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. . . Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown.  The way of the Essentialist isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done.  It is not  a time management strategy, or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution towards the things that really matter.  By forcing us to apply a more selective criteria for what is Essential, the disciplined pursuit of less empowers us to reclaim control of our own choices about where to spend our precious time and energy – instead of giving others the implicit permission to choose for us.  A must-read for any leader, manager, or individual who wants to learn how to do less, but better, in every area of their lives, Essentialism is a movement whose time has come.

Get Motivated. . . The Truth About Employee Engagement: A Fable About Addressing the Three Root Causes of Job Misery by Patrick Lencioni.  Job misery. Millions of workers, even those who have carefully chosen careers based on true passions and interests, dread going to work, suffering each day as they trudge to jobs that make them cynical, weary, and frustrated. It is a simple fact of business life that any job, from investment banker to dishwasher, can become miserable. Through the story of a CEO turned pizzeria manager, Lencioni reveals the three elements that make work miserable — irrelevance, immeasurability, and anonymity — and gives managers and their employees the keys to make any job more engaging.

Gain Perspective. . .  The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman.  Falling in love is easy. Staying in love—that’s the challenge! How can you keep your relationship fresh and growing amid the demands, conflicts, and just plain boredom of everyday life?  In this #1 New York Times bestseller, you’ll discover the secret that has transformed millions of relationships worldwide. Whether your relationship is flourishing or failing, Dr. Gary Chapman’s proven approach to showing and receiving love will help you experience deeper and richer levels of intimacy with your partner—starting today.

Get Educated. . . The Wright Brothers by David McCullough.  McCullough tells the dramatic, surprising, profoundly American story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly: Wilbur and Orville Wright.  On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe what had happened: the age of flight had begun, with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot.  Who were these men and how was it that they achieved what they did?

Be a life long learner and lead well!

I read 30 to 40 books a year.  Click here to see a list of the books I’ve read in 2015 on my Instigating Men blog.