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A summer reading list for leaders

Sep 15, 2020

By Lindsay LaNore, ICBA


Summer is approaching rapidly, and it’s often the best time to catch up on reading. So, here are some suggestions for great books to hone your leadership skills.

  • Start With Why by Simon Sinek. Though it was first published back in 2009, this is still a must-read for any leader. Sinek asks why some people and organizations are more successful than others. He suggests we all start by asking why we do what we do and then share that sense of purpose with those around us.
  • The Curiosity Muscle by Diana Kander and Andy Fromm. Kander was a keynote speaker at ICBA LIVE 2020, and this work of fiction, written in collaboration with Fromm, a businessman, is a revelation. A business fable about the rise of a gym franchise, it teaches an important lesson about why curiosity is essential in the business world, with an a-ha moment on page 25. Brilliant.
  • The Hero Effect by Kevin Brown. Brown was another keynote speaker at ICBA LIVE, and this book is a feel-good, inspiring read about the importance of everyday heroes. It reminds us to be heroic, to show up and to make a difference in the world. Authentic and moving.
  • Dare to Lead by Brené Brown. If you’re not reading something Brown has written, you’re missing out. This New York Times bestseller is based on research conducted among leaders, changemakers and culture shifters, and it recognizes that leadership is not about title, status or power. It encourages leaders to be daring and to develop the potential in their teams. Essential reading.
  • Grit by Angela Duckworth. According to Duckworth, a psychologist, grit is a combination of passion and persistence that we can all learn, regardless of our IQ or circumstances. This engaging book offers diverse examples of grit throughout, including the stories of West Point cadets and Scripps National Spelling Bee contestants.
  • The Team Success Handbook by Shannon Waller. This is a quick read but full of practical advice and good reminders. Waller outlines 12 strategies for highly productive entrepreneurial teams and invites us all to take the time to evaluate, explain, delegate, understand and, ultimately, grow.
  • ICBA NewsWatch Today. ICBA’s daily news bulletin is sent out every weekday morning. It covers breaking news, advocacy, innovation, education and much more. I’m biased, but if you’re a community banker, this is a daily must-read.
  • Results That Last by Quint Studer. Finally, this book, another business classic, was a recommendation from my colleague Prabhash Shrestha, ICBA’s chief digital strategy officer, and is up next on my own reading list. Written in 2007 by Studer, a Florida entrepreneur, it outlines simple fixes that can help build a successful corporate culture.

Happy reading! And please feel free to send me any other recommendations you may have.


Lindsay LaNore is ICBA group executive vice president and chief learning and experience officer

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