Many thanks to all off you, who participated in our latest poll. Here are the initial results on which book helped you develop as a leader.

It has been fascinating (and a little sobering) to see so many visitor recommended books. Only 3 of the books I’ve previously reviewed for this blog, received any votes. In the shortlist below, those are “Leadership Pipeline“, “The Leaders Guide to Storytelling” and “7 Habits of Highly Effective Leaders“.

The good news is this has opened my eyes to more great books. Woo hoo! If you voted for one of those, I’d love to receive a book review from you. Either way, they are being added to my reading list, so thanks for sharing your recommendation.

At this stage we also have one clear winner and it’s not one of mine. So, without further ado, let’s reveal the interim results of our latest poll (that I will leave open for a few more weeks).

Results on which book helped you develop as a leader

It proved to be worthwhile allowing for the adding of additional books, that were not included in the original poll. Thanks to all of you who made use of that option, as it has added 5 books which went on to receive more votes.

To help whet your appetite and perhaps cause you to add these to your reading list, I will share a little on each book. There was one outright winner (with 22% of the vote), the next 7 tied (with 11% of the vote each).

Below, I will share a little more on 7 of those books. The one I will exclude below is the Bible. That is not because I don’t think it’s relevant to leaders. As a Christian myself, I know the Bible has much to share in wisdom for businesses & leaders. However, I suspect you’ve already heard of it and a full book review by me is unlikely. So, suffice to say, I believe it is always worth a read – just as a human being.

Now on to the top 7 leadership development books, as voted for by our readers.

(1) Extreme Ownership

Most notably, the clear winner of our poll is “Extreme Ownership: How US Navy SEALs Lead and Win” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Both those two gents are former Navy SEALs, who run a leadership training company. Our poll is in good company, as this book also received 4.29 out of 5 on Good Reads, from nearly 13,000 votes.

By the sound of it the authors are pretty hardcore and the book also provides insights into military life in this elite unit. However, reviewers also praise it’s clear structure, built around 7-8 simple management principles. Apparently these are brought to life through real life examples. Many of those principles sound like the taking of personal responsibility that Stephen Covey would also advocate.

Here are those reviews on GoodReads:

Extreme Ownership

Extreme Ownership has 12,722 ratings and 1,198 reviews. L O R I L I N said: Extreme Ownership is written by two former Navy SEALs, Jocko Willink and Leif…

(2) It’s your Ship

The first of our 6 joint second-place recommendations, is “It’s your Ship: Management Techniques from the best damn ship in the Navyby D. Michael Abrashoff. The author, Captain Abrashoff was appointed as commander of USS Benfold and turned around performance in a way that has been widely praised.

I don’t know what this blog has done to attract an audience who favour books about the US Navy, but this does sound interesting. In fact it prompts me to also mention a similar book (“Turn the Ship around: a true story of turning followers into leaders” by L. David Marquet), I heard an excellent podcast interview with that author on this Coaching for Leaders episode.

Anyway, Captain Abrashoff’s book achieves 4.09 out of 5 on GoodReads (out of just over 4,500 votes). It sounds to be a really useful read if you need to work against a culture of bureaucracy. With plenty of personal testimony of not giving up and innovating to improve despite skepticism.

Here are those reviews on GoodReads:

It’s Your Ship

The legendary tale of top-down change for anyone trying to navigate today’s uncertain business seas. NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERWhen Captai…

(3) Wilful Blindness

Next join-second place, is a book with no obvious naval connection. Instead the context is our unconscious biases and all too frequent blindness to what we do not want to see.

In “Wilful Blindness: Why we ignore the obvious at our peril” by Margaret Heffernan exposes our many blind spots, from her research and experience as a business woman. The book cover cites the judge in the infamous 2006 case against Enron, in which the judge directed jurors to take account of the concept of wilful blindness. They were to hold Enron executive accountable if they had wilfully been blind to the warning signs, not just for conscious actions.

By the sound of the reviews the majority of this book focuses on the problem, rather than a cure. However, many leaders cite it as having been eye-opening and useful. Another reminder as to the importance of leaders being conscious of their biases, when making decisions. It scores 4.02 out of 5 from 973 ratings on GoodReads.

Here are those reviews on GoodReads:

Willful Blindness

Willful Blindness has 973 ratings and 119 reviews. Jennifer said: I purchased the audio version of the book and enjoyed listening to Margaret Heffernan r…

(4) Leading the Leaders

Next joint-second place, is the first book on our list to be written by one of the leading management thinkers of our time. In “Leading the Leaders: How to enrich your style of management and handle people whose style is different from yours”, Dr Ichak Kalderon Adizes achieves a very long book title to go with his name.

More seriously, this Dr Adizes is one the lading management thinkers of our time and so I was delighted to see one of his books make this list. Given the questions that are regularly raised on my own Stakeholder Management training courses, I should not be surprised as to the topic. We have mentioned in two previous posts, the need understand other stakeholders’ preferred styles and to have behavioural flexibility.

Sadly this book has only received 4 ratings on Good Reads (with a respectable score of 4.5 out of 5). So, for a more useful source of reviews, I turned to Here reviewers are praising his methodology and usefulness of his advice on how to improve. If you want to read more by Dr Adizes, you may also find his Heartfulness Magazine insightful, I share his enthusiasm for meditation as a leader.

Here are those reviews on Amazon:

(5) 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

This is the one I voted for myself. When asked to recommend just one book, I point people to this classic.

To help you understand how it might help you, here is the review I have already published:

7 Habits, that are still as relevant, for today’s Highly Effective Leaders

(6) Leadership Pipeline

This penultimate book, is also one that I have often recommended. It is particularly useful for those who have recently been promoted or are struggling to operate effectively, despite having been a high performer previously. The resources, for making key changes at each new level in your career, are very helpful.

To help you understand how it might help you, here is the review I have already published:

How are you navigating the leadership pipeline?

(7) The Leaders Guide to Storytelling

Compared to other books that I have reviewed, I was surprise that this one made the shortlist for general leadership books.. But, I’m pleased it did. It would seem more and more leaders are realising the importance of storytelling & how narrative skills can help them have more impact. This is a treasury of ideas to help you use stories to lead your business.

To help you understand how it might help you, here is the review I have already published:

Do the stories, you tell your business, inspire?

Your results on which book helped you develop as a leader?

I hope those results were interesting for you and perhaps prompted new items for your reading list.

If you wish your favourite had made the list, there is still time to vote (until end of August 2018).

Even better, why not send me your book review. I’d love to share more voices from amongst the Customer Insight Leader community. So, we can all keep developing as insight leaders, especially through reading the books that help us change.