Leadership Reads for Housebound Adventurers

By Kim Freitas

Apr 12, 2016

It’s not always possible to take off on an adventure. Sometimes, life gets in the way. Picking up a book is a great way to escape your day-to-day routine, wind down, and relax.

NOLS Leadership Book Club Reads Photo by Kim Freitas

Reading is also a way to learn new leadership tips and tricks for the next time you make it out into the backcountry.

At NOLS' world headquarters, the Leadership Book Club meets three times a year with the goal of inspiring personal leadership development through reading and discussion.

Check out some of our book club’s recent selections:

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

Daring Greatly
Photo by Kim Freitas.

In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown explores shame and vulnerability as they relate to leadership, along with how to be your most authentic self.

Why be vulnerable?

  • To form strong, authentic connections with people
  • To know our own self-worth
  • To step off the path of perfection, and invite others to do the same
  • To foster innovation and risk taking
  • To live full, wholehearted lives
  • It's worth the hardship of vulnerability to connect with other people

Don’t have time to read the whole book? Watch Brown’s TED Talk that made the concept of vulnerability go viral.

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

Can you imagine a world where everyone wakes up excited to go to work and comes home feeling fulfilled? In Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek explains how great leaders create environments and cultivate teams that trust each other and stick together through challenging times.

Great leaders create circles of safety for their employees, which means employees feel like they belong, have power to make decisions, and are trusted. Positive work environments allow teams to focus on innovation and external threats, rather than defending against internal conflicts.

After reading, we shared our appreciation of leaders who:

On Belay: The Life of Legendary Mountaineer Paul Petzoldt by Raye Ringholz

On Belay Book
Photo by Kim Freitas.

Who was Paul Petzoldt before he founded NOLS? Raye Ringholz explores Paul’s early life and development into the man who started NOLS.

  • Learn about Paul’s early life and mountaineering adventures
  • Explore leadership in outdoor education
  • Explore the roots of NOLS as a school and the life of the founder
  • Understand the themes and values that still resonate with NOLS today

Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation by David Robertson

What happens when companies take innovation too far? How does over-innovation lead to loss of brand identity?

In Brick by Brick, David Robertson explores these questions and recounts one of the most remarkable business transformations in recent years.

Some learning points from this book were:

  • It is essential that the core of a company is high quality
  • Identifying the core of a company is difficult when there's a long history of products and priorities involved
  • Knowing the core is essential for creating cohesive work teams and avoiding collapse
  • Innovation is a double-edged sword
  • Utilizing the past to form the future of a company is key
  • Consider past experiences as future endeavors are developed
  • Implement a trial period when testing new innovations and set up metrics to track success

We hope you’ll explore one or more of these books as you continue to learn and develop as a leader.

Happy reading!

Find more books about adventure and leadership at the NOLS Store.

Written By

Kim Freitas

Kim is a Wind River Wilderness and Wilderness First Responder graduate who works as the NOLS Writer and PR Specialist. She enjoys vegetarian cooking, warm yoga, and drinking lots of coffee!

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