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5 Books On Disruption Every Leader Should Read

books on disruption

Disruption is the catch cry of this decade. We are urged to disrupt the way we think, work and live in order to experience breakthroughs that will fast track our personal or professional life.

There is, however, a fine line between a disruption that unleashes chaos and one that introduces groundbreaking solutions. The key to walking that line is understanding the “why” behind the difference we hope to make before getting entangled in the details of the “what” and “how”.

To get you started on the right track, woman with drive has picked five books written by disruptors in their respective fields. Each offers a different viewpoint and toolkit that will challenge your familiar thought patterns and help you execute your own disruption with intelligence, awareness and courage.

Also read: Six Books On Creativity That Will Change The Way You Work 


Disrupt Yourself, Whitney Johnson

“When you make the decision to start something new, first figure out the jobs you want to do. Then position yourself to play where no one else is playing.”

Disrupt Yourself by Whitney Johnson

Whitney Johnson started her career as a secretary on Wall Street, stepped into investment banking, became an equity research analyst, produced a TV show, wrote a children’s book and eventually wound up as a blogger and a hedge fund co-founder. If disruption had a face, this is what it would probably look like.

In her book, Whitney introduces different frameworks of disruptive innovation that are applicable to our lives, whether we are a high potential individual, a manager or a business leader. Packed with business and career development strategies, Disrupt Yourself will push you towards new learning curves and keep you on top of the innovation game.


Disrupt You!, Jay Samit

“Disruption isn’t about what happens to you, it’s about how you respond to what happens to you.”

Disrupt Yourself by Jay Samit

When it comes to innovation, Jay Samit is the real deal. Not only has he launched, grown and sold start-ups and Fortune 500 companies, but has also guided businesses through necessary transformations to keep them relevant in a changing landscape and always ahead of the curve.

A digital media expert, Jay talks about disruption in a personal sense while sharing his unique method of inventing new markets and expanding established businesses. Disrupt You! is a must-read for those who have a big idea they do not know how to implement and for those who fear becoming obsolete in the technological era.


Originals: How Non-Conformists Move The World, Adam M. Grant

“If we want people to accept our original ideas, we need to speak up about them, then rinse and repeat.”

Originals by Adam Grant

Adam Grant has followed the success of his first book, Give and Take, with a book that explores how innovators see the world. With Originals, he has penned an easy-to-read social science book on the origins of originality and how each one of us has the power to bring it to life.

Aside from personal observations, his role as a consultant to companies like Disney and the United Nations have also equipped him with unique insights into the concepts and practices of originality. As one of the world’s 40 best business professors under 40, Adam offers solid advice not just on generating an original idea but also on having the tenacity and wisdom to see it through.


Do Disrupt, Mark Shayler

“It’s not sufficient to do things better, we need to do better things.”

Do Disrupt by Mark Shayler

This little book is perfect for those who steer clear of sloganeering, wishy-washy motivational tomes. Firstly, it is packed with nuggets of practical information. Secondly, it is a workbook so you will have tangible results to show for the time spent reading it.

Founding partner of the DO Lectures, Mark Shayler, has struck the perfect balance of instruction, anecdote and action with Do Disrupt. It sets your mind whirring, your hand reaching out for a pencil and your heart leading you down a different path of creativity, innovation and yes, disruption.


The Right Kind of Crazy, Adam Steltzner

“True authority comes not from a title or position but because your words are well thought out, or at least strive to be.”

The Right Kind Of Crazy by Adam Steltzner

If Adam Steltzner had not enrolled in a local community college to satisfy his curiosity about why stars move, he may have never discovered his gift for physics and math. And he may have never led the team that landed the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars. Which also means he would have never written a book about leadership, teamwork and high-stakes innovation in the realm of space engineering.

The Right Kind of Crazy is a firsthand account of innovation particularly for those who are in the business of managing teams and people, problem solving and decision-making. In other words, it is for every manager and leader. Vividly detailed with a generous sprinkling of humour, it will point the way towards inspiring greatness in your own teams.



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