Leadership is a learned skill, not a natural attribute. And, as with any skill, you can always learn more--about how to handle conflicts with investors, deal with employees demanding more pay, or handle a PR nightmare. Here are several new leadership books that offer sage advice from leaders who have lived through the challenges you might face in business.
1. The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead
Sometimes, it's good to read a book you disagree with--it can challenge your views and make you question if your thought process really makes sense. The Curmudgeon's Guide to Getting Ahead, by political scholar Charles Murray, is a book about how to act in the workplace. It's filled with brazenly opinionated remarks on a number of things, from how to pronounce and use the word data to why you shouldn't share information anymore. It's a good read for leaders to find out what to say--and managers of Millennials to know what they are up against.
2. The Hard Thing About Hard Things
If you have not yet cracked open this work by well-known tech investor Ben Horowitz, move it to the top of your reading stack. The Hard Thing About Hard Things recounts how Horowitz worked as the CEO of LoudCloud and Opsware, and how he transitioned into the investment world. The unfiltered writing includes several verbatim discussions about how Horowitz handled conflicts, how he chose his leadership team, and how he secured funding even in the face of bankruptcy. He presents himself not as a genius leader with perfect insight but as someone who learned the hard way.
3. Haunted Empire
Though it is not positioned specifically as a book on leadership, this account of the transition between Steve Jobs and Tim Cook at Apple is like a leadership guidebook. Haunted Empire is a fantastic exposé, in which former Wall Street Journal technology reporter Yukari Iwatani Kane uses an in-the-moment writing style to make you feel like you are in the room. The big takeaway: You can learn how Cook uses a questioning approach to leadership and how Jobs ruled mostly by direct frontal attacks. Both had their place to make Apple the tech leader.
Have any other must-reads to add to the list? Let me know in the comments.