7 Company Culture Books You Need to Read

August 17, 2022
7 Company Culture Books You Need to Read

Every time you turn around, someone is probably suggesting a company culture book you should read. In the business world, everyone is talking about company culture and organizational health. Because just like any endeavor staffed by imperfect humans, every organization struggles with some level of dysfunction. So, every smart business owner and leadership team could benefit from a company culture book that tackles “the culture question.” But really, we can break this into 3 questions:

  • First, what is company culture or organizational culture?Just like any culture anywhere, it involves the daily environment, core values, work rules, behaviors, habits, and relationship structures between employees and senior executives, between the employees themselves, and between the organization and its customers.
  • Next, why is company culture important?Your company's success literally depends on it. It may not be the only thing that creates a successful business, but your corporate culture will certainly impact employee engagement and job satisfaction — both of which directly affect employee retention, the ability to hire the best talent, and your employees’ willingness and desire to do their best. Everyone knows there are dollar amounts attached to those factors. Building company culture leads to job satisfaction and better productivity.
  • Finally, how can you develop a healthy culture within your own organization?Since every corporate culture has its dark sides, every business could benefit from some positive culture change.

A good place to start is by reading the following 7 workplace culture books full of real life examples and management tips on creating highly successful groups with strong organizational values that lead to achieving success.

7 books to inspire culture change

We’ve organized these company culture books into categories to help you select the ones your company can use for an immediate, positive culture change. Naturally, some of them fit into more than one category, but they are all excellent resources if you are looking for a company culture book to inspire you.

Organizational culture

Here’s a real-life example of how one company has succeeded in the company culture effort

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

The online shoe company Zappos is often held up as an example of focusing on employee development, meaningful work, and its organization's culture. So it’s no wonder that its CEO, Tony Hsieh, has written this key company culture book. His “culture is destiny” manifesto touts building a passionate, engaged team focused on positive change by making happiness a priority. That naturally translates into making customers happy.


Of course, great leaders build great teams. Great teams succeed together because they’ve created a great culture.

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

Sinek wrote this company culture book based on observations gathered while observing generals in the Marine Corps. He noted that the generals only ate after their junior Marines had eaten, hence the title. Starting with the Marines, but also taking examples from other successful business leaders, Sinek takes the theory of leaders being willing and prepared to sacrifice their own comfort for the betterment of the team and turns it into actionable management tips for organizational development and meaningful relationships that spur achievement.

Work-life balance

Helping employees strike a healthy work-life balance can build a happy company culture.

3. Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates by Karin Hurt, David Dye, Amy Edmonson

Success is a team effort, and yet many companies struggle to get employees to pitch ideas and strive for success. This book helps leaders learn how to foster a more open, trusting environment where employee feedback and ideas are encouraged. This is one of the top organizational culture books to deal with those hidden weaknesses that may be holding employees back from full engagement.


Great communication builds great teamwork and fosters healthy company culture.

4. Mean People Suck: How Empathy Leads to Bigger Profits and a Better Life, by Michael Brenner

Marketing consultant, speaker, and author Michael Brenner upends the often damaging idea that leaders have to be “tough” and “mean” to their employees to get them to perform. That traditional trope leads to negative culture. A culture of empathy, positivity, and constructive conflict management that seeks win-win solutions leads to happier teams and bigger profits.

5. Culture Code by Daniel Coyle

Leadership consultant and New York Times Best-selling author Daniel Coyle provides powerful examples and concrete details about how successful companies from Google to Pixar communicate that their people are their most valuable resources. He breaks down how successful, healthy company cultures foster employee safety. He shows how those cultures enable leaders to be vulnerable and employees to feel needed and part of a clear company purpose.


6. Work Rules! (Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead) by Laszlo Block

Laszlo Block was once the leader of People Operations at Google. Full of practical tips, behavioral research, and real-life experiences, Block’s book can help leaders chart a course for a more engaged team and a healthy culture. His main point is that leaders must trust and empower independence in their team. That gives them the energy and incentive to come up with great solutions.

7. Brave New Work: Are You Ready to Reinvent Your Organization? by Aaron Dignan

Aaron Dignan founded “The Ready,” a New York consulting company that helped behemoths like Microsoft, Johnson & Johnson, and AirBnB with blueprints for improving company culture. In this book, he recommends revolutionary organizational changes like ditching traditional budgeting and pointless "status" meetings.

Invest in a company culture book

No matter where your organizational culture is today, you can access resources and help to improve company culture and empower your employees to do great things happily. Spending time reading books like these is an investment in both yourself and your company. Need more help building a positive culture? Check the TriNet employee handbook template! We offer customizable templates to help your new employees understand and contribute to the culture you’re building.

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