Leadership reading list

A collection of essential books that meaningfully affected our team

Dan Pupius,Yellow Squiggle
Image of book covers included in this blog

The team here at Range are notorious book worms and we regularly get asked for recommendations.

Below I've shared some of our favorites, intended for people interested in becoming a better leader, improving team effectiveness, and learning how to make work more humane.

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Leadership is its own craft, not simply an extension of other crafts. While every situation will provide a unique combination of challenges, there are commonalities that every leader will struggle through. These books provide a great starting point.

One caveat, while High Output Management is a classic, some of it is starting to feel a little dated, so read it with that in mind, and take away parts that feel authentic to you. For technical managers, we especially recommend the more recent The Manager’s Path.

Books on leadership fundamentals

Building teams and organizations

I'm loathed to use sports analogies, but I think this one’s worth it: Do you want to be more of a golf team or a basketball team? A golf team is a collection of people who each play their own game, then add their scores together at the end. On a basketball team, everyone plays the same game. They may have different roles, but they work in concert, utilizing each other’s strengths, to achieve an outcome.

The latter is usually what people imagine when they think about high-performing teams at work, but building teams like this is hard. These books touch on theory while offering a bunch of practical advice.

Books on building teams and organization

Managing scale and growth

Some things get easier as your company gets bigger, but a lot of things get significantly harder. These books from Reid Hoffman, Ben Horowitz, and Bob Sutton are packed with stories and actionable advice on how to scale teams.

Books on managing scale and growth of teams

The human side of work

It may sound obvious, but companies are made up of people, and therefore leaders should seek to understand the needs and drives of themselves and others. There’s a wealth of pop-psychology books out there, we’ve found the following most useful.

Books on how to make work humane

The future of work

Modern workforces are complex networks, a far cry from the production lines of the industrial revolution. Yet many organizations use practices carried over from the scientific management of the last century. These three books will help you understand this changing nature of work and provide alternative approaches to organizing your people.

Books on the future of work

The business side of business

As a leader of any function, it’s important to have a baseline understanding of business dynamics. We feel these books provided a good foundation, though as Martin Casado notes, many of today’s companies never cross the chasm and the messy middle is the new normal.

Books on business dynamics

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We’d love to hear your opinion of these books and learn about the books that have been meaningful and helpful to you. Hit us up on Twitter at @RangeDotCo.

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Leadership reading list
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