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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Toiling at work and making important decisions every day, more often than not, we fail to take out time for meaningful reading. Especially when we are young, we become so busy building our career that we forget to explore and learn from great achievers and leaders.

Marcel Schwantes, a 50-year-old CEO of an executive coaching firm, believes that had he read certain books and absorbed the knowledge much earlier, in his 20’s and 30’s he would most definitely be more successful today. He says that the few books mentioned below, has significantly changed the way he thinks, acts, leads and perceives the world around him.

Here are 5 books about success, leadership and professional growth that Schwantes considers among the best of the decade:

  1. ‘Humble Inquiry: The Gentle Art of Asking Instead of Telling’ by Edgar H. Schein

If there is one simple thing that can bring an ocean of change in an organization, it is healthy communication. In this book, the author, Edgar H. Schein, argues that leaders must be very careful about how they communicate with their teams. He advises leaders to learn and practice the art of “Humble Inquiry” – a concept that he explains as a special skill of “drawing someone out” by asking him questions, the answers of which are unknown to you, of creating a relationship by taking a genuine personal interest in him.

  1. ‘Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World’ by Marcus Buckingham and Ashley Goodall

In this book the accomplished authors shatter several faulty assumptions that usually create office dysfunction. They use engaging stories, perceptive observations and real data from popular global organizations like Google, Amazon and eBay, to reveal significant truths that managers must know and recognize to lead a successful business.

Best-selling author Adam Grant recommends the book as a must read, describing it as “one of the most provocative, lucidly written books” about work, he’s ever read.

  1. ‘Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose’ by Tony Hsieh

The author, Tony Hsiesh, the CEO of Zappos has had an interesting journey, working in a worm farm, running a pizza business and co-founding an internet advertising network that was bought by Microsoft. In this book, Hsieh shares some of his life’s most important learnings and expounds on building an “unconventional” corporate culture can be a “powerful model for achieving success”.

In the current times, when all businesses are re-imagining ways of work and rebuilding the corporate culture, this can be a very useful read.

  1. ‘Everything Is Figureoutable’ by Mario Forleo

The author, Marie Forleo has been named by none other than Oprah Winfrey, “a thought leader for the next generation”. Forleo has taught innumerable artists, entrepreneurs, and others from different walks of life, about dreaming big and more importantly, how to achieve those dreams with daily action.

In this book Forleo offers abundant effective advice about breaking down barriers. She basically advocates the concept that no problem is unsolvable. Be it a bad relationship or a work challenge, you can overcome every hurdle that is keeping you from achieving your goal.

  1. ‘Applied Empathy: The New Language of Leadership’ by Michael Ventura

A lot of people overlook the power of empathy as they misunderstand it to be sympathy or pity. In 2021, empathy has been predicted to play a crucial role in business and business leaders have been vehemently advised to practice empathy.

In Applied Empathy, Ventura, explains vividly how to achieve powerful leadership by treading the path of empathy. This book teaches the readers how to use empathy for creating a more innovative, diverse and motivated team.

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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