How much time do you spend reading in your spare time? Does it matter? If you are a business leader, the literature you read in your free moments could make all the difference and catapult you to greater executive heights.
It has been shown time and again that the best leaders in the world are prolific readers. They immerse themselves in nonfiction, using books as a means to improve on existing skills and develop their knowledge base. In fact, 85% of successful people read two or more books per month and their preferred genre is, for obvious reasons, self-improvement. The most effective executives know that leadership development is always a priority. No matter how much you improve, there is always more to learn and more to experience.
As a business psychologist and executive coach, I have read a number of leadership books over the years and learned that some books are far more effective than others when attempting to up your leadership game. Below, I’ve listed three top books which all executives should read, each one offering unique and exciting lessons to be learned.
- The Chimp Paradox by Dr. Steve Peters
Leaders are human beings, just like everyone else. As such, we are often prey to our own emotions. It can be hard to battle what this book refers to as our “inner chimp” and to let logic prevail. This is exactly what this book, by Dr. Steve Peters, explores. With The Chimp Paradox, Peters combines the worlds of psychology and neuroscience and explains, in a compelling way, how we can recognize the inner functions of our minds so that we can stop sabotaging our own success by succumbing to our base emotions. It is only by employing this technique and keeping our inner chimp at bay that we can really excel and achieve beyond our own expectations.
- The Inner Winner: Performance Psychology Tactics That Give You an Unfair Advantage by Simon Hazeldine
From time to time, we all doubt ourselves, and this also holds true for business leaders. Leaders often have self-limiting beliefs that hold them back and impede their potential. This is something The Inner Winner addresses, using performance psychology tactics. This book works as a guide to achieving success, providing methods to cope with stress while helping leaders to focus on — and achieve — desired goals. This is a highly recommended book in terms of encouraging introspection and improving self-awareness.
3.Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
As a business leader, you will more than likely have heard about this book and seen it in your local bookshop. It is an international bestseller, inspiring countless people to analyze the way they think and examine how they make day-to-day choices — something we don’t often spend a lot of time considering. Thinking, Fast and Slow is a gem that provides critical insight into the human mind and honestly explores how we think, react and make mistakes. From a business psychology point of view, this book is invaluable when it comes to improving an executive’s awareness of their own cognitive biases. Like The Chimp Paradox, this book supports the theory that, in essence, we’re all emotional, irrational beings and it takes a great deal of conscious effort to go against our instincts to make decisions that are best for us, our team and our company.
As each year goes by, more and more books are published that address leadership development, leadership assessment, and self-improvement. If I could give any aspiring or existing leader one tip, it would be to reserve time each night to relax, unwind and open a book that could change the way you live and work forever.