Adam’s 2016 Best Business and Leadership Reading (so far)

How Judy Bloom & the Hardy Boys made me a better person

Reading a lot is one of the best things you can do to improve your ability to think creatively, process information and develop your perspective. I have loved reading ever since my parents thought me to read at a very early age. I can remember staying up at night to get in an extra chapter with a flashlight under the covers. My parents knew I did this and eventually shut me down each night to make sure I got some rest. I remember loving history books and the classics for many of us like the Hardy Boys and Judy Blume’s books.

Now I enjoy reading for different reasons. It helps me connect with others who are passionate about growing companies and people. I like seeing their perspective and helping their thoughts add context to mine.

People who know me often ask about what books I’m reading or where I got a particular quote or concept, and I loan more books out than a library. I also love reading the books on my kindle apps on my IPAD-Pro and IPhone. (These apps are available for most other platforms too). Mostly because I can highlight things important to me as fast as I can keep reading.

Since this is a super common request, I decided to catch you all up at the same time. Here are all the books I’ve read in 2016 (so far) and a few brief thoughts on what I thought of them. If you want to check them out, please click on the link in the book title. This is an affiliate link, and I’ll get a few pennies if you buy the book by using my link. I’ll use those to keep supporting this site! Thanks!

My favorites of 2016 so far..

Not Everyone Gets a Trophy by Bruce Tulgan 

This was a great book especially if you’re managing a “millennial” workforce. It walks through a lot of research and in-person interviews on how to help the newest generation realize their full potential. This is fastest growing demographic in the workplace today and it’s our responsibility to do our best to assist those who want to be great, realize those dreams. This book will help you plan a good roadmap to do that!

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Are you making the #1 leadership mistake?

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown

Greg has a lot of good ideas in this book, but it tends to revisit them over and over. I wish this author had taken more of his advice on prioritization, focus, and conciseness when he was writing this book. A great read, but you likely only need the first half of the book :).

Team Genius: the New Science of High Performing Organizations by Rich Karlgaard

If you love the science and history behind what makes teams perform well and want to learn how to create the optimal group size for your organization, this book is for you. I enjoyed this book immensely and recommend it for anyone working with teams on a regular basis.

Traction – Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman

Gino presents us with his EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System) and it’s a pretty good system. I like it because you get familiar with concepts like data-driven decision making. If you’re growing a company or want to make sure your fundamentals are strong, this is a great read.

The Alliance: Managing Talent in the Networked Age by Reid Hoffman

This is a seminal work by the founder of LinkedIn. Reid takes a novel approach to managing talent by making sure that the goals and structure work well for all parties involved. We are doing this at Pragmatic Works, and some of Reid’s ideas have helped me shape some of the ways I’d like to see us change how we approach things. If you manage anyone or have ever endured an annoying performance review, this book is for you!

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Servant leadership: 4 Traits of the best servant leaders

Startup CEO: A Field Guide to Scaling Up Your Business by Matt Blumberg

Matt takes us through a lot of his struggles and lets us in to see and learn from him. Large and small companies can learn from this book that’s full or real world experiences and the lessons learned along the way.

Money – Master the Game by Tony Robbins

Some of you might roll your eyes at Tony Robbins writing a money book. Don’t!  He has accessed some incredible people for this books to get their insight. It’s a great book full of incredible insights and conversations. Fair warning this book is LONG. I had to stop listening to the audiobook and finish reading the text since I can do that faster. It did, however, blow up some of my ideas about investing and retirement savings, etc.. It influenced some changes inner 401K selection, and I read it at the right time to help our company and me. I recommend it if you can get through it! It’s totally worth it!

How Google Works by Eric Schmidt

Google is known for helping to define the modern silicon valley culture. Free food, massages, vacation, etc.. That’s not what this book is about. It’s more about how they structure their teams, how they work together, how they look at work culture, etc.. Now you might not be able to do everything in this book since you’re not. Well.. Google. But that’s fine; I still recommend it for companies of all sizes to learn how to apply some of these ideas in their way.

The McKinsey Mind by Ethan Rasiel

Mckinsey is widely acknowledged to be the best consulting company in the world. This is great book os insights into how they approach clients, problem solving, hiring and more. If you’re interested in learning more about the top tier of consulting it’s a great read.

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Management vs. Leadership: My team’s lunchtime debate

The McKinsey Engagement by Paul Friga Ph.D

After reading the Mckinsey Mind, I wanted to dive deeper into how they deliver such great results for clients. I found some great insights in this book and recommend it to all consultants.


Growing Great Employees by Erika Andersen

Erika writes in a clear style that I enjoy. I asked all my direct reports to read this book earlier this year, and they enjoyed it. We all got some great new ideas on how to help our team continue to be their best.


 Everybody Writes by Ann Handley

This is a quick read that helped me think through some of the things I write. I appreciate Ann’s tips and tricks in this books and recommend it to anyone who writes for a living, be it blogging, status reports or memos.

What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions by Randall Munroe

This book is hilarious, and delivers on its promises. I think many of you would enjoy it. It’s perfect for happy hour fodder or fun meeting icebreakers to get people thinking!

Here’s what I’m looking at reading next.


I’ll post my thoughts on these when I get through them.

Clever: Leading Your Smartest, Most Creative People



Team of Teams



Strategic Storytelling



Ownership Thinking



The Great Game of Business



Aligning Strategy and Sales



Leadership 2030



How Great Leaders Think



Under New Management



Congratulations for making it this far in this post!

I average about a book a week so I didn’t list them all, only the ones I thought you would get the most value out of (and only the ones I liked). I hope you grab some of these and enjoy them.

Post your thoughts on them in the comments and help others on their journey!



1 Comment

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  • Adam –

    I’m honored to be on your list; thrilled that you’ve enjoyed Growing Great Employees. You might enjoy some of my other books as well – you can check them out here:


    Erika Andersen 2 years ago Reply

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