Office Library: 9 Books Every Workplace Should Have

Daniel Spielberger
March 12, 2019

In his seminal book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, author Stephen R. Covey introduces the concept of “sharpening the saw.”

Sharpening the saw means preserving and enhancing the greatest asset you have - you and your colleagues. It’s about achieving balance mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually

Today’s workplaces understand this, which is why they invest in employee benefit programs like mindfulness classes, extra-curricular activities, healthy office snacks, unlimited vacation policies and more.

But what about going back to the basics? Office libraries are a great way to encourage employees to spend a few minutes away from their phones and laptops, while also learning something new.

If you want to start a library for your workplace, check out these books we highly recommend.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Of course, we’d be remiss not to include this book having mentioned it right at the start. This continues to be a bestseller for the simple reason that it ignores fads and focuses on timeless principles. It’s no wonder that it’s one of the most heavily recommended books to read.

Covey lays down some foundational principles for becoming effective in our personal and professional lives. There’s a lot or practical wisdom in the book, and challenges that your team can take on. That makes it a must-read for any workplace that aims to be highly efficient.  

Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth

What is “grit?” In her 2016 book Grit The Power of Passion and Perseverance, Angela Duckworth explores the mindset of highly successful people. Duckworth goes into her own story overcoming self-confident issues and shares insights she gathered from a variety of power-broker.

Workplaces can be tough, cut-throat environments. This book could offer some motivation for a colleague who is struggling to get motivated and needs to feel more confident in their own abilities.

Radical Candor by Kim Scott

Radical Candor is a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller for good reason. Author Kim Scott CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, Twitter, and several other Silicon Valley companies. She was also an executive at Google and then at Apple, where she worked with a team to develop a class on how to be a good boss.

This book contains the framework that she developed there and is an excellent guide on how to be a better leader and manager, while building a workplace culture of authenticity and honest feedback.

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

Patty McCord wasthes chief talent officer of Netflix for fourteen years and helped create the famous Netflix Culture Deck. It has been viewed over 15 million times and Sheryl Sandberg calls it the most important document ever to come out of Silicon Valley.

Drawing on her decades of experience building high-performance professional environments, Powerful is a playbook for designing workplaces where colleagues thrive.

It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Let’s face it: stress culture is very real. Unfortunately, there are countless of workplaces where being stressed out and overworked is seen as some sort of badge of honor.

But there’s a difference between working hard and working yourself to exhaustion. In their manifesto It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, founders of Basecamp, offer some helpful tools, strategies, and tips on how to reduce inefficiency and increase productivity while also maintaining a level of sanity.

This honest but ultimately insightful book could be useful for anyone who is feeling overwhelmed at work.

The Disney Way: Harnessing the Management Secrets of Disney in Your Company by Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson

Disney is an ubiquitous brand and company. Even if you are not a fan of Frozen, you have probably indulged in singing at least one Disney anthem. But their gargantuan success is far from an accident.

It comes down to having a smart workplace culture that welcomes creativity and innovation. In Bill Capodagli and Lynn Jackson’s classic book The Disney Way: Harness the Management Secrets of Disney in Your Company, they explain how the House of Mouse can be a paradigm for any workplace.

This is an excellent book for HR people, office managers, CEOs, or anyone who is in charge of setting up company culture.

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

Nike founder Phil Knight’s account of how he created one of the most famous companies in the world is riveting and enthralling. These days, seemingly everyone has caught the startup bug. But before the age of Silicon Valley, Knight was laying the foundations for an international brand by selling shoes from his car in the early 1960s.

Shoe Dog is great for employees who are looking to get inspired and learn how to elevate to the next level.

Measure What Matters by John Doerr

John Doerr is a legendary Venture Capitalist and an original investor and board member at Google and Amazon. Before that he was at Intel, where he first learned about OKRs from then CEO Andy Grove.

OKRs focus effort and foster coordination. They keep employees on track. They link objectives across silos to unify and strengthen the entire company. Along the way, OKRs enhance workplace satisfaction and boost retention.

In this book, John explains the mechanics of the OKR system. It’s a must read for anyone motivated to improve their organization.

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

In 1999, Tony Hsieh sold a company he’d co-founded and joined Zappos, a small shoe retailer, as the CEO. Ten years later, it was one of the top places to work at and sold for over a billion dollars.

In this book, Tony tells his story, and goes behind the scenes to give us a glimpse into what made Zappos so successful and such a great place to work at. By focussing on happiness in your workplace, you can dramatically increase your chances of success.

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