“What are the Top 10 Leadership Books?,” came the Question — Here’s my List this Week


So, I got an e-mail from a participant at our First Friday Book Synospis, asking for my “top 10 leadership books for community leaders.”

This is tricky. This list could change if a different person asked me next week. And, other leadership experts and business book experts would say “why did you include that book?, and why didn’t you include this book?”

But this is my list, for today. If you disagree, you can write your own article with your own list!

I do think this. If you read every one of these books, carefully, and then put lessons learned into practice, the people you lead would likely have a better leader because of it!

Here’s what I sent him in response (slightly edited).

—–

Not as easy as it sounds – to come up with a list of good leadership books.  Recently I presented Leadership BS by Jeffrey Pfeffer, and it greatly calls into question the value of leadership training, leadership books, etc…

But…

Yes, I do recommend this book more often that any other look for people who actually lead others
Yes, I do recommend this book more often that any other book for people who actually lead others

The first book I always recommend is Encouraging the Heart by Kouzes and Posner.  I think it should be mandatory reading for every person who leads others in any arena.

Then:

Eleven Rings by Phil Jackson. (don’t underestimate this one)!

Creativity, Inc. by Ed Catcall (head of Pixar; may be the only person who helped make Steve Jobs almost human)

Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
and
Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader by Brent Schlender and Rick Tetzeli.

The Everything Store (about Jeff Bezos) by Brad Stone.Everything Store

Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance.

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin. (Really, really good book!).

Great by ChoiceGreat by Choice by Jim Collins (maybe this should be #2, behind Encouraging the Heart).

There are others with leadership sections, like:

(XLR8) Accelerate: Building Strategic Agility for a Faster-Moving World by John P. Kotter.

Ok – that’s ten.
Hope you find the list useful.

———————-

(By the way, we have our synopses for all of these available on our 15minutebusinessbooks site, with audio + handout).

One thought on ““What are the Top 10 Leadership Books?,” came the Question — Here’s my List this Week

  1. Thanks, Leif – Great List! I strongly concur regarding your assessment of “Extreme Ownership”, but I have not read any of your other choices. – I find that really surprising, so i have ordered “Encouraging the Heart” and “Great by Choice” this morning!

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