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Last Updated on November 16, 2022

15 Best Leadership Books Every Leader Must Read

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15 Best Leadership Books Every Leader Must Read

Blank pages have become rich resources as a result of generations of individuals writing down their experiences, difficulties, feelings, and confessions. Given this truth, it’s disheartening to report that global literacy rates are in decline. [1] Individuals young and old all around the world are reading less, less absorbedly.

According to author John Coleman, this lack of literature extends into the business world and all the way up the corporate ladder. [2] In his experience:

“Business people seem to be reading less.” Which is bad news considering the fact that “broad reading habits are often a defining characteristic of our greatest leaders.”

Perhaps it’s because reading has been shown to improve communication,[3] emotional intelligence,[4] organizational effectiveness, and to reduce stress.[5] All of which are critical requirements for effective leadership.

This list of the 15 best leadership books to read inspires you to become a great leader.

15 Leadership Books To Inspire Every Type of Leader

1. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius

Meditations: A New Translation
$7.99
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11/14/2022 10:44 am GMT

Even though Aurelius wrote it for himself, the material that has survived is a guide to leading a better life. Aurelius demonstrates to all of us how to rise above distractions and uphold our ideals by reducing the surplus. Meditations offer useful guidance for managing your thoughts, emotions, and behavior to reduce stress in your life.

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2. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Man's Search for Meaning
$7.49
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11/14/2022 10:44 am GMT

This book describes Viktor Frankl’s time spent in the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz during the Holocaust. Frankl was able to keep perspective despite all of the agony and suffering and come to the conclusion that there “must be meaning in suffering.” He serves as a reminder that we must determine our own meaning of life by deeds.

3. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist, 25th Anniversary: A Fable About Following Your Dream
$13.29
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11/14/2022 10:45 am GMT

Life is an adventure. We should all be aiming to live up to our own particular legends (that is, what you have always wanted to accomplish). What occurs when we chase our own legends is revealed in the story of Santiago, a shepherd boy: “the cosmos conspires in enabling you to attain it.”

4. The Truth About Leadership by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

THE TRUTH ABOUT LEADERSHIP: THE NO-FADS, HEART-OF-THE-MATTER FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW
$55.00
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11/14/2022 11:43 am GMT

This leadership book teaches you about effective leadership, which involves a number of factors that never change. Among these are ethics, trust, and credibility.

5. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t by Jim Collins

Good to Great: Why some companies make the leap...and others don't
$29.99
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11/14/2022 10:55 am GMT

Though most businesses fail, some do succeed. To determine the precise reason why, Jim Collins examined tens of thousands of publications and interview transcripts. He then collected it all into this book to demonstrate the qualities you’ll need to develop a successful business.

6. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
$22.00
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11/14/2022 11:00 am GMT

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is a classic lesson in success and leadership. Perhaps it is one of the best books on leadership. Covey guides you through the self-mastery Paradigm Shift by getting you to shift your mentality and adopt an alternative viewpoint. The three components of this process—independence, interdependence, and continuous improvement—lead to steady and significant progress.

7. Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh

Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion, and Purpose; A Round Table Comic
$12.95
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11/14/2022 11:44 am GMT

By putting the needs of the client first and selecting the best employees, Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappo, created a hugely successful company. The key priorities were customer service and company culture. Employees and customers were content as a consequence.

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Hsieh was able to undermine conventional business leadership while bringing about enjoyment and enormous financial gain. Delivering Happiness is one of those books that teach leadership lessons.

8. The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton Christensen

The Innovator's Dilemma: The Revolutionary Book That Will Change the Way You Do Business
$59.99
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11/14/2022 11:44 am GMT

Clayton Christensen, a Harvard professor, and businessman outline the road to “disruptive innovation” in this leadership book.

According to Christensen, to do this, it is necessary to disregard the customer’s immediate wants in favor of implementing fresh strategies and technologies that will address their needs in the future.

Early adopters and innovators advance while everyone else falls behind. The Innovator’s Dilemma is one of those books that teaches leadership.

9. Tribes by Seth Godin

tribes
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Read Tribes first, and then all of Godin’s writing, starting with this one. Godin is disseminating a successful formula for challenging the status quo to complete meaningful work through his blog, books, and everything in between.

This kind of work will motivate others to imitate you, help you stand out, and make a lasting impression long after you are gone which makes it one of the best books on leadership.

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10. Drive by Daniel H. Pink

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
$10.69
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11/14/2022 11:13 am GMT

Leadership relies heavily on the capacity to inspire, making this book one of the rare books that teach lessons in leadership. Pink’s book is so significant because of this. Drive is jam-packed with motivational insights, advises against using rewards and punishment in favor of meaningful work, mastery, and autonomy

11. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

How to Win Friends & Influence People
$10.50
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11/14/2022 11:15 am GMT

Everyone desires to feel significant. In this book, Carnegie demonstrates how to make use of this to win people over and make them like you. It’s a manual on effective interpersonal communication and interaction.

Showing interest in the people you interact with and the work they perform is the key to success. You will have gained a buddy if you can develop that connection. This makes How to Make Friends And Influence People one of the best books that teach leadership from scratch.

12. Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln
$15.11
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11/14/2022 11:44 am GMT

You can probably resolve opposing personalities in your organization. Abe Lincoln was able to bring his cabinet and the nation together to abolish slavery in the midst of a war; it takes a strong leader to bring together individuals with different views to form a team or organization.

Kearns Goodwin describes how Lincoln surrounded himself with the best people, despite their differences. He possessed two qualities that every leader needs: modesty and fearlessness. Hence, Team of Rivals provides invaluable lessons in leadership.

13. Endurance by Alfred Lansing

Endurance
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An expedition to the South Pole was led by explorer Edward Shackleton in 1914. Even if the expedition was a failure, the tale of survival in the ice-bound Antarctic waters that followed serves as a signpost for leaders facing difficulty. Hence, Endurance is one of those books that teaches invaluable lessons in leadership.

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14. Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead
$9.39
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11/14/2022 11:24 am GMT

It’s not always a sign of weakness to be weak. We shouldn’t let shame or fear keep us from taking risks. Brown argues in Daring Greatly that showing up, trying, and failing are what matter most. Because failing to succeed is preferable to giving up completely.

15. The War of Art, by Steve Pressfield

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
$10.99
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11/23/2022 10:08 am GMT

Anything you do will involve a fierce struggle; that is the fight of art. Every single individual who has ever written a book, published an article, launched a business, or created “art” has experienced extreme anxiety. Everyone experiences procrastination, dread, and self-doubt. Making things and disseminating them to the globe is the only way to defeat them.

If you’re looking for a solution to end your fierce struggle, The War of Art is what you need.

Final Thoughts

These are some of the best leadership books that teach lessons in leadership. If you wish to become an expert in leading from the front, read these books which will give you enough guidance to take the first steps to become an able leader.

If you wish to add to the list that we have mentioned above, please send in your comments and we will be glad to add those to this list.

Featured photo credit: Quino Al via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Sustainable Development Goals: Data for the Sustainable Development Goals
[2] Harvard Business Review: For Those Who Want to Lead, Read
[3] Adv Child Dev Behav: Does reading make you smarter? Literacy and the development of verbal intelligence.
[4] Harvard Business Review: What Makes a Leader?
[5] Telegraph: Reading ‘can help reduce stress’

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Joe Vennare

Joe is the co-founder of Fitt.co. He's a fitness professional and a serial entrepreneur.

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