5 Essential Leadership Books to Read in 2021

You have probably already read and studied a lot about management in college and graduate school. But going beyond the classics, there are new works that portray the current state of business and discuss issues that are extremely important for today’s leaders.

Read on and discover 5 essential leadership books for 2021 in this article.

1. Data Science for Business

Written by Foster Provost, a professor at NYU, and Tom Fawcett, PhD in Computer Science and an expert in Machine Learning, this work has become a guide for anyone who would like to learn Data Science as it explains the methodology of data mining and analytical thinking providing examples of their practical application.

The book is quite comprehensive and is not overly technical. For this reason, this is a good option for leaders who would like to gain or improve their knowledge in the area or need to implement the Data Driven culture in their companies.

2. Conscious Capitalism

In Conscious Capitalism, the authors bring and explore examples of large companies such as Google, Costco and Whole Foods Market that have been able to generate profit and successfully collaborate with their various stakeholders – customers, employees, partners, investors, society – and, finally, the environment.

The book discovers the ways leaders can become the agents of change in order to start contributing to the environment as well as the society by explaining the 4 principles of conscious capitalism:

1. Higher purpose

2. Stakeholder orientation

3. Conscious leadership

4. Conscious culture and management

The work was written by John Mackey, one of the founders of Whole Foods Market, and Raj Sisodia, professor of Marketing at the University of Bentley. Together, they founded the Conscious Capitalism movement aimed at leaders and companies striving for a more cooperative future without losing the idea of free-market capitalism.

3. The Circular Economy

Considering the depletion of natural resources, production and consumption of material goods, this work addresses the concept of the Circular Economy, presenting the ways of taking care of the planet without negatively impacting corporate profitability.

The book was written by Catherine Weetman, a university professor with a Master’s degree in logistics and distribution who currently works in the sustainability area exploring business risks and opportunities.

Obviously, this book offers important insights on practical sustainability issues. However, it gained popularity among leaders as it looks at the problem from a different perspective and forecasts green trends that managers can capitalize on in the coming years. This is the first work on the subject translated into Portuguese which offers a deep insight into how companies can respond to changing customers’ needs, preferences and behaviors in the new consumer reality.

4. Emotional Agility

Considering the fact that professionals of the future must follow the latest trends while looking deeply into human relationships, this is a book that mainly deals with emotional development.

After emotional intelligence, a new concept which has recently emerged is called emotional agility, an essential skill to deal with the unpredictability of life without letting it affect your goals and results in either personal or professional dimensions.

The book was written by Susan David, a psychologist and a PhD professor at Harvard University School of Medicine.

5. Assertive Empathy

As we keep talking about books addressing behavioral topics, Assertive Empathy helps leaders lead their team to success without having to adopt an inhumane approach to make things work.

The book aims to improve interpersonal relationships in the workplace by guiding leaders and helping them skillfully carry out their 3 main responsibilities as staff managers:

1. Promoting a feedback-oriented culture

2. Creating a cohesive team

3. Achieving results that everyone is proud of

The book was written by Kim Scott, a former Google and Apple employee, who used her corporate experience in order to develop her thesis on people management.


So, ready to boost your knowledge with these leadership books? If you always look for experience to improve your career, find out what the essential skills for the leader of the future are and how you can develop them.