Staff Picks: Leadership Books We Love

Our CEO, DJ Heckes, is a voracious reader. Here are some of her top picks for leadership book reading. We could include her two books in this list too; “The Noise Behind Business” and “Full Brain Marketing”.

5 Gears (How to be Present and Productive When There is Never Enough Time) 

Jeremie Kubicek and Steve Cockram, Authors
5-gearsRecommendation: The communication and 5 Gears can be applied both personally and professionally.  We have used the 5 Gear Communications here at EXHIB-IT! for efficiency in our work loads and also learned the importance of socializing and focus time needs. I personally use this with my hubby too.  It truly works!

Gear 1 – Learning to Recharge
Gear 2 – Connecting Deeply
Gear 3 – Why Being Social Matters
Gear 4 – Leading in a Task World
Gear 5 – In the Zone


E Myth Mastery

Michael E. Gerber, Author
emyth-masteryRecommendation: I read the first book EMyth and then the second book in early 2005 and when truly applied the EMyth Essential Disciplines for Building a World Class Company, my company grew 169% in just 16 months!
I still use the systems and processes for building best practices within our company and realized the importance of running an efficient company that leads to finding better employees that know and understand what is needed for a successful company.


Rapid Change: Immediate Action for the Impatient Leader

Joe Laipple, Author
rapid-changeRecommendation: It discussed how a business owner or leader needs to be persistent and deliberate with what is needed and communicate the change effectively. It explained the path to use for Rapid Change and how to get employees to buy into change, making it work and most of all making it stick.
I used the principles laid out in 2013 and 2014 and by end of 2014 our company was a completely different culture that created and embraced change.


Oops! The 13 Management Practices That Waste Time and Money (and what to do instead)

Aubrey C. Daniels, Author
oops-13-management-practicesRecommendation: This book was enlightening to me as a business owner that followed traditional annual reviews with annual raises. This book taught me that smart employees do not like waiting for a year to be reviewed and also do not like incentives like Employee of the Month, etc.
We created a quarterly Pay for Performance Bonus Program after reading this book that incentivized smart working employees that truly made a difference in the company and helped each department work as a team to work towards one goal together. This helped keep employees satisfied and liking their jobs. It taught me about employee behaviors and what was truly a waste of time and effort on my behalf that employees really did not care about. I read the book, implemented changes and it worked.

How Full is Your Bucket?

Tom Wrath & Donald O. Clifton, Ph.D, Authors
how-full-bucketRecommendation: I learned a lot about time management with reading this book and that giving can both be a great thing and yet a difficult thing. It is all about positivity, negativity and productivity and laid out how every moment in time matters. I learned that giving matters and used the five strategies: (1) Prevent Bucket Dipping; (2) Shine a Light on What is Right; (3) Make Best Friends; (4) Give Unexpectedly; and (5) Reverse the Golden Rule. My time management was much better and it allowed me even more time to give without feeling taken from on my time. As a leader, it is critical to lead by example and if you expect to have a high-performance team, you need to be a high-performance leader and player.

Our marketing and sales expert, Tayler Petrowski, is knee-deep in obtaining her MBA. When she isn’t reading textbooks, Tayler recommends these leadership books.

Never Eat Alone

Keith Ferazzi
never-eat-aloneRecommendation: This book is about networking, but without that preachy, upper-class feel to it that you get in some other books.





David and Goliath: Underdog, Misfits, and Art of Battling Giants

Malcolm Gladwell
david-goliathRecommendation: ALL his books are great and easy to ready psychology studies that can be applied to everyday and business life.





Playing to Win: How Strategy Really Works

A.G. Lafley
playing-to-winRecommendation: This book is about corporate strategy and how to find your company’s core strengths and then using them to your advantage. It also contains great case studies.





Our freelance web designer, Anna Doo, has read numerous leadership tomes during her years of entrepreneurship. Her husband also consumes leadership books like air.

The New One Minute Manager

Ken Blanchard
one-minute-managerRecommendation: The series of One Minute Manager books are super simple, quick reads but are chock full of actionable ideas. They help identify simple things that are overlooked that when changed make life easier.




Outliers: The Story of Success

Malcolm Gladwell
outliersRecommendation: You are a go-getter, bold, and sometimes-reckless… thanks to some obscure culture from forever ago. But, how? Why? Gladwell is a talented storyteller, in this moderate-read, which exposes invisible strings –that pull on invisible strings. By the time you close the back cover, you will look at your business with new eyes… curious eyes… seeking what actions on the fringe of your industry are helping, or hurting, your business and life, so you can boldly take control of those strings as well.


The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business

Charles Duhigg
power-habitRecommendation: What did you do just there!? Was it by accident, instinct, or design? How can you use that to your advantage, or re-engineer it to be advantageous? Duhigg illuminates this overlooked area of ourselves, which we carry with us everyday. He talks about how to foster it, change it, express it, and identify it in ourselves and others.



Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything

Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
freakonomicsRecommendation: The originator that generated an industry of cataloging and analyzing the hidden complex correlations of this world. Not the quick read, but will expose you to the cloaked side of our universe, of cause-and-effect, that will blow your mind. What seemingly unseen factors are helping, or hurting your business? This book will incidentally help you learn to understand and translate, these ‘hidden’ influences.


Leadership: The Warrior’s Art

Christopher D. Kolenda
leadership-warrior-artRecommendation: Yes, this comes from the perspective of Military Leadership. But, this book will surprise you by how the author celebrates the scripted successes of history’s greatest victories, by its most noted leaders. Take a break from the “# Essential Leadership” Element” books, and the “How-To-Lead”, and immerse yourself in receiving insight into the background of history leadership-warrior-arts greatest lead turn-about.


The 48 Laws of Power

Robert Greene
48-laws-powerRecommendation: The modern Machiavelli’s, “The Prince.” Before you pick up this book, understand that this is not the cutesy fluff and pomp that you may have become used to. This book is a cold-hearted, real hard look, into the human psychology and behaviors that have separated the winners from losers. This will bring out your cackle, make you shake your head, and cause you to let loose a gasp. Not a quick read, but worth every minute.

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