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Turning the Page on Your Career: Leadership’s Recommendations for Professional Reading – Part 1

Ashley Jezek | February 12, 2021

Learning is an essential part of the leadership journey, and there’s no shortage of publications discussing leadership and professional performance. Viewpoints and insights abound, so how do you choose? Just ask the pros!

We caught up with a few members of Paycom’s leadership to get their recommendations for professional reading, and here’s what they each had to offer for their top three.

Holly Faurot, Vice President of Client Relations

I’m an avid reader and love being able to learn new concepts and principles. As a leader, we are charged with fighting for our team’s highest possible good, and the more knowledgeable, prepared and inspired we are, the better! Where you are on your leadership journey might influence how you receive these recommendations, but here are a few titles that impacted me over the years.

  1. People Follow You: The Real Secret to What Matters Most in Leadership — Jeb Blount

This book is all about inspiring others and being a leader that someone trusts, respects and wants to follow.

  1. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win — Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

This is a hard-hitting book written by former Navy SEALs. This covers the importance of leading from all levels and how taking ownership matters. Learn how to lead and win!

  1. Lead the Field — Earl Nightingale

This one is a classic. I suggest reading all of the classic leadership books because they are classics for a reason! This book focuses on attitude, which determines your action and the actions of others!


Jennifer Mathew, Technical Recruiting Manager

Some leadership books that have allowed me to change my perspective and approach to leadership and team dynamics are:

  1. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently — Don Clifton
  2. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable — Patrick Lencioni
  3. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win — Jocko Willink and Leif Babin


Chris Nusbaum, Software Development Manager

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People — Stephen Covey

I feel like The 7 Habits should be required reading. In order to work with and lead others, one must first be able to work with and lead oneself. This book opens the door to understanding how to do that and presents the tools needed to build strong relationships with others. I reread this book once every few years and always find something new or a fresh perspective to improve myself.

  1. Radical Candor — Kim Scott

Radical Candor is my go-to leadership book. Kim Scott leverages her leadership experience from tech giants like Apple and Google to deliver a surprisingly relevant and candid approach to leadership. Her practice of deeply caring about her team while being transparent and direct embodies how I like to approach my team. Feedback is crucial to the candid relationships she promotes in this book. It’s an excellent read with timeless principles.

  1. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action — Simon Sinek

If Radical Candor is about leading people, Start With Why is about solving problems with people. Understanding the underlying problem and why things are being done builds great trust among teams and leaders. This book drives home the need to explain decisions and be transparent with people to get their best work.


We want to thank our leaders for taking the time to share their recommendations. The drive for excellence needs constant fuel, and we appreciate their willingness to offer up the sources that have helped them learn more about what it takes to achieve.

Let’s talk about your professional development and personal pursuit of excellence. Are you ready to really put some space between you and the rest of the pack, because we’d love to see what you’re capable of! Apply for a position at Paycom today!

About the author
Author picture, Ashley Jezek
Ashley Jezek
As a recruiting marketer for Paycom, Ashley Jezek helps the recruiting teams determine their goals and assists with strategy development. Her efforts include campaign management, engaging with top talent and increasing brand awareness. After earning a public relations degree from the University of Oklahoma, Jezek served as marketing team lead for OU's Tom Love Innovation Hub and joined Paycom as a marketing database specialist. Her hobbies include spending time with her family, attending concerts and cooking.