Become a better leader: 19 winter must-reads

C2 team
19 books that will raise your game in 2019

Looking for some pre-C2 inspo to warm up with this winter? Here are 19 essential titles hand-picked by the C2 team which, we hope, will help you stimulate your creativity, become better leaders, take stock of the state of things and flourish, both in the office and at home.

 

Get 2019 off on the right book with the following:

 

Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet, by Claire L. Evans
1. Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women Who Made the Internet, by Claire L. Evans

The stories of women web pioneers who defied social convention to become database poets, information wranglers, hypertext dreamers and glass-ceiling-shattering entrepreneurs that history forgot but who continue to shape the world in ways we can’t ignore.

 

Rebel Talent: Why it Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life, by Francesca Gino
2. Rebel Talent: Why it Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life, by Francesca Gino

Francesca Gino, a behavioural scientist at Harvard Business School, has spent more than a decade studying rebels at organizations around the world, from high-end boutiques in Italy, to the world’s best restaurant, to an award-winning computer animation studio. She has identified those who exemplify “rebel talent,” and whose examples we can all embrace.

 

We Are the Nerds, by Christine Lagorio-Chafkin
3. We Are the Nerds, by Christine Lagorio-Chafkin

We Are the Nerds is the story of how Reddit’s founders, Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian, created an icon of the digital age and then, after a series of controversies, nearly lost control of it for good. It’s a compelling exploration of the way we all communicate today.

 

4. Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility, by Patty McCord

When it comes to recruiting, motivating and creating great teams, Patty McCord — former Chief Talent Officer at Netflix — says most companies have it all wrong. In Powerful, she shares what she learned at Netflix and will change the way you think about how businesses should be run.

 

An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization, by Robert Kegan, Lisa Laskow Lahey, Matthew L. Miller and Andy Fleming
5. An Everyone Culture: Becoming a Deliberately Developmental Organization, by Robert Kegan, Lisa Laskow Lahey, Matthew L. Miller and Andy Fleming

What if a company did everything in its power to create a culture in which everyone — not just select “high potentials” — could overcome their own barriers to change and use errors and vulnerabilities as opportunities for personal and company growth? An Everyone Culture shows that the culture you create is your strategy, and that the key to success is developing everyone.

 

21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari
6. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century, by Yuval Noah Harari

In a world deluged by irrelevant information, clarity is power. 21 Lessons for the 21st Century cuts through the disinformation and distractions that are muddying the waters and confronts some of the most urgent questions on today’s global agenda.

 

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins
7. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t, by Jim Collins

Jim Collins’ defining management study Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies (1994) showed how long-term sustained performance can be engineered into the DNA of an enterprise from the very beginning. But what about the company that is not born with great DNA? How can good companies, mediocre companies, even bad companies achieve enduring greatness?

 

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way Your Lead Forever, by Michael Bungay Stanier
8. The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way Your Lead Forever, by Michael Bungay Stanier

The Coaching Habit offers seven questions and the tools you need to be able to work less hard and have more of an impact.

 

The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea, at the Right Time, by Allen Gannett
9. The Creative Curve: How to Develop the Right Idea, at the Right Time, by Allen Gannett

Big data entrepreneur Allen Gannett overturns the mythology around creative genius, revealing the science and secrets behind achieving breakout commercial success in any field.

 

Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress, by Steven Pinker
10. Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism and Progress, by Steven Pinker

Is the world really falling apart? Is the ideal of progress obsolete? In this assessment of the human condition in the third millennium, cognitive scientist Steven Pinker urges us to step back from the gory headlines and prophecies of doom that play to our psychological biases and, instead, follow the data.

 

How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan
11. How to Change Your Mind, by Michael Pollan

A unique blend of science, memoir, travel writing, history and medicine, How to Change Your Mind is the compelling account of a journey to an unexpected new frontier in our understanding of the mind, the self, and our place in the world.

 

Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, by Sebastian Junger
12. Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, by Sebastian Junger

We have a strong instinct to belong to small groups defined by clear purpose and understanding — “tribes.” This tribal connection has been largely lost in modern society, but Sebastian Junger says regaining it may be the key to our psychological survival. Combining history, psychology and anthropology, Tribe explores what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging and the eternal human quest for meaning.

 

The End of Animal Farming, by Jacy Reese
13. The End of Animal Farming, by Jacy Reese

The devastation animal agriculture causes to human health, the economy, the environment and animal welfare is well-documented, with everyone from Bill Nye to Richard Branson saying the future of food is animal-free. But we’re left with one burning question: How do we actually get from here to there? In The End of Animal Farming, Jacy Reese outlines an evidence-based roadmap to a humane, ethical, efficient food system where slaughterhouses are obsolete.

 

Becoming, by Michelle Obama
14. Becoming, by Michelle Obama

In her memoir, Michelle Obama invites readers into her world, describing her triumphs and disappointments, and chronicling the experiences that have shaped her, from her childhood on the South Side of Chicago to her years as an executive balancing the demands of motherhood and work, to her time spent at the world’s most famous address.

 

Principles: Life and Work, by Ray Dalio
15. Principles: Life and Work, by Ray Dalio

Ray Dalio, one of the world’s most successful investors and entrepreneurs, shares the unconventional principles that he’s developed, refined and used over the past 40 years to create unique results in both life and business, principles any person or organization can adopt to help achieve their goals.

 

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson
16. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, by Mark Manson

In this generation-defining self-help guide, superstar blogger Mark Manson shows us how to stop trying to be “positive” all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people. Manson makes a well-researched argument that improving our lives hinges not on our ability to turn lemons into lemonade, but on learning to stomach lemons better.

 

This Is Marketing: You Can't Be Seen Until You Learn to See, by Seth Godin
17. This Is Marketing: You Can’t Be Seen Until You Learn to See, by Seth Godin

For the first time, Seth Godin offers the core of his marketing wisdom in one accessible, timeless package. This Is Marketing teaches you how to identify your smallest viable audience, draw on the right signals and signs to position your offering, build trust and permission with your target market, speak to the narratives your audience tells themselves about status, affiliation and dominance, and much more.

 

18. The Weekend Effect: The Life-Changing Benefits of Taking Time Off and Challenging the Cult of Overwork, by Katrina Onstad
18. The Weekend Effect: The Life-Changing Benefits of Taking Time Off and Challenging the Cult of Overwork, by Katrina Onstad

Encroaching work demands, overbooked schedules and the incessant pinging of our devices have taken a toll on what used to be our free time: the weekend. Award-winning journalist Katrina Onstad pushes back against this all-work, no-fun ethos, digging into the history, positive psychology and cultural anthropology of the great missing weekend and how we can revive it.

 

19. A Few Minutes of Design: 52 Activities to Spark Your Creativity, by Emily Campbell
19. A Few Minutes of Design: 52 Activities to Spark Your Creativity, by Emily Campbell

We’ve all been there: creative, exciting ideas are needed, but your brain is in hibernation mode. This is where A Few Minutes of Design comes in, a card deck of 52 exercises and activities to jump-start your creativity, free you from creative block, start a new project or finish an existing one.

 

 

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