Inkling's top 10 DEI, Leadership, and Well-being books of 2023

Here are our team's top 10 must-read DEI, Leadership and Well-being recommended books

Whether you’re an emerging leader or a senior executive, a DEI leader or an ally looking to learn, a commitment to continuous learning and expanding your knowledge is an essential part of becoming an inclusive and self-aware leader.

A good way to do that is by reading widely and learning from the best so that you can adopt new perspectives, and gain valuable insights and implementable strategies to help improve your organisation’s approach, and your own. But where should you start?

To help, we’ve gathered some of the most impactful books we’ve read in 2023 that explore topics related to Leadership and Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Well-being, and business, and are written by authors who combine lived experience with subject matter expertise.

Of course, this could be a huge list, so we’ve only included the top 10 recommended books that our team has read in 2023, written by local and global thought leaders and researchers whose work has inspired us and has helped to shape our thinking. No matter where you are on your journey, there is a book out there for you. Happy reading!

1. "Right Kind of Wrong: Why Learning to Fail Can Teach Us to Thrive" by Amy Edmondson

Pages: 368

Why it’s a must-read:

Amy Edmondson’s “Right Kind of Wrong” challenges the conventional view of failure by distinguishing between good and bad failures. Drawing on decades of research into the space of psychological safety, the renowned organisational psychologist introduces three archetypes of failure: basic, complex, and intelligent. Edmondson advocates for embracing our human fallibility and learning when failure is beneficial, outlining a framework to think, discuss, and practice failure wisely.

Through the sharing of vivid stories, ranging from the history of open heart surgery to the Columbia Space Shuttle disaster, she poses a simple,  provocative question: What if it is only by learning to fail that we can hope to truly succeed?

2. "Hidden Potential: The Science of Achieving Greater Things"- Adam Grant

Pages: 320

Why it’s a must-read:

Hidden Potential offers a new framework for raising aspirations and exceeding expectations. Renowned organisational psychologist Adam Grant weaves together groundbreaking evidence, surprising insights, and vivid storytelling that takes us from the classroom to the boardroom, the playground to the Olympics, and underground to outer space.

He shows that progress depends less on how hard you work than how well you learn. Growth is not about the genius you possess- it’s about the character you develop.

This book reveals how anyone can rise to achieve greater things. The true measure of your potential is not the height of the peak you’ve reached, but how far you’ve climbed to get there.

3. "The Remix: How to Lead and Succeed in the Multigenerational Workplace" - Lindsey Pollack

Pages: 304

Why it’s a must-read:

With five generations now working side by side for the first time, and a rising number of Millennial and Gen Z managers, diversity of age is the norm in many teams and organisations

The key to improving collaboration, promoting mutual understanding, and helping workers thrive at every stage is to focus on building intergenerational cultures. That task requires moving beyond demographic facts and instead focusing on the relationships, power dynamics, and individual needs and desires that comprise a workforce.

The Remix shows you how to adapt and win through proven strategies that serve all generations’ needs. The result is a workplace that blends the best of each generation’s ideas and practices to design a smarter, more inclusive work environment for everyone.

4. "Inclusive 360: Proven Solutions for an Equitable Organisation" - Bernadette Smith

Pages: 300

Why it’s a must-read:

Millennials and Generation Z, the largest generations in the workforce, want to work for and do business with organisations that promote equity and inclusion. But how does any organisation―or individual―move from good intentions to meaningful action?

In Inclusive 360, Bernadette Smith delivers a systematic roadmap towards a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive organisation. This progressive path is full of inspiring ideas from the world’s most innovative companies―easily adapted for one’s own organisation.

Everyone has a role to play in creating more equitable workplaces, and Inclusive 360 makes it simpler than ever.

 

5. " The Conversation: How Talking About Racism Can Transform Individuals and Organisations" - Robert Livington

Pages: 224

Why it’s a must-read:

Social psychologist Robert Livingston has made it his life’s work to show people how to turn difficult conversations about race into productive instances of real change. With wit and clarity, The Conversation distills Livingston’s decades of research and practice into a solution-oriented road map for anyone seeking to uproot entrenched biases in the workplace.

With vivid storytelling, The Conversation explores the root causes of racism, ways to foster greater empathy and solidarity and offers tangible steps to progress towards racial equality. It is the essential tool for turning well-intentioned diversity statements into measurable, achievable outcomes.

6. "Reimagine Inclusion: Debunking 13 Myths to Transform Your Workplace" - Mita Mallick

Pages: 272

Why it’s a must-read:

In her latest book, DEI thought leader Mita Mallick shares a three-part framework for more inclusive leadership: provide access to a seat at the table, amplify others’ voices, and advocate for those with less power.

Reimagine Inclusion walks you through how to: understand the leader’s journey in your organisation, interrupt bias at every key decision point, and transform your organisation’s systems, processes, and policies to improve inclusivity at every level.

This is a must-have resource for people leaders, executives, and founders alike. Reimagine Inclusion is for anyone with a stake in building more inclusive, empathetic, and resilient organisations, where each and every one of us can thrive.

7." Real-Time Leadership: Find your winning moves when the stakes are high" - David Noblem & Carol Kauffman

Pages: 256

Why it’s a must-read:

The best leaders, in the biggest moments, know how to read the situation, respond in the most effective way possible, and move forward. Real-Time Leadership presents strategies that allow leaders to do just that.

Leaders are tasked with making difficult decisions under extreme stress, all day long. When the stakes are high, we’re easily hijacked by old reflexes that keep us from being the leader we want to be and the leader others need. Leadership coaching legends David Noble and Carol Kauffman show you how to be decisive in your decision-making in This practical and timely book. As you get better and better at using the framework, you’ll find you can recognize these moments as they arrive, like a great athlete who can read the field as a play unfolds or a great conductor who anticipates what’s needed to deliver a great performance.

8. "DEI Deconstructed: Your No-Nonsense Guide to Doing the Work and Doing it Right" - Lily Zheng

Pages: 192

Why it’s a must-read:

DEI Deconstructed analyses how current methods and “best practices” leave marginalised people feeling frustrated and unconvinced of their leaders’ sincerity, and offers a roadmap that bridges the neatness of theory with the messiness of practice.

Through embracing a pragmatic DEI approach drawing from cutting-edge research on organisational change, evidence-based practices, and incisive insights from a DEI strategist with experience working from the top-down and bottom-up alike, stakeholders at every level of an organisation can become effective DEI changemakers.

By utilising an outcome-oriented understanding of DEI, along with a comprehensive foundation of actionable techniques, this no-nonsense guide will lay out the path for anyone with any background to becoming a more effective DEI practitioner, ally, and leader.

9. "The Resilience Project: Finding Happiness Through Gratitude, Empathy & Mindfulness" - Hugh Van Cuylenburg

Pages: 304

Why it’s a must-read:

In The Resilience Project, Melbourne-based Hugh van Cuylenburg explores a profound revelation inspired by his experiences teaching as a volunteer in northern India. Despite facing adversity, the children he taught displayed remarkable resilience and positivity. This led Hugh on a journey to uncover the secrets behind their contentment, ultimately identifying gratitude, empathy, and mindfulness as transformative qualities.

In this captivating book, Hugh shares his insights, blending humor, poignancy, and clear-eyed wisdom. By delving into the power of gratitude, empathy, and mindfulness, he provides invaluable tools for cultivating resilience and happiness, highlighting the transformative impact they have on our well-being.

10. "Good Power: Leading Positive Change in Our Lives, Work, and World" - Ginni Rommety

Pages: 256

Why it’s a must-read:

Ginni Rometty led one of the world’s most iconic companies, and in Good Power she recounts her groundbreaking path from a challenging childhood to becoming the CEO of IBM and one of the world’s most influential business leaders.

Rometty’s “memoir with purpose” combines the experiences that defined her life — personal hurdles, high-stakes decisions, passionate advocacy — with the actionable advice of a coaching session to highlight lessons that shape authentic leadership. Behind-the-scenes stories and practical guidance offer us a blueprint for how we can all use good power to advance our careers, inspire our teams, improve our companies, and create healthier societies.

With heart, humility, and conviction, Good Power offers an inspiring, compelling guide to creating meaningful change in our lives.

Join Inkling and Inclusive Leadership Compass for an exclusive virtual session exploring the state of Inclusive Leadership today on Wednesday 27 March, 12-12:45pm AEDT.
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