Custom Built Team Building and Leadership Initiative Training

Top 11 Team-Building and Activity Books

I feel as if every facilitator is looking for new and fresh activities to energize and lead their group. If you are like me, you have a hard time finding activities that are applicable to your program’s goals. I have compiled a list of my favorite 11 books that are packed full of unique and engaging icebreakers, energizers, initiatives, name games, and processing/debriefing activities.

Hundreth Monkey Cover


The Hundredth Monkey: Activities That Inspire Playful Learning by Nate Folan & Friends

The Hundredth Monkey is the newest Project Adventure publication, and I liked it so much that I wrote a separate post about it. This is my favorite activity book, and the first one I would tell you to buy.

Back Pocket Adventure by Karl Rohnke and Jim Grout

These two are some of the pioneers and legends in experiential education, and this short book is loaded with activities. Chances are you have tried or seen most of these games because of these innovators, but the activities, variations, and instructions are clear and fun to read. The best part…it literally fits into your back pocket.

Count Me In: Large Group Activities That Work by Mark Collard

Do you work with large groups? Do you find it hard to do anything with 50, 100, or even 500 people? (Consider yourself in the majority of leaders who have to work with large groups.) Mr. Mark Collard is the expert on large group activities. I use most, if not all of the activities in this book. You can find him at and at

Exploring Islands of Healing by Jim Schoel and Richard Maizell

If you are a counselor, social worker, or work as a therapist in any capacity, this is the book for you. It is the follow-up to Islands of Healing, and it includes new activities, foundational adventure based counseling theories, and great assessment activities.

The Leadership Training Activity Book by Lois B. Hart and Charlotte S Waisman

This is the Ph.D of activity books, and the authors have placed a great deal of time and effort to make sure these activities are essential for professionals looking for solid leadership training.

No Props:Great Games with No Equipment by Mark Collard

Ever have to travel and can’t fit tons of hula hoops, fuzzy balls, and a game frame into your carry-on? This book is perfect for you! This one is also by our friend Mark Collard, and is absolutely awesome. I would tell everyone to add this book to their game bag immediately.

Quicksilver: Adventure Games, Initiative Problems, Trust Activities by Karl Rohnke and Steve Butler

Quicksilver has so many foundational and fundamental activities that it is a must-buy. It is an excellent reference and facilitators will check back into it over and over again.

Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath

Strengths Finder 2.0 is very different from the rest of the books on this list, but it just as powerful for knowing about your team’s strengths. The online assessment that accompanies this book is by far and away the best tool I’ve found for understanding an individual’s importance towards group dynamics. Their website also has excellent professional development and leadership resources.

Team-Building Activities for Every Group by Alanna Jones

Alanna Jones has put together a book packed full of unique activities for groups of all ages. It is great for youth groups, HS students, and even adults. It is off of the beaten path and is very easy to understand and implement. I am excited to read some of her other books.

The Adventurous Book of Outdoor Games by Scott Strother

If you are a camp counselor or spend time with students outside, this is the book for you. It seems as Mr. Strother thought of every game he played as a youth or as a youth counselor (he also came up with some awesome new ones) and placed them all into this book.

Not The Same Name Game Book by Ryan Eller and Jerrod Murr

Do you think I would put together a list and not include my book? I do think it is a solid name game book! Check it out, and buy it!

What book could you not live without? Did I leave something off of the list? I would love to read your favorite.

Ryan Eller
Founder, Paradigm Shift


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