Following a year of dizzying news cycles, Twitter flame wars and increasingly deep political divisions, getting engrossed in a meaty book on leadership lessons, in-depth career advice or ideas for improving the way we work may sound pretty tempting.
So we’ve poured through 2018 book lists from publishers, asked business thinkers for recommendations, and sorted through upcoming galleys sent our way for the leadership titles that most pique our interest. From high-profile names — former FBI Director James Comey is releasing a book on leadership in May — to lesser-known authors whose books sound like worthwhile reads, the list below is a roundup of 11 titles coming in the first half of the year to consider adding to your business bookshelf.
“When: The Scientific Secrets of Perfect Timing”
By Dan Pink, expected Jan. 9
Pink dives into the research behind not just what makes people good at their jobs or how they do it, but when: The most productive time of day to do the hardest work, the right time of year to start a new project, the best time in life to change jobs. Known for his popular books on motivation and creativity, Pink tackles the science behind how we organize our time and how we should set up the routines of our days.
“Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility”
By Patty McCord, expected Jan. 9
The former chief talent officer at Netflix, McCord led human resources at the streaming video company when a popular slide deck about its culture went viral years ago. With the title “Freedom & Responsibility,” the slides described how Netflix thinks about retention (“adequate performance gets a generous severance package”), hiring (no “brilliant jerks”) and its efforts to curtail “rule creep” (the company was one of the first to say it had no vacation policy). Now a consultant, McCord promotes the idea of “radical honesty in the workplace,” sharing lessons from her time at Netflix and elsewhere.
“Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More “
By Morten Hansen, expected Jan. 30
Written by a co-author of famed business guru Jim Collins, Hansen’s book is based on a five-year research study of 5,000 managers and employees which resulted in seven practices that the best of them share. The leaders he profiles have more compelling stories than the typical CEO: A principal who turned around a failing high school, a sushi chef in Tokyo who received three Michelin stars and the first explorer to reach the South Pole in 1911.
“The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups”
By Daniel Coyle, expected Jan. 30
Recommended by both organizational behavior expert Adam Grant and “The No A..hole Rule” author Robert Sutton, Coyle’s book examines how successful groups of people — from the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six to the San Antonio Spurs — work together so well. Coyle, who works as an adviser for the Cleveland Indians and is the author of other books about talent, promises to “demystify” the murky topic of organizational culture by examining the key skills that prompt group cooperation.
“Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have all the Facts”
By Annie Duke, expected Feb. 6
This book’s subhed describes exactly what leaders so often have to do: Make decisions before they know everything. And for those interested in getting ideas from diverse fields, Duke’s background certainly offers one: A former World Series of Poker champion, she was earlier awarded a National Science Foundation fellowship to study cognitive psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. Duke is now a business consultant who speaks and coaches on decision strategy with corporate clients, the lessons of which are distilled in this book.