Summer’s finally here! The days are longer, the weather’s warmer, and, if you’re a reader, it’s the perfect time to relax, unwind and catch up on some books you’ve kept on the to-read list for too long.
Hopefully, there’s room on your list for a few new additions. We’ve got recommendations to share – leadership books you may enjoy on an upcoming vacation or even the next free summer evening you have, chilling after a long day.
What’s unique about this list is where we’ve sourced our recommendations. First, we’ve taken a popular topic, leadership, and prompted an AI chatbot for recommendations. Then we asked a few members of Team Applied for a book recommendation to complement the AI-generated list.
Book Recommendations from a Chatbot
Now, without further ado, here are a few leadership books recommended by a chatbot. Each item includes a summary generated by the chatbot (edited by a human but largely intact).
“The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey. Covey’s classic is a must-read for anyone looking to improve their leadership skills. The book focuses on seven key habits that can lead to success in both personal and professional life. One review states, “This book is a must-read for anyone looking to lead a more fulfilling and impactful life.”
“Good to Great” by Jim Collins. Collins examines what sets great companies apart from good ones. The author uses research and case studies to identify common characteristics of successful companies and provides insight into how leaders can apply these principles to their organizations. One review states, “This book is a game-changer for anyone looking to take their leadership skills to the next level.”
“Dare to Lead” by Brené Brown. Brown’s book focuses on the importance of vulnerability in leadership. She argues that true leadership requires the ability to take risks, deal with uncertainty, and be open and honest with others. A review states, “This book is a refreshing take on leadership that emphasizes the importance of both strength and vulnerability.”
“Extreme Ownership” by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. Willink and Babin are former Navy SEALs who use their experiences in combat to demonstrate the importance of leadership in high-pressure situations. The book emphasizes the need to take ownership and responsibility for one’s actions and decisions as a leader. One review states, “This book provides practical advice for anyone looking to become a better leader, both on and off the battlefield.”
“Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek. In this book, Sinek explores the importance of leadership in creating a positive and productive work environment. He argues that leaders who prioritize their employees’ well-being and happiness can inspire loyalty and commitment from their team, leading to better results. A review states, “This book provides valuable insights into how leaders can create a culture of trust, cooperation, and teamwork.”
These books are just a sample of the leadership literature recommended by chatbots. The prompt for these recommendations was for five summer reading books focused on leadership.
Recommendations from Team Applied
Now let’s check out the recommended leadership material from a few members of Team Applied:
Taylor Rhodes, CEO
“The Gift of Lift” by David R. York. “The Gift of Lift” takes a look at the concept of being a steward, rather than an owner, of the resources and influence to which we have access. The author examines what it means to be a steward, rather than an owner, as a way to not only impact your own life by instilling clarity of mission and purpose (thus providing the gift of “lift” – or flight - to yourself), but also how being a steward can provide enormous social and humanitarian benefit to the society and communities we live in (giving the gift of “lift” to others). I found this book to be inspirational as a business leader because it helped me clarify a concept I had always felt – that I am here for something better and greater than amassing wealth and power for myself. By choosing the steward mentality and mission, I have the opportunity to gather more joy and contentment from life by using my talents, gifts and resources to make the world I live in a better place by helping it be a better place for others. Enjoy!
Anupam Gupta, Chief Product Officer
“WorkLife with Adam Grant”. This podcast, from organizational psychologist Adam Grant covers many topics for individuals working in organizations of all sizes and at any point in their career, including leaders. Adam offers useful discussion guides on his website for each episode to help with critical listening and applying the lessons learned on the job.
Bridget Penney, Chief People Officer
“Atomic Habits” by James Clear. “Atomic Habits” highlights the importance of creating small, consistent habits that align with goals to achieve significant outcomes and emphasizes the need for leaders to create a supportive environment. For a Chief People Officer, this book is a valuable resource to develop leadership skills and cultivate a positive workplace culture. By implementing Clear's strategies for creating habits and fostering a culture of improvement, leaders can create an organization driven by growth and excellence.
Tarra Seawright, Sr. Manager of Diversity Program Management
“Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race” by Margot Lee Shetterly. A lot of you may have seen the movie, which was excellent, but if you want to learn more about this inspirational story and true accounts from the women whose calculations put a man on the moon, read the book. The book tells the story of black female mathematicians who played a pivotal role in NASA's space program during a time of racial segregation and gender discrimination. As a black woman and mother of a daughter, reading about their perseverance and brilliance in the face of adversity is a powerful inspiration for me and something I want my daughter to see and understand. It’s a reminder that we too can overcome obstacles and achieve greatness and encourages us to pursue our passions and strive for excellence in all that we do.
Graham Blackwell, Chief Financial Officer
“Nudge” by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. “Nudge” offers valuable insights into behavioral science for current and aspiring leaders. One of the difficulties when leading others that stands out is that “forcing people to choose is not always wise, and remaining neutral is not always possible.”
Tanner Randolph, Chief Information Security Officer
“Start with Why” by Simon Sinek. As a CISO with an engineering background it’s very easy to get caught up in what security goals we should strive for at Applied and how we should achieve those goals but the most important component, our customers, is always the why. Our security program revolves around protecting our customers data, how we achieve that goal and what each of our employees contribute form the other 2/3rds of our “golden circle.” Listening to our customers, being especially sympathetic towards the security teams on the receiving end of our products and ensuring we’re aligning our goals to those ideas help fuel our program. “Start with Why” outlines the idea of leveraging “why” to lead and deserves a spot on every bookshelf; analog or digital.
Comparing AI vs. Human Recommendations
It’s an interesting thought experiment to compare book recommendations from a chatbot versus trusted individuals. The chatbot sources its information from a large dataset, pulling what it believes are the best books based on a vast (possibly outdated) dataset. In contrast, an individual bases their recommendation on their intimate knowledge of the book after reading it, comparing it to similar books, and finally choosing it based primarily on personal opinion.
Are you interested in more AI content?
In the latest episode of the Insurance Technology Podcast, guest Elad Tsur, co-founder and Planck CEO, discusses his journey to creating insurance startups based on AI. Tune in to hear more about Elad and his love for AI, which started way before it was an industry buzzword.