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Around every corner, it seems, the world is constantly changing – and it’s happening at record speed. From digital transformation to revamped political risk, leaders are faced with dilemmas requiring strategic decisions that could make or break a business.

So, what does the forward-looking business leader put on his or her holiday wish list? Here are four books that will shape the way the world’s decision-makers think in 2019 – and why their insights are crucial to guiding your organization through the coming year.


The leader who feels his or her job is to have all the answers is wrong, says Hal Gregersen. An unpredictable world means creative questions, whether asked by the CEO or the entry-level employee, are what truly drive success. In a new book, “Questions Are the Answer: A Breakthrough Approach to Your Most Vexing Problems at Work and in Life” (Harper Collins, November 2018), the MIT leadership and innovation expert offers a three-step methodology for transforming your company from one that seeks answers to one that continuously and habitually asks questions – at all levels of the organization.


The more a company clings to established methods and practices, the more it is at risk of disruption. To transform a company’s products, services or business model, says leadership and transformation expert Nathan Furr, visionary leaders and their teams must first break through their own psychological barriers. In a new book, “Leading Transformation: How to Take Charge of Your Company’s Future” (Harvard Business Review Press, November 2018), co-authored by Furr, Kyle Nel (an executive) and Thomas Zoëga Ramsøy (a neuroscientist), the authors reveal concrete case studies of companies such as Lowe’s, IKEA and Google who successfully transformed into global powerhouses poised to thrive in the digital age. Offering tools ranging from writing science fiction stories to composing raps, Furr and his colleagues equip leaders with practical tools to revolutionize their companies and industries.


A company where decision-making is highly centralized and leaders pay little attention to those outside the C-suite is not fit for purpose in our modern world. Nigel Travis learned this lesson leading up to and during his nearly nine years as CEO of the iconic Dunkin’ Brands, a global organization that relies on the strength and cooperation of thousands of franchise owners. Managing such a company and guiding it through growth and reinvention taught Travis that good leadership is about learning from pushback and criticism rather than ignoring or stifling it. In his new book, “The Challenge Culture: Why the Most Successful Organizations Run on Pushback” (Public Affairs, September 2018), Travis reveals his experiences and the secrets of his success for the 21st century global CEO.


The digital revolution upended the means of achieving power, as well as the very definition of it. In previous eras, power was possessed and guarded by organizations. Today, it is inclusive and comes from mobilizing people through digital platforms and campaigns. Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms, in their groundbreaking, critically acclaimed book shortlisted for the 2018 Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year, “New Power: How Power Works in Our Hyperconnected World – and How to Make It Work for You” (Doubleday, April 2018), reveal a whole new way to think about leadership – one that relies less on formal authority and can inspire unprecedented participation and creativity among employees, consumers and stakeholders.

The holidays may be a time for family and relaxation, but they are no time for complacency. Emerge from 2018 attuned to the latest trends and ideas shaping leadership in today’s business world.

Want to Lead? You Need to Read! 4 Books to Gift This Holiday Season was last modified: July 5th, 2022 by Brian Sherry