stack of books on the dark wood background. toning. selective focus on the middle book

I get asked a lot to recommend books for managers. For that reason, I thought I’d take a moment to write up some of the books I recommend most frequently. If you’re looking for a gift idea for someone, or want to better yourself, check out my list. Please note, each title is linked to a listing on

  1. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink. Always one of my top recommendations. This compelling book on how to tap into intrinsic motivation in the workplaces crackles with energy, stories, and evidence-based ideas. A must read for any leader in any organization.
  2. The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. Written as a fable, this easy to read (seriously, you’ll finish it in under 2 hours) tome takes leaders through a journey to unify a team in disarray. This book is particularly effective at highlighting how, when, and why conflict is good.
  3. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes are High by Patterson and Grenny. Everyday leaders everywhere have to navigate conflict, give feedback, and engage in other challenging forms of communication. This world-renowned book should be kept at hand for anyone in a leadership position.
  4. Patients Come Second: Leading Change by Changing the Way You Lead by Spiegelman and Berrett. Most of you know I write, speak, and train on what healthcare leaders must to do engage and inspire employees. This book is also on employee engagement and echoes much of what I teach: that leaders who focus on employees first end up deploying teams who serve patients better than anyone.
  5. Encouraging the Heart: A Leader’s Guide to Rewarding & Recognizing Others by Kouzes and Posner. While it’s been around for a while, this terrific book helps leaders understand why gratitude and recognition are so powerful. Encouraging the Heart shows us how true leaders encourage and motivate those they work with by helping them find their voice and feel like heroes.


(C’mon, you had to know this was coming, right?!)

Cure for the Common Leader: What Physicians & Managers Must Do to Engage & Inspire Healthcare Teams by Joe Mull.

I’m proud not just of this book, but of the ways it has helped others. I’m blessed to get feedback weekly from healthcare leaders all over about how useful this book is for them as they try to build teams that work hard, get along, and wow patients. This book translates the latest research on leadership, employee engagement, and motivation into SEVEN actions physicians and managers must take to engage and inspire healthcare teams.

Now it’s your turn! What are some of your favorite leadership books for healthcare professionals? Share them in the comments box below!  ~Joe

Joe Mull, M.Ed, is a leadership trainer and keynote speaker. He works with healthcare organizations that want their practice leaders to engage, inspire, and succeed. To learn more or bring Joe to your site, visit