The best HR books can be invaluable resources in this ever-changing and fast-moving industry. They can help the modern HR professional discover new actionable insights, deepen their specialist knowledge, and develop their skill sets.

From books on specialist HR topics to titles discussing the broader issues facing HR people today, here are some new and classic books for HR professionals to add to their company library in 2023.

Books on HR leadership

HR leaders are strong decision-makers. They’re flexible and can meet their goals and objectives, even in fast-paced environments. Leaders inspire those around them and can oversee groups while demonstrating the ability to empathize and show their human side. Some of the best books on HR to help modern HR leaders level up their skills include: 

Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t 

In “Leaders Eat Last,” author and speaker Simon Sinek combines insights and research from science and anthropology with lessons from business, political, and military leaders.

“Leaders Eat Last” explores what happens to businesses and society when leaders put their interests aside to protect their teams. Sinek demonstrates how great leaders create working environments where people who feel inspired, trusted, valued, and fulfilled can do remarkable things.

Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

Brené Brown’s book, “Dare to Lead,” helps organizations cultivate braver, more daring leaders and embed the value of courage in their culture.

The American professor, lecturer, author, and podcast host writes to those leaders ready to choose courage over comfort, make a difference, and lead. With actionable strategies and research-based examples, “Dare to Lead” is for people who don’t pretend to have the right answers, stay curious, and ask the right questions.

Brené Brown’s work shifts people’s thinking. As the title suggests, this is a book about brave work, tough conversations, and whole hearts.

Mastering the Power of You: Empowered by Leader Insights

Mastering the Power of You” by Lalit Johri invites over 30 leaders to explore their motivations and leadership practices in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With actionable advice on current leadership and HR issues, HR professionals can discover thought-provoking insights around key concepts, skills, and behaviors—from leadership and entrepreneurship to sensemaking and authenticity. 

This contemporary guide is full of words of wisdom to support today’s HR leaders as they prepare to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

This book will fuel engaging discussions in meetings and conferences that readers will return to time and time again.

Redefining HR: Transforming People Teams to Drive Business Performance 

In “Redefining HR,” Lars Schmidt explains how to build an inclusive organization and a culture of belonging. 

The entrepreneur, writer, speaker, podcaster, and advocate for modern HR and people practices examines how HR is evolving and adapting to create exceptional people functions in times of unprecedented change. 

“Redefining HR” features practical advice modern HR leaders can apply to drive organizational performance and prove their business impact by rethinking their people practices and processes.

With case studies from Siemens, CVS, and Upwork—and insights from people at Hubspot, Stripe, and Eventbrite, “Redefining HR” is a refreshing take on the evolution of HR.

The Heart of Business: Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism

Hubert Joly, author of “The Heart of Business,” is a senior lecturer at the Harvard Business School and the former chairman and CEO of Best Buy. 

His book, “The Heart of Business,” demonstrates the impact of purposeful and human leadership. It describes what happens when leaders put people above profits to live professional lives filled with meaning.

Joly’s approach requires leaders to radically rethink how they view work, how they define companies, how they motivate, and how they lead. 

A book centered on purpose and humanity, “The Heart of Business” explores how today’s HR leaders can create working environments where people can thrive. Joly presents leadership principles for the next era, showing how we can reinvent capitalism so that it contributes to a sustainable future.

HR books on company culture

Let’s move from the best books on HR leadership to books about company culture. In today’s evolving world of work, modern HR professionals need to tend to both the individual employee experience and the broader company culture. 

Creating a good experience for people at work is key to nurturing an engaged workforce. When people are engaged, they stay with their employers for longer, are more effective, and perform at a higher level than those who are disengaged. 

These HR books are good resources for HR professionals instilling people-first cultures that nurture good experiences for all.

Bring Your Human to Work: 10 Surefire Ways to Design a Workplace That Is Good for People, Great for Business, and Just Might Change the World

In “Bring Your Human to Work,” Erica Keswin, workplace strategist and business coach, shares valuable and actionable ideas to improve work-life balance. Her ideas include humanizing technology, hiring the right people, and designing smart office layouts. 

“Bring Your Human to Work” explores meaning in the workplace, inclusivity, and what happens when leaders care about their people as much as profits.

Featuring case studies from Lyft, Starbucks, and SoulCycle, this book provides tools and insights to build organizations that honor relationships and prioritize people’s wellbeing.

Investing in People: Financial Impact of Human Resource Initiatives

The future of work, talent, and employment is changing at an unprecedented pace, and organizational decisions about how to invest in people are under increasing scrutiny.

Investing in People,” by Wane Cascio, John Boudreau, and Alexis A. Fink, helps modern HR professionals and leaders integrate people into strategic decision-making. The authors draw upon state-of-the-art practice and research across disciplines, including psychology, economics, accounting, and finance, to provide proven guidelines for evaluating key HR initiatives.

The authors demonstrate how to measure and analyze the value of every area of HR that impacts strategic value. The book explores people and culture topics—including health and welfare, and attitudes and engagement in great depth.

Work Rules!: Insights from Inside Google That Will Transform How You Live and Lead 

In “Work Rules!” Laszlo Bock, former VP of People Operations at Google, stresses the importance of company culture.

He explores how HR professionals can learn from their best (and worst) people. Bock also suggests that you should only hire people more intelligent than you—and proposes that we remove managers’ powers over their people.

A compelling manifesto for change, “Work Rules!” reveals how organizations can strike a balance between creativity and structure that leads to a successful quality of life—and thriving market share.

Notable new releases

Determining Leadership Potential: Powerful Insights to Winning the Talent Game

In “Determining Leadership Potential,” authors Dr. Kimberly Janson and Dr. Melody Rawlings highlight poor leadership’s financial, strategic, and human costs.

Backed up by the authors’ research, including a study with 50+ global CEOs, “Determining Leadership Potential” demonstrates how HR professionals can build a pipeline of strong leaders in their organizations.

Leading Inclusion: Build an Inclusive Organization from the Top Down

In “Leading Inclusion,” organizational psychologist, executive coach, and speaker Gena Cox explores how HR professionals can identify meaningful actions to build inclusive company cultures driven by change people can see and feel. 

Written for leaders who want to understand inclusion from a strategic perspective, Cox defines the executive’s role in driving inclusion from the top of their organizations. 

Drawing on psychological science, interviews with corporate leaders, the work of DE&I experts, and her experience in corporate America, “Leading Inclusion” answers the call for human-centered organizational leadership.

What are the benefits of reading HR books?

With circumstances shifting inside and outside the workplace every year, modern HR professionals must be agile and equipped with the knowledge and skills to adapt and re-evaluate their people strategies with confidence.

Books for HR professionals provide a wide range of fresh and informed perspectives on how and why the HR industry is changing. Finding and diving into the best HR books and podcasts in 2023 can help leaders increase resilience and stay one step ahead in the fast-paced world of work in 2023 and beyond.

Tali Sachs

From Tali Sachs

Tali is a content marketing manager at HiBob. She's been writing stories since before she knew what to do with a pen and paper. When she's not writing, she's reading sci-fi, snuggling with her cats, or singing at an open mic.