Leader’s library: 5 books recommended by local business leaders


At the end of 2023, the Corridor Business Journal asked 250 business and community leaders, “what was the best book you read this year? Why?”

From business advice to pure entertainment, here you will find five books recommended by some of the Corridor’s most influential leaders. Visit your local library to start reading.

Unreasonable Hospitality

By Will Guidara

“It speaks to the power of making someone feel special as a service organization and what that can do for your brand and your referability. Unfortunately, it seems providing an exceptional level of service is becoming a lost art in modern business. For me, the book is inspiring for leaders to stay the course…you can provide a high level of personalized service and meet your organization’s financial goals! They are not at odds with each other, they support each other!”

– Jason Smith, CEO of TrueNorth

The Parable of the Sower

By Octavia Butler

“I was amazed by how prescient this author was about the things that would fall apart if we had a societal breakdown – not a zombie apocalypse but the slow coming undone of the rule of law and how that would affect people and how they would react in dire circumstances. She wrote it in 1991 and she was an incredible author and woman!”

–Thais Winkleblack, senior vice president & trust department manager at MidWestOne Bank

My Seven Black Fathers

By Will Jawando

“Incredible personal story and told in a way that makes you truly think about your own journey and the folks male and female who helped mold you into the person you are. Especially powerful portrayal of the impact mentors have our our lives.”

– Okpara Rice, CEO of Tanager



bookUnapologetically Ambitious

By Shellye Archambeau

“Shellye has a very powerful message for women and gives real life examples of overcoming challenges as not just a woman and a mother, but a young black woman. (The fact) that we have to still talk about this and fight for these equalities is disturbing. This is [2024] and time for us to just do this because it is simply the RIGHT way to behave.”

– Robin Therme, president of CIVCO


The Gap and The Gain

By Dan Sullivan

“It offers a powerful perspective on developing your esteem, measurement of success, happiness by measuring your progress and growth versus focusing on your potential distance from your ideal or ultimate goal.”

– Larry Witzel, president of Strategic Financial Solutions


This list was compiled through a questionnaire sent to local leaders who were featured in the Corridor Business Journal’s Corridor Leaders 250 magazine, which features 250 business and community leaders in the Iowa Corridor.