Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members


The scope for business leadership has expanded in present times given the magnitude of change that businesses are undergoing.  Business leaders today are forced to think beyond conventions.  Effective and impactful leaders find themselves as an integral part of their company’s community and help determine its culture. They are expected to be individuals who depict a clear purpose and vision at all times, despite business uncertainties.

They play a critical role in inspiring trust, transparency, and unlocking greater value for the business.  In that sense, these leaders turn business into functioning in a way that is similar to a movement with tremendous zeal. This is why having clarity with regard to mission and purpose has become a must for business leaders who want to set themselves apart from the competition. Based on insights from Forbes, let’s take a closer look at the books that mission driven leaders ought to read in 2021 to take their leadership acumen to new heights.

The Green Grocer: Richard Walker

Walker is the CEO of Iceland Foods, a British grocery chain with 850 locations and sales of £400 million. It’s a well-known brand, but it’s a minor player in the supermarket industry in the United Kingdom, which is controlled by four major competitors. The book is his story leading the company since August 2018, after it was established by his mother and father in 1970. This is an excellent book for anyone working in a company that is attempting to alter things within. The Green Grocer is described as easy to read, candid, and inspirational storytelling that is quite pertinent to the times that we live in.

In Extremis: Lindsey Hilsum

This biography of Marie Colvin, a war correspondent, was written by her friend Lindsey Hilsum and is based on the journals Colvin kept from the age of thirteen until her death. The tale is based on the blockbuster film A Private War, and follows Colvin as he travels across history, witnessing some of the most momentous and hazardous global events. Colvin is a symbol of bravery and heroism, and the story weaves together her private and personal struggles, such as relationships, drugs, and the war stories themselves. Business leaders can learn much from Colvin’s journey and her ultimate sacrifice: She was dedicated to her work, fearless, and she brought attention to the plight of regular people caught up in war zones.

Rise Up: Stormzy

This book, dubbed the murky story, chronicles Stormzy’s four-year journey from “one of the most promising musicians of his time to a spokesperson for a generation,” according to the publisher. Rise Up follows Stormzy from his street performances in south London to headlining Glastonbury Festival and winning major prizes. Business leaders can learn from Stormyzy’s unshakeable self-belief and how he inspired a team owing to his innate confidence. The book alternates between a group of people’s commendable humility and their self-belief and confidence in their ability to make anything happen because they care so much.

Manifesto: Dale Vince

Vince’s book is about a maverick entrepreneur who took on UK energy and triumphed. The publisher describes the book as “a compelling credo for everyone who aspires to improve the world,” with “a distinctly purpose-oriented approach to business,”. There is much that business leaders can learn from Vince’s journey.  Ecotricity, Vince’s company, was created in 1996 and was the UK’s first green energy company, focused on social, financial, and environmental sustainability principles. Vince was one step ahead of the pack. He developed a wind turbine from the ground up. It let him see how he could make a difference. Vince’s approach resulted in an entirely new form of leadership in the transportation, food, and sports industries.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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