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10 Learning and Development Books for 21st Century Leaders & Organizations


Summer is fast approaching but learning never ends. We asked our WDHB team about their favorite Learning & Development books of the year so that we could sharing these bold, thought-provoking publications with you. As you bask in the warm weather or spend a long weekend away from the office, we hope these 10 L&D publications ignite your imagination inspire opportunities to give your company a competitive edge.

Of course, if you’re looking for even more insights into the world of L&D, check out the research and advancements our team at WDHB Lab dove into, including the role L&D can play in activating purpose with your organization. We hope these reports will open your mind to innovative development strategies, just like the books listed below.


“Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones” by James Clear

More than just a self-help book, Atomic Habits provides simple, actionable steps that snowball into life changing behaviors. As a business leader, these satisfying quick wins make healthy habits stick as you and your team improve a little each day.

“Developing Intercultural Awareness: A Cross-Cultural Training Handbook” by L. Robert Kohls

Multicultural training is central to developing a rich company culture. Packed with plentiful case studies and dynamic games, this guide is the perfect resource for anyone wishing to train others and to improve their own cultural competency.


“Design for How People Learn” by Julie Dirksen

This book is well-known for being one of the most fun and engaging resources for learning design. Useful for both beginners and seasoned veterans in the L&D space, this witty and informative book will show you how to enrapture your audience with lively storytelling and practical lived experience.

“Leaders Eat Last” by Simon Sinek

Why are some teams ready to put their lives on the line for each other, while others fall into disorder and deep mistrust? In this riveting read, Simon Sinek looks to the great leaders who constantly sacrifice their own desires for the benefit of the larger group. With a newly expanded chapter on leading millennials, learn how to create a “Circle of Safety” that can withstand the greatest of challenges in the workplace.


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“Loonshots: How to Nurture the Crazy Ideas That Win Wars, Cure Diseases, and Transform Industries” by Safi Bahcall

Combining physics and business strategy, this groundbreaking book explains why company culture can rapidly shift from encouraging bold ideas to shutting them down, and vice versa. Drawing lessons from phase transitions (such as water turning to ice and birds flocking), this exciting read proves how businesses can create a wave of change rather than react to crises.

“Machine, Platform, Crowd: Harnessing Our Digital Future” by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson

In a digital world where constant change is becoming the status quo, this book warmly navigates you through the risks and rewards of shaping a brighter future through technology. This resource is perfect for world leaders who wish to understand technological trends- all through a powerfully humanitarian lens.


“Peak, Secrets from the New Science of Expertise” by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool

With an insightful focus on deliberate practice and coaching, this book proves that almost nothing is out of reach if we commit to a process and seek outside guidance. No matter what skills you wish to master, this guide offers surprising approaches to development that help us get a little better each day as people and leaders.  This book is part of the presentation John Crawley gives during our Gold Medal Leadership Experience in California.

“The Platform Delusion: Who Wins and Who Loses in the Age of Tech Titans” by Jonathan A. Knee

This book smashes the misconception of tech giants being unstoppable in the digital age. By exploring the secrets behind these companies’ success, readers will understand how to drive resilience, expand opportunity, and how to shrewdly compete in the platform economy.

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“Tribe of Mentors” by Tim Ferris

An eye-opening collection of interviews from some of the greatest minds of today, “Tribe of Mentors’ is the perfect book for every stage of life. From adopting the habits of successful people to discovering the secrets of a fulfilling life, the concrete advice of these thought-leaders will inspire you to become the master of your own unique journey.

“Surrounded by Idiots: The Four Types of Human Behavior and How to Effectively Communicate with Each in Business (and in Life)” By Thomas Erikson

Many people truly believe they are surrounded by idiots, but the reality is often rooted in differing communication styles. By drawing from the popular DISA profiles personality test, this illuminating resource provides practical strategies to avoid painful misunderstandings and become more understanding of yourself and others. 


We hope you enjoyed our top 10 books for the summer of 2022. Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know on Linkedin or Facebook. Ready to thrive this year and beyond? We’d love to chat about our expanded portfolio  from virtual, hybrid and on-location programs to L&D consulting. Our solutions are fully customizable and directly address the challenges faced by your organization. Contact us today to learn more.


Sunil Narang

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