Vicki’s Reading Library

‘Best of’ Book List


Best Leadership Books

  • HBR’s 10 Greatest Reads on Leadership – Harvard Business Review
    • Note: Without dispute, the best set of articles from leadership thought leaders, every leader should have this book on their shelf, with key lessons marked
  • Leadership Challenge – Kouzes and Posner
    • Note: What the book lacks in theoretical explanations, it makes up for in application
  • Leadership and Self-Deception – Arbinger Group
    • Note: One of the fable books that holds a reader’s attention and carries a relevant message
  • Good to Great – Jim Collins
    • Note: While the companies used as examples suffered terribly during the financial collapse, the leadership ideas stand the test of time
  • Please Understand Me II – Keirsey & Bates
    • Note: The MBTI analysis is a great foundation for self-awareness leading to self-leadership, and this book clarifies the application
  • Leadership in Organizations – Yukl
    • Note: A densely written compendium of leadership theory. Great as a reference book for all things leadership.
  • The Wisdom of Wooden – Coach John Wooden
    • Note: Coach Wooden’s leadership track record is unsurpassed


Best Management Books

  • The Essential Drucker – Peter Drucker
    • Note: Best management book ever. Pardon his use of ‘he’, the book was written in the ‘60s when the use of ‘he’ made sense
  • What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – Marshall Goldsmith
    • Note: Good ideas for individuals who rely on others to be successful
  • GE Work-Out – Ulrich, Kerr, & Ashkenas
    • Note: Great template for getting buy-in and generating ideas for efficiency and effectiveness
  • Skunkworks – Ben Rich
    • Note: A real life example of how to get big things accomplished
  • The Goal – Goldman
    • Note: A novelette that shows how lean operations works
  • Execution – Bossidy and Charan
    • Note: Good formulaic approach to strategic approach and direction


Best Persuasion / Influence Books

  • Switch – Chip Heath and Dan Heath
    • Note: An approachable yet well-researched book that will show you how influence works
  • How to Win Friends and Influence Enemies – Dale Carnegie
    • Note: A timeless approach to working well with others
  • The Heart of Change – Kotter
    • Note: The importance of buy-in in order to influence behavior and create change is emphasized
  • Learned Optimism – Martin Seligman
    • Note: Before positive leadership and primal leadership, there was learned optimism. It works.
  • Becoming a Skilled Negotiator – Reardon
    • Note: A book that breaks out how to use negotiation to achieve influence
  • Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion – Cialdini
    • Note: The first and last word on persuasion. Geared toward sales.


Inspiring Books

  • The Happiness Project – Gretchen Rubin
    • Note: Author has a self-deprecating style of writing that keeps things light, yet thoughtful
  • The Story Factor – Annett Simmons
    • Note: A different way to look at connecting and communicating
  • The Alchemist – Coelho
    • Note: There is a reason this book has sold over 60 million copies around the world.
  • The Last Lecture – Randy Pausch
    • Note: This book is fine but the video is spectacular
  • Tough Times Never Last, But Tough People Do – Robert Schuller
    • Note: We’ll all face hard times in our lives, this book is full of ways to deal with the inevitable tough times


Marvelous Memoirs

  • In Pain We Trust – Kevin Whiting and Vicki Whiting
    • Note: Everyone who has read this book notes the significance of the story and the listening and advocacy lessons held within
  •  The Unforgiving Minute – Craig Mullaney
    • Note:  Everyone in the US should read this book to understand the commitment of our troops. It’s not a war book as much as a boy to man book
  • The Heart and the Fist – Eric Grietens
    • Note: Brings humanitarian efforts together with war efforts in a manner I had not considered
  • It Worked For Me – Colin Powell
    • Note: An individual who has influenced many to achieve much
  • My Stroke of Insight – Jill Bolte Taylor
    • Note: Interesting and engaging insight into how the brain works


Important Reads on Social Entrepreneurship

  • The End of Poverty – Jeffrey Sachs
    • Note: Brilliant ideas from a brilliant scholar
  • Half the Sky – Kristof & WuDunn
    • Note: An important book. Describes the heartbreaking plight of women throughout the world … and how to fix their plight
  • Creating a World Without Poverty – Muhammad Yunus
    • Note: While Yunus didn’t create micro-enterprise, he did popularize the approach to poverty eradication
  • Social Entrepreneurship – Bronstein
    • Note: The classic and foundational framework for social entrepreneurship

Great Reads

  • The Fault In Our Stars – John Green
    • Note: Profound, poignant, captivating.
  • The Life of Pi – Yann Markle
  • The Help – Katheryn Stockett
    • Note: Don’t rely on the movie to dive into this story
  • The Giver
    • Note: Different lessons when read at different times in life.


Best Travel Books

  • For Europe: Rick Steve’s Guides
    • Note: Author provides ideas for tours beyond traditional high traffic tourism spots
  • For Southeast Asia: Lonely Planet Guides
    • Note: Recommendations are reliable
  • 1,000 Places to See Before Your Die – Schultz
    • Note: Start brainstorming and dreaming


Best Books to Bring on a Journey

  • The Tennis Partner – Abraham Verghese
    • Note: While I couldn’t make it through Cutting for Stone, this memoir captured my attention


Best Books if You Are Stranded on an Island

  • Darwin Awards – Wendy Northcutt
    • Note: Your plight might not seem so bad in comparison
  • Game of Thrones
  •  The Bible – Various Philosophers


Best Books to Make You Smile

  •  All Creatures Great and Small – Jame Harriot
  • Leaving Home – Garrison Keillor
  • Erma Bombenck