Leadership Summer Reading List

leadership books

As a fitness leader, it’s vital to continue to sharpen your skills — and there’s no easier way to do so than through books. With this in mind, following are a number of leadership book recommendations from fitness operators to add to your summer reading list.

Francesca Schuler, CEO, In-Shape Health Clubs:

I recently read “Late Bloomers: The Power of Patience in a World Obsessed with Early Achievement” by Rich Karlgaard. This is a fantastic reminder as a leader, as a parent, as an individual of how our careers and our lives have never-ending potential. Would recommend it to anyone.

Hannah Stael von Holstein, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Discover Strength:

A forever favorite for me is, “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team” by Patrick Lencioni. This book has laid a foundation of what healthy teams look like. He writes in a fable format, which makes it an entertaining read and at the end of all of his books he has practical application steps. For anyone who reads this book, one of the characters will resonate with you personally or relate to someone on your team. I promise. As a bonus book, “Atomic Habits” by James Clear has been my favorite book of 2019 from a personal growth standpoint.

Heather Hudson, Co-founder, 9Round:

One of my favorite leadership books is “Compound Effect” by Darren Hardy. It’s a great book to turn to if I ever find myself in a rut. Every time I pick it up, I’m reminded of the basics of success, and it’s a book that’s always able to calm my mind down. 

I’m also a big fan of “Zero to 100” by Shannon Hudson. I know the author pretty well! It’s a great story of how an idea can transform into something you would have never imagined.

Kathy Guibord, Senior Director of Health and Wellness, The Atlantic Club:

My favorite leadership book is an oldie but goodie: Stephen Covey’s “7 Habits of Highly Effective People.”  I have enjoyed this book over the years because it truly speaks to a blend of actions that increase both personal and professional effectiveness. It is an easy read and uses a variety of examples and stories that are relatable. There is no easy answer to leadership, just as there is no quick fix to health and wellness. It takes a multi-faceted approach to be successful. When the components of the 7 Habits are being followed, we live our best and can achieve great things. We all have times when we are challenged and can get stuck in a cycle of frustration and experience set-backs. I find it worthwhile to reference back to the 7 Habits and realize there are other paths and options that will bring about a successful result. For me, the 7 Habits bring me back to balance when it would be easy to become entangled in a world that may not always be positive.

Kay Yuspeh, Owner, Elite Sports Clubs:

Two of my favorite leadership books are “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap, and Others Don’t” by Jim Collins, and “Who Moved My Cheese?: An A-Mazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life” by Spencer Johnson and Kenneth Blanchard. They both deal with change and constant improvements.  

Marisa Hoff, General Manager, Stevenson Fitness:

There are so many great books to choose from. Books have been a big part of my growth in this industry and as a leader. It feels like every year I find one book that really speaks to me and my current evolution as a leader. In the beginning of my career, it was anything by Patrick Lencioni. Recently, I really enjoyed “The One Thingby Gary Kellar (with Jay Papasan). It really helped me with my struggles to juggle the different roles in my day-to-day life. Really thinking about what drives our company forward and being strategic about how I spend my time has made a real impact. 

Shelli Taylor, President and COO, United PF Partners:

There are so many great leadership books, I cannot just select one. Our team has fallen in love with and adopted the concepts of John C. Maxwell’s “The 5 Levels of Leadership,” a values-based leadership practice for the new leader and the seasoned leader. My top go-to book for the past 15+ years is “The Leadership Pipeline” by Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter, and Jim Noel. As a leader grows into larger spans of responsibility, what made someone successful in one role does not necessarily equate to success in the next role. “The Leadership Pipeline” breaks down the hard and soft skills needed with each leadership milestone and transition. This book is invaluable resource to ensure success for the leader transitioning, and for the organization supporting that leader’s development.  

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