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Itching for change? 50 must-reads for shaking up the 21st century

Pundits agree that the those who will shape the future are not those with glamourous job titles or even those with the most experience. It’s those who kept on learning – and who will not stop. While not everyone has the luxury of taking learning courses to upskill or reskill, books have always been a timeless and unfailing opportunity to develop and broaden one’s interior landscapes. Does it really surprise anyone that CEOs are said to read 60 books a year on average? That’s 5 books a week.

Another believer in this analog learning habit is Center for Asia Leadership Co-founder and President Samuel Kim. He shares how he turned into a serious reader while studying in Harvard University where one of his professors challenged him to have actual reading goals. Little did he know he was picking up a CEO habit right there and then. Kim gives three reasons why reading is a hobby of the past, the present, and definitely, of the future:

  • Books leave us with great lessons.
  • Reading is a “mindset/behavior of continuous learning.”
  • Reading trains us to “think better and observe better.”

Kim, who divvies up his time between his leadership development work and his family, still manages to read some tomes, especially during long lay-overs. He sees how reading is tapping into precious collective wisdom to face a future that is uncertain at best, and volatile at worst. “The more we learn the more we are better able to prepare for what is to come. It enhances our capacity to observe, interpret and intervene … [and eventually], influence the system more effectively,” explained Kim.

Kim shares the first 50 books on his personal reading list of must-reads for change-making and the “mini revolutions of every day”:

  1. How Will You Measure Your Life? Clayton Christensen
  2. Defining Moments: Stories of Character, Courage, and Leadership by Gordon Zacks
  3. Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversation by Chris Ertel, Lisa Kay Solomon
  4.  The Choice by The Arbinger Institute
  5. Expert Secrets by Russell Brunson
  6. The Greatest Gift by Victor Antonio
  7.  The Happiness Equation by Neil Pasricha
  8. The Lost Art of Closing by Anthony Iannarino
  9. The Motivation Myth by Jeff Haden
  10. Radical Candor by Kim Scott
  11. Triggers by Marshall Goldsmith, Mark Reiter
  12. Willpower Doesn’t Work by Benjamin Hardy
  13.  The Book of Joy — Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu, Douglas Carlton Abram
  14. A Forger’s Life — Sarah Kaminsky
  15. The Effective Executive — Peter Drucker
  16. The Gift of Anger — Arun Gandhi
  17.  The Messenger is The Message — Mark Organ, Deena Zenyk
  18. The Power of Meaning — Emily Esfahani Smith
  19. Real Artists Don’t Starve — Jeff Goins
  20. Mr. China by Tim Clissold
  21. Sales Manager Survival Guide — David Brock
  22.  Sell With a Story — Paul Smith
  23. Talent Unleashed by Franklin Covey
  24. Hot, Flat and Crowded by Thomas Friedman
  25. On Mental Toughness by Harvard Business Review
  26. On Strategy by Harvard Business Review
  27. The Power of Positive Energy by Andrian Teodoro
  28. On Change Management by Harvard Business Review
  29. On Emotional Intelligence by Harvard Business Review
  30. That Used To Be Us by Thomas Friedman
  31. On Managing People by Harvard Business Review
  32. The China Fantasy by James Mann
  33. True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership by Bill George
  34. Thank You for Being Late by Thomas Friedman
  35. The Money of Invention: How Venture Capital Creates New Wealth by Paul Gompers and Josh Lerner
  36. Many Unhappy Returns: One Man’s Quest to Turn Around the Most Unpopular Organization In America by Charles Rossottii
  37. Unleashing Innovation: How Whirlpool Transformed an Industry by Nancy Snyder
  38. Scaling Up Excellence: Getting to More Without Settling for Less by Robert Sutton and Huggy Rao
  39. The Politics of Climate Change by Anthony Giddens
  40. The Leader’s Bookshelf by James Stavridis
  41. 10 Steps to Writing a Vital Speech by Fletcher Dean
  42. Sea Power by James Stavridis
  43. China Rules by Tim Clissold
  44. The Hundred-Year Marathon by Michael Pillsbury
  45. Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark
  46. The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben
  47. The Emperor’s Handbook by Marcus Aurelius
  48. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl
  49. The Third Way: The Renewal of Social Democracy by Anthony Giddens
  50. A Man in Full by Tom Wolfe

By Nirva Delacruz