Recommended Leadership Reading

Here is some leadership reading recommended by some of NAPCO’s members. Please note that the appearance on this page is not a direct endorsement by NAPCO of any specific reading material.

Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law

Haben Girma, August 2019


The incredible life story of Haben Girma, the first deafblind graduate of Harvard University Law School, and her amazing journey from isolation to the world stage. Haben defines disability as an opportunity for innovation. She learned non-visual techniques for everything from dancing salsa to handling an electric saw. She developed a text-to-braille communication system that created an exciting new way to connect with people. Haben pioneered her way through obstacles and now uses her talents to advocate for people with disabilities.

Never Enough: A Navy SEAL Commander on Living a Life of Excellence, Agility, and Meaning

Mike Hayes, February 2021

Never Enough

This book is about learning to lead, with lessons from a national hero who lived every day with ambiguity and adversity. Mike Hayes recounts dramatic stories of leading in critical, tense situations and offers battle- and boardroom-tested advice that will motivate readers to do work of value, live lives of purpose, and stretch themselves to reach their highest potential.

The Chancellor: The Remarkable Odyssey of Angela Merkel

Kati Marton, October 2021

The Chancellor

Angela Merkel has always been an outsider. A pastor’s daughter raised in Soviet-controlled East Germany, she spent her twenties working as a research chemist, entering politics only after the fall of the Berlin Wall. And yet within fifteen years, she had become chancellor of Germany and, before long, the unofficial leader of Western Europe. Marton makes a reader feel as if their walking alongside Merkel through each pivotal point in her journey. No modern leader so ably confronted Russian aggression, enacted daring social policies, and calmly unified an entire continent in an era when countries were becoming more divided.

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

Brené Brown, October 2018

Dare to Lead

Staying curious and asking the right questions are two skills that have helped many people excel in their professional careers. This book by Brené Brown is about leadership skills and fostering a culture of authenticity and purpose for those looking to sharpen their competencies.

How to Get Your Act Together:
A Judgement-Free Guide to Diversity and Inclusion for Straight White Men

Felicity Hassan and Suki Sandhu, March 2022

A Judgement-Free Guide to Diversity and Inclusion for Straight White Men

Although the vast number of trial courts are committed to creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace, perceptive court leaders recognize that this requires continuous learning for all judges and staff. This book by Hassan and Sandhu is a relatively quick read that will teach you about the obligations and responsibilities of leaders in building courts on strong foundations of diversity, equity and inclusion but also pinpoints actionable steps that court leaders can incorporate into their everyday interactions with others to empower people and bring their best selves to work.

Thanks for the Feedback:
The Science and Art of Receiving Feedback Well

Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone, March 2015

Thanks for the Feedback

Getting people aligned requires regularly sharpening our feedback approaches. This book captures everything we want to know about the triggers and opportunities of feedback.

The Republic

Plato, January 2010 


The Republic is widely regarded as Plato’s greatest work and the finest of the Socratic dialogues—it remains a cornerstone of Western philosophy. It sets out to define “What is justice?” Presented in the form of a dialogue between Socrates and his interlocutors, The Republic explores the idea of what constitutes a perfect community and the ideal individual who lives within it. It may be even more important now to go back to the foundations of democracy.

Think Again: The Power of Knowing What You Don’t Know

Adam Grant, February 2021

Think Again

As Wharton’s top-rated professor, Adam Grant in his recent book is able to challenge readers to rethink their own conventional wisdom. In a fast-changing world, the skill of rethinking and unlearning is critical. Too many of us favor the comfort of conviction over the discomfort of doubt. We listen to opinions that make us feel good, instead of ideas that make us think hard. As Grant writes, we too often surround ourselves with people who agree with our conclusions—when we should be gravitating toward those who challenge our thought process. The brighter we are, the blinder to our own limitations we can become. It’s really about the power of knowing what you don’t know.

You Have More Influence Than You Think:
How We Underestimate Our Power of Persuasion, and Why It Matters

Vanessa Bohns, September 2021

You Have More Influence Than You Think

Influencing people is a tricky business. Most of us think that real influence requires natural charisma and a communication style that leaves people thinking, ‘I’ll take whatever they’re selling.’ Bohns’s book dispels this notion and takes you on a science-based journey of how to best answer the questions, ‘What is influence, exactly, and how do I know when I have it?’ The answers are different from what you’d think.

The Future of the Professions:
How Technology Will Transform the Work of Human Experts, updated edition

Daniel Susskind and Richard Susskind, June 2022

The Future of the Profession

This book predicts the decline of today’s professions and introduces the people and systems that will replace them. In an internet-enhanced society, according to Richard Susskind and Daniel Susskind, we will neither need nor want doctors, teachers, accountants, architects, the clergy, consultants, lawyers, and many others, to work as they did in the 20th century. The authors challenge the ‘grand bargain’ – the arrangement that grants various monopolies to today’s professionals. They argue that our current professions are antiquated, opaque and no longer affordable, and that the expertise of their best is enjoyed only by a few. In their place, they propose five new models for producing and distributing expertise in society.

Humor , Seriously:
Why Humor is a Secret Weapon in Business and in Life

Jennifer Aaker and Naomi Bagdonas, February 2021

Humor Seriously

We are living through a period of unprecedented uncertainty and upheaval in both our personal and professional lives. So it should come as a surprise to exactly no one that trust, human connection, and mental well-being are all on the decline. This may seem like no laughing matter. Yet, the research shows that humor and laughter are among the most valuable tools we have at our disposal for strengthening bonds and relationships, diffusing stress and tension, boosting resilience, and performing when the stakes are high. In Humor, Seriously, the authors draw on findings by behavioral scientists, world-class comedians, and inspiring business leaders to reveal how humor works and—more important—how you can use more of it, better.


Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein, September 2021


Since the original publication of Nudge more than a decade ago, the word “nudge” has entered the vocabulary of businesspeople, policymakers, engaged citizens, and consumers everywhere. The book has given rise to more than 200 “nudge units” in governments around the world and countless groups of behavioral scientists in every part of the economy. It has taught us how to use thoughtful “choice architecture”—a concept the authors invented—to help us make better decisions for ourselves, our families, and our society. Now, the authors have rewritten the book from cover to cover, making use of their experiences in and out of government over the past dozen years as well as the explosion of new research in numerous academic disciplines – all while honoring one of the cardinal rules of nudging: make it fun.