Top 10 leadership Books to Read in 2019 to Be A Better Leader

One resolution we make each year at Alerive is to continue to learn to be better leaders. This cannot be done in a vacuum, so we constantly seek new sources of knowledge to better understand human flourishing and what we can learn in how to apply Psychological and scientific principles to workplace wellbeing.

We read a LOT. Here are our top 10 best leadership books to read in 2019 to inspire you to learn and lead even better in the new year.

X-Teams: How to Build Teams that Lead, Innovate and Succeed, is a great book for thinking about teams and leadership in different ways and how to increase intraprenurship (entrepreneurial-style creativity and growth within an organization by employees).

The Healthy Workplace Nudge: How Healthy People, Culture, and Buildings Lead to High Performance, by Rex Miller, Phillip Williams, and Michael O’Neill, delves into the practices undertaken by 5 organization in addressing employee absenteeism by promoting a sustainable well being culture.

Health Promotion In The Workplace by Michael P. O’Donnell is highly beneficial for leaders as it combines the outlook of practitioners and academics on methods that have worked well and produced positive results in regards to organizational wellbeing regimens.

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity, by Kim Scott, provides  practical ways to become both a better boss and a better colleague. A great read for current organizational leaders and managers.

Think Wrong: How to Conquer the Status Quo and Do Work That Matters, by John Bielenberg, Mike Burn, Greg Galle, and Elizabeth Evitts Dickinson, provides you with new language, frameworks, and tools to conquer the status quo and drive change.

If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face?: My Adventures in the Art and Science of Relating and Communicating, by Alan Alda, while told in a biographical format, provides insights on developing empathy that can help leaders develop this important trait, while told in Alda’s humorous, refreshing voice.

HBR’s 10 Must Reads On Managing Yourself, provides critical insights on self-management from the latest science. Especially with the rising number of people with ADHD (diagnosed and undiagnosed) we can all benefit from tips on self-management, which relates to our executive functioning skillset, to improve our personal management style and empower leaders with recommendations to share with those they mentor.

The Talent Code: Greatness Isn’t Born. It’s Grown. Here’s How, by Daniel Coyle, is a fascinating book on the science and methodology of developing talent within yourself and your team.

HBR’s 10 Must Reads On Emotional Intelligence, condenses the top business articles on Emotional Intelligence to help you understand its importance without the fluff and hype of blog posts and media, drilling down to the actual facts and examples behind why this hot topic really deserves to be one and how to implement it in your leadership style and organization.

The Happiness Track: How to Apply the Science of Happiness to Accelerate Your Success, by Emma Seppala, helps you to learn how to destress, in order to avoid burnout and illness, and keep yourself from common leadership faux passes. This is a great book to help you learn how to improve your ability to be compassionate and positive towards yourself and your co-workers.


In reviewing this list, you may be asking yourself why we call this a top 10 list of leadership books to read in 2019 if they are not all about leadership. Our research has shown us that the leader-member relationship (that between a leader and their staff) is one of the most critical and important factors in productivity, turnover, employee mental health, and much more. It relates to many aspects of the organizations’ ability to be successful and grow.

From a social capital perspective, the leader and employee have a linking relationship which means that the employees most important way to be productive and happy is through his or her relationship with their leader. This includes the ability to talk to the leader effectively and be able to get what they need to do their job. This involves trust that the leader has their back. It involves mutual respect. When an employee doesn’t get along with their boss, it’s just a matter of time before they either move to a different department or quit the company.

Strengthening the effectiveness of this leader-member relationship is arguably the single most important important thing that a leader can do to improve their teams performance. At Alerive, we consider business management theories, human resource sciences and organization/ industrial psychological perspectives when contemplating employee flourishing. Within this scope, we have identified that often, the leader themselves has further internal development to do, to improve their ability to understand their employees better, in order to relate to them in the way that will be the most effective at building linking social capital and creating a strong leader-member bonds.

For example, on the surface, the Happiness Track might seem to be just about cultivating a positive mindset. As a leader, the Happiness Track addresses many aspects of happiness and gratitude and preventing stress and burnout. These are important in helping leaders develop a healthy mental attitude so they are able to respond intellectually and with compassion to employees in stressful moments rather than responding out of frustration or anxiety, or getting stressed enough to quit, themself. Often, responding with ones “gut” reaction in the moment as a leader can damage, rather than build, these important leader-employee relationships.

We promise, all these books are amazing resources for every leader’s toolbox. Give them a read and let us know what you think!

Short on time?

Alice likes to read the audio version of books. She often listens to books at 1.25 or 1.5 times the standard listening speed. Her three favorite listening platforms are Audible, Libby, and Overdrive. The second two options allow her to listen to a number of books for free from the library so she often does this to test if she will like a book before purchasing for her personal collection.