7 min read
With all of our modern technology, the written word remains the best source of learning and information. Reading is an excellent way to learn new skills, challenge your brain to think in new ways, see from new perspectives, and relax. Reading can also reduce stress by up to 68%! As every business leader knows stress management is essential to surviving and thriving in the role of CEO.
A survey from Becoming Your Best Global Leadership showed that successful business leaders read at least one book per month. So, we've rounded up a list of 12 highly relevant and celebrated books for CEOs and business leaders to read each month in 2024.
12 CEO Book Recommendations for Business Leaders to Read This Year
1. CEO Excellence: The Six Mindsets That Distinguish the Best Leaders From the Rest by Carolyn Dewar, Scott Keller, and Vikram Malhotra
Written by senior partners at one of the world's most influential management consulting firms, McKinsey & Company, this book achieved bestseller status on both the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal lists. The authors packed the book with revelatory interviews and insights into how some of the most celebrated CEOs do their jobs.
CEO Excellence reveals six successful mindsets and actions of the best CEOs, practical leadership and organization advice, stakeholder strategies, leadership development, and best practices for establishing organizational alignment.
2. Outsource Smart: Be Your Own Boss...Without Letting Your Business Become the Boss of You by Daven Michaels
A New York Times and Los Angeles Times Bestseller, Outsource Smart is filled with insights and guidance for leveraging outsourcing to put your business on autopilot so that business leaders can free up their time to do more of what they love (while also focusing on higher-value tasks in their businesses). The book reveals an efficient system for improving productivity and problem-solving while teaching readers how to choose, use, and manage outsourced business service providers.
3. The Diary of a CEO: The 33 Laws of Business and Life by Steven Bartlett
From the host of the popular business podcast, The Diary of a CEO, Steven Bartlett's similarly titled book presents 33 laws of business and life that demonstrate how you can take an unconventional path to success and power. In the book, you'll learn principles for achieving excellence in both life and business, valuable insights into behavior and psychology, and a recipe for Bartlett's secret sauce to success.
4. Sticking Points: How to Get 5 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They Come Apart by Haydn Shaw, Forwarded by Stephen M. R. Covey
For any CEO managing employees of all ages in all stages of their professional careers, Sticking Points is an essential, invaluable read that will help you understand the challenges that generational workplaces can create and the trick to successfully managing a workplace occupied by Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Millennials, and Gen Z. This book will help you better understand and identify the 12 places where relationships between these generations fall apart and how to help them work and stick together.
5. The First-Time Manager by Jim McCormick
If you're new to management or a seasoned manager who feels like you might have missed out on learning some essential management skills and principles, then The First Time Manager is for you. More than 500,000 copies of this book have been sold over four decades, and the latest edition includes updated information to help new managers improve their skills in the modern workplace using technology and managing across generations.
The book includes useful advice and instructions designed to teach you how to lead meetings, hire employees, motivate staff, listen actively, stay calm under pressure, and overcome resistance.
6. Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want From Your Business by Gino Wickman and Mark C. Winters
From the bestselling author of Traction, Rocket Fuel examines how the partnership between visionaries and integrators is essential to transforming great ideas into excellent action plans in business.
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7. A CEO Only Does Three Things: Finding Your Focus in the C-Suite by Trey Taylor
For many business leaders, progressing from a business owner who manages every aspect of a business to a CEO who is responsible for leading the business can be a challenge. The goal of A CEO Only Does Three Things is to help CEOs successfully delegate the majority of tasks to identify their true role in a business by narrowing their focus to the essential pillars of business (culture, people, and numbers).
8. The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever by Michael Stanier Bungay
In The Coaching Habit, Bungay draws on years of experience, training more than 10,000 managers around the world in the art of coaching. The book delves into seven essential coaching questions and how managers can ask these questions to say less and unlock the power of the teams.
9. The CEO Test: Master the Challenges That Make or Break All Leaders by Adam Bryant and Kevin Sharer
Any CEO can tell you that it's lonely at the top. It can also be stressful under the weight of a CEO's responsibility. CEOs are subject to harsh criticism, second-guessing, and relentless pressure. They have a grueling schedule and a workday that never really ends. CEOs must make difficult decisions and dare to disappoint people they care about.
The CEO Test examines the challenges and difficulties of the top job while also providing guidance for navigating the most difficult aspects of leadership.
10. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
This New York Times Bestseller has been referred to as, "A timely, essential read for anyone who feels overcommitted, overloaded, or overworked." We think that sounds like just about every CEO in the history of business ever.
Essentialism offers a minimalist approach to time, attention, and energy - rather than focusing on things. The book presents a new strategy for managing time and improving productivity, while also providing a systematic discipline designed to help you identify what is essential and eliminate everything else. This strategy is intended to help readers take control of their lives and the choices they make about spending their time to help them make more valuable contributions to the things that really matter.
11. The Chief Executive Operating System: The Essential Playbook for Success in the CEO Role by Joel Trammell and Sherif Sakr
The Chief Executive Operating System provides a unique operating strategy for CEOs by highlighting the differences between CEO roles and other management positions and the skills needed to tackle each job's responsibilities effectively. It provides a guide to being a successful CEO and fostering organization-wide excellence from the top down.
12. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni
A New York Times Bestseller, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team provides valuable lessons in management through the lens of a leadership fable. The book tells the story of Kathryn Petersen, the new CEO of a troubled company called DecisionTech. It's the perfect "business leadership handbook" for any reader who would rather spend their time between the pages immersed in a fictional story, instead of nonfiction lists and rules.
Hone Your Leadership Skills and Business Acumen to Become a Better CEO
Along with making a habit of reading regularly, you can improve your leadership skills and sharpen your business acumen by getting to know your business's numbers. With a solid back office designed to nurture workplace culture and support leadership decisions, you can become a CEO who pairs excellent instincts with financial data to make savvy decisions that will lead your business to a more successful future.