Resources: Tools and Products That Help Me Be a Better Leader: Books #1


Let’s Chat About Leadership…

This blog series appears on Tuesdays, and focuses on resources that I use as I pace my ability to continually strive for my greatest effectiveness. Leaders get things done. In order to accomplish this objective, it’s important to have the necessary skills and systems in place. I have tried many things over many years and have settled on what’s simple, reliable, and consistent.

Each resource will appear under one or more of my four leadership principles:
  1. Foundations: Clarity of purpose and outcomes, and equipping oneself for excellence;
  2. Relationships: Building and maintaining healthy and effective relationships;
  3. Systems: Tools and processes for leading and empowering transformation; and
  4. Balance: Managing multiple priorities and managing self.

Each resource I blog about is one I have tested and used personally. I do not make money on these referrals unless specifically stated in the post.

Today’s resource:

Important Books for a Leader’s Library

One of the best resources for any leader is having a good library of relevant books. I have so many books that give me good ideas that I will have to share them over several blog posts. This is post #1.

Under each title I will explain WHY I am recommending this book. Each title has a link to Amazon. Most of the books are available in Kindle or print, and some are available as audiobooks. There is an affiliate fee from each purchase that goes to my nonprofit foundation, SynerVision Leadership Foundation.


Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

by Simon Sinek

Start with WhyWhat it’s about: Many people start talking about the what with their organization, product or service. People really don’t care until they know why it’s important to them. Simon Sinek also has a TED Talk on this topic.

Why I think it’s relevant: This book completely revised my thinking and my leadership coaching practice. This simple reframing can energize any sales or capital presentation. I refer to it often. This is an essential paradigm shift for any leader, whether in the church, community foundation, start-up entrepreneur, or corporate executive.

Get the book


Extraordinary Relationships: A New Way of Thinking About Human Interactions

by Roberta Gilbert

Extraordinary RelationshipsWhat it’s about: This book reveals a different perspective on leadership. This teaches us about ourselves and how we have been shaped by our family of origin and how we function in any group emotional situation. It’s about management of self. This book explains Bowen Family Systems, a new way of thinking about human systems.

Why I think it’s relevant:  I realized, from this book and live seminars with the author and 3 years of personal coaching, that I was really doing things wrong. I am now able to observe personal interactions through a different lens, stay calm, address complex issues and behaviors through systems thinking, and differentiate myself as a high-functioning leader.

Get the Book


The Tao of Leadership

by John Heider

Tao of LeadershipWhat it’s about: This book frames leadership in a very different light. We must learn to observe before we intervene. There are many short chapters with really important thoughts.


Why I think it’s relevant: Like the Bowen Systems book above, this little, easy-to-read book has reframed my perspective on leadership. Leaders do too much, intervene too much, and talk too much. There is a better way.
Get the Book


Really Bad PowerPoint (and how to avoid it)

by Seth Godin

Really Bad PowerPointWhat it’s about: This book, as the title states, defines why PowerPoint presentations are so bad. He then goes on to give his recommendations.

Why I think it’s relevant: I am a teacher, seminar leader, and a public speaker. Knowing this information helps me keep my audience awake and allows them to learn more and retain more. It’s simple, but I had a hard time changing…I’ve got it now!

Get the Book



Hugh Ballou

The Transformational Leadership Strategist TM

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Hugh Ballou (Author)