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Inspired Execution: 10 Books Recommended by World-Class Leaders

Inspired Execution: 10 Books Recommended by World-Class Leaders

The Inspired Execution podcast follows the journeys of leaders from some of the world’s most recognized brands and fastest-growing startups. Across three phenomenal seasons, guests have shared the experiences that have shaped them, the lessons they’ve learned, and advice they’d share with a younger version of themselves. 

One question we ask every Inspired Execution guest is where they draw inspiration from. Their answers range from family members to civil rights leaders to scientific advances to pieces of art. Many leaders mention the books that have motivated them and changed their perspective. 

To start off 2022, we wanted to share the Inspired Execution reading list – created from the recommendations of world-class leaders like Cisco’s Jeetu Patel, Google’s Aashima Gupta, and Adobe’s Abhay Parasnis

Happy reading!

1. My Life in Full by Indra Nooyi

Former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi writes about the experiences that have shaped her on the journey to becoming one of the world’s most respected and accomplished senior executives. Get an inside look at PepsiCo, Nooyi’s game-changing approach to business strategy, and the challenges that come with managing a demanding career while building a family. 

Themes: career building, scaling a business, maximizing potential, leadership, balancing work and life, social change 

2. No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention by Reed Hastings, Erin Meyer

In No Rules Rules, Netflix cofounder Reed Hastings reveals the unconventional culture behind one of the most disruptive companies in the world. Learn how Netflix has been able to reinvent itself over and over again through practices like people over process, context versus control, and innovation over efficiency. 

Themes: workplace culture, culture change, the importance of empowering people, leadership principles, innovation

3. Nonviolent Communication by Marshall Rosenberg

Nonviolent Communication outlines a simple framework for successful communication that can be applied to almost any situation. Find out how to incorporate consciousness, language, influence, and listening for better empathetic connections, problem-solving, and business outcomes.

Themes: workplace communication, listening to others, expressing yourself, empathy, fostering creativity, being inclusive, problem-solving

4. The Code Breaker by ​​Walter Isaacson 

The Code Breaker delves into Nobel Prize winner Jennifer Doudna’s path to making one most important biological advances since DNA: the gene-editing technology CRISPR. A gripping story about scientific discovery, the mysteries of nature, and a groundbreaking technology that will change our lives. 

Themes: scientific discovery, balancing collaboration and competition, nature, future of humanity, curiosity, morality, innovation

5. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers explores what exactly makes high achievers different from the rest. Hint: It’s not just about what successful people achieve. It’s about their story—their experiences, upbringing, culture, and generation. Learn the secrets behind the success of software billionaires, world-class athletes, and best-selling musical artists.

Themes: how hard work and opportunity lead to success, how to master something through practice, inequity in education, stories of high achievers

6. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

What core principles drive success over and over again? In The Compound Effect, Darren Hardy explains how each decision you make affects your destiny. Read this to learn how to recognize and use the power of momentum. 

Themes: how to build momentum, small daily choices lead to long-term rewards, building and breaking habits

7. Nature: “The effects of remote work on collaboration among information workers”

Stay up-to-date on the latest research across all fields of science and technology with the Nature journal. The article linked above explores data from various collaboration tools used by Microsoft employees in 2020 and how remote work has impacted information sharing across teams.

Themes: remote work, information sharing, team dynamics, collaboration

8. Purpose-Driven Organizations by Carlos Rey, Miquel Bastons, Phil Sotok

Building a durable company requires connection to a greater purpose. Purpose Driven Organizations incorporates the cutting edge of academic research to offer new approaches for creating a sense of mission and purpose among organizations, teams, and the individuals that comprise them. 

Themes: the importance of connecting to a larger purpose, how to inspire teams, mission-orientation, contributing to society

9. Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

A junior high teacher wakes up from a coma to find himself on a tiny spaceship far away from Earth with no recollection of what has happened. As he slowly recovers his memory, he must solve the impossible task of saving the entire human race. Learn about the power of resilience and friendship in the face of adversity. 

Themes: survival, resilience, friendship, overcoming adversity, hope

10. Humans by Brandon Stanton

Humans catalogs the stories of people from all over the world in the form of interview excerpts and portrait photographs. Though the faces of the people in Humans may be unfamiliar, their experiences are deeply moving and relatable. Read this to laugh, cry, learn, and feel connected to the world.

Themes: the power of story, human experience, connection

We hope you enjoy these reads. Stay tuned for more insights and conversations with leaders on inspiredexecution.com!

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