Fortune 500 CEO consultants share the books they're reading right now – Business Insider

Reading good, old-fashioned books is a great way to stay on the pulse of the latest trends in business. Whether you’re an aspiring business leader or a current one, delving into titles that top Fortune 500 leadership consultants recommend is an easy way to get up to speed on conversations happening in executive meeting rooms. 
Multiple CEO consultants who work in general management, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI), as well as communications recommended their top reads for the summer. The list includes a mix of newly published reads and classics. 
Jeremy Heimans, the CEO of Purpose, a company that supports businesses and organizations working on social movements like fighting COVID-19 disinformation, and Henry Timms, who created #GivingTuesday, a global philanthropy day that follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday, coauthored “New Power.” 
In this book — which business visionaries like Richard Branson, the founder of Virgin Group, and Reid Hoffman, the cofounder of LinkedIn, recommend — the authors examine the rise of companies like Facebook and Uber, people like President Barack Obama, and movements like #MeToo. The book offers a new way to look at power and how to use it for good. 
Clarke Murphy, leadership advisor at management consultancy Russell Reynolds Associates and the author of the forthcoming book “Sustainable Leadership,” recommended “New Power” for its analysis on leadership. 
“The book clearly sets out how rapidly changing business models will demand flatter structures, more collaboration and supercharged communication,” he said. “It articulates how more sustainable businesses learn collectively, how they have less hierarchy, and how they adapt faster as new power structures create more agile and decisive cultures.” 
In this recently published book, Tara Jaye Frank, a DEI consultant and speaker, offers leaders a roadmap to creating inclusive cultures within their companies. She focuses on how people can be better allies to those from marginalized groups, or how to “make way” for others, hence the title “The Waymakers.” 
Nika White, a Fortune 500 consultant, recommended the title for its actionable steps leaders can take to dismantle barriers people from marginalized groups often face. 
“Tara is masterful at leadership-capacity building,” White said. “She helps leaders and allies translate DEI strategies into daily choices and behaviors. Any leader needing this kind of support should consider this book and after reading it, read it once again, and then again.” 
In this bestseller, James Clear, an author and entrepreneur, argues that success is built on not just habits, but “atomic habits,” or micro-routines that make you healthier and happier. Clear examines the atomic habits of top doctors, athletes, and artists.   
Eric Yaverbaum, the CEO of Ericho Communications, suggested this title for anyone looking to improve their personal or professional life. 
“The book leans into positivity and focuses on fixing problematic habits instead of negative self-blame,” the communications veteran said. “I’m a big fan of positivity and being solution-focused.” 
Stanley McChrystal is a retired US Army general best known for leading the Joint Special Operations Command from 2003 to 2008, a team that oversaw high-profile missions like the operation that killed a top leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. In his book “Team of Teams,” McChrystal lays out the leadership and management tactics he drew on. He argues leaders of any kind can apply the same rules to their own endeavors. 
Jon Henes, the CEO of the leadership consultancy C Street Advisory Group, recommended the book for its advice on decision-making. The big takeaway, Henes said, is figuring out if an issue you’re tackling is complicated or complex. A complicated task — like fixing a car engine — is tricky, but once you figure it out, you can replicate the solution easily. A complex task on the other hand — like analyzing financial markets — is complex. Distinguishing between the two helps you figure out how to approach a problem. 
“With complex issues, you can analyze, but the ground is always shifting. You’ll never know the outcome with 100% certainty, so you have to be prepared for a range of eventualities,” Henes said. “Leaders need to understand the difference and become comfortable with uncertainty when making decisions.”  
John Graham, a self-described “DEI provocateur” and the vice president of employer brand, culture, and diversity at Shaker Recruitment Marketing, a marketing and recruitment firm, wrote “Plantation Theory.” In this book, Graham shows how prevalent inequity is in corporate America through a combination of upsetting first-hand accounts and research. He begs the question: Why should Black professionals work twice as hard for a fraction of the pay? 
Netta Jenkins, the founder of Holistic Inclusion Consulting and the author of the forthcoming book “The Inclusive Organization,” recommended this book for any leader interested in advancing racial justice. 
“The author doesn’t shy away from the way in which Black people experience trauma and pain within the workplace. This level of insight allows leaders to better understand life experiences to create a deeper level of action and commitment,” Jenkins said. “Many organizations want to start and continue their DEI journey, but fail at understanding the historical context. This gives all a chance to do that.”
In this 2019 title, Gladwell explores the assumptions and interactions we have with people we don’t know. The Canadian journalist and bestselling author explores how quickly we label others, in many cases, to our detriment.
The book is a great read for anyone interested in exploring the nature of trust and communication, according to Lenora Billings-Harris, a diversity-and-inclusion consultant and speaker. 
“It certainly should be read by leaders who are ready to explore more deeply how and why their biases interfere with making accurate judgements about others,” she said. “Gladwell uses research and anecdotes to provide clarity and relevance to today’s opportunities and challenges in attracting and retaining top talent.” 
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