Some of the best leadership books – as recommended by The Leader’s Digest

I’m on holiday at the moment and it’s bliss. In the bleak and busy winter weeks leading up to our tropical island holiday, I made a mental list of all the things I was hanging out to do. I stopped at 46.

Reading a great book by the pool was number two, right after spending time with my husband Doug and our three kids (and their mates who we’ve brought along for the ride – there’s seven of us!) But the thing I look forward to most after these two things – is doing not much at all.

As a leadership coach, I’ve read a tonne of leadership books. So, whenever I’m on holiday, it’s non-fiction for me. Elizabeth Gilbert’s latest, City of Girls is the smashing read I’m currently devouring. Along with a few Pina Colaldas!

But if it’s non-fiction you’re after on your holiday, here are some of the best leadership related books I can recommend for you to buy or download on your kindle:

Overworked and Overwhelmed, by Scott Eblin

Scott Eblin’s book is a must read for any executive who’s struggled at times with being overwhelmed or dealing with high stress levels. It’s easy to read, with a plethora of practical tips, not only on how to manage stress, but also on how to increase productivity. The author is a successful executive coach (and a bit of a yoga freak) which makes for an interesting perspective. But even if you’re not into yoga, there are plenty of practical tools to be had.

Tools of Titans, by Tim Ferris

Tim Ferris is a hero of mine and his podcast The Tim Ferris Show is one of the best. In this book, he speaks to the world’s best in a variety of fields from business to sports to arts and asks them about their habits and thoughts on everything from ice baths to the stock market.

Spiralling Upwards, by Wendy Wallbridge

A must read for any female leader, whether you’re on your way up or you’re already at the top table. Check out my full review here.

How Will You Measure Your Life? by Clayton Christiansen

Clayton Christiansen is a New York Times Bestseller and a world leader on innovation from Harvard. My husband saw him talk at Harvard when he did his MBA and said he was “one wise fella” – large praise from my man who is the master of the understatement. In this book, Christiansen uses his own experiences to explain how high achievers can all too often fall into traps that lead to unhappiness. He asks questions like, “How can I be sure I’ll find satisfaction in my career?” and “How can I avoid compromising my integrity?” Pretty important questions for any leaders IMHO.

Start with Why, by Simon Sinek

I couldn’t NOT include this book in my recommended reads after Simon Sinek’s seminal TED talk here (watch it if you haven’t already). This is the book that goes with it. I refer to this concept when working with senior leadership teams on defining their purpose.

Conscious Capitalism, by John Mackey

This is a classic. Don’t be put off by its slightly dry and boring title. I hated economics at University but this had me glued from beginning to end (really!) John Mackey, Co-CEO of Whole Foods Market and Raj Sisoda offers “at once a bold defence and reimagining of capitalism and a blueprint for doing business, Conscious capitalism is for anyone hoping to build a more cooperative, humane and positive future.”

Walking the Talk, by Carolyn Taylor

I heard Carolyn speak at an ICF conference in Melbourne and I rated her an A+++++++ (it wasn’t an option but I added in some extra +’s plus some extra !!!’s to show how much of ‘da bomb’ she was). Her book is a MUST read for any senior executive (and especially CEO’s) who are interested in changing the culture of their organisation – or if you just want to keep the magical culture you have alive.

Smart Trust, by Stephen Covey and Greg Link

For anyone who trusts too little or trusts too much, you’ve got to read this one by Stephen Covey. Covey illuminates the hidden power of trust to change lives and impact organisations. In a compelling and readable style, he and long-time business partner Greg Link share enlightening principles and anecdotes of people and companies that are not only achieving unprecedented prosperity from high-trust relationships and cultures but—even more inspiring—also attaining elevated levels of energy and joy. That’s worth looking into!

If you want to see some of my other favourite books, check out my last book recommendation blog here!


  1. Chris Gladstone on July 13, 2019 at 7:30 pm

    Stunning photo. Great inspiration. Awesome to see you modelling work/life balance. Maybe not so sure about taking 7 kids! Lol.

    • Suzi McAlpine on August 23, 2019 at 10:20 am

      Haha! Yes Chris, 7 kids was FULL ON! But lots of fun. Thanks for your comment Chris. Cheers Suzi

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Suzi McAlpine

Suzi McAlpine is a Leadership Development Specialist and author of the award-winning leadership blog, The Leader’s Digest. She writes and teaches about accomplished leadership, what magic emerges when it’s present, and how to ignite better leadership in individuals, teams and organisations. Suzi has been a leader and senior executive herself, working alongside CEOs and executive teams in a variety of roles. Her experience has included being a head-hunter, an executive coach, and a practice leader for a division at the world’s largest HR consulting firm. Suzi provides a range of services as a Leadership Development Specialist, including executive coaching, leadership workshops and development programmes for CEOs, leadership teams and organisations throughout New Zealand.

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