If you’re finally finding the time to get stuck into some insightful reading or you’re looking for some motivation to get your creative muscles warmed up for next year, take a look at these top reads from 2018 as chosen by Faculty Director David Slocum

The best books of 2018 for creative business leaders range widely from seventeenth-century pirates and the future reach of Capitalism to the nearer but no less complex and dynamic realms of everyday leadership and social and economic life. They provide fresh and ready lessons about overcoming biases for clearer thinking, building individual human connections, interacting with others to produce better creative work, establishing creative cultures and workplaces, and embracing the new values of power and movements.   





Amy C. Edmondson, The Fearless Organization: Creating Psychological Safety in the Workplace for Learning, Innovation, and Growth . (Wiley)

Drawing together and extending her vital and well-researched ideas of psychological safety, teaming, organizational learning, and continuous innovation, the Harvard Business School professor has produced an essential guidebook for today’s creative business leader. The result is a masterful approach to building creative cultures, empowering talent, fostering engagement, and driving performance in work environments.


Sam Coniff Allende, Be More Pirate: Or How to Take on the World and Win. (Portfolio Penguin)

In this lively account of how golden age pirates took on the organizational, economic, and social establishment, the serial Social Entrepreneur and co-founder of Livity shows how their principles and strategies can be applied successfully in business and life today. Among the key tactics are rebelling with a cause, rewriting your rules, reorganizing yourself, redistributing power, retelling tall tales, and drafting your own pirate code. 


Brené Brown, Dare to Lead: Brave Work, Tough Conversations, Whole Hearts. (Random House)

The psychologist ‘of human connection,’ best-selling author of Daring Greatly and Rising Strong, and presenter of one of the most watched TED talks of all time, on the power of vulnerability, has written a valuable new book. By being more consistently attentive and mindful, she argues, leaders can embrace safety, courage, and vulnerability in ways that inspire others and build more creative and productive cultures.


Dolly Chugh, The Person You Mean to Be: How Good People Fight Bias (HarperCollins)

An essential guide to business Artificial Intelligence from the Babson College professor and longtime analyst of analytics, big data, and business technology. Cutting through hype and conjecture, Davenport clearly summarizes emerging technologies, explains how they can create business value, and recommends seeking out ‘low-hanging fruit’ in companies and deploying AI to create efficiencies.


Francesca Gino, Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life (Dey Street)

Seek out the new. Encourage constructive dissent. Open conversations, don’t close them. Reveal yourself – and reflect. Learn everything – then forget everything. Find freedom from constraints. Lead from the trenches. Foster happy accidents. The HBS professor helpfully describes the enduring principles employed by successful rebels – from historical pirates to contemporary entrepreneurs – to question and change the status quo. 


Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms, New Power: How Anyone Can Persuade, Mobilize, and Succeed in Our Chaotic, Connected Age (Doubleday)

The Co-founder and CEO of Purpose and the president and CEO of the 92nd Street Y offer a valuable guide to contemporary leadership. By thoughtfully contrasting old and new power models and values, they explore some of the pressing choices and powerful opportunities that leaders and their organizations face today in mobilizing movements, effecting positive change, and driving social good.


Charalampos Mainemelis, Olga Epitropaki, and Ronit Kark, eds., Creative Leadership: Contexts and Prospects (Routledge Studies in Leadership Research)

Based at universities in Athens, Durham and Tel Aviv, the leading contemporary trio of academic researchers on creative leadership have gathered a state-of-the-field reader. Organized around their great insight that creative leaders variously facilitate, direct, and integrate others’ contributions in producing creative work, this collection of fourteen articles provides a wealth of valuable insights, both theoretical and practical.


Mariana Mazzucato, The Value of Everything: Making and Taking in the Global Economy (PublicAffairs)

The University College London Economist of Innovation and best-selling author of The Entrepreneurial Stateexpands her focus to the challenges (and opportunities) of the dynamic global economy. Here, she explores fundamental questions of value, the rise of finance and “casino capitalism,” the importance of the public sector, and possibilities for an emergent “economics of hope.”  


Stanley McChrystal, Jeff Eggers, and Jason Mangone, Leaders: Myth and Reality (Portfolio)

The former U.S. Army general and best-selling author of Team of Teams explores what leadership and isn’t. Profiling leaders from Walt Disney to Martin Luther King Jr., he exposes deeply held myths and redefines leadership as contextual and dynamic, as more an emergent property of a complex system with rich feedback, and with individuals important for their symbolism and the meaning they provide (rather than the results they produce).


Hans Rosling, Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think (Flatiron Books)

The final work of the late Swedish physician, statistician, founder of GapMinder, developer of Trendalyzer software, and public speaker. Renowned for his many penetrating TED Talks, Rosling here provides a roadmap for overcoming ten instincts and biases and for thinking more clearly about the world and about the surfeit of information that we need consistently to process and learn from.



Ajay Agrawal, Joshua Gans, and Avi Goldfarb, Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence (Harvard Business Review Press)

John Carreyrou, Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup (Knopf)

Daniel Coyle, The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups (Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine)

Thomas H. Davenport, The AI Advantage: How to Put the Artificial Intelligence Revolution to Work (The MIT Press)

Stephen Denning, The Age of Agile: How Smart Companies Are Transforming the Way Work Gets Done (AMACOM)

Michele Gelfand, Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire Our World (Scribner)

Linda Ginzel, Choosing Leadership: A Workbook (Agate B2)

Anand Giridharadas, Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World (Knopf)

Morten Hansen, Great at Work: How Top Performers Work Less and Achieve More (Simon & Schuster)

Yuval Noah Harari, 21 Lessons for the 21st Century (Spiegel & Grau)

John L. Hennessy, Leading Matters: Lessons from My Journey (Stanford University Press)

Kai-Fu Lee, AI Superpowers: China, Silicon Valley, and the New World Order (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Patty McCord, Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility (Silicon Guild)

Priya Parker, The Art of Gathering: How We Meet and Why It Matters (Riverhead)

Stanislav Shekshnia, Alexey Ulanovsky, and Veronika Zagieva, Athletic CEOs: Leadership in Turbulent Times (Anthem)

Shane Snow, Dream Teams: Working Together Without Falling Apart (Portfolio)

Nassim Nicholas Taleb, Skin in the Game: Hidden Asymmetries in Daily Life (Random House)

Noam Wasserman, Life Is a Startup: What Founders Can Teach Us About Making Choices and Managing Change (Stanford University Press)



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