If you’re in the Northern hemisphere, don’t hate me for showing you this view from my deck as Nelson (and the rest of New Zealand) sighs and slides our way into the summer holidays.

If you’re in the southern hemisphere, you’ll be joining me in summertime bliss.

Regardless of your weather situation, you’ll be needing some insightful books to kick start your Christmas holidays and to set you up for 2016.

I read A LOT of books. My bedside table is piled so high, it would give OCD sufferers a heart attack.

But there a few books that really stood out to me this year, which I wanted to share with you.

Here are my top 3 book recommendations for 2016:

1. Essentialism.

Greg McKeown’s book Essentialism is a compelling antidote to the stress, burnout and ineffectiveness that stems when we fall into the trap of trying to “do everything,” Warning: this can be a confronting book, especially if you are a recidivist ‘people pleaser’ or have a compulsion to take on too much.Not only does it compellingly illustrate the reasons why trying to do too much leads to very little, McKeown also offers practical tips on how to say “no” to the unimportant – so you can say yes to the important.

If you constantly fall into the danger of spreading your efforts so thin that you make no impact at all, this is the book for you.

One of my favourite gems from this book:

“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.”

2. The Fear Cure. 

I was immediately curious about this book because of its title. Fear is something that is alive and well in most organisations. It’s often masked under labels such as  “anxiety, concern, stress, cautious, guardedness, overwhelm or worry,” but these are just synonyms for fear – an emotion that drives SO MUCH of our behaviour.

In The Fear Cure, author Lissa Rankin takes a long, scientifically based, hard look at the occurrence of fear that permeates our culture. She shows us compelling evidence of how fear is a major cause of illness, whilst offering practical tools for identifying real fear from false fear.

This is a must read if fear stops you from doing what you really want to do, or if stress is something you have been even remotely plagued by in your professional life.

3. Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts-Becoming the Person You Want be

Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want be is the latest NY Times bestseller by Marshall Goldsmith – who is possibly the leading executive coach in the world, if his client list is anything to go by, and all round leadership bloke.

The more I coach, the more I come to realize how hard positive, lasting personal and professional change can be. In Triggers, Marshall expertly weaves a story of the biggest pitfalls in making lasting positive personal change  – things we all fall prey to like denial, resistance, and ultimately self-delusion. And provides some really effective tools for ensuring your New Years resolutions don’t become just another pile of “wish I had’s”. Its an easy read. The hard part of course is putting into practice some of his advice.

I hope you find some enjoyment, escapism and inspiration in these books over the festive season – I know I certainly have.

Happy holidays – and happy reading!

What are your top leadership book recommendations for 2016? I would love to hear from you – please share your recommendations below.