My Leadership Journey: 12 Books That Impacted Me Most In 2021

Like Don't move Unlike

As we turn the corner into this new year, effective leaders make a practice not only of looking boldly into 2022, but also of reflecting purposefully back on 2021.

To that end, I have reviewed the books I read in 2021, and have compiled my own list of those that impacted me the most. My purpose for sharing this list with you is simply to help spark a conversation about how you have grown through your own readings this year.

For context, I read 40 books in 2021; the following represents not a “top 10” list, and is not presented in order of ranking. Instead, it is simple compilation of the particular books that impacted me the most. You’ll note the while many are newer, in many cases I reach back to read the classics from an earlier time.

My list is divided into 3 categories;

  • Leadership

  • Biography

  • Personal interest


– Change

How Organizations Achieve Hard-To-Imagine Results in Uncertain And Volatile Times by John Kotter (2021)

– At Your Best

How To Get Time, Energy and Priorities Working In Your Favor by Carey Nieuwhof (2021)

– Smarter, Faster, Better

The Transformative Power of Real Productivity by Charles Duhigg (2016)

– Canoeing the Mountains

Christian Leadership in Uncharted Territory by Tod Bolsinger (2015)

– The Power of Habit

Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business by Charles Duhigg (2012)


– A Promised Land

By Barack Obama (2020)

– Reagan

An American Journey by Bob Spitz (2018)

– American Icon

Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company by Bryce G. Hoffman (2012)

– Bonhoeffer

Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy by Eric Metaxas (2009)

– Truman

by David McCullough (1992)

Personal Interest

– Finding Our Way

Reclaiming the 1st Century Church in the 21st Century by Jeff Lockyer (2021)

– No One Wins Alone

A Memoir by Mark Messier (2021)

My reading approach is built on these principles:

1. I do not set a goal for reading a certain number of books

It is more useful to simply maintain a daily discipline of reading.

2. I read broadly

My primary area of interest is leadership, but I continue to read on biographies, sports, faith and culture.

3. I seek to apply what I learn

Reading, without application, is of limited value.

What books were most impactful for you in 2021? Please share in the comments section, and let’s spark a conversation.

the author

Scott Cochrane

Lifelong learner, practitioner and coach of leadership, across more than 50 countries. Follower of Jesus, husband of Nora, grateful parent and grandparent.


  1. Thanks for this post, Scott. I was completely impressed with, “I do not set a goal for reading a certain number of books.
    It is more useful to simply maintain a daily discipline of reading.” Focus more on habits and less on goals.

    Last year I was completely blown away by Stephen King’s Book, On Writing. I also love, “Becoming Dr. Suess,” by Brian Jones.

    I’m currently dabbling in, Mark Twain’s book, “A Tramp Abroad,” mostly because of his creativity.


  2. Thanks Dan; “Becoming Dr Seuss” is the next book on my reading list. I just completed “World War C”, by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, and have now started “Know What You’re For” by Jeff Henderson of Chick Fil A. Cheers…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *