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12 Books for Your Community Leadership Summer Reading List


Contributed by Patricia Hill


In business, leaders motivate employees to work together toward a company's success. In the community, leaders take responsibility for the well-being of their city and neighbors. Yet no matter where they work, all leaders have certain things in common: true leaders are confident, courageous, and driven, and they apply integrity to everything they do. What's more, leaders improve the places they work, and they energize and empower others to make the world a better place, too.


Some people are born leaders, but most of us have to work to develop the leadership skills needed to make a difference. If you are ready to enhance your own leadership skills, this summer reading list will help you develop them in a way that turns your goals into action.

Books for Inspiring and Mobilizing Others

The best leaders aren't chasing personal success, they're learning how to lift others up. That's especially true of community leaders who have to persuade diverse groups of people to work together toward a common goal. If you want to learn how to connect with and mobilize others, start by reading these books.


  1. How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

A classic read about how to make others feel appreciated, this book will enhance both your personal and professional life to the point you might even become like Carnegie-- with both aspects becoming inseparable.


  1. As a Man Thinketh by James Allen

Have you ever thought hard about your own personality and how it influences your actions? Inc. explains that this book will help you delve deeper into the psychological aspects of motivation.


  1. Drive by Daniel Pink

We often think of motivation as a reward-based situation, but there are actually several factors that come together to inspire performance. Instead, the author explains it has more to do with who we are deep down, and what we want to become.

Books to Build Your Leadership Skills

Of course, you can't inspire others if you haven't developed your own leadership skills. While this is only a sampling of the many books on how to be a better leader, these titles are essential reading for anyone who wants to lead.


  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen Covey

In Covey's leadership classic, he explores the concept of true leadership coming from deep within-- how strength of character shines through in the form of leadership, and what particular actions encourage that strength to blossom.


  1. The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

Who makes a better leader, an introvert or an extrovert? The authors look into this point and explain that neither personality type is better fitted to leadership, but rather the idea that quality leadership is a learned skill that anyone can master.


  1. Off the Clock: Feel Less Busy While Getting More Done by Laura Vanderkam

Dealing head-on with one of the challenges all leaders face eventually, Vanderkam discusses how to carve out more personal time in order to feed your professional growth.

Books on Affecting Change as a Leader

Leaders need to know how to take their big ideas and turn them into reality. And true leaders will take an active role in making their vision come true.


  1. Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage in Human Consciousness by Frederic Laloux

The authors of this book directly address the disconnect between the leadership of today's organizations and those they lead. According to Medium, Reinventing Organizations challenges traditional organizational structures and encourages leaders to reinvent and refresh how their organizations function.


  1. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath

Change is difficult, and Heath explains this is because of the discord between the rational side and emotional side of our inner selves. Learn how to work through and beyond that discord to be able to affect change.


  1. Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure by Tim Harford

This author makes a case for the need for people to be able to adapt as individuals, rather than relying entirely on their leadership to take the reins. For a different viewpoint on affecting change in today's world, read this one.

Books for Young Leaders

It's never too early to start developing your leadership skills. In fact, there's a lot that young people can do to enact change in their communities. Whether you're preparing for your first student council run or tackling a problem in your community, these books will help youths and teens gain the confidence to lead.


  1. Leading Teams by J. Richard Hackman

This book is a perfect read for young people learning about how to build a cohesive team. Hackman discusses the importance of leaders to develop the right conditions for a team to flourish, and what elements contribute to those conditions.


  1. Influence by Robert Cialdini

Learning to influence people in a positive way is essential for leaders, and this book reveals 6 principles to help young leaders develop those skills.


  1. Collaboration by Morten Hansen

Cooperation, sharing information and helping others are among the qualities this book helps young leaders hone. In a world where many focus on "number one" and being competitive, Collaboration is a winning read.


Great leadership doesn't just happen. It's a skill carefully cultivated through self-reflection, working with others, and trial and error. To bring out the leader within, head to your local library to pick up some inspiring reading this summer!


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