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Leadership Professional Development

50+ Best Professional Development Books for Book Club in 2024

By Meaghan Maybee on December 11, 2023

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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 bookworms and reading enthusiasts! Want to grow in your career, improve your professionalism, and kickstart your development goals? Here's a list of the best professional development books for 2024 book club. Get ready, because you're about to wow your boss. 🔥

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Professional Books Categories 📘:

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Best Business Leadership Books

Looking for books to read about leadership? The following list is a great place to start. I've compiled a collection of my favorite best-sellers to help you find a great fit for your leadership style. 


1. Spark: How to Lead Yourself and Others to Greater Success

Authors: Angie Morgan, Courtney Lynch, Sean Lynch

Are you a "spark?" These people are catalysts for personal and organizational change. If you're looking for a good book about leadership, check out this book's seven key leadership behaviors to help you become the best "spark" you can be. Anyone can create positive change—will it be you?

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

Author: Adam Grant

What if intelligence isn't about learning, but instead 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 and maintain mental flexibility.

3. The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups

Author: Daniel Coyle

Culture is not something you are; it’s something you do. 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 leadership book will help you create environments where people can innovate and problem-solve effectively.

4. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

Author: Patrick Lencioni

Become an exceptional leader by learning the five dysfunctions of why teams struggle, and what you can do to overcome common hurdles. After reading, you'll know how to build a more effective team and understand that leadership requires just as much courage as it does insight. 

5. 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? Do popular movies, songs, and mobile apps really "go viral?" Discover the hidden psychology of why we like what we like and how cultural markets shape our lives.

6. 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, 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.

7. 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 truly 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.


8. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action 

Author: Simon Sinek 

Why are some people and organizations more innovative, influential, and profitable than others? Why do some have greater customer loyalty and employee dedication? Simon Sinek says to start with the "why." Learn how to understand the why behind your products, services, movements, and big ideas. until they understand the WHY behind it. 


9. Business Made Simple: 60 Days to Master Leadership, Sales, Marketing, Execution, Management, Personal Productivity, and More

Author: Donald Miller

Want to gain a clear understanding of how business works? These 60 daily readings are designed to help business owners and professionals take their careers to the next level. From boosting personal productivity boosting sales, supporting marketing, and refining your messaging, the ideas in this book will help you improve your career earnings and create a profitable company.


10. Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter

Author: Liz Wiseman

Why do some leaders drain capability and intelligence from their teams, while others amplify it? The first type depletes energy, talent, and commitment. The other celebrates idea-sharing and problem-solving. Discover how to get more done with fewer resources while attracting talent, cultivating new ideas, and driving innovation at your organization.

woman reads a book in bed

Top Leadership Development Books

11. 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.


12. The Chutzpah Advantage: Go Bigger. Be Bolder. Do Better.

Author: Mason Harris

Do you have "chutzpah?" Chutzpah can be a hidden talent for many. In this book, Mason Harris covers eight key characteristics for personal and professional success. Drawing from diverse real-life examples, Harris offers practical applications and entertaining anecdotes on living a more fulfilling life.

13. 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 for people who want to create a productive work environment where their team members can thrive.

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

Author: Karissa Thacker

According to Karissa Thacker, everyone brings different sides of themselves to various situations. She teaches readers how to increase effectiveness by presenting the most appropriate side of yourself in 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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15. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Author: Stephen R. Covey

Every person has habits. Some are positive, some are negative, and some have little impact on your daily life. In this book, Covey teaches how to eliminate bad habits, while also building upon the good ones. This book is for you if you want to learn how to sharpen your most productive habits.

16. 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 toward greater results. Inside, you'll find a fresh, innovative approach, plus plenty of insider insights, research-based evidence, and interactive training tools for creating practiced habits.

17. 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 the leadership skills required to achieve success.


18. The Wisdom of the Bullfrog: Leadership Made Simple

Author: Admiral William H. McRaven

The Wisdom of the Bullfrog covers stories and learnings from Admiral McRaven’s incredible life and forty years of service. You'll learn how to approach crises, management debates, organizational transitions, ethical dilemmas, and more. Discover the qualities you need to become a great leader.

thee women meet for employee book club

Best Books for Motivation and Success

19. 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 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.


20. 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.

21. 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.

22. 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 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.

23. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

Living "beyond fear" involves seeking inspiration, embracing curiosity, and tackling what you love most and facing the things you fear. Elizabeth Gilbert teaches us 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.

24. 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.

man reads a book with a red cover

Best Critical Thinking Books

25. 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, it can be easy to avoid crucial conversations and suffer the consequences. Instead, discover how to best communicate in life's sticky situations. Say what’s on your mind and achieve positive resolutions you can be proud of.

26. 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.

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

Author: James Clear

Tiny changes can lead to remarkable results! If you want to improve a little bit 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 big results. This easy-to-understand guide uses psychology and neuroscience to help readers design their environment for success.

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28. Thinking, Fast and Slow

Author: Daniel Kahneman

There are two ways in which we think. Sometimes, we think quickly, intuitively, and emotionally. Other times, we think slower, more logically, and deliberatively. 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.

29. 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.

30. 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.

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Sales and Marketing Strategy Books

31. 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 how to simplify branding choices so people understand them and create effective messaging for websites, brochures, and social media.


32. 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. Instead, they follow a reliable plan for rapid growth. If creating a marketing plan sounds too difficult or time-consuming, try reading this book. You'll learn 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.

33. InstaBrain: The New Rules of Marketing to Generation Z

Author: Sarah Weise

Does your marketing plan include Generation Z (b. 1997 to 2012)? If not, you're missing massive revenue potential! This book will teach you cutting-edge rules for marketing and brand-building for Gen Z. 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?

34. Friction: Passion Brands in the Age of Disruption

Author: Jeff Rosenblum

Brands don’t just need clever messages or new, shiny technologies to create a "passion brand." Instead, they need a fundamental change in strategy. Here's how to embrace transparency, engage your audience, create brand ambassadors, and unleash the potential for rapid brand growth.


35. 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.

36. 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 easy-to-consume book explains how to structure an effective content strategy that will revolutionize your marketing plan.

37. 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.

38. 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 an idea, 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.

Surefire Marketing Tactics Any Team Can Use - Download


Best Books on Diversity and Inclusion

39. 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 crucial to 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 and support DE&I inclusion in your workplace.

40. 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.

41. We Can't Talk about That at Work!

Author: Mary-Frances Winters

When it comes to "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.

42. 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

43. 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.

44. 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.

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

Author: 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.

FREE CHECKLIST! 50+ Inclusive Event Ideas   Make every attendee feel welcome at your events with dozens of tips and strategies.  

Self-esteem and Self-care Books

46. 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.


47. 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 like to be a woman are two very different things—and women exhaust themselves trying to close the gap. This book explains why women experience burnout differently than men and provides a simple, science-based plan to help minimize stress, manage emotions, and live a more joyful life.


48. 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, manage anxiety criticism, cope with depression, build self-confidence, or learn to forgive yourself.

49. 101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think

Author: Brianna Wiest

This global best-seller includes 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."

50. 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!

51. 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!


52. 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? Learn the science behind emotion in this unique, evidence-based solution to overcoming anxiety. Learn how to empower yourself to cope with and overcome anxiety.

53. 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.

54. 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.

woman sits outside drinking coffee and reading a professional development book

Books on Professional Development

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!


Free Professional Development Resources

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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