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15 Books HR Leaders Know You’ll Love in 2024

The human resources industry is gearing up for more change and challenges in 2024. To help you keep up with emerging and ongoing trends, such as AI, skills-based hiring, and employee burnout, we gathered 15 HR books hand-picked by SeekOut’s community of human resources professionals. The HR books on this list are a thoughtful mix of content that approach broader HR themes, like strengthening interpersonal relationships, becoming an effective leader, and exploring the use of AI. You'll also find titles centered around traditional HR practices, such as management, talent acquisition, and inclusivity.  

Ahead is a preview of our full list of 15 HR books we suggest you add to your queue in 2024 with selections from last year’s list toward the end. You can download our complete list of the best HR books below.  

2024 HR Books to Add to Your Bookshelf 

1. Work Rules! Insight from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock 

Cover of the book "Work Rules! Insight from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead by Laszlo Bock

Recommended by: The SeekOut team 

Why it’s a top HR book: As the former Senior Vice President of People Operations at Google, Laszlo presents a data-driven human resources book that looks into today’s workplace and sets up a blueprint for creating a culture of creativity in your organization. You’ll walk away with actionable insights centered around attracting the smartest people to your teams and keeping them there, including how to use data to predict and shape the future and what you can learn from your best (and worst) employees.  

About the author: When Laszlo led Google’s People function, Google was named the Best Company to Work for over 30 times worldwide. Laszlo is the founder of tech companies Humu and Gretel, and he was named “Human Resources Executive of the Year” by HR Executive Magazine in 2010.  

2. A Cure for the Common Company: A Well-Being Prescription for a Happier, Healthier, and More Resilient Workforce by Richard Safeer, MD  

Book cover of A Cure for the Common Company: A Well-Being Prescription for a Happier, Healthier, and More Resilient Workforce by Richard Safeer, MD

Recommended by: Yvonne Mitchell, Vice President of Human Resources and Talent Acquisition at Johns Hopkins Medicine  

Read Yvonne's take on supporting employee well-being, remote work, and more.

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Why it’s a top HR book: At a time when companies are cutting health and well-being benefits to increase profits, 2024 could be a year that your team fights that trend—and “A Cure for the Common Company” may be one of the best books for HR leaders to help make that happen. Dr. Safeer highlights how organizations can foster an environment that prioritizes employee health to achieve company success and profitability.  

This book is timely given that workplace stress and burnout are at all-time highs. You’ll find evidence-based strategies and real-world examples that help manage employee well-being and build resilience amongst teams so they can bring their best selves to work. 

About the author: Dr. Safeer is a prominent figure in workplace health and has spent two decades assessing cultures, training leaders, and researching individual and organizational behavior. As the Chief Medical Director of Employee Health and Well-Being at Johns Hopkins Medicine, he leads the Healthy at Hopkins strategy and is a conference speaker and prolific author on building a culture of health. 

3. Reset: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval by Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.  

Book cover for Reset: A Leader’s Guide to Work in an Age of Upheaval by Johnny C. Taylor, Jr.

Recommended by: Cathy Henesy, Vice President of Talent Acquisition at AdventHealth 

Read Cathy's take on creating a metric-driven HR team and more.

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Why it’s a top HR book: “Reset” is an exploration of leadership in the face of contemporary workplace challenges driven by remote work and an increased focus on diversity and inclusion. To come out ahead, organizations must innovate their approaches to talent acquisition, establish enduring and tangible cultures that empower employees, and foster inclusive environments that harness diverse perspectives for growth and innovation. The book challenges traditional assumptions, offers practical strategies for talent management, and introduces dynamic tools, urging leaders to boldly reshape their operations for a more resilient and sustainable future. 

About the author: Jonny C. Taylor is the President and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management of which has nearly 325,000 members worldwide. He is frequently asked to testify before Congress on critical workforce issues and has a weekly column in USA TODAY titled “Ask HR.”  

4. The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle 

Book cover for The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle

Recommended by: Nicole Goldman, VP of Talent Acquisition at Huntington Ingalls Industries  

Read Nicole's take on leadership and authenticity in talent acquisition

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Why it’s a top HR book: “The Culture Code” was named Best Business Book of Year by Bloomberg, BookPal, and Business Insider. It dives into the inner workings of organizations like Pixar, the San Antonio Spurs, and the U.S. Navy’s SEAL Team six, to decode the secrets behind their success. The book also explores three key skills—building cohesion, fostering cooperation, and developing a shared mindset—that demystify the culture-building process and lead to effective collaboration within diverse groups. 

About the author: Daniel is a New York Times bestselling author and has served as an advisor to high-performing organizations, including the Navy SEALs, Microsoft, Google, and the Cleavland Guardians.  

5. Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes—But Some Do by Matthew Syed 

Book Cover for Black Box Thinking: Why Most People Never Learn from Their Mistakes—But Some Do by Matthew Syed

Recommended by: Darren Lancaster, CEO (Americas &EMEA) at Hudson RPO

Read Darren's take on the top skill needed in recruitment today

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Why it’s a top HR book: “Black Box Thinking” emphasizes the transformative power of learning from mistakes and challenging the fear of failure in order to foster a culture that values adaptability, resilience, and progress. The book draws parallels between aviation and other high-stakes industries where a "black box" approach allows for thorough investigation and learning from errors—a stark contrast from fields where a "blame game" culture prevails, which inevitably hinders progress and innovation. The author pushes for a shift toward a growth mindset that encourages individuals and organizations to analyze failures, identify root causes, and implement changes for continuous improvement. 

About the author: Matthew Syed has written seven bestselling books on mindset high performance, is a multi-award-winning journalist, and is the host of the popular BBC Radio 4 Show “Sideways.”

6. The Equality Machine: Harnessing Digital Technology for a Brighter, More Inclusive Future by Orly Lobel  

Book cover for The Equality Machine: Harnessing Digital Technology for a Brighter, More Inclusive Future by Orly Lobel

Recommended by: Sam Shaddox, General Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer at SeekOut 

Why it’s a top HR book: If you're still iffy about AI’s place in the world, this book will be a perfect addition to your 2024 HR reading list. “The Equality Machine” is an optimistic take on the future of AI and its applications to reduce or eliminate inequality across employment, healthcare, criminal justice, and other industries. One chapter focuses on hiring biases in the workplace and how AI and humans can work together to mitigate these pitfalls. You’ll walk away from this book with a hopeful, more informed view of how technology can be used for good and help overcome humankind’s greatest obstacles.  

About the author: Orly Lobel is the Warren Distinguished Professor of Law and the founding director of the Center for Employment and Labor Policy at the University of San Diego. She’s been named one of the most cited legal scholars in law and technology and employment law, and her work has been featured in top media, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. 

7. Talent Force: New Manifesto for the Human Side of Business by Rusty Rueff and Hank Stringer 

Book cover for Talent Force: New Manifesto for the Human Side of Business by Rusty Rueff and Hank Stringer

Recommended by: Chris Murdock, Founder of IQTalent  

Why it’s a top HR book: “I have three copies of the book here in the office,” says Chris. “It’s greatly impacted my career.” 

“Talent Force” is a guide for leaders and HR professionals to navigate the challenges of talent management in a rapidly evolving landscape. It offers a shift in focus from traditional recruitment methods to a more dynamic and human-centered approach, emphasizing the importance of leveraging technology while maintaining human connection throughout the hiring process. You’ll learn how to gain strategic alignment between business goals and talent acquisition that encourages organizations to prioritize diversity, collaboration, and adaptability. 

About the authors: Rusty Rueff is an accomplished author, speaker, and human resources expert known for his talent management and leadership perspectives. He boasts a background in both corporate and non-profit sectors. Hank Stringer has over two decades of experience as a successful high-tech industry recruiter, entrepreneur, and innovator in the use of information technology in the recruitment and employment process. He’s the CEO of Q Talent Partners, an executive search services and consulting firm. 

8. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALS Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin 

Book cover of Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALS Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Recommended by: Sean Murphy, Head of Global TA Operations at GE 

Read Sean's take on the importance of telling your company story to new talent

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Why it’s a top HR book: “[‘Extreme Ownership’] underscores the importance of taking responsibility for every aspect of one’s career and life,” says Sean. The book is an integral part of official leadership training programs for business teams, military units, and first responders, detailing the firsthand experience of the authors’ time on the battlefield in Iraq and how the leadership principles they applied helped them succeed. You'll learn how to apply these principles to foster high-performing teams.  

About the authors: Leif Babin and Jocko Willink are both former U.S. Navy SEAL officers. They co-founded Echelon Front, a premier leadership consulting company that helps businesses and organizations build winning teams that drive results.  

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

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

Recommended by: Bret Feig, VP of Global Talent Acquisition at Zip Co 

Read Bret's take on humanizing the candidate experience and learning resilience.

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Why it’s a top HR book: “Radical Candor” has been a New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller for multiple years

with a simple message that you can be both kind and clear as a leader. You’ll learn how to create a culture of open communication, build solid relationships with team members, and achieve optimal performance by embracing honesty and empathy and soliciting criticism. The book has become required reading for many successful organizations and has raised the bar for management practices across the globe. If you’re interested in reading this book with your team, you can use this official book club PDF to guide your discussion and get the most out of the reading.  

About the author: Kim Scott is the co-founder of the company Radical Candor, an executive education company that helps organizations move from a culture of command and control to one of collaboration. Kim was a CEO coach at Dropbox, Qualtrics, X (formerly Twitter), and other tech companies.

10. How to Be an Inclusive Leader: Your Role in Creating Cultures of Belonging Where Everyone Can Thrive (Second Edition) by Jennifer Brown 

Cover of the book "How to Be an Inclusive Leader" by Jennifer Brown.

Recommended by: Charlesiah McLean, Head of Diverse Talent Workforce Acceleration at Novartis 

Learn how Charlesiah navigates uncomfortable situations with a learning mindset

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Why it's a top HR book: “[This] is an incredible book where [Jennifer] details the attributes of being an inclusive leader and the four stages of the inclusive leadership continuum,” says Charlesiah.  

Brown’s book is an essential read for anyone who wants to become a better leader and create a more inclusive workplace culture. You’ll learn how to make a business case for diversity and inclusion along with gaining practical tools and strategies for managing unconscious bias, developing an inclusive leadership style, and building diverse teams. The book also includes real-world examples of successful inclusive leadership, leaving you with insights to apply to your own organization.  

About the author: Jennifer Brown is the founder and CEO of Jennifer Brown Consulting, an industry-inleading DEI consulting firm for over 20 years. She’s a sought-after keynote speaker at industry events and has been featured in media such as Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg Businessweek, and Forbes. 

Get the complete list: 15 HR Books to Read in 2024

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Selections from last year's HR books list

11. Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience by Brené Brown  

Cover of the book "Atlas of the Heart" by Brene Brown

Why it's a top HR book: This book isn’t typically included on lists of HR books to read, but it’s one you’ll find applies to the human connection side of the discipline. Cathy suggests this book because “Brené has an uncanny ability to help people think about empathy and relationships in a more fun, practical way than the traditional HR lens."

“Atlas of the Heart” will help you navigate the nuances of your own experiences and emotional landscape, such as joy, grief, love, shame, and vulnerability—which are just a fraction of the 87 emotions Brené closely examines. By understanding how these emotions influence our lives, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of yourself and others. Heavily supported by research, this book offers guidance for cultivating meaningful connections with the people in your life.

12. Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon by Colin Bryar and Bill Carr 

Cover of the book "Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon" by Colin Bryar and Bill Car

Recommended by: Dustin Cann, Senior Director of Talent Acquisition Strategy and Enablement at Splunk  

Read Dustin's philosophy and outlook on the talent acquisition space today

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Why it's a top HR book: “One of my favorite books is ‘Working Backwards,’ written by former Amazon employees about understanding what you are driving toward and how to get there,” says Dustin. “The strategies and mechanisms it offers have helped me think about how to prioritize work and show how talent acquisition is driving impact for the business.” 

You’ll gain insights into Amazon’s business practices with practical steps you can apply on your own. The authors go over Amazon’s successes and failures, showing how the tech giant navigated its biggest challenges (remember the failed Fire Phone project?). Plus, you’ll learn how Amazon leveraged its strengths to stand out in a competitive market.  

13. The Talent War: How Special Operations and Great Organizations Win on Talent by Mike Sarraille, George Randle, and Josh Cotton 

Cover of the book "The Talent War: How Special Operations and Great Organizations Win on Talent" by Mike Sarraille, George Randle, and Josh Cotton

Why this book is a top HR book: You’ll explore how the principles used by elite special operations forces can be applied to talent management in the corporate world. The authors pull from their experience as former special forces operatives and business leaders to provide actionable advice on how to attract, develop, and retain top talent. They outline the importance of developing a strong organizational culture, providing opportunities for growth and development, and creating a sense of purpose for employees. You’ll also learn the significance of identifying and hiring people with the right mindset and how to continually assess and adapt talent management strategies to remain competitive.

14. Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

Cover of "Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done" by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

Why this book is a top HR book: The authors fill this book with advice based on their extensive experience in the world of business (one is a former executive at GE and Honeywell and the other is a management consultant). They share insights and advice on how to turn strategy into action to achieve success, offering a framework for aligning people, strategy, and operations. They also provide insight into what it takes to be an effective leader.

15. The Wisdom of Insecurity: A Message for an Age of Anxiety by Alan W. Watts  

Book cover for "The Wisdom of Insecurity" by Alan Watts

Recommended by: Eric Miller, Vice President of Talent Discovery & Insights at Paramount  

Read Eric's take on empathetic leadership and interviewing candidates post-COVID

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You may be wondering why a book about anxiety is on an HR books list, but Eric points out that the content centers around “being present in the moment and building connections through active listening.” These skills are valuable to leaders in HR who are interested in strengthening bonds with their teams and the people around them. It's also a quick read at only 160 pages.  

“I’m inspired by anything from Alan Watts,” Eric says. “He's a tremendous thinker and gets philosophical concepts across in a playful manner without overly flowery language.” 

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