This has been an amazing year for books of all kinds. Leadership books, in particular, have really flourished in 2022. And yet with so many great titles, where do you start?
At the Next Big Idea Club, we crunched the numbers to determine the leadership books that were loved most by our tens of thousands of app users. (Our curators Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Daniel Pink, and Adam Grant only pick each season’s two official selections.) So if you’re ready to become an even smarter, more strategic leader in 2023, check out these 20 books below.
Download the Next Big Idea App for “Book Bite” summaries of hundreds of new nonfiction books like these—all prepared and read by the authors themselves.
20. The Smart Mission: NASA’s Lessons for Managing Knowledge, People, and Projects
By Edward J. Hoffman, Matthew Kohut, and Laurence Prusak
This paradigm-shifting book—by three project management experts, all of whom have decades of experience at NASA and elsewhere—challenges the conventional wisdom on project management, focusing on the human dimension: learning, collaboration, teaming, communication, and culture. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by co-author Edward J. Hoffman, in the Next Big Idea App
19. Global Class: How the World’s Fastest-Growing Companies Scale Globally by Focusing Locally
By Aaron McDaniel and Klaus Wehage
From market entry to international growth, Global Class introduces a comprehensive tool kit of practical frameworks that provide a blueprint for how to build and manage a global business. It’s the essential playbook for reaching global scale for businesses of all sizes and stages. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by co-authors Aaron McDaniel and Klaus Wehage, in the Next Big Idea App
18. Inclusion on Purpose: An Intersectional Approach to Creating a Culture of Belonging at Work
By Ruchika Tulshyan
And eye-opening look at how organizations can foster diversity, equity, and inclusion, taking action to address and prevent workplace bias while centering women of color. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Ruchika Tulshyan, in the Next Big Idea App
17. The Voltage Effect: How to Make Good Ideas Great and Great Ideas Scale
By John A. List
Drawing on his original research, as well as fascinating examples from business, policymaking, education, and public health, a University of Chicago economist identifies five measurable vital signs that a scalable idea must possess, and offers proven strategies for avoiding voltage drops and engineering voltage gains. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author John A. List, in the Next Big Idea App
16. The Suite Spot: Reaching, Leading and Delivering the C-Suite
By John Jeffcock
The Suite Spot provides unique guidance on how to break into the C-Suite, and then how to be successful in the space through a unique combination of models, case studies, tables, and images that illustrate the key points in a practical and meaningful way. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author John Jeffcock, in the Next Big Idea App
15. Business Ethics: What Everyone Needs to Know
By J.S. Nelson and Lynn A. Stout
Written for both businesspeople facing real-life dilemmas and students studying ethical questions, this succinct book uniquely surveys materials from moral philosophy, behavioral science, and corporate law, and shares practical advice. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by co-author J.S. Nelson, in the Next Big Idea App
14. Tomorrow’s Capitalist: My Search for the Soul of Business
By Alan Murray
Tomorrow’s Capitalist reveals how corporate CEOs—the ultimate pragmatists—realized that they could lose their “operating license” unless they tackle the fundamental issues of our time: climate, diversity and inclusion, and inequality and workforce opportunity. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Alan Murray, in the Next Big Idea App
13. Deep Purpose: The Heart and Soul of High-Performance Companies
By Ranjay Gulati
A distinguished Harvard Business School professor offers a compelling reassessment and defense of purpose as a management ethos, documenting the vast performance gains and social benefits that become possible when firms manage to get purpose right. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Ranjay Gulati, in the Next Big Idea App
12. Competing in the New World of Work: How Radical Adaptability Separates the Best from the Rest
By Keith Ferrazzi, Kian Gohar, and Noel Weyrich
A bold new vision of future business based on a global research initiative involving thousands of executives, innovators, and changemakers who redefined their strategies, business models, and organizational systems. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by co-author Keith Ferrazzi, in the Next Big Idea App
11. The Elephant and the Mouse: Moving Beyond the Illusion of Inclusion to Create a Truly Diverse and Equitable Workplace
By Laura A. Liswood
An award-winning speaker and diversity and inclusion expert delivers a thought-provoking and insightful new business guide that explores workplace diversity and offers new ideas for gaining the real benefits from your diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Laura A. Liswood, in the Next Big Idea App
10. Emotion by Design: Creative Leadership Lessons from a Life at Nike
By Greg Hoffman
A former Nike Chief Marketing Officer shares his philosophy and principles on how to create an empowering brand that resonates deeply with people by unlocking the creativity within your organization and unleashing it out into the world. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Greg Hoffman, in the Next Big Idea App
9. The Crux: How Leaders Become Strategists
By Richard P. Rumelt
Leaders become effective strategists when they focus on challenges rather than goals, pinpointing the crux of their pivotal challenge—the aspect that is both surmountable and promises the greatest progress—and taking decisive, coherent action to overcome it. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Richard P. Rumelt, in the Next Big Idea App
8. How the Future Works: Leading Flexible Teams to Do the Best Work of Their Lives
By Brian Elliott, Sheela Subramanian, and Helen Kupp
Using original research from Future Forum, a consortium by Slack, and global case studies from leading companies such as Levi Strauss & Co., Genentech, Royal Bank of Canada, and IBM, How the Future Works offers concrete solutions and practical steps for building high functioning teams of talented, engaged people by providing them with the flexibility and choice they need to do their best work. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by co-author Helen Kupp, in the Next Big Idea App
7. The New Megatrends: Seeing Clearly in the Age of Disruption
By Marian Salzman
A pioneering forecaster predicts the trends and technologies that will shape global culture and commerce in the next two decades—a must-read guide for business leaders, entrepreneurs, and anyone looking for an edge. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Marian Salzman, in the Next Big Idea App
6. Trust and Inspire: How Truly Great Leaders Unleash Greatness in Others
By Stephen M.R. Covey
People don’t want to be managed; they want to be led. Trust and Inspire is a new way of leading that starts with the belief that people are creative, collaborative, and full of potential. Indeed, people with this kind of leader are inspired to become the best version of themselves and to produce their best work. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Stephen M.R. Covey, in the Next Big Idea App
5. Smart Growth: How to Grow Your People to Grow Your Company
By Whitney Johnson
Smart Growth dives into the S Curve of Learning so that you can envision how growth happens, and direct yourself and others in your organization to create a culture that fosters it. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Whitney Johnson, in the Next Big Idea App
4. Talent: How to Identify Energizers, Creatives, and Winners Around the World
By Tyler Cowen and Daniel Gross
Identifying underrated, brilliant individuals is one of the simplest ways to give yourself an organizational edge, and this book will show you how. Talent is both for people searching for talent and for those who wish to be searched for, found, and discovered. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by co-author Tyler Cowen, in the Next Big Idea App
3. Connectable: How Leaders Can Move Teams from Isolated to All In
By Ryan Jenkins and Steven Van Cohen
Connectable shows you what’s causing today’s loneliness, the role inclusion plays in solving it, and how you can decrease loneliness and increase belonging, engagement, and performance with employees at every level―including yourself. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by co-authors Ryan Jenkins and Steven Van Cohen, in the Next Big Idea App
2. A New Way to Think: Your Guide to Superior Management Effectiveness
By Roger Martin
A renowned CEO advisor covers the entire breadth of the management landscape—illuminating the true nature of competition, explaining how company success revolves around customers, revealing how strategy and execution are really the same thing, and much more. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by author Roger Martin, in the Next Big Idea App
1. CEO Excellence: The Six Mindsets That Distinguish the Best Leaders from the Rest
By Carolyn Dewar, Scott Keller, and Vikram Malhotra
From the world’s most influential management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company, an insight-packed, revelatory look at how the best CEOs do their jobs based on extensive interviews with today’s most successful corporate leaders—including chiefs at Netflix, JPMorgan Chase, General Motors, and Sony. Listen to our Book Bite summary, read by co-author Scott Keller, in the Next Big Idea App
The Key Ideas in 15 Minutes
“If you are going to get anywhere in life, you have to read a lot of books,” Roald Dahl once famously said. The only trouble is, reading even one book from cover to cover takes hours—and you may not have many hours to spare.
But imagine for a moment: What if you could read a groundbreaking new book every day? Or even better, what if you could invite a world-renowned thinker into your earbuds, where they personally describe the 5 key takeaways from their work in just 15 minutes?
With the Next Big Idea App, we’ve turned this fantasy into a reality. We partnered with hundreds of acclaimed authors to create “Book Bites,” short audio summaries of the latest nonfiction that are prepared and read aloud by the authors themselves. Discover cutting-edge leadership skills, productivity hacks, the science of happiness and well-being, and much more—all in the time it takes to drive to work or walk the dog.
Go Deeper with a Next Big Idea Club Membership
The Next Big Idea App is free for anyone to try—and if you love it, we invite you to become an official member of the Next Big Idea Club. Membership grants you unlimited access to Book Bites and unlocks early-release, ad-free episodes of our LinkedIn-partnered podcast. You also gain entry to our private online discussion group, where you can talk big ideas with fellow club members and join exclusive live Q&A sessions with featured authors.
For a more focused learning experience, we recommend a Hardcover or eBook Membership. Every few months, legendary authors and club curators Malcolm Gladwell, Susan Cain, Adam Grant, and Daniel Pink select two new nonfiction books as the must-reads of the season. We then send hardcover copies straight to your doorstep, or eBook versions to your favorite digital device. We also collaborate with the authors of selected books to produce original reading guides and premium video e-courses, 50-minute master classes that take you step by step through their most life-changing ideas. And yes, it’s all available through the Next Big Idea App.
Learn Faster, from the World’s Leading Thinkers
Whether you prefer to read, listen, or watch, the Next Big Idea is here to help you work smarter and live better. Wake up with an always-fresh Idea of the Day, the perfect shot of inspiration to go with your morning coffee. Then dive into one of our Challenges, hand-picked collections of Book Bites that form crash courses in subjects like communication, motivation, and career acceleration. Later, watch the playback of an interview with U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Stanford psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt, or philosopher John Kaag. And be sure to check the “Events” tab in the app, so that you can join an upcoming live Q&A and personally chat with the next featured thought leader.
If you’re hoping to grow as a person or as a professional, we hope you’ll join us and tens of thousands of others who enjoy the Next Big Idea. Get started by downloading the app today!
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