Best Leadership Books: 5 Suggestions for Your Summer Reading

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Every year, my friend Anne picks out a few books to read during the summer when she has vacation and more time to read. Her day-to-day life is just too hectic to read as much as she would like. She asked me one day what she should read this summer. Here are my answers.

  1. Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey
  2. Getting Things Done Together, by David Allen
  3. The Right Kind of Wrong, by Amy Edmondson
  4. Power Barometer: Manage Personal Energy for Business Success, by Josefine Campbell
  5. Dare to Lead, by Brené Brown

The 5 suggestions for your summer reading

1) Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
Although first published in 1989, Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People remains a timeless classic in the realm of personal leadership. One of the standout concepts from the book is the “circle of influence,” which is particularly helpful for individuals early in their careers or those working in large organizations. This principle helps readers find the right focus and maintain peace amidst chaos by concentrating on what they can control rather than what they cannot. So they can stop being frustrated over things that they cannot influence. I often see participants in my workshops have ‘aha’ moments when they realize how much energy they’ve been wasting on things outside their control. It’s a game-changer for finding focus and tranquility in the whirlwind of corporate life. Learn more about Stephen Covey and his work here.

2) Getting Things Done Together by David Allen
Building on his earlier work, David Allen’s Getting Things Done Together offer a methodology that helps teams achieve the clarity needed to navigate their goals effectively. As the pace of change continues to accelerate, being organized and aligned on tasks is more crucial than ever for performance, engagement, and well-being. Allen’s process emphasizes that clarity is key. Actually, he uses a metaphor from martial art, clear like water that has been a great inspiraton for me. Just like myself he has practiced Japaneese martial arts. I always say that clarity is key, and I’ve seen firsthand how implementing Allen’s processes in team settings can transform chaos into streamlined productivity. Discover more about David Allen’s methodologies.

3) The Right Kind of Wrong by Amy Edmondson
In The Right Kind of Wrong, Amy Edmondson delves into the challenging yet essential topic of dealing with errors in leadership. This book follows her acclaimed work, Fearless Organizations, which brought the concept of psychological safety to most P&C departments in multinational corporations. Edmondson’s new book continues this discussion, providing a scientific and well-explained exploration of how leaders can handle failures constructively. The high demand for this topic is evident in leadership development workshops where failure management is often a hot topic. Just recently, during a workshop, a leader confided in me about the relief they felt after creating a safe space for their team to openly discuss and learn from mistakes. It’s amazing to see the shift in dynamics and performance when failure is addressed constructively. Learn more about Amy Edmondson and her work.

4) Power Barometer: Manage Personal Energy for Business Success by Josefine Campbell
In my book, Power Barometer: Manage Personal Energy for Business Success, I address a perspective often missing in leadership literature. Beyond techniques, processes, and behaviors, my book explores what occurs within individuals during challenging situations at work, whether leading or collaborating. The Awareness Matrix helps readers navigate these internal mechanisms, allowing you to see situations and people in a new light and address issues more effectively. Managing personal energy for business success, is just one of the many takeaways from this book. I’ve seen leaders transform their approach and outcomes by simply becoming more aware of their internal states and learning to manage their energy effectively. The feedback from my readers and workshop participants has been incredibly rewarding. Explore more about my work here.

5) Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
Brené Brown’s Dare to Lead has revolutionized leadership literature by emphasizing the importance of embracing all emotions in leadership, including those often perceived as weaknesses. This brave and influential book encourages leaders to be vulnerable and authentic, which has significantly impacted leadership development practices worldwide. Brown’s insights help leaders foster a more inclusive and empathetic approach to leadership. In my workshops, I’ve noticed how leaders who embrace Brown’s principles create environments where team members feel valued and motivated to contribute their best. Find out more about Brené Brown and her insights.

So, what should you read this summer?

These five books offer a wealth of knowledge and insights for anyone looking to enhance their leadership skills. From timeless classics to fresh perspectives, each book provides unique lessons that can be applied in various aspects of leadership. Just like Anne, who finds the summer a perfect time to catch up on reading, take this opportunity to delve into these books and discover new strategies to become a more effective and inspiring leader. I also love to use the free moments during the summer holidays to broaden my horizons.

If you want to leap your leadership development after the summer. Maybe you should consider coaching. Reach out at, hello@josefinecampbell.com, +45 26361199 or take a closer look at the coaching page. 

And remember that we help people in multinational companies to handle challenges in a meaningful way and take business to the next level. If you would like to be updated with new articles and videos, sign up for our mailing list. Your mail is not shared with anyone and there are advantages to being on the list e.g., getting the first chapter of my book, Power Barometer – How to Manage Personal Energy for Business Success.

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