10 Positive Leadership Books to Motivate and Inspire You During Difficult Times

These books might just provide the inspiration you need to endure the challenges of 2020.
10 Positive Leadership Books to Motivate and Inspire You During Difficult Times
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This year has been defined by bad news for most of us. While watching and reading the news has been a negative experience for years, it often seems there is more uncertainty and divisiveness than ever before.

In this environment, we need to intentionally seek out positive resources that will inspire us, motivate us to improve, and lead others to grow alongside us.

Here are 10 books that will help you build positive improvement into your life. They have helped me through the highs and lows of 2020.

1. Friday Forward by Robert Glazer

In 2015, CEO and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Robert Glazer started sending a note to his team of 40 each Friday. Today, that same weekly note, Friday Forward, is read by over 200,000 leaders in more than 60 countries. This book is a curated collection of the 52 most impactful stories from the series, organized in a framework that will help you set and achieve your own goals and inspire others in the process. Glazer has shown that small actions can become highly impactful movements over time — in Friday Forward, he’ll help you make an inspiring impact on the people in your life.

2. Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

As many people encountered unprecedented personal and professional struggles in 2020, showing vulnerability became a crucial skill. In her New York Times bestseller, Brene Brown demonstrates the results we get when we are more readily vulnerable with each other, and when we hold space for others. Leaders must turn times of struggle into opportunities for growth, and Brown can help you do exactly that.

3. Girl Decoded by Rana el-Kaliouby

In this remarkable memoir, technology entrepreneur Rana el-Kaliouby shares her transformation from a soft-spoken child growing up in Cairo, to one of the world’s foremost authorities on human interaction with artificial intelligence. El-Kaliouby focuses on developing AI that can better read and interact with human emotions, and her book presents an optimistic future for human interaction with technology. When combined with el-Kaliouby’s powerful personal journey, the final product is an uplifting, engrossing autobiography.

4. The Garden by Jon Gordon

Jon Gordon is the bestselling author of eight books, and his latest is a powerful fable of building optimism in the face of fear and uncertainty. Gordon draws from an extended career working with top CEOs, athletes and organizations, and shares actionable steps any person can use to become more resistant to fear and doubt. In a challenging year, Gordon’s book provides essential positive inspiration to help you achieve more from less.

5. 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin

Psychologist and bestselling author Amy Morin shares an essential guide to building the mental resilience and strength necessary to withstand any misfortune. Morin details the strategies outlined in her smash hit TED Talk, drawing from her personal experience with tragedy to outline 13 essential behaviors to avoid when coping with hardship. Leaders can learn immensely from Morin’s work, and help coach their teams to overcome obstacles as well.

6. Limitless by Jim Kwik

Jim Kwik is one of the world’s best performance coaches, helping top leaders train their brains, improve  their mindsets and quickly master new skills. The biggest mistake we can make is believing that our mental capabilities are fixed — in reality, we can improve our minds just as we can strengthen our bodies. Kwik shares proven strategies to help you read faster, learn new skills quicker and make smart decisions in less time. Kwik’s book will help you reimagine your own capabilities and inspire you to step up your mental game.

7. Fix This Next by Mike Michalowicz

Serial entrepreneur and bestselling author Mike Michalowicz is one of the best storytellers in business, and his latest book is an entertaining read about how to solve pressing problems in business and navigate your organization through uncertainty. Drawing from his successful career launching and selling three million-dollar companies before turning 35, Michalowicz gives a proven framework that businesses can use to solve problems, achieve growth and inspire their employees in the process.

8. Indistractable by Nir Eyal

Many of us have spent an extraordinary amount of time in our homes this year, often tethered to our technology, frantically reading the news. Dedicating too much of our free time to technological devices can make us less productive, more unhappy and more stressed. Tech entrepreneur Nir Eyal has a detailed understanding of why technology is so habit-forming, and he offers a guide to help you detach from your devices, improve your focus, boost your productivity and increase happiness accordingly. If you’re overwhelmed by your technology use, this book is a must read to help you break free.

9. Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins

Few people have faced more adversity than David Goggins, who grew up under the burden of poverty, discrimination and physical abuse. But Goggins beat the odds, took control of his life and became one of the most inspiring and decorated soldiers in the American armed forces. In a jaw-dropping memoir, Goggins shares how he overcame terrible circumstances and beat overwhelming odds to become a paragon of discipline and achievement — and will motivate you to change your own life.

10. Loonshots by Safi Bahcall

Few things inspire a team, or the world, like bringing an audacious, seemingly impossible idea to fruition. Safi Bahcall, biotech entrepreneur and former member of President Obama’s science advisory committee, shares proven steps teams can use to encourage, generate and develop world-changing ideas in this remarkable book. In difficult times, it’s crucial for us to remember that moonshot ideas are more achievable than we realize, and Bahcall can help you and your team reach some unthinkable goals.

In challenging times, we need inspiration more than ever. These books are a great way to motivate yourself to push past your limits and achieve more.

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