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Top 10 Leadership and Self-Care Books for 2017

Updated: Oct 4, 2019

So often I’m asked in my leadership classes about what books I recommend. I love reading books in the leadership field, but I also enjoy reading books that are a little more in the self-help realm. To be successful in leadership, we need to be healthy and whole ourselves first. So the books I’m recommending are a combination of topics, from leadership to spiritual to fiction and even eating healthy– all of which impact your leadership!

Since there are so many books I’ve loved, I decided to list the ones that just popped into my mind right now, some that I’ve read many years ago and probably picked up and read many times since. Some that I just recently read and really enjoyed. So yes, there are some really great ones that are not on this list, but these are my favorites today!

  1. The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz This book might be my top favorite of all time, so far. For me, it shifted my thoughts and beliefs and changed my life. It played a big role in improving my relationship with my late father. I read this book back in 2000, and have since gone on multiple retreats and apprenticed with Don Miguel Ruiz. He is a dear friend and a beautiful soul, and continues to inspire me.

  2. The Only Little Prayer You Need: The Shortest Route to a Life of Joy, Abundance, and Peace of Mindby Debrah L Englert This is my favorite recent spiritual/self-help book. I read it last year. I almost didn’t read it because of the title, because I didn’t think it was going to be practical. It is amazing, and simple, and fun to read! It shifted my thoughts and beliefs even further.

  3. The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Really Areby Brené Brown This book delves into shame and the impact it has on us, and how sharing vulnerabilities not only benefits ourselves, but helps those with whom we interact. Another great book that spoke to me at my core. I also highly recommend her TED Talks.

  4. The Shack: Where Tragedy Confronts Eternity by William P. Young I read this book back in 2010. It was recommended to me by Ken Blanchard. Ken said it was his favorite spiritual book. Of course this intrigued me so I had to read it. Wow. I think I gave that book to more people than any other (besides The Four Agreements). I haven’t seen the newly released movie yet. I hope they did it justice!

  5. Wired to Resist: The Brain Science of Why Change Fails and a New Model for Driving Success by Britt Andreatta I just read this book. Ms. Andreatta spoke at a conference I attended. The book really delves into the process of change in a way I hadn’t quite articulated! Everything she said resonated with me. I really appreciate her approach. Anyone in leadership should read this book!

  6. Transformational Speaking: If You Want to Change the World, Tell a Better Story by Gail Larson I’ve been reading this book in preparation for a speaking retreat I am participating in. We will be immersed for four days to learn how to deliver a transformational message. I love the book. Ms. Larson’s philosophy on speaking definitely aligns with mine. I knew she was the teacher I needed for the next step in my journey.

  7. Whale Done!: The Power of Positive Relationships by Ken Blanchard It’s been so long since I first read this book I can’t tell you the year (maybe 18 years ago). Ken Blanchard’s books are great. Always a story you can relate to, leaving you truly inspired to take action.

  8. Harvests of Joy: How the Good Life Became Great Business by Robert Mondavi My first trip to Napa about 6 years ago took me to the Mondavi winery and I had a wonderful tour with Inger. Inger’s story of Mondavi and his vision for Napa with all the trials and tribulations was a perfect example of what I taught in my leadership classes.  When I read the copy of Harvests of Joy that Inger gave me, I was blown away at how the story almost exactly mirrored the flow of the class: getting a group of people to a desired outcome, starting with a compelling vision, then aligning the team, and championing execution!

  9. The Seat of the Soul by Gary Zukav I only recommend this book to those who are open to going much deeper on a spiritual level. I read this book in 2000 and it opened my eyes to possibilities I hadn’t ever considered. It has inspired me to live happily and give generously.

  10. Crazy Sexy Diet: Eat Your Veggies, Ignite Your Spark, and Live Like You Mean It! by Kris Carr I participated in Kris Carr’s Crazy Sexy You Cleanse 21-day online class in September 2016. She is simply amazing. There are so many people who have influenced me with healthy eating but something in her message really connected with me. When my father was diagnosed with cancer in 2011, I, along with a few of my siblings, looked frantically for something to help him heal. It didn’t work out for my dad; we couldn’t find a good solution for him at the time. But he’s inspired me to keep pursuing a healthy diet and healthy life. When I eat clean, my mind is better, my body is better, and I really think my spirit is better!

I hope you enjoy this list and find it useful for your leadership! I’d be happy to recommend others for anyone who’s looking for something that might help you overcome a specific obstacle. Have you read any of these books? I’d love to know your thoughts in the comments! Please also feel free to offer other suggestions!

Cheers, Laurie

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