10 Books That Will Change How You Lead

  • If you know us and follow the Seeking Wisdom podcast, by now you’ve learned that WE LOVE BOOKS, and we love talking about books. In this episode, Drift CEO David Cancel (aka DC) and VP of Marketing Dave Gerhardt (aka DG) are talking about some of the most influential business leadership books they’ve come across.
  • We used this list as a jumping off point. DC and DG are joined by Maggie Crowley – Director of Product Management at Drift and the host of our Build podcast geared toward all things product.
  • Spoiler alert! We’ve hosted two of these authors on Drift podcasts. Maggie talked with Christina Wodtke about radical focus and goal setting on Build, and DC and DG tried really hard to keep their cool while interviewing Patty McCord about culture and hiring on Seeking Wisdom.

You can get Seeking Wisdom on Apple PodcastsSoundCloudSpotifyStitcher or wherever you get your podcasts.

For all my fellow book lovers, this one’s for you. Going to dive right into the list because I’m just that excited.

1. Radical Focus: Achieving Your Most Important Goals with Objectives and Key Results by Christina Wodtke

Talk about a stacked resume. Christina created the LinkedIn newsfeed, led a redesign of Myspace, and spearheaded the design and launch of the Zynga.com gaming platform. She’s also worked with the New York Times, Yahoo, and many Silicon Valley startups. Wodkte also teaches in the Human-Computer Interaction program at Stanford University. Maggie describes Radical Focus as the best book on goal setting – ever. Have I given you enough reasons to pick up a copy of her book yet?

2. Powerful: Building a Culture of Freedom and Responsibility by Patty McCord

Patty spent 14 years as the head of talent and people at Netflix. DG describes her as “the realest HR person.” She’s also known for saying it best, so here’s what she wrote for her bio:

“Patty believes people come to work as fully formed adults with a desire to make an impact and be proud of what they do and she’s on a mission to spread the word that we can do this differently.”

3. Meaningful: The Story of Ideas That Fly by Bernadette Jiwa

If you like Seth Godin, you’ll love Bernadette Jiwa’s books. She’s an advisor and consultant to Fortune 500 companies, startups, entrepreneurs and business leaders from around the world – helping them build meaningful brands and connect with customers. In the podcast, you’ll hear DC talk about Bernadette and how her work has influenced Drift.

It’s hard to choose just one quote from Bernadette’s writing, but this one definitely hits home.

“Giving a damn is seriously underrated and caring is a competitive advantage.”

4. Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott

This book has taken the business world by storm – I’ve personally lost count how many times it’s been brought up in meetings, development sessions, and casual kitchen chats at Drift. And for good reason. Kim’s background is impressive. She led AdSense, YouTube, and Doubleclick Online Sales and Operations at Google and then joined Apple to develop and teach a leadership seminar. Kim has been a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter, and several other tech companies.

This book has a special place in DC’s heart in particular – it’s all about giving feedback and doing it in the right way – his all-time favorite subject. This quote is just a taste of Kim’s refreshing perspective.

“The way you ask for criticism and react when you get it goes a long way toward building trust – or destroying it.”

5. Behind the Cloud: The Untold Story of How Salesforce.com Went from Idea to Billion-Dollar Company-and Revolutionized an Industry by Carlye Adler and Marc Benioff

Carlye Adler is the force behind some of the biggest books about business – the Zendesk founding story Startupland, and The Hard Thing About Hard Things with Ben Horowitz, and most recently Dear Founder, with serial entrepreneur Maynard Webb.

In Behind the Cloud, Carlye teams up with Marc Benioff to share the founding story of Salesforce.com and how the company went on to define itself as the leader of the cloud computing revolution and spark a new industry. I have a to-read list that’s a mile long, but this book is at the top.

This recap just scratches the surface of what these books have to offer. Listen to the full episode to learn more about the books mentioned here.

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Like this episode? Be sure to leave a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ review and share the pod with your friends! You can connect with DC, DG and Maggie on Twitter @dcancel @davegerhardt and @maggiecrowley.

Bonus! Five More Books We Recommend:

There were a lot of books we wanted to cover in this episode, but couldn’t get to them all. Here are a few more books we suggest adding to your reading list: