Who doesn't love a good book? As an avid reader, I'm happier curled up in the pages of a paperback than just about anywhere else. Books are my constant companion in my #WFA lifestyle, and they're the best travel buddy you can imagine. But you don't have to be a book nerd like me to benefit from the library of awesomeness on this list.
Take a page out of my book and pick up one of these volumes for your own shelf (or Kindle, or Audible, or wherever/however you like to consume content). I promise these are the inspirational leadership books I keep coming back to for knowledge, wisdom, a good laugh, or a big hug in word form. Let's check them out.
Books for Being a Better Leader
You don't have to head up a remote team to benefit from these books — but if you do, you'll also learn plenty. These cover business basics, from the nuts and bolts of being in charge to the more metaphysical aspect of leading.
Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman
"Clarify your vision and you will make better decisions about people, processes, finances, strategies, and customers." — Gino Wickman
Ever wish your business would run as smoothly as your MacBook? You might need the Entrepreneurial Operating System or EOS. I first read Traction in 2022 and started to put EOS into practice at FPS. Since then, it has sky-rocketed our business in the best direction. We are more buttoned up and more aligned, we understand our goals, and we know that our teammates also have accountability and goals to hit.
The EOS is life-changing for any business, but especially remote businesses that need people to follow a map together and have documentation on company goals when they're not all in one place. Once you check this out, you'll probably want more. Other books in the EOS series that are great for remote companies: How to Be a Great Boss and Rocket Fuel.
Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
"If you don't prioritize your life, someone else will." — Greg McKeown
You can try to get more stuff done in less time ... or you can instead focus on just doing the right stuff. I talk about this book all the time because it's honestly changed the way I think about work ... but also the way I think about my life as a whole.
Not sure what you care about? Or do you find you care about absolutely everything, so nothing actually gets done? This is the inspirational leadership book that will turn things around for you. Read on, and figure out what your essential intent is, both in business and in your personal life.
The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom by Don Miguel Ruiz
"It is always better to ask questions than to make an assumption, because assumptions set us up for suffering." — Don Miguel Ruiz
It might not be true for all entrepreneurs, but I find it's important to maintain a spiritual aspect in my leadership strategy and goals. Why do what we do if there's no deeper meaning?
This quick, easy read will give you the answer and shift your perspective in many powerful ways. I find myself repeating the mantras of this book to myself over and over, especially, "It's not about you." Shift your perspective, and shift your mindset.
Books for Being a Better Remote Manager
Being a leader is one thing; leading a remote team is something else entirely. It takes a whole different skill set, and your leadership style and strategy should be informed by it.
Running Remote by Liam Martin and Rob Rawson
“The first mistake most companies make: trying to recreate the office.” — Martin & Rawson
If you're just starting to build a remote company from the ground up, this is the book you need to read. These guys are the real deal, and they know how to guide founders and companies through all the steps of creating a remote business.
I've taken so much of their advice over the years and have also been part of the Running Remote Slack group, where I find constant nuggets of insight. If you're ready to take your business remote, it's a must-read.
Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
"The office during the day has become the last place people want to be when they really want to get work done." — Fried & Hansson
When I first set out to build a global, remote-first marketing agency, this was at the top of my TBR pile. It didn't stay there for long, though, as I consumed it quickly and voraciously. From the OG remote experts (the founders of project management platform Basecamp), you know it's going to be jam-packed with killer info.
If you want to see how these guys were years ahead of their time (with some seriously eerie predictions about the future of remote work), I suggest you move it to the top of your own pile and dive in.
Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport
"Minimalists don't mind missing out on small things; what worries them much more is diminishing the large things they already know for sure make a good life good." — Cal Newport
Sit in front of a computer all day, then zone out in front of the TV all evening? Sure, you deserve some downtime like everyone else, but passive consumption — especially when it's digital and neverending — is a surefire way to hit burnout.
As a remote founder, I'm online basically all day, and so are my managers and team members. We all have to put in the work to keep our digital worlds in check and make sure we balance it with critical offline time. This book will teach you how, so you can show your team to do the same.
Books for Being a Better Human
Life isn't all about work, but sometimes it's hard to strike a balance. I love books like these that teach us lessons we can apply in our work but that transcend far beyond to touch every aspect of our lives.
Radical Candor by Kim Scott
"Guidance, team, and results: these are the responsibilities of any boss." — Kim Scott
I'm not lying when I say this entire company (FPS) is built on the ethos of this book. I make sure a copy goes to every new leader when they're hired because this is how I want them to lead — because I've seen it in action, and I know it works.
I believe the concept of caring deeply and challenging directly — the two core tenets of the book — makes the best leaders and the best people. In my personal experience, I know that it's made me a better communicator in all aspects, but it's also made me a better person.
May Cause Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein
"It seems easy — who doesn't want to trade in fear for love? But giving up fear is like giving up sugar: they're both sneaky ingredients that hide out in almost everything." — Gaby Bernstein
Have you ever gone through a radical change? Like, an entire personal and professional evolution? I have, and this book gets the credit for my journey from Jeanna 2.0 to Jeanna 3.0. It shifted how I look at my own insecurities — whether in business, finances, or personal relationships — and, no exaggeration, it changed my life.
Anything by Gaby Bernstein is a powerful path to get deep into your sh*t and fix what makes you a tough person to work with. But it's also a way to become a stronger and better entrepreneur and leader.
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
"When a woman finally learns that pleasing the world is impossible, she becomes free to learn how to please herself." — Glennon Doyle
I call this "the modern woman's manifesto," and I truly, sincerely mean that. Glennon feels like a friend, a motivational speaker, a therapist, and a drill sergeant all in one. She comes at you with hard truths and "F*CK YES" moments but manages to leave you feeling held and rocked and supported and loved the entire way.
I urge anyone — she, him, they/them — to pick up a copy and read the wisdom, humor, and catharsis of one of the best writers of our time.
Need More Remote Reading Recs?
You might just be in luck. At FPS, we have a quarterly business book club and lots of convos about the great things we're reading. And that's just one of the perks of working for a fully-remote WFA team like ours. Check out our open job roles and see if there's a good fit for you!