For the past several years, to close out the year, I have identified the best books that I read throughout the year. And, I always get good feedback from doing so.
So, I am back at it again.
By the end of 2023, I will have read/listened to 85 books.
I want to share the top five books I have read across three genres and the value I have gained from reading them:
- Business/Leadership (12/11)
- Fiction (12/18)
- Non-Fiction (1/1)
The Five Best Business/Leadership Books I Read in 2023
From my perspective, this book has gotten less buzz than The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, but I feel like the lessons to be learned from this are deeper and better. This book is now 15 years old, but the concepts may be even more relevant now. Plus, this is a very short and engaging read.
Fair warning, this is no light read. But, it is incredibly profound. Friedman does an amazing job of pushing against conventional leadership beliefs so that the reader can think about leadership on a deeper, more sophisticated level. While I don’t agree with everything Friedman writes (although I agreed with most things), I loved having my thinking pushed and am a better person, thinker, and consultant because of it.
All of Jon Gordon’s books are short and approachable (very similar style as Patrick Lencioni). I don’t think this is among Gordon’s most well-known books, but this is my personal favorite of his books. There are a lot of books on culture, but of all of the culture books I have read, this does the best job of helping me understand the mindsets necessary for creating a great culture. In many ways, this book is another way of calling the reader to be a Gardener-Minded Leader.
Of all of the people I follow on social media, no one adds more value to me than Adam Grant. I love all of Adam Grant’s books, and across them, he has become a better and better storyteller. This book was such a pleasure to listen to because of all of the great anecdotes. But, more importantly, the anecdotes taught powerful and memorable lessons that will stick with me for a long time. I particularly loved how he talked about character, scaffolding, and how we need to embrace discomfort to reach our potential. One of my favorite books of the year, narrowly beaten out by…
This book is about Will Guidara’s journey of creating the #1-ranked restaurant in the world: Eleven Madison Park. The story of this journey proceeds chronologically, but each chapter focuses on the key areas of focus required to create the #1-ranked restaurant, all with well-articulated stories and anecdotes. I loved their purpose-focused, customer-centric, and risk-taking spirit. The leaders in this book, Guidara included, were young, yet operated with the sophistication of some of the best leaders that I have studied. This was nearly as good as my most favorite business book that I have read: Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catmull, which in a very similar ways speaks of the author’s journey to create an amazing organization in Pixar Animation and Disney Animation.
Best Books from Prior Years
- The Five Best Fiction Books I Read in 2022
- The Five Best Non-Fiction Books I Read in 2022
- The Five Best Business/Leadership Books I Read in 2022
- The Five Best Non-Fiction Business/Self-Help Books I Read in 2021
- The Five Best Fiction Books I Read in 2021
- The Five Best Non-Fiction (Other) Books I Read in 2021