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  • Writer's pictureRita Simmons

5 Leadership Books of the Well-Rounded Executive

The quality of an organization’s leadership and culture have a direct effect on productivity, profitability, and workforce satisfaction and stability. One of the best ways to prevent or address these issues is to engage in regular leadership development. We selected five books we believe will help you to become a well-rounded executive.

by Annie Duke

Annie Duke is a former World Series of Poker champion and she often thinks of life and decisions as a series of bets. In her book, Thinking in Bets, Duke offers a guide for making tough choices in the face of uncertainty. She lays out a framework for objectively assessing what's known and what isn't and minimizing destructive decision-making. Executives and team leaders often face uncertainty and Duke’s book provides help for leaders who seek better decision-making strategies and outcomes.

by Nir Kaldero

According to Kaldero, data science is the second largest growing sector in the U.S. job market. Why, because every enterprise needs data science, however, few leaders actually understand it or understand how to use it. "Data Science for Executives" examines how businesses can implement data science and AI initiatives. Nir Kaldero discusses myths, provides practical strategies, and explains why data science will be essential to every type of business in the very near future.

by Daniel Pink

In this book by Daniel Pink, he suggests that becoming a good leader begins with throwing incentives out the window. He believes that dangling carrots in front of your team to inspire them to achieve feats of greatness doesn’t work and may end up having the opposite effect. He believes in providing workers with skills and a sense of purpose, then turn them loose to sink or swim on their own. He proposes that teams will be motivated and perform at their highest level.

by Sophie Amoruso

Sophie Amoruso leads by example as the founder of the retail chain Nasty Gal. She had a very rough start to her life, and she unapologetically admits to lying, stealing, and eating from a dumpster on her way to success. She developed a leadership style that motivated people to believe in her and to stay with her as she made the transition. Amoruso takes the position that when you play to your own strengths, others will want to follow you. The Washington Post called #Girlboss “the Lean In for misfits.”

by Patrick Lencioni

This “Aesop’s-style” book by Patrick Lencioni is a great read for leaders and can also be used with teams. Lencioni states that it’s the success of a team as a whole, not just of the leader, that effectuates results. But every team needs a good leader, and the leader in turn should strive to get the most out of every team member. Lencioni says this begins with “productive conflict and, above all, trust”. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team is told as fables about situations that leaders have encountered and how those situations were dealt with, complete with morals to each story. In addition, there is a quiz at the end of each chapter, where you can grade yourself and your team to provide a better understanding of where you are in your development and to assist you in planning a path toward


Rita Simmons is the founder and lead consultant of Novelle, where she provides business and research consulting to companies across a variety of industries. Dr. Simmons leverages her drive for innovation and excellence along with her extensive executive and military experience to help business owners grow their business, drive revenue, and achieve strategic goals. When you’re ready to take your business to the next level, contact Dr. Simmons at or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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