John Quincy Adams says, “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, and become more, you are a leader”. Leadership can be quite easy and funny when you get the ideas of great leadership books.
We have made a list of top leadership books which can help you to be a great leader. Some books are good, some are best, but all are the most liked.
The list of 32 best leadership books of all time are:
Best Leadership Books of All Time
1. On becoming a leader
The book On Becoming a Leader is one of the must-read leadership books for those who want to be effective leaders.
Warren Bennis believed that great leaders are made-they are not born. He provides essential insights on leadership that are highly relevant to today’s competitive world. This book delves into the qualities of good leadership, and people who exemplify it, and the strategies that anyone can apply to achieve it.
2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
Stephen R. Covey is the author of the most selling books of all time, this one is one of the most compelling books that has empowered and inspired the life millions of people. A must-read book of all time to change a life forever.
We began to realize that if we wanted to change the situation, we first had to change ourselves. And to change ourselves effectively, we first had to change our perceptions. – Stephen R. Covey
The author believed that the way sees the world is entirely base on our own perception. To change the situation at first we must change ourselves and to change ourselves we must change our perception.
He has provided 7 effective habits anyone can apply and change their lives, they are:
- Be Proactive
- Begin with the End in Mind
- Put First Things First
- Think Win-Win
- Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
- Sharpen the Saw
3. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action
Great leaders, in contrast, can inspire people to act. Those who can inspire give people a sense of purpose or belonging that has little to do with any external incentive or benefit to be gained. – Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek once gave a speech on TED Talk based on START WITH WHY, video went viral to more than 28 million people and is still one of the most-watched videos on the TED Talk. He said “Why” isn’t just a word, it’s a powerful concept. Because “Why” matters. It will help you to discover a powerful perspective of leadership.
“Start with Why is one of the most useful and powerful books I have read in years. Simple and elegant, it shows us how leaders should lead.” – WILLIAM URY, coauthor of Getting to Yes
4. Leaders Eat Last
From the author of Start With Why this book is also one of the best while collaborating with Start With Why. Simon explains great leaders are those who sacrifice their own comfort, even their survival for the good of their team members.
After reading this book you will understand why some teams trust and work with each other and others not even with the incentives. Why?
5. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t
When you have disciplined people, you don’t need hierarchy. When you have disciplined thought, you don’t need bureaucracy. When you have disciplined action, you don’t need excessive controls. When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of the great performance. – Jim Collins
Jim Collins always wanted to know what makes companies great, why some companies are great and others remain only good. His findings are Level 5 Leaders, The Hedgehog Concept, A Culture of Discipline, Technology Accelerators, and The Flywheel and the Doom Loop.
6. How to Win Friends and Influence People
When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity. – Dale Carnegie
We humans have feelings and emotions. We may be influenced by others. Carnegie will explain to you the insights of influencing people the way you are thinking. This book offers you the Six ways to make people like you, Twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, Nine ways to change people without arousing resentment.
The Leader In You: How to Win Friends, Influence People and Succeed in a Changing World
This is another one of the great leadership books by Dale Carnegie, written by him and coauthors Stuart R. Levine and Michael A. Crom. As its name suggests, you can find a leader in you. It helps you to unlock your leadership qualities. It helps you to identify your leadership strengths, boost your self-confidence, helps you to realize your goals, and regardless of anything else you will discover the leader within yourself.
7. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win
To convince and inspire others to follow and accomplish a mission, a leader must be a true believer in the mission. – Jocko Willink, Leif Babin
Jocko Willink and Leif Babin who were the U.S. Navy SEAL members shared the story of a difficult mission. They felt leadership is most important at every level whether you win or fail. After returning they shared the leadership principles with businesses and organizations and the next generations of SEAL leaders. Now, these principles are must apply and implement in any leadership environment.
8. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
This book is one of the definitive guides for building a healthy and effective team. Lencioni reveals the five dysfunctions of which make even the very best teams struggle. Dysfunctions are the absence of trust, fear of conflict, lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and inattention to results.
He has outlined the powerful model and steps that can overcome these conflicts and help to build a cohesive and effective team.
9. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
Human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives. – Daniel H. Pink
Pink argues that most of us human motivation is intrinsic, we are motivated by our inner need and want. He divided true motivation into autonomy, mastery, and purpose and offers smart and surprising techniques to combine these into action to achieve better satisfaction and change our lives.
10. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You
The author says if you’ve never read The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, you’ve been missing out on one of the best-selling leadership books of all time.
The 21 laws of leadership he provided are The Law of the Lid, Law of Influence, Law of Process, Law of Navigation, Law of Addition, Law of Solid Ground, Law of Respect, Law of Intuition, Law of Magnetism, Law of Connection, Law of the Inner Circle, Law of Empowerment, Law of the Picture, Law of Buy-In, Law of Victory, Law of Big Mo, Law of Priorities, Law of Sacrifice, Law of Timing, aw of Explosive Growth, and the law of Legacy.
11. Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.
I define a leader as anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential. – Brené Brown
As a leader, we must dare to lead. Brown based on new comprehensive research with great leaders, change-makers, and culture shifters provided a breakthrough on how we can step up and lead.
12. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers
Note to self: It’s a good idea to ask, “What am I not doing?” – Ben Horowitz
Thinking of starting a business is a great idea but it is difficult to run. Ben Horowitz a most respected and experienced entrepreneur offers essential advice on building a startup and managing the toughest problems of business. He provides insights about starting a business and managing it in difficult situations. This book is invaluable for veteran entrepreneurs as well as those aspiring to their own new ventures.
13. Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization
“Team spirit, loyalty, enthusiasm, determination. . Acquire and keep these traits and success should follow.” – Coach John Wooden
This book explains a step-by-step guide on how John Wooden pursued and accomplished his coaching quality for 41 years. It outlines the mental, emotional, and physical qualities to build a winning organization and helps you to develop skills, confidence, and be your best version when it is needed and the same to the organization.
14. Developing the Leader Within You 2.0
Maxwell outlines the principles for inspiring, motivating, and influencing others from any type of leadership position. With the updated version of his book, he aims to provide readers to succeed in fostering integrity, self-discipline, and effecting positive change.
He will help you to develop your vision, develop your value, and develop the leader within you.
15. Leadership Is an Art
Leadership Is an Art is one of the must-read leadership books not only for the community but also for academia to medical practices and the political arena. The author provides insights into developing a generous spirit within us. The author shows that the first responsibility of a leader is to define reality and the last is to say thank you.
16. The Infinite Game
Any leader who wants to adopt an infinite mindset must follow five essential practices: Advance a Just Cause Build Trusting Teams Study your Worthy Rivals Prepare for Existential Flexibility Demonstrate the Courage to Lead. – Simon Sinek
Finite games have rules defined but infinite games have no defined endpoint. There are no losers or winners only ahead and behind. Simon Sinek offers a framework of infinite mindset. He explains how a leader can develop an infinite mindset to win in a changing situation. The leaders who embrace infinite mindset can lead in the future and build more innovative, stronger, and inspiring organizations.
17. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
Since Seth Godin’s book is published a decade ago, it is a visionary book that has helped thousands of leaders turn a scattering of followers into a loyal tribe. This book will explain how you can make your follower loyal to your actions. She presents the three steps to building a tribe: the desire to change things, the ability to connect a tribe, and the willingness to lead.
18. Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter
There are two types of leaders, the first type is Diminishers who drain intelligence, energy, and capacity from the people around them and want to be the smartest person in the room. And the second type is Multipliers, which are the leaders who use their intelligence to amplify the smarts and capabilities of the people around them.
These are the multipliers that inspire others to deliver expected results. This book will show you how you can be a multiplier and harness the energy and intelligence around you.
19. Leadershift: The 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace
To go forward, we need to move faster. And as leaders, we need to stay ahead, we need to see more than others, and we need to see before others. – John C. Maxwell
A successful leader knows how to change and feels comfortable in uncertainty. In this book, Maxwell offers eleven leader shifting lessons the leader can adopt to get a higher level of success in this changing environment. This book will help you to gain the ability and willingness to positive leadership changes that enhance organizational and personal growth.
20. Delivering Happiness
This is a business book, the author shares his experience and learning experience in business and life. This book will show you how a corporate culture delivers happiness to customers and is a powerful tool to achieve success. You will learn how to deal with customers, provide them happiness, and be happy with yourself in the course of doing business.
21. The New One Minute Manager
For decades it has helped millions of people to be successful in their both personal and professional life. This book offers you three techniques of an effective manager. Each of these three techniques takes one minute to apply but has lasting benefits. Techniques are one-minute goals, one-minute praisings, and one-minute reprimands.
22. Leading Change, With a New Preface by the Author John Kotter
It is one of the best-selling business books the author presented 8 essential steps process to lead changes. Has very positive results become a foundation for leaders and organizations across the globe. While reading this book you will feel like spending a day the world’s foremost expert on business leaders.
The 8-step process of leading change are:
- Create a sense of urgency
- Build a guiding coalition
- Form a strategic vision and initiatives
- Enlist a volunteer army
- Enable action by removing barriers
- Generate short-term wins
- Sustain acceleration
- Institute change
23. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done
Peter F. Drucker demonstrates distinctive skills and offers fresh insights to get things done at the right time. He explains to get effective results from intelligence, imagination, and knowledge we must acquire an effective habit to mold them into results. He provides 5 essentials for effectiveness that can and must be learned.
24. Humble Leadership: The Power of Relationships, Openness, and Trust
With the increasing complexity in today’s business environment, the Authors Edgar Schein and Peter Schein, one of the effective leadership books, recognize the importance of building mutual relationships and trust is key to achieve success in the organization. They argue to solve more complex problems leadership must be personal to make open communication, trust, to make collaborative problem solving, and make innovation possible. Humble leadership is key at all levels to achieve creativity, adaptivity, and agility that all organizations need to foster and grow.
25. Learning to Lead: The Journey to Leading Yourself, Leading Others, and Leading an Organization
In Learning To Lead, one of the leadership books, Ron Williams will provide you practical and tested leadership advice that will take you to the next step of success in your personal and professional life. After reading this book you will learn to launch your career quest, build an effective team, avoid professional pitfalls, casting a vision and changing the culture of your and your organization, and more.
26. Measure What Matters: How Google, Bono, and the Gates Foundation Rock the World with OKRs
Bad companies, Andy wrote, “are destroyed by crisis. Good companies survive them. Great companies are improved by them.”- John Doerr, Larry Page
The author shows the importance of Objectives and Key Results (OKR). He has explained how Google, Bono, and Bill Gates achieve greater success with OKR. He identified the importance of evaluation of results that matter most. Provides goal-setting system, where objectives define what we seek to achieve, key results are how those top-priority goals will be attained with specific, measurable actions within a set time frame.
27. Man’s Search For Meaning: The classic tribute to hope from the Holocaust
In Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl tells his story as a prisoner in Nazi concentration camps during World War II and how this led him to discover the man’s purpose in life. Frankl came to believe that man’s deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose.
28. The Truth about Leadership: The No-fads, Heart-of-the-Matter Facts You Need to Know
What could be the truth about leadership? Authors Kouzes and Posner reveal ten time-tested truths that show what every leader must know to bring essential changes in the organization and communities. Based on 30 years of research, with more than one million responses they identify the fundamental, enduring truth about leadership that emerging leaders must know to be effective.
29. No Bullsh*t Leadership: Why the World Needs More Everyday Leaders and Why That Leader Is You
Based on the author’s hard-won experiences this book is for everyone who wants to lead. With simple language, effective and actional steps you will understand the culture and its importance, build confidence, make confident decisions, and create teams that outperform the competition.
This is one of the modern leadership books which is life-changing, career-transforming power to get stuff done. You will find that we all can be leaders, we just need to get on with it.
30. The 9 Types of Leadership: Mastering the Art of People in the 21st Century Workplace
Book The 9 Types of Leadership, is insightful and thorough, as well as practical and pragmatic provides greater self-awareness and social skillfulness. It can provide you an efficient and satisfying way to know why people do what they do and let you understand their personality patterns and motivation. After reading this book, you will know deeper about yourself so you can more effectively lead others.
31. The Leader You Want to Be: Five Essential Principles for Bringing Out Your Best Self–Every Day
You can be the leader you want to be–today and every day.
Leadership expert and coach Amy Jen Su explains to be a good leader the secrets lie within us. She provides the 5 essential principles Purpose, Process, People, Presence, and Peace that you can use to preserve your time and energy based on prioritizing and choosing for that best self.
After reading this book you can tap into and expand your leadership capacity so that you can be your best, sustain yourself, and thrive as a leader.
32. Primal Leadership: Unleashing the Power of Emotional Intelligence
From bestselling authors Daniel Goleman, Richard Boyatzis, and Annie McKee, this groundbreaking book is a must-read for anyone who leads or aspires to lead. It is one of the must-reading leadership books.
Emotional intelligence is as important as educational intelligence. This book explains the importance of emotional intelligence in leadership practice. With the increase in the complexity of the business world, the leadership does not remain on the reward and incentives it must be a focus on emotion too.
Just pick one or more leadership books to learn more about leadership. If you can manage to read 1-3 of the above leadership books you get enough insights on how to be an effective leader.
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