Top 5 Books on Motivation

ID-100172572I am often asked about what books I’d recommend to leaders on the topic of motivation. Since we’re closing in on the holidays and many may be thinking about giving a book as a gift, now seems like a good time to provide my recommendations.

I believe each of the authors mentioned below have produced solid, science-based, yet practical books anyone can trust and use.

Myths of Intrinsic Motivation by Steven Reiss and Michael Formica. A great book that will make you think differently about extrinsic and intrinsic motivation. This book also shed’s light on the research Daniel Pink doesn’t mention in his book “Drive”. It is the research that does not support the philosophy that reward undermines intrinsic motivation.

Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition) by Robert Cialdini. This is THE book on persuasion. You’ll learn the science and the art of motivating people through your words and behaviors. This is a must read for any leader.

The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work by Teresa Amabile, Steven Kramer, Sharon Williams. An excellent book detailing how people can gain greater enjoyment and motivation at work by focusing on daily progress towards an outcome or goal.

The Normal Personality: A New Way of Thinking about People by Steven Reiss. This book will teach you how to better understand your own motivations and the motivations of others. It is based on the most recent research in the area of motivation.

Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals by Heidi Grant Halvorson and Carol Dweck. Learn how to create goals and pursue them in the most effective way possible. This book will get you focused and moving toward the outcomes you desire. A great book to refer to when setting your goals for the new year.

For now, these are my top 5 motivation books. Notice they are not written by so-called “Motivation Gurus” such as Tony Robins, Brian Tracy, Zig Ziglar, or Les Brown, to name a few. These guys have some great thoughts, but the books I’ve recommended are ideas based on solid science and research specifically in work settings.

If you have a book you think should make the list, let me know by commenting or sending me an email via my contact page. I’d love to know what books you’ve found helpful.

Image above by Gualberto107 via