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Executive Leadership Coaching

3 minute read

Reading for Growth: 6 Books to Boost Your Career and Change Your Perspective

Mar 20, 2019

Written by: Shawn Sweeney

Want to change your thinking and take your career to the next level? Pick up a book! Reading for growth is essential to your personal and professional development, as well as your career advancement. In addition to taking a deep dive on a topic to help you enhance your knowledge and skills, reading serves up bonus benefits like better analytical skills, improved writing skills, and an expanded vocabulary.

At Spinnaker, we value books as a key resource to continuing to shift our perspective, give our gray matter extra giddy-up, and make us better—as leaders, experts, business partners, consultants, colleagues, citizens, and people. We asked our team to share specific books that have made an impact on their growth and development, personally and professionally. Here’s what they had to say:


1. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

By Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Recommended by: Mark Schuler, Spinnaker Consultant

Learn to apply powerful, proven SEAL leadership concepts to any group to build high-performance, winning teams. “By spotlighting ways in which lessons from the battlefield parallel the business world, every chapter in the book will leave you with a key message that resonates, from ‘Check your ego’ to ‘Keep it simple’ to ‘Prioritize and execute,’” says Schuler. “If you’re reading for growth to become a stronger, more focused, more capable leader, this book is a must-read.”

2. Erasing Institutional Bias: How to Create Systemic Change for Organizational Inclusion

By Tiffany Jana and Ashley Diaz Mejias
Recommended by: Micah Dalton, Spinnaker Advisor

Explore bias in the workplace—from hiring bias to gender bias to customer bias—and get practical tools to build organizational trust, challenge bias, and identify bias within ourselves. “I love the author’s analytical approach to discussing bias and dealing with the facts,” Dalton says. “We need to be aware of our bias to make effective decisions and be strong leaders. This book provides the path toward understanding, and explains how we can enact change in the institutions that perpetuate bias in our culture.”

3. The Happiness Project

By Gretchen Rubin
Recommended by: Hanna Turner, Spinnaker Consultant

Follow the author’s year-long journey to find and define happiness and contentment in her own life, blending personal experience with science and real-world applicability. “This book made me realize that you own your own happiness, and we can choose to find and focus on the positives in our lives,” says Turner. “After reading it, one new thing I’m trying to do is tackle the hardest thing I have to each day as the first thing I do. What a feeling of accomplishment and motivation—and happiness—it gives me for the rest of the day!”

4. Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

By Michael Lewis
Recommended by: Brett Ludden, Spinnaker Principal

This book about the secret of success in baseball has also been called one of the best books ever written on business. There are lessons in winning by taking risks and finding value where others may not see it—even if it’s in plain sight. “The biggest lesson of this book for me is that if you believe in what you’re doing, you need to stick with it,” says Ludden. “If you challenge the conventional wisdom and buck the standard conventions, you will find ways to do things much better than they’re currently being done.”

5. Halftime: Moving from Success to Significance

By Bob P. Buford
Recommended by: Jeff Marshall, Spinnaker Director

Want a how-to for making the second half of your life more rewarding than the first? For more than 20 years, this book has been that guide, and now contains new questions for personal reflection and self-assessment tools to guide your transition. “The idea of moving from success to significance, and getting on with what we are meant to do, definitely speaks to me in many facets of my life,” says Marshall. “This book also has a terrific foreword written by Jim Collins of Good to Great [https://www.jimcollins.com/article_topics/articles/good-to-great.html#articletop] fame.”

6. Becoming

By Michelle Obama
Recommended by: Robert H. Johnson Jr., Spinnaker Consultant

In her bestselling memoir, the former First Lady tells her story in her own words and recounts the life experiences that shaped her. She shares dreams, challenges, lessons, and more—including the advice of her father: Work hard, laugh often, and keep your word. “I was inspired most by the reminder that love and family and community have immeasurable impact on your life,” says Johnson. “In particular, this quote from the book really resonated with me: ‘For me, becoming isn’t about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving, a way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn’t end.’”

At Spinnaker, our team of experts takes pride investing in our own growth every day. In fact, we believe growth is essential to our success — and our clients. It’s all part of helping our clients get there faster. To find out more, connect with us today.