Being a business leader doesn’t happen overnight. Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes an army to build a leader. In the landscape industry, leadership skills come from various sources, books included. Here, some of the most prominent landscape leaders share what to read to enhance not only your leadership skills, but also your personal life as well.

1. Ed Laflamme, co-founder of The Harvest Group

“Winning” by Jack Welch. Favorite quote: “Pounce on every day.” Laflamme says, “I have put my own twist on it with ‘Pounce on every day with reckless abandon.’”

2. Bill Silverman, owner of Springboard Business Coaching

Silverman says, “’The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ is my all-time favorite. It laid out a clear road map for how I could take personal responsibility for my life and create it the way I want it to be.”

3. Brett Lemcke, current president of the NALP, vice president of R.M. Landscape

“’Traction’ by Gino Wickman is a strong book that not only discusses the strategy of business, but also how to implement that strategy,” Lemcke says.

4. Maurice Dowell, president of Dowco Enterprises

“Michael Gerber’s “E-Myth Revisited” was the book that changed my life,” Dowell said. “To a young guy selling, producing, marketing and doing everything else in my company, the concept of working on my business not in my business was eye-opening.”

5. Andrew Ziehler, president of Ziehler Lawn and Tree Care

Ziehler recommends “Scaling Up” by Verne Harnish. “This book gives an easy-to-follow roadmap on how to achieve great success in business.”

6. Scott Jamieson, vice president of Bartlett Tree Experts

“It’s our Ship: The No Nonsense Guide to Leadership” by Captain D. Michael Abrashaff is Jamieson’s choice.

“It’s all about how this commander took over the lowest-ranking ship in the navy and turned it into a model of efficiency with amazing cost savings, highest gunnery score in the Pacific Fleet and a highly motivated and top performing crew. He believes in leadership from the bottom up.”

7. Paul McDonough, strategic account manager for Koch Agronomic Services

“Books about our nation’s leaders, such as Abraham Lincoln, have been inspiring,” McDonough says. “More recently, books about the Army Rangers, Navy SEALS and similar groups have been inspirational. I enjoy reading about people who are willing to put forth great effort with great humility.”

8. Phill Sexton, director of outreach and chief knowledge officer for the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA)

Sexton recommends “Decide” by Steve McClatchy.

This book teaches personal leadership skills for achieving balance in your life.”

 9. Tom Canete, owner/founder of Canete Landscape, Canete Garden Center and Canete Snow Management

Canete found “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson helpful.

“It focuses on how this American information technology entrepreneur and inventor, who was co-founder, chairman and CEO of Apple Inc., was so successful due to his attention to detail,” Canete says.

 10. Brian Vinchesi, president of the Irrigation Association

“I have reviewed a lot of information from Michael Angelo Caruso, even though it’s not delivered in book form,” Vinchesi says. “The wide variety of information includes how to lead and help you grow your business through many thought-provoking questions. The information is timelier than books, delivered via blogs and newsletters.”

 11. Peter Haakon, industry consultant

Haakon is another leader who recommends “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey.

“There are innumerous books to read when it comes to leadership. These books are easy to read, and in the process you learn that business success is tied to growing and understanding people. In the green industry, we grow and maintain plants, but we need to focus on growing our employees. Sometimes we want to believe that success needs to be more complicated or that there is some big secret to success, but really it’s all about people and perfecting the basics.”

Share some of your favorite books for business, leadership and landscaping in the comments below.