Adam Grant Picks 20 Leadership Books to Read in 2020

Leaders and managers have a lot of exciting reading in the year ahead

Adam Grant
Published in
6 min readJan 3, 2020


I’I’m constantly surprised by the number of leaders and managers who say they’re too busy to read. Leaders who don’t have time to read are leaders who don’t make time to learn.

One of the typical complaints: “There are too many books out there, and most of them aren’t worth my time!” To take that excuse off the list, I spent part of my vacation poring over the new arrivals from leaders and thought leaders.

To kick off the decade, here are my top picks for books that have the potential to have a lasting impact on your thoughts and actions. The major themes: problem-solving, relationships, rhythms of work and life, identity, and happiness.*


1. Think Like a Rocket Scientist by Ozan Varol (April 14)

A rocket scientist turned law professor makes his dazzling debut. It’s an engrossing read that’s bursting with actionable insights for thinking differently about problems. Houston, this book has solutions.

2. What’s Your Problem? by Thomas Wedell-Wedellsborg (March 17)

Structure is not the enemy of problem-solving; it’s actually a resource. An innovation expert presents a framework that that won’t just help you generate more creative ideas and make smarter decisions — it will teach you to see around corners.

3. Upstream by Dan Heath (March 3)

Now that you have a better handle on solving the problems, it’s time to learn how to prevent them from occurring in the first place. The co-author of my all-time favorite book on change, Switch, has a real gift for finding captivating stories, using them to illustrate convincing evidence, and weaving them into useful models.

Read an excerpt from Upstream:



Adam Grant
Writer for

Wharton professor. Author: ORIGINALS & GIVE AND TAKE. NYT writer: work & psychology. Ex-diver. Arguing like I'm right, listening like I'm wrong