certain experiences in our lives jolt us, elevate us, and change us? In this book, you'll learn that most memorable moments are dominated by four things: Elevation, Insight, Pride, and Connection. If we embrace these things, we can create more moments that matter. Read this book to discover how to create richer experiences in your life instead of leaving them to chance or luck!

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Stop Overthinking: 23 Techniques to Relieve Stress, Stop Negative Spirals, Declutter Your Mind, and Focus on the Present

Author: Nick Trenton

Overthinking is the biggest cause of unhappiness. It's time to stop getting stuck in a never-ending thought loop! This book will give you proven techniques to help you rewire your brain, control your thoughts, and change your mental habits. You'll learn how to become aware of negative thoughts, recognize inner anxieties, avoid self-deprecating talk, and more to help you unleash your potential.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

Author: Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW

Every day, we experience uncertainty, risks, and emotional exposure, all of which define what it means to be vulnerable or to dare greatly. Brené Brown dispels the cultural myth that vulnerability is weakness and argues that it is, in truth, our most accurate measure of courage.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life... and Maybe the World

Author: Admiral William H. McRaven

"If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed."  In his book, Admiral William H. McRaven shares the ten principles he learned during Navy Seal training that helped him overcome many challenges, not just in his training but also in his life. You'll read practical advice and words of encouragement to inspire you to achieve more, even in life's darkest moments.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

Seek inspiration. Embrace curiosity. Tackle what you love most and face the things you fear. These are the principles that Elizabeth Gilbert writes about in her book. Inside, you’ll learn the attitudes, approaches, and habits you’ll need to have to live your most creative life. This book is ideal for anyone looking to infuse mindfulness and passion into their life!

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Dare to Lead

Author: Brené Brown

What does leadership mean to you? Brené Brown argues that leadership is not about titles, status and power over people. Rather, it is about holding yourself accountable for recognizing and developing the potential you see in people and ideas. Check out this book if you want to learn how to lead, choose courage and make a difference.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


man reads a book with a red cover

Best Books on Critical Thinking

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High

Authors: Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, Al Switzler, Stephen R. Covey

“When stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong, you have three choices: Avoid a crucial conversation and suffer the consequences; handle the conversation badly and suffer the consequences, or read Crucial Conversations and discover how to communicate best when it matters most.” Gain the tools you need to step up to life's sticky situations, say what’s on your mind and achieve the positive resolutions you can be proud of.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Surrounded by Idiots

Author: Thomas Erikson

Have you ever felt like you're "surrounded by idiots?" In this best-seller, you'll find a simple, yet ground-breaking method for better understanding the personalities of the people you communicate with. You'll discover four personality types (Red, Blue, Green, and Yellow) and learn how to adjust the way you speak and share information to ensure everyone's success. It's a win-win!

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones

Author: James Clear

"Tiny changes, remarkable results!" If you're someone who wants to improve every day, this book is for you. You'll discover practical strategies for forming good habits, breaking bad ones, and mastering small behaviors that lead to remarkable results. Learn how to change bad habits through psychology and neuroscience with this easy-to-understand guide to designing your environment for success.

➔ Get it on Amazon.

download pc/nametag's ebook - 5 strategies every project manager should know


Thinking, Fast and Slow

Author: Daniel Kahneman

There are two systems that drive the way we think. The first system is fast, intuitive, and emotional, while the second system is slower, more deliberative, and more logical. Join world-famous psychologist Daniel Kahneman as he offers advice on thinking slowly and guarding against the “mental glitches” that can get us into a bind down the road.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy

Author: Jon Gordon 

According to Jon Gordon, there are ten secrets to approaching life and working in ways that lead to true accomplishment. An enlightening and inspiring ride, this book provides an engaging story that teaches readers how to overcome adversity and bring out the best in themselves and their teams.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World

Author: Adam Grant

“How can we originate new ideas, policies, and practices without risking it all?” This book uses intriguing studies and stories to illustrate how to recognize a good idea. Find insight on how to speak up without getting silenced, while also building a coalition of allies, choosing the right time to act, and managing any fear and doubt.

➔ Get it on Amazon

a group of employees discuss a professional development book

Top Sales and Marketing Strategy Books

Building a Story Brand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen

Author: Donald Miller

In this New York Times best-seller, you’ll discover strategies to dramatically improve how to connect with customers and grow your business. Inside, you’ll learn the real reason customers make purchases; how to simplify branding choices so people understand them; and how to create the most effective messaging for websites, brochures, and social media.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


The 1-Page Marketing Plan: Get New Customers, Make More Money, and Stand Out from the Crowd

Author: Allan Dib

Successful businesses aren't built on random acts of marketing. They follow a reliable plan for rapid growth. Does creating a marketing plan sound too difficult or time-consuming? If so, this book is for you. Discover how to create a 1-page, nine-square marketing plan that's fast and simple—no matter your skill level. Personalize your strategy, gain customers, close sales, and achieve big results!

➔ Get it on Amazon.


InstaBrain: The New Rules of Marketing to Generation Z

Author: Sarah Weise

Does your marketing plan include Generation Z (born 1997 to 2012)? If not, you're missing massive revenue potential! This book will teach you cutting-edge rules for marketing and brand-building, especially for this youth generation. You'll learn the following: Where do they go for different types of content? What engages them? How do they make buying decisions? What keeps them coming back?

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Friction: Passion Brands in the Age of Disruption

Author: Jeff Rosenblum

Want to learn how to create a “passion brand?” Friction argues that brands don’t just need clever messages or new, shiny technologies; they need a fundamental change in strategy. You’ll gain insight on how to embrace transparency, engage your audience, create brand ambassadors, and unleash the potential for rapid organizational growth.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Influencer: Building Your Personal Brand in the Age of Social Media

Author: Brittany Hennessy

Every social media influencer starts with zero followers. So, what's the secret to building a dedicated following? Social media strategist, Brittany Hennessy, shares how she's seen the role of influencers evolve and expand through the years. Read her insight on how to build an audience, keep them engaged, pitch your brand, and monetize your influence.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


They Ask, You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today's Digital Consumer

Author: Marcus Sheridan

Content marketing is no longer about keyword-stuffing and link-building; it’s about creating high-quality content that answers your customers’ most pressing questions. But where, exactly, should content writers start? This playfully written book explains how to structure an effective content strategy that will revolutionize your marketing plan.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


The Content Trap: A Strategist's Guide to Digital Change

Author: Bharat Anand

Companies everywhere face two major challenges today: getting noticed and getting paid. To confront these obstacles, this book covers how to use content to enable connections with customers. You’ll gain an innovative approach to digital transformation at your organization, and how it can be used to create meaningful connections with stakeholders.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Author: Malcolm Gladwell

There's a science behind viral trends in business, marketing, and human behavior. The "tipping point" is that magic moment when idea, a trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold. This is when ideas spread like wildfire.This widely acclaimed bestseller covers the tipping point phenomenon to help business and marketing professionals rethink how they sell products and disseminate ideas.

➔ Get it on Amazon.

Surefire Marketing Tactics Any Team Can Use - Download

 

Best Books on Diversity and Inclusion

How to Be an Inclusive Leader: Your Role in Creating Cultures of Belonging Where Everyone Can Thrive

Author: Jennifer Brown

Creating an inclusive workplace is a crucial element of fostering higher employee engagement, performance, and profits. But the reality is that many people still feel unable to bring their true selves to work. Choose this book to understand how to boost self-awareness, take action and support inclusion in your workplace.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People

Authors: Mahzarin R. Banaji and Anthony G. Greenwald

We all carry biases from exposure to cultural attitudes about age, gender, race, ethnicity, religion, social class, sexuality, disability status, and nationality. In this book, you’ll learn how to recognize hidden biases you may have, gain awareness and adapt any beliefs and behaviors to remain as fair as possible to the people around you.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


We Can't Talk about That at Work!

Author: Mary-Frances Winters

Even with the best of intentions, you can't just start talking about taboo topics. Follow the exercises and tools in this book to help yourself become more aware of how your cultural background shapes your perceptions and habits. You’ll come away with a better understanding of how people from other cultures may differ from you, particularly when it comes to communicating and handling conflict.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Inclusify: The Power of Uniqueness and Belonging to Build Innovative Teams

Author: Stefanie K. Johnson

Humans have two basic desires: to stand out and to fit in. Many companies respond by creating groups where everyone fits in and no one stands out, or where everyone stands out and no one fits in. How can leadership teams find that happy medium where employees can demonstrate their individuality while also feeling they belong? Find out in this book.


download the event professional's diversity, equity, and inclusion handbook from pc/nametag

Better Allies: Everyday Actions to Create Inclusive, Engaging Workplaces

Author: Karen Catlin

Are you looking to build a workplace culture where people from different backgrounds, races, genders, sexual orientations, identities, ages, and abilities are successful? Karen Catlin says the secret to creating a supportive workplace is through active allyship. Teach yourself how to spot situations where you can create a more inclusive culture, along with straightforward steps to take and changes to make.


The Leader's Guide to Unconscious Bias

Author: Mark Murphy

Want to learn more about the definitions, concepts, and neuroscience behind unconscious biases? This book teaches readers how experiences can shape who we are and impact how we view the world—leading to unconscious bias. Discover a four-part framework on how to recognize bias and mitigate biased thinking.


Good Guys: How Men Can Be Better Allies for Women in the Workplace

Author: W. Brad Johnson

According to gender-in-the-workplace experts David G. Smith and W. Brad Johnson, men play a crucial role in promoting gender equality at work. Discover a practical, research-based guide on how men can partner with female colleagues to advance women's leadership, break down gender stereotypes, overcome conscious biases, and create productive working relationships with women.


download the checklist for 40 ways to support diversity and inclusion at events

Best Books on Self-esteem and Self-care

Good Vibes, Good Life: How Self-Love Is the Key to Unlocking Your Greatness

Author: Vex King

Want to learn how to practice self-care, overcome toxic energy, and prioritize your well-being? This book covers this and more, including how to cultivate positive lifestyle habits, mindfulness, and meditation. You'll also learn how to overcome fear, achieve your goals, and find a higher purpose.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle

Authors: Emily Nagoski, PHD, and Amelia Nagoski, DMA

Burnout. Many women in America have experienced it. What’s expected of women and what it’s really like to be a woman in today’s world are two very different things—and women exhaust themselves trying to close the gap. This groundbreaking book explains why women experience burnout differently than men and provides a simple, science-based plan to help women minimize stress, manage emotions, and live a more joyful life.

➔ Get it on Amazon.

Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before?

Author: Dr. Julie Smith

Get ready for juicy secrets from a therapist's toolkit! "Why Has Nobody Told Me This Before" teaches readers how to strengthen and maintain their mental health, even in difficult times. You'll gain powerful coping techniques that you can use to stay resilient. Whether you want to manage anxiety, manage criticism, cope with depression, build self-confidence or learn to forgive yourself, this book is for you.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think

Author: Brianna Wiest

This global bestseller and social media phenomenon is a collection of author Brianna Wiest's most beloved pieces of writing. You'll learn why you should pursue purpose over passion, embrace negative thinking, see the wisdom in daily routine, and become aware of the cognitive biases that are creating the way you see your life. Each essay will leave you thinking "This idea changed my life."
➔ Get it on Amazon.


Do Hard Things: Why We Get Resilience Wrong and the Surprising Science of Real Toughness

Author: Steve Magness

According to Steve Megness, we need to rethink how we perceive toughness. "Toughness" should no longer be seen as the key to overcoming challenges and achieving greatness. Instead, we must rebuild our broken model of resilience through science and psychology. Discover how to work with your body to pay attention and create space for thoughtful action—the true signs of inner strength!

➔ Get it on Amazon.

Practicing Mindfulness: 75 Essential Meditations to Reduce Stress, Improve Mental Health, and Find Peace in the Everyday

Author: Matthew Sockolov

Life moves fast, making it easy to get overwhelmed. Mindfulness exercises and meditations can help you live a more relaxed, meaningful life each day. This book covers 75 essential meditations you can use to make mindfulness easy and approachable. Each exercise takes anywhere from five to twenty minutes—perfect for a workday break!

➔ Get it on Amazon.

Rewire Your Anxious Brain: How to Use the Neuroscience of Fear to End Anxiety, Panic, and Worry

Authors: Catherine M. Pittman and Elizabeth M. Karle

Have you ever wondered what is happening inside your brain when you feel anxious, panicked or worried? Psychologist Catherine Pittman and author Elizabeth Karle explain the science behind emotion in this unique, evidence-based solution to overcoming anxiety. Learn how to empower yourself to cope with and overcome anxiety.

➔ Get it on Amazon.

The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Author: Brené Brown

Everyone has days where they feel unworthy or 'down in the dumps.' However, there is more to you than you know. This best-selling book focuses on well-being, self-acceptance, and self-transformation. You'll find strategies to help you accept and embrace an ‘imperfect’ life in the best possible way.

➔ Get it on Amazon.


The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times

Author: Michelle Obama

While there may not be "tidy" answers to life's big challenges, Michelle Obama believes we can all lean on a set of tools to help us better navigate change. How do we build enduring relationships? How can we discover strength in differences? How can we address feelings of self-doubt? Read fresh stories and insights that will illuminate your potential.
➔ Get it on Amazon.


woman sits outside drinking coffee and reading a professional development book

Which professional development books do you recommend?

Which of these book suggestions sounds most intriguing to you? What other books have you read that you’d recommend we add to this list? Leave a comment below with your suggestions and how you enjoyed ours. Chances are if the book was useful to you, it will be useful to other readers as well!

Before you go, did you know that pc/nametag creates new content weekly and monthly? Our free tools and resources page contains a list of resources that our readers have loved within the past year. Learn about the latest industry trends, get access to tips and tricks for the busy business professional, and explore an array of topics ranging from employee engagement to meeting planning.


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