Over the years, the writings of many recognised leadership authors have had a profound impact on my work: from books by Stephen Covey, Jim Collins and Malcolm Gladwell in the early days to those by Brene Brown and Seth Godin more recently.

Leadership books have a special place in my library and I’ve read a lot, but the books that have had the biggest impact on me as a leader are the less obvious ones. Many philosophy, spirituality and poetry texts have shifted my centre and expanded my view such that I can see more of myself, more of others and more of the world – and that’s enabled me to lead in a more spacious and connected way.

None of us aspire to be an off-the-peg leader, so why would we all want to read the same things?

Here are five of my favourite unconventional ‘leadership’ books – books that have shaped the way I lead, for good. I hope they can do the same for you.

Time to Think — by Nancy Kline:

At the heart of this book is the belief that listening is key to leadership. Reading it will not only enable you to consider and understand this from a different perspective, but also arm you with practical and tactical ways to integrate this in to your style.

Silence — Thich Nhat Hahn:

In a world full of noise, we under value silence. Rarely in life, let alone in work, do we get it, or allow others to take it. Written by a widely respected Buddhist monk, this book will increase your comfort with silence, so that you can use it more effectively in life and benefit from its many gifts.

The Prophet — Kahlil Gibran:

Almost one-hundred years old, this book, written by philosopher Kahlil Gibran is a sequence of fables, that offer an alternative take on universal aspects of life, such as Work, Love and Time. The essence of the book is one of the power of relinquishing control and the peace of living in the moment.

The Little Prince — Antoine De Saint-Exupery:

Originally written in French and translated in to many languages, this classic book is relevant to children and adults alike. For leaders, the lesson is not to take life too seriously, and to value the simple things. One to dip in to when you’re feeling uptight or overwhelmed with complexity.

The Untethered Soul — Michael A. Singer:

A soulful but accessible read — if you’re keen to begin or continue deep inner work, then this book is for you. Reading it will ignite your curiosity about who you are in the world, and about how you want your life to be; something that can’t help but positively impact the way you lead.

All of these books are available on Amazon and most come in audio format too.

What are you favourite unconventional leadership reads? I’d love to hear from you!

Take care for now, Laura

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