Born to Win: A Lifelong Struggle to Capture the America's Cup, John Bertrand (Bantam, 1986)
The quote at the start of this book sums up the remarkable story of how underdog John Bertrand won yachting's America's Cup: "Heroes remind us of our dreams and of our destinies. In their thousand ways, they remind us who we are." This book does just that.
Unleash your Creativity: Fresh Ideas for Having Fresh Ideas, Rob Bevan and Tim Wright (Perigee Books, 2007)
An excellent book on creativity that contains lots of useful tips and advice.
Gung Ho! Turn on the People in Any Organization, Ken Blanchard and Sheldon Bowles (HarperCollins Business, 1998)
Another book by the author of the One Minute Manager series that explains how three core ideas are enough to motivate a whole organization.
Whale Done! The Power of Positive Relationships, Ken Blanchard, Thad Lacinak and Jim Ballard (Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2003)
A brilliant little book that takes lessons from the trainers of killer whales in US theme parks and relates them to our own lives as leaders.
Virtuoso Teams: The Extraordinary Story of Extraordinary Teams, Andy Boynton and Bill Fischer (Financial Times/Prentice Hall, 2008)
This book is a fascinating study of some of history's greatest ever teams, including the team who wrote West Side Story, Miles Davis' jazz colleagues and Thomas Edison's "muckers".
Losing My Virginity: The Autobiography, Sir Richard Branson (Virgin Books, 2007)
A fascinating insight into how a shy, dyslexic school dropout used his strengths to create a company that, in his own words, "is the only worldwide brand Britain has created in the last 60 years". It is an inspiring read.
The Game Plan : Your Guide to Mental Toughness at Work, Steve Bull (Capstone, 2006)
Bull is the sports psychologist to the England cricket team and this book is packed full of insights, tips and exercises to achieve mental toughness in the corporate world.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini (HarperBusiness, 2007)
An excellent book on the psychology of large groups.
The Success Principles: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be, Jack Canfield (Element Books, 2005)
I like Jack Canfield, one of the creators of the Chicken Soup for ... books. He has a disarming style that contains some real wisdom to stir your thinking. This book is a comprehensive guide to how to be successful and is well worth a read.
The Power of Focus: How to Hit Your Business, Personal and Financial Targets with Absolute Certainty, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Leslie Hewitt (Vermilion, 2001)
Does what it says on the cover. Contains some good tips on how to focus on the areas of your life in which you want success.
How to Move Minds and Influence People: A Remarkable Way of Engaging and Persuading Others, Iain Carruthers (Prentice Hall, 2003)
A short book about how to weave stories into your communication style to make them more memorable.
My Life, Bill Clinton (Arrow Books, 2005)
Autobiography of the charismatic former US President.
The Change Function: Why Some Technologies Take Off and Others Crash and Burn, Pip Coburn (A&C Black, 2007)
A study of why some technologies fail. The premise is that a change of behaviour is essential to the success of a product and how leaders can provide that.
The Alchemist, Paolo Coelho (Thorsons, 1999)
This book really stirred and moved me and made me think deeply about my own life and direction. Its enduring popularity would suggest that its impact is being felt by many others too. Read this book.
Lance Armstrong: Tour de Force, Daniel Coyle (HarperSport, 2006)
This is an excellent book which should be read alongside Armstrong's own accounts. Coyle is a journalist who followed the record setting cyclist during a whole season and marvels at his leadership style and dedication to carving his name into history.
Joe DiMaggio: The Hero's Life, Richard Ben Cramer (Simon & Schuster, 2002)
The definitive biography of the legendary American sports figure, which looks at his great ability to inspire others.
Golden Apples: Six Simple Steps to Success, Bill Cullen (Hodder & Stoughton, 2005)
Bill Cullen is an Irish entrepreneur and philanthropist who grew up in abject material poverty but wealthy in love, care and affection. In this fascinating book, he shares the wisdom he was lucky enough to receive over 60 years ago and explains how it drove him to great success.
Seven Secrets of Inspired Leaders: How to Achieve the Extraordinary ... By Leaders Who Have Been There and Done It, Phil Dourado and Phil Blackburn (Capstone, 2005)
I read this book from cover to cover while sitting in a cafe in Tallin, Estonia and it is packed with common sense and incisive points that are guaranteed to stimulate your thoughts on leadership.
Nuts! Southwest Airlines' Crazy Recipe for Business and Personal Success, Kevin and Jackie Freiberg (Texere, 1998)
A study of Southwest Airlines' unconventional approach from two independent observers.
Leading in a Culture of Change, Michael Fullan (Jossey Bass, 2007)
This book is required reading for all head teachers and is also an excellent guide for any other leader.
How to Think Like Leonardo Da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day, Michael Gelb (Element Books, 2004)
Looks at how we can bring genius to our everyday lives.
Dream Merchants and HowBoys: Mavericks, Nutters and the Road to Business Success, Barry Gibbons (Capstone, 2001)
Barry Gibbons is the former head of Burger King who helped turn the business around before he quit, concentrating instead on his speaking and writing work. He writes in a brilliantly informal and humorous way about business and leadership as well as his support of Manchester City. This book is his look at some of the leaders who have had the biggest impact on our world through their ideas and how they subsequently executed them.
Warning: May Contain Nuts!, Barry Gibbons (Capstone, 2002)
Another entertaining look at the world of business and more specifically about Gibbons' own experiences as a corporate leader.
This Indecision is Final: 32 Management Secrets of Albert Einstein, Billie Holliday and a Bunch of Other People Who Never Worked 9–5, Barry Gibbons (Irwin Professional, 1996)
Gibbons's first book after leaving Burger King. It was written in 1996 but is interesting to read his initial reflections and see how accurate (or inaccurate!) some of his predictions were.
Winning Ugly, Brad Gilbert and Steve Jamison (Pocket Books, 2007)
Gilbert was an average tennis player who achieved far more than his talent should have allowed. How did he achieve this? Through his own mental approach to the game that he shares in this bestselling book. Gilbert is now teaching British tennis players how to apply these techniques.
The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, Malcolm Gladwell (Abacus, 2002)
Gladwell's excellent look at how change starts and carries through large groups.
Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell (Penguin, 2006)
A brilliant book about trusting your gut instinct, filled with practical examples of where trusting that feeling in your bones really does work.
All Marketers are Liars: The Power of Telling Authentic Stories in a Low-Trust World, Seth Godin (Portfolio, 2005)
This is not particularly a book aimed at marketers but at anyone who is interested in challenging their own preconceptions about the advertising we are bombarded with.
Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, Seth Godin (Penguin, 2005)
This book suggests that being good is no longer acceptable – being remarkable is what is now required to stand out. Godin explains how.
The New Leaders: Transforming the Art of Leadership into the Science of Results, Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee (Time Warner, 2003).
Goleman wrote a great book called Emotional Intelligence and this book is a great follow-up relating to leaders.
Leadership, Rudolph Giuliani (Time Warner, 2003)
An autobiography and a reflection on the lessons that the mayor of New York learned during his tenure as the city's leader, especially in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks.
Pond Life: Creating the Ripple Effect in Everything You Say and Do, Jon Hammond (Capstone, 2006)
A book packed with simple tips and techniques on communication.
Life's a Game So Fix The Odds: How to Be More Persuasive and Influential in Your Personal and Business Life, Philip Hesketh (Capstone, 2005)
Hesketh writes in a personable style and explains how to be more persuasive and influential. There are some great tips for leaders.
Peerless: The Sugar Ray Robinson Story, Brian Hughes and Damian Hughes (Damian Hughes, 2007)
When my Dad asked me to get involved in writing the biography of possibly the greatest boxer ever, I was delighted. I loved getting under the skin of this fascinatingly complex man and understanding the courage it took to stand up and be different.
Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership, Joseph Jaworski (Berrett-Koehler, 1998)
Jaworski is the founder of the American Leadership Forum and this book is about his own journey from high-flying lawyer to inspirational leader.
How Lance Does It: Put the Success Formula of a Champion into Everything You Do, Brad Kearns (McGraw-Hill, 2006)
A book that studies Lance Armstrong's mental approach and how it helped propel him to success in cycling and life in general.
Leading Change, John Kotter (Harvard Business School Press, 1996)
Kotter is an authority on change management and this book is a must-read for anyone interested in the topic.
The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations, John Kotter and Dan Cohen (Harvard Business School Press, 2002)
Real life stories of change agents.
Dare: Take Your Life On and Win, Gary Leboff (Mobius, 2007)
Gary Leboff is a mate of mine and this book is a real indicator of just how positive, creative and challenging this life coach/sports psychologist is. I would advise you to read this book ... and I am not being biased!
Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner (Penguin, 2007)
This bestselling book is based around the economic principle that any behaviour can be manipulated as long as the incentives are right. The writers apply this logic to politics, parenting and drug dealers. A really stimulating read.
Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, Michael Lewis (W W Norton, 2004)
The inspiring story of how Billy Beane, the head coach of the Oakland A's baseball team, challenged conventional thinking to achieve unprecedented success.
Fat, Forty and Fired: The Year I Lost My Job and Found My Life, Nigel Marsh (Piatkus, 2006)
An fun book about Nigel Marsh's decision to pack in the rat race to pursue his own dreams and ambitions.
Winning with People: Discover the People Principles that Work for You Every Time, John C Maxwell (Thomas Nelson, 2006)
21 chapters containing some great examples of how people have stepped forward to take the lead.
Sir Alf: A Major Reappraisal of the Life and Times of England's Greatest Football Manager, Leo McKins-try (HarperSport, 2007)
A fantastic biography of Sir Alf Ramsey, England's most successful manager.
Sun Tzu: The Art of War for Managers, Gerald Michaelson (Adams Media, 2001)
For those of you who regard leadership as war, this interesting book is an application of Sun Tzu's teachings to the modern day.
You Can Have What You Want, Michael Neill (Hay House, 2006)
A really fun and accessible insight into the teachings of one of the world's leading success coaches, delivered with a fair degree of humour and honesty.
Mourinho: The True Story, Joel Neto (First Stone Publishing, 2005)
A short book, controversial due to Mourinho's attempts to ban it. It contains some interesting insights into the football manager's enigmatic leadership style.
Coaching with NLP: How to Be a Master Coach, Joseph O'Connor and Andrea Lages (Element Books, 2004)
An easily accessible book that offers a great insight into the techniques of neuro-linguistic programming.
Sports Leaders and Success: 55 Top Sports Leaders and How They Achieved Greatness, William O'Neil (McGraw Hill, 2004)
A series of short articles about great sports leaders' approaches to success.
The Damned Utd, David Peace (Faber and Faber, 2007)
This book is a work of genius. It gets deep inside the mind of Brian Clough during his 44 days in charge of Leeds United and highlights the maverick nature of a footballing legend trying to change the culture of a successful organization.
Re-imagine!, Tom Peters (Dorling Kindersley, 2006)
An irreverent approach to the challenges that twenty-first-century businesses and leaders face from an American business guru.
The Brand You 50: Reinventing Work, Tom Peters (Alfred Knopf, 2000)
A small book containing lots of tips and hints about how you can lead your workplace to become a better, more exciting and enjoyable place, by legendary management writer Peters.
Success Built to Last: Creating a Life That Matters, Jerry Porras, Stewart Emery and Mark Thompson (Wharton, 2006)
Porras, co-author of the bestselling business bible Built to Last, contributes to this enjoyable book about personal success.
The Culture Code: An Ingenious Way to Understand Why People Around the World Buy and Live as They Do, Clotaire Rapaille (Broadway Books, 2007)
This amazing book is written by a French-born, US-based psychologist who has been in great demand for many years by businesses seeking his expertise in unlocking the code that their products really represent to people. If you are at all interested in understanding the deeper meaning of advertising, cultures and people, I cannot recommend this book highly enough.
Hope: How Triumphant Leaders Create the Future, Andrew Razeghi (Jossey Bass, 2006)
A really compelling book that argues that the ability to instil hope is a critical characteristic all leaders must possess. Razeghi looks at numerous practical examples where hope has helped to salvage some desperate situations and helps to explain how anyone can become more hopeful. I have spoken with the author on a number of occasions and can testify that he does indeed live his own lessons too.
Funky Business, Jonas Ridderstrale and Kjell Nordstrom (Financial Times/Prentice Hall, 2001)
A brilliantly subversive look at the world of business through the eyes of two Swedish professors.
The IMPACT Code: Live the Life You Deserve, Nigel Risner (Capstone, 2006)
A book by a former business leader that contains many practical tips about how you can take small steps to achieve success.
You Had Me at Hello: The New Rules for Better Networking, Nigel Risner (Forest Oak, 2003)
Nigel Risner's first book tackled the issue of how to make an immediate impact. A short but entertaining read.
Authentic Happiness: Using the New Positive Psychology to Realize Your Potential for Lasting Fulfilment, Martin Seligman (Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2003)
Seligman is the authority on optimism. Read this book to understand more about why you should practise optimism.
The Greatness Guide, Robin Sharma (Harper Element, 2006)
The author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari writes a series of short chapters considering lessons he has learned during his career as a motivational guru. He also explains that guru literally means giver of light, which is a job title he feels comfortable with (and further justifies my own suggestions about challenging your title!).
The Houdini Solution: Why Thinking Inside the Box Is the Key to Creativity, Ernie Shenck (McGraw-Hill, 2006)
Using Harry Houdini as his inspiration, Shenck, an award-winning advertising executive, demonstrates how you can introduce creativity into your life.
Natural Born Winners, Robin Sieger (Arrow, 2004)
Robin Sieger is a man who recovered from cancer and found his life. He now works as a motivational speaker and in this book he shares his lessons for success.
How to Have an Outstanding Life, Paul Smith (New Holland, 2005)
A fantastically practical book by a famous Australian psychologist and sports fan, packed with great ideas about how to take control of your life and achieve the success you desire.
The Beermat Entrepreneur: Turn Your Good Idea into a Great Business, Mike Southon and Chris West (Prentice Hall, 2005)
This is a brilliant book for anyone who wants to start their own business or wants to begin a revolution in their workplace. It covers everything from the idea stage (in the pub) through to the day when you sell up to enjoy your millions.
All Too Human: A Political Education, George Ste-phanopoulos (Little, Brown, 2000)
An insight into the human side of the leadership of Bill Clinton when he was US President, as witnessed and recalled by one of his trusted advisers. It is also a fascinating insight into the political world behind the scenes.
Ahead of the Class, Marie Stubbs (John Murray, 2003)
An amazing story about retired headmistress Stubbs taking over a failing inner-city school and changing attitudes and results.
Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win, William Taylor and Polly LaBarre (Harper, 2008)
The book on creativity in a working environment. If you want examples about how creativity can make winning teams, read about the computer programmers who compete like fighters, Cirque de Soleil's recruitment methods and HBO's unusual approach to TV programme making.
Break Out of the Box, Mike Vance and Diane Deacon (Career Press, 1998)
Mike Vance was Walt Disney's right-hand man in the 1960s and he introduces some of Disney's approach to creative thinking.
The Italian Job, Gianluca Vialli and Gabrielle Mar-cotti (Bantam Books, 2007)
Former football star Vialli writes this fascinating comparison between English and Italian football. He focuses on the role of leader in the two cultures and the whole book is an absorbing read.
Global Challenge: Leadership Lessons from the World's Toughest Yacht Race, Humphrey Walters, Peter Mackie, Rose Mackie and Andrea Bacon (Book Guild, 1997)
Humphrey Walters is the inspirational figure who supported Sir Clive Woodward's bold thinking to help England's rugby team to success. Before that, however, he joined the crew of the BT Global Challenge that raced around the world. He distils the lessons of leadership he learned on his travels in this fascinating book.
Winning: The Ultimate Business How-To Book, Jack Welch and Suzy Welch (HarperCollins, 2006)
The former head of GE's reflections on what makes a great leader, told in his own direct and accessible style.
Jack: Straight from the Gut, Jack Welch (Headline, 2003)
Welch's candid and frank autobiography, which details how he emerged from humble beginnings to become of the twentiety-century's most admired and respected business leaders.
The Luck Factor: The Scientific Study of the Lucky Mind, Richard Wiseman (Arrow, 2004)
A fascinating study of luck and how we can all learn to be lucky. It doesn't guarantee a Lottery win, but it does help you to appreciate what you do have.
Did You Spot the Gorilla? How to Recognize Hidden Opportunities, Richard Wiseman (Arrow, 2004)
Another interesting book by Richard Wiseman, which looks at how to spot the great opportunities that exist in our everyday lives.
Smart Leadership, Jonathan Yudelowitz, Richard Koch and Robin Field (Capstone, 2004)
Some useful leadership tips in an easily accessible book.