This is a great question to ask. One of the easiest ways to level up your leadership skills is by drinking deeply from high-quality books.

Harry S. Truman said, “not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.”

Graduate School

The challenge I have with college, in general, is the emphasis on theory without practical application. This was my lived experience in both undergrad and graduate school. Maybe you can relate — have you had that moment thinking “Why didn’t they teach me that in college?”

Learning the ideas of change or “leadership” is one thing; doing it is quite another.

That said, these two books were excellent from my program leading to an administrator credential:

From the Podcast

I created the category-defining podcast in educational leadership in 2015. In most episodes, I ask my guest for a book recommendation. This spreadsheet is an excellent resource because it includes 200+ recommendations of books for school leaders.

Since there are over 200 recommendations I’ll highlight a few of my favorites:

A Few of My Friends

After shipping 500+ podcast episodes (from two shows) I have talked to a vast amount of innovators and heroic school leaders. I’ve also become friends with quite a few authors who do some amazing work. Here are some more recommendations from people I call a friend and who create some incredible content for school leaders.

Jennifer Abrams: Having Hard Conversations, Hard Conversations Unpacked, The Multigenerational Workplace, Swimming in the Deep End
Jessica Cabeen: Hacking Early Learning, Balance Like a Pirate
Saneé Bell: Be Excellent on Purpose
TJ Vari: Candid and Compassionate Feedback, Passionate Leadership
Justin Baeder: Now We’re Talking
Adam Welcome & Todd Nesloney: Kids Deserve It
Jeff Zoul: The Principled Principal, Education Right Now Volume I
Jimmy Casas: Culturize
Todd Whitaker, Jeff Zoul, & Jimmy Casas: What Connected Educators Do Differently, Start Right Now
Adam Drummond: The Instructional Change Agent

Top 10 Audiobooks for school leaders

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My Books

The Better Leaders Better Schools Roadmap (launched #1 in Amazon when released). There is an audio version as well with loads more content.

BLBS Roadmap

I also had the opportunity to contribute a chapter on vision in the second volume of Education Right Now.

My “Hall of Fame”

I like the idea of having a hall of fame of books.

If I could only keep ten books in my library, it would be these. If my flat was burning down, I wouldn’t leave without these books.

And if I had time to grab five more …

Mastermind Favorites

The following books illustrate one aspect of my coaching approach. In my leadership community for school admin, we do not read any books in education.

There are a few reasons for this. One, typical school administrators read plenty of books and articles regarding education, so they don’t need more from me. More importantly, I believe we are better leaders if we develop a multiple-disciplinary approach to decision making and leadership.

That said, here are a few mastermind favorites all educators should consider:

Questioning and Coaching

Tony Robbins says that “Quality questions create a quality life. Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.”

This last section focuses on questions and coaching. I believe that modern leaders are great coaches and can ask rich questions of themselves and the people they serve.

How I Can Help

If you found this post valuable, I know you would love my two podcasts. Please subscribe and leave an honest rating and review:

The Better Leaders Better Schools Podcast on iTunes and Spotify

The School Leadership Series on iTunes and Spotify

If you want to go deeper and level up your leadership skills, then consider joining the Go! Community, the Mastermind, or work with me 1:1.

Top 10 Audiobooks for school leaders

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  • Our emails don't suck, nor are they spammy. Unsubscribe at any time.
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