By Michael Holland

Great leaders are life long learners consuming blog posts, articles, videos and books to gain perspective and increase knowledge.  Leverage that driving or flying time – or get away from the in-laws time – this holiday with a good book!  Here are 4 books I recommend for this year.

Get Back to Basics. . . The Missing Leader: One Man’s Journey to Leading Well – A Leadership Fable by Michael Holland – (approximate reading time: 1 hour 25 minutes) – In this intriguing leadership fable, we meet Jacob, a leader who is struggling in his first real leadership role. Jacob encounters David, a seasoned leader with wisdom to share, just as Jacob struggles to understand a note from Abby, his wife, revealing just how much tension exists between Jacob’s professional and personal lives. Jacob’s journey awakens him to the depth and breadth of the true role of a leader. Will he be able to become a leader who leads well?  Whether you’re a rookie leader in your first role or a seasoned leader of leaders, this book will prove to be as useful as it is alluring.

Get Motivated. . . The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues by Patrick Lencioni –  (approximate reading time: 3 hours 30 minutes) – In his classic book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni laid out a groundbreaking approach for tackling the perilous group behaviors that destroy teamwork. Here he turns his focus to the individual, revealing the three indispensable virtues of an ideal team player.

In The Ideal Team Player, Lencioni, presents a practical framework and actionable tools for identifying, hiring, and developing ideal team players. Whether you’re a leader trying to create a culture around teamwork, a staffing professional looking to hire real team players, or a team player wanting to improve yourself, this book will prove to be as useful as it is compelling.

Gain Perspective. . . Chase the Lion: If Your Dream Doesn’t Scare You, It’s Too Small by Mark Batterson – (approximate reading time: 3 hours) – When the image of a man-eating beast travels through the optic nerve and into the visual cortex, the brain sends the body a simple but urgent message: run away! That’s what normal people do, but not lion chasers. Rather than seeing a five hundred pound problem, they see an opportunity for God to show up and show His power.

Chase the Lion is more than a catch phrase; it’s a radically different approach to life. It’s only when we stop fearing failure that we can fully seize opportunity by the mane. With grit and gusto, Mark Batterson delivers a bold message to everyone with a big dream. Quit playing it safe and start running towards the roar!  This is a wake-up call to stop living as if the purpose was to simply arrive safely at death. Our dreams should scare us. They should be so big that without God they are impossible to achieve. Quit running away from what you’re afraid of.

Get Educated. . . Smarter Faster Better: The Transformative Power of Real Productivity by Charles Duhigg – (approximate reading time: 5 hours 40 minutes) – A fascinating book that explores the science of productivity, and why managing how you think is more important than what you think.  At the core of Smarter Faster Better are eight key productivity concepts—from motivation and goal setting to focus and decision making—that explain why some people and companies get so much done. Drawing on the latest findings in neuroscience, psychology, and behavioral economics—as well as the experiences of CEOs, educational reformers, four-star generals, FBI agents, airplane pilots, and Broadway songwriters—this painstakingly researched book explains that the most productive people, companies, and organizations don’t merely act differently. They view the world, and their choices, in profoundly different ways.

Be a life long learner and lead well!