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5 Books That Will Help You (and Your Team) Battle Burnout With a Higher Purpose

Fight burnout by reawakening passion in your life and business.

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Burnout doesn't only affect rank-and-file employees. It's a significant problem among entrepreneurs as well.

According to an April 2018 study by three Harvard Business Review contributors, more than 25% of entrepreneurs are burned out to some degree. One quarter of respondents report "serious burnout."

Related: Check out the best business books for entrepreneurs

As the old saying goes, the fish rots from the head. Growth-mode companies run by founders or CEOs who no longer want to be there or no longer see the point in what they're doing will sooner or later find themselves in big trouble. For leaders more accustomed to fighting burnout within their teams, not within themselves, this necessitates a rapid change in perspective.

Maybe a new reading list is an answer. Below, we'll introduce five books that can jolt you out of your comfort zone and arm you — and your team, if you choose — with the tools you need to banish burnout and rediscover the passion that fuels your business.

Related: How to Fight Entrepreneurial Burnout (Before It's Too Late)

Fight burnout with these five purpose-driven books

Each of these books takes a unique approach to passionate, purpose-driven leadership.

As you read them, you will remember why you started down this road in the first place and help you enjoy the twists and turns ahead. All should be on your reading list for 2023.

Related: Experiencing Burnout? Here's How to Fix It.

1. Stop Chasing Squirrels by Ted Bradshaw

You're conventionally successful. You're recognized as a leader in your field. You're creative and productive, a rare combination. You have trouble turning it off — a common complaint about you, in fact, is that you're always on.

Sound familiar? Ted Bradshaw's Stop Chasing Squirrels: 6 Essentials to Find Your Purpose, Focus, and Flow is for you.

Stop Chasing Squirrels is a motivational book for people who are already motivated, but they are so full of ideas that they waste time running down notions that won't pan out. Because they're passionate about everything, they're really passionate about nothing.

Bradshaw's six-pillar system helps entrepreneurs harness and focus their creativity. The endgame: Finding the ideas and projects that don't just excite intrigue but truly energize you. It's a bit of a journey, but the effort is worth it: At the end, you'll know yourself better and have everything you need to find meaning in your success.

2. Pancakes for Roger by Susan Combs

Susan L. Combs' Pancakes for Roger: A Mentorship Guide for Slaying Dragons is a must-read for anyone who can't quite shake the feeling that they don't belong.

Combs is a self-described "Missouri girl in a New York world," who took the financial industry by storm in her 20s and became the youngest National President in the history of Women in Insurance & Financial Services. In Pancakes for Roger, she mixes folksy anecdotes with lessons from her late, beloved military veteran father, taking the reader on her journey of self-discovery and self-actualization.

Related: Actually, You Do Have Time for Both Your Family and Your Business

3. Learning to Build by Bob Moesta

Bob Moesta is not a typical entrepreneur. An engineer by training, Moesta meandered from an internship with the Ford Motor Company, through a long stint as a homebuilder (hence his nickname, "Bob the Builder"), to his present-day job as a business coach.

Since becoming a business coach about 20 years ago, Moesta has helped develop more than 3,500 new products. Along the way, he discovered five core skills virtually all successful innovators possess. Learning to Build: The 5 Bedrock Skills of Innovators and Entrepreneurs shows us how to unlock those skills in ourselves and use them to follow our passions — not just what we think we're supposed to be doing.

Moesta writes Learning to Build for entrepreneurs and inventors who feel they're at a fork in the road, or perhaps that they've peaked too early. Use his lessons to find the higher gear that's just out of reach and wake up each morning ready to make a difference.

4. Begin With WE by Kyle McDowell

Kyle McDowell worries — along with many other business experts — that America's self-centered (some would say outright narcissistic) popular culture is creeping into its business culture, threatening the dynamism and creativity that makes the U.S. economy the envy of the world.

McDowell doesn't have all the answers, but he does know what it takes to build a healthier, more purpose-driven team. In Begin With WE: 10 Principles for Building and Sustaining a Culture of Excellence, he outlines 10 mantras every team can adopt to banish what he calls the "me-oriented" paradigm and foster a culture of shared ownership and accountability.

McDowell's advice is unorthodox and may be uncomfortable for leaders used to doing business a certain way. But it's the only solution he's found to the scourge of fearful, reactive, nihilistic decision-making that corrodes organizations from the inside out and leaves customers in the cold. If you've been sleepwalking through the workday without so much as looking back to see if your team is following, Begin With WE is a revelation.

5. Breakout Valuation by Patrick Donohue

Purpose-driven leadership isn't always about unlocking a hidden passion or cultivating a culture of shared accountability.

Sometimes, it's about the bottom line — yours and the company's. There's no shame in being motivated by money, as long as you're honest about it with yourself and those around you and don't compromise your values in the pursuit of material success.

Veteran growth investor and Chartered Financial Analyst Patrick Donohue agrees. In Breakout Valuation: How to Finance Your Future Today, Donohue writes for honest founders finding their way through a dishonest world — one peppered by glitzy investor pitches, sketchy lender promises, and underhanded "business advisors" who do less than nothing for their clients.

Reading it, you may realize you've been selling yourself short. Even if not, you'll come away prepared to hold your own in high-stakes negotiations — and confident that you won't give up any more than absolutely necessary.

Bonus book suggested by Entrepreneur's editorial staff:

Entrepreneur Voices on Company Culture

A high-performing company doesn't have to have a non-stop-grind culture. An engaging work environment and fluid communications can result in financial success and happy employees. This book helps leaders define and create a winning and low-stress culture. Entrepreneur's community of small business owners and entrepreneurs share their tested strategies, hard-won advice, and secrets behind what works and what doesn't.

Entrepreneur Editors' Picks