When it comes to my business philosophies and my mindset as a leader, I owe it all to the books I’ve read. They’ve inspired me, taught me, challenged me, and shaped me into the person I am today. I’m still an avid reader: I try to read at least a book a week. Here are some of my favorite titles on earth and why. I hope you gain from them as much as I have!

I promise to add to this list often.


Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose by Tony Hsieh

This is the book that first taught me culture is a feeling, and it led to the creation of our core values at Student Maid.


Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring For Your People Like Family by Bob Chapman and Raj Sisodia

Bob is one of my favorite CEOs of all time, and I love his philosophy: Every person we interact with is someone’s precious child. This is an incredible book about what it truly means to care for people.


Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon Sinek

If you want a book about how to build trust among your team and make people feel safe, this is it. Simon has the gift of making very complex topics easy to understand.


The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter—and How to Make the Most of Them Now by Meg Jay

Even if your twenties are behind you, this book is worth a read. It's about how to live your life now so the rest of it is what you want it to be. If you are a member of the next generation, or if you care about the next generation, definitely add this to your list.


Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

This book gave me a new way to think about how to motivate myself and my team. Turns out there are three elements of motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Guess what’s not on the list? Money.


Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott

Kim Scott was an exec at Google and Apple. She learned that to be a good leader, you have to care personally and challenge directly. If you want to get better at feedback, this one’s for you!


Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap . . . and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

When I first started Student Maid, a mentor of mine made me read this book. If you are an entrepreneur, you’ve got to get it.


The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row by Anthony Ray Hinton and Lara Love Hardin

I don’t always stick to the business aisle! This is the memoir of Anthony Ray Hinton, who spent thirty years on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. This one’s about mindset, and it affected me profoundly.


The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play by Neil Fiore

This one helped me understand the reasons we procrastinate, and it gave tangible steps to stress less and play more. I had Student Maid’s executive team read it too, and then we discussed what we learned. Highly recommend doing the same with your team!


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey

A classic, timeless, must-read. Sometimes I read it again just to hold myself accountable to being the most effective leader I can be.


The Truth About Employee Engagement: A Fable About Addressing the Three Root Causes of Job Misery by Patrick Lencioni

Quick, easy read about a pretend pizzeria with a horrible work environment and the story of how they turned it around. If you want to learn how to make work more fulfilling, get your hands on this one!


Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead by Brené Brown

Read this, and then read everything else Brené Brown has written. She will prove to you that vulnerability is not a weakness. It’s brave and courageous.


I talk everything from screwing up to building a business to learning how to become a better leader. Happy listening!


“Learning to Lead”


Everybody Matters Podcast
“Kristen Hadeed and Screwing Up”


The Second City Works
“Permission to Screw Up”


Make Yourself Podcast
“Make Yourself… A Boss”


Business Boutique
“Learning From Failure: How to Dust Yourself Off and Move Forward”


eX Podcast
“It’s OK to Screw Up”


Science of People
“Permission to Screw Up with Kristen Hadeed”


Millennial Momentum
“Why Authenticity is the Key to Leadership”


The Money Jar
“Permission to Screw Up”


Life Amplified
“Overcoming Perfectionism and Giving Yourself Permission to Screw Up”


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Heads up: I may receive a commission from our affiliate partners when you buy through these links. Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur, right? I promise I’m not pushing anything just to make a dollar, though. If it’s on this site, it’s because I truly love it and I give it my highest recommendation.