Leadership Book Picks from Your Peers

In “The Hard Thing About Hard Things,” Ben Horowitz describes the real issues and emotions of his experience as an entrepreneur and CEO of Loudcloud. In a collection of stories, he honestly describes how difficult it is to lead a business through the inevitable rises and falls from startup to great success.

Being the current occupant of the corner office is a roller coaster you ride alone, unless you’re plugged into Vistage or something similar. The book doesn’t teach techniques or buzzwords; it coaches, validates, and con-firms.

Robert Isherwood
CEO, AMBAC International
Vistage member
Elgin, SC


“The 5 Second Rule” by Mel Robbins gives great practical advice for breaking habits that are slowing you down and creating new ones that will propel you forward. I host a monthly meeting with our key leadership team where we use many of the same principles that our Vistage group utilizes. I find it extremely effective and re-juvenating to connect with our team at that level on a consistent basis. We overcome obstacles as a group, and we’ve had many breakthrough moments in these sessions.

Jason Markowicz
Founder & CEO, Fitness Premier 24/7 Clubs
Vistage member
Manteno, IL


“Lincoln on Leadership” by Donald Phillips: No leader faced the degree of challenge Lincoln had. Half the country seceded; the other half didn’t like him. And his own cabinet members were rebellious. This book addresses those challenges and, in the process, teaches Lincoln’s methods for hiring, delegation, accountability, man-agement, tactics, and strategy. It’s fast-moving and entertaining as well.

Joe Liss
Vistage Chair
New Orleans, LA


“Fierce Conversations” by Susan Scott was given to everyone in my Vistage group by our Chair. In the past, I often avoided an important conversation with a client or coworker, and after some time it escalated into something even more crucial. My main takeaway from this book is that business conversations that focus on integrity can solve real problems. Sometimes they are uncomfortable, but the end result can be very positive.

Jacqueline Sinex
Managing Director, WEBii
Vistage member
Austin, TX


“The Maxwell Daily Reader: 365 Days of Insight to Develop the Leader Within You and Influence Those Around You”: John Maxwell has a lot of other books on leadership that are good, but this daily reader (which you can read a month at a time) offers quick, thoughtful leadership tips that you can pick up and use that day.

John LaBreche
CEO, Covenant Classical Schools
Vistage member
Birmingham, AL