Core Recommended Readings

I often get asked, “What are the top books you recommend to clients?”

This core list of recommended readings focuses on the topics I discuss most frequently with clients. They will help you build awareness and skills in:

  • Leadership
  • Management
  • Interpersonal communication
  • Culture
  • Inner growth (building internal awareness + skills, and thought & behavior change)


The Advantage, by Patrick Lencioni. The seminal difference between successful companies and mediocre ones has little to do with what they know and how smart they are and more to do with how healthy they are. A healthy organization is one where its management, operations and culture are unified. Healthy organizations perform better, are free of politics and confusion, and have higher retention.

Dare to Lead, by Brene Brown. When we dare to lead, we don’t pretend to have the right answers; we stay curious and ask the right questions. We don’t see power as finite and hoard it; we know that power becomes infinite when we share it with others. We don’t avoid difficult conversations and situations; we lean into vulnerability when it’s necessary to do good work.


High Output Management, by Andy Grove. Covers techniques for creating highly productive teams, demonstrating methods of motivation that lead to peak performance. A practical handbook for navigating real-life business scenarios and is a powerful management manifesto.

Scaling Teams, David Loftesness & Alexander Grosse. Provides a practical approach to managing your way through challenges of leading a company or team of 10–150 people. Covers strategies and tactics for managing growth, starting with a single team and exploring typical scaling points as the team grows in size and complexity. Discusses how to make the most of: Hiring, People management, Organization, Culture, and Communication.

Interpersonal Communication

Radical Candor, by Kim Scott. Radical Candor is a simple idea: to be a good boss, you have to Care Personally at the same time that you Challenge Directly. When you challenge without caring it’s obnoxious aggression; when you care without challenging it’s ruinous empathy. When you do neither it’s manipulative insincerity. This framework helps build better relationships, and fulfill three key responsibilities as a leader: creating a culture of feedback, building a cohesive team, and achieving results.

Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most, by Douglas Stone. We attempt or avoid difficult conversations every day — whether dealing with an underperforming employee, disagreeing with a spouse, or negotiating with a client. This book provides a step-by-step approach to having those tough conversations with more success.

Thanks For the Feedback: The Art and Science of Receiving Feedback Well, by Douglas Stone & Sheila Heen. In Thanks for the Feedback, authors Stone and Heen explain why receiving feedback is so crucial yet so challenging, offering a simple framework and powerful tools to help us take on life’s blizzard of offhand comments, annual evaluations, and unsolicited input with curiosity and grace. They blend the latest insights from neuroscience and psychology with practical advice.

Nonviolent Communication, by Marshall B Rosenberg. Marshall Rosenberg offers insightful stories, anecdotes, practical exercises and role-plays that can dramatically change your approach to communication. Discover how the language you use can strengthen relationships, build trust, prevent conflicts and heal pain.


Culture Code, by Daniel Coyle. Goes inside some of the world’s most successful organizations (U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team Six, IDEO, San Antonio Spurs) and reveals what makes them tick. Demystifies the culture-building process by identifying three key skills that generate cohesion and cooperation, and explains how diverse groups learn to function with a single mind. Drawing on a range of examples, the book offers specific strategies that trigger learning, spark collaboration, build trust, and drive positive change.

Inner work

The Remarkable Advantage to Abundant Thinking, by Katia Verresen (First Round Review). Today, the groupthink in tech largely believes that you have to suffer and barely survive to succeed. But this is a trap. The ideal attitude is what is called Abundant Thinking — a mindset that gives you the creative agency and grit to reach your vision — and, on a daily basis, to design your own life. Verresen grounds the concept of abundance in real tactics and actions anyone can use to feel more energized, expand their world view, and achieve their vision of success.

Women in Tech

Playing Big, Tara Mohr. Real, practical tools to help women quiet self-doubt, identify their callings, “unhook” from praise and criticism, unlearn counterproductive good girl habits, and begin taking bold action.

*I have many more recommended readings on more specific topics like goal planning, decision-making, building accountability, navigating hard conversations, and more. If you’re looking to dig into the work of growing as a founder and leader, feel free to reach out!



Executive Coach for startup founders, execs & investors. Background in Counseling Psychology & VC. Outgoing introvert.

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Lauren Adelle Coaching

Executive Coach for startup founders, execs & investors. Background in Counseling Psychology & VC. Outgoing introvert.