20 Books On Leadership That You Must Read

Posted on May 30, 2011

“Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers.” – Harry S. Truman

How often do you read? If you were to ask me that question, then I’d freely and happily admit, a lot. Reading is something that I can do anywhere, anytime, no matter what mood I’m in.

leadership books



As seen on Forbes, Mashable,

Take some time each day, even if its as little as 20 minutes during lunch, to read a book. A good leadership book, a book that will help you get through your ‘doom state’ and give you a clearer focus, provide hope, and offer tips to working through your troubles.

These 20 books that I’m about to share with you will help you move through difficult times. They’ve been written by people who are leaders, who are entrepreneurs, who are successful, and who have been in their own doom states and successfully moved through them. They have walked the path you wish to walk, and now they have left some advice for you. Time to check them out.

*No affiliate links below*


By Seth Godin
A book on bringing together like-minded people, and starting something BIG.

Built To Last

By James C Collins
Collins discovers what makes 18 different companies great, and how they did it.

The Effective Executive

By Peter Drucker
How to improve your effectiveness at work, and get results.

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

By Stephen R. Covey
Seven ways to change the way you work, and the way you live.

On Becoming a Leader

By Warren Bennis
Discover how to become a self-made leader, and answer the call.

The One Minute Manager

By Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
Learn three short secrets that will make you a better manager, and leader.

Who Moved My Cheese?

By Spencer Johnson
How to handle change at work, and take advantage of it.

The Art of War

By Sun Tzu
Read the immortal teachings of Sun Tzu, to take control of the boardroom, your business, and everyday life.

The E-Myth Revisited

By Michael E. Gerber
Gerber reveals why so many small businesses fail, and what you can do to avoid that.

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

By Patrick Lencioni
Improve your team with this great read, by diagnosing its ‘five dysfunctions’.

Crush It!

By Gary Vaynerchuk
How to brand yourself, gain popularity for being you, and cash in on your success.

The Art of the Start

By Guy Kawasaki
Kawasaki explains how to transform ideas into action, and be creative about it.

Let My People Go Surfing

By Yvon Chouinard
An interesting mix of autobiography, philosophy, leadership, and common sense.

Leadership Wisdom from The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari

By Robin Sharma
Sharma teaches how to restore trust, commitment and belief in your business, and how to improve yourself.

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

By John C. Maxwell
Broken down into 21 laws, learn how Maxwell defines the essence of leadership.

The Nature of Leadership

By John Antonakis
Discover why leadership is for everyone, and how you can obtain it, no matter who you are.

Servant Leadership

By Robert K. Greenleaf
A collection of essays about serving others, and how you can lead by example.

The Versatile Leader

by Bob Kaplan and Rob Kaiser
How to make the most of your strengths, and avoid burnout.

Courage: The Backbone of Leadership

By Gus Lee
Lee advocates a ‘principled approach under pressure’, and shows how to achieve this.

Primal Leadership

By Daniel Goleman
How to be an emotionally intelligent leader, and how that will benefit you in today’s world.

Remember, these books all have the power to enrich your life. They all have the potential to transform your thinking and aid you from being an entrepreneur that struggled with ‘dealing with it all’, to an entrepreneur that lifted you to your higher game. Use them wisely.

Any other books you would add to this list?

40 Replies to "20 Books On Leadership That You Must Read"

  • Stuart
    May 30, 2011 (11:59 am)

    Thanks for publishing my guest post, I really appreciate it 🙂

  • Avis
    May 30, 2011 (12:00 pm)

    Hi Stuart

    Great list of books. But I would recommend a book called The Millionaire Fastlane by MJ DeMarco – http://www.amazon.com/Millionaire-Fastlane-Crack-Wealth-Lifetime/dp/0984358102

    This book will open your eyes to the true principles of creating wealth. MJ DeMarco shares successful online business concepts and tells you how to scale them up, he also shares business principles and strategies that he used to build his millionaire dollar business.

    This is one of the best books I have read for entrepreneurs.

    • Stuart
      June 1, 2011 (3:30 am)

      Hey Avis, thanks for the reference, I haven’t heard of DeMarco’s book, but I’ll have a look at Amazon and see what it’s all about.

      Thanks for sharing it, and glad you liked the post 🙂

  • Jawaad Ahmad Khan
    May 30, 2011 (1:08 pm)

    I’ve read only a few of those books up there, but glad you’ve referenced them all. Definitely want to get back into reading books of inspiration and practical application. Thanks, Stuart!

    • Stuart
      May 30, 2011 (4:38 pm)

      Hey Jawaad, thanks for the comment!

      Which books from this list have you read? “The Art Of War” and “Leadership Wisdom…” are two of my big favourites 🙂

      • Jawaad Ahmad Khan
        May 30, 2011 (5:03 pm)

        No problem!

        Looking back at the list, I’ve read the One Minute Manager, and I own/have skimmed through Tribes and Seven Habits…

  • Dennis Edell@ Direct Sales Marketing
    May 30, 2011 (4:44 pm)

    There’s definitely a few on the list I’ve been meaning to read, thanks for putting them all together. 🙂

    • Stuart
      June 1, 2011 (3:29 am)

      Glad you liked it Dennis, now get out there and grab hold of some of these books! 😉

  • Danny Iny
    June 1, 2011 (1:27 pm)

    Hey Stu, great to see you here!

    This is a great list – I particularly like Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and Built to Last. I’ve also heard very good things about Greenleaf’s book.

    I would add The Monk and the Riddle, by Randy Komisar, and Great Boss, Dead Boss, by Ray Immelman. 🙂

    • Stuart
      June 2, 2011 (4:24 am)

      Hey Danny, great to have you comment!

      I’ll look up those two books, the titles alone sound interesting 😉

      Take care 🙂

  • Chris
    June 1, 2011 (3:17 pm)

    Great list thanks! (just bought 21 laws by Maxwell – looking forward to reading it!)

    would also recommend



    How to lead – http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Lead-Actually-Manage-Succeed/dp/027372150X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1306955760&sr=8-1

    • Stuart
      June 2, 2011 (4:26 am)

      Hey Chris, glad you liked the list! And thanks for the references, appreciate it.

      You’ll enjoy Maxwell’s book, he’s a great writer when it comes to looking at things from afar 🙂

  • Max Polanski
    June 1, 2011 (9:50 pm)

    I’ve only read “The One Minute Manager” and all I can say is that it is a must read. Ken and Spenceer really know what they’re talking about in that book. Trust me!

    • Stuart
      June 2, 2011 (4:27 am)

      Hey Max, I agree, it’s an awesome book, which really helps to re-shape the way you think about management and leadership.

      Thanks 🙂

  • VersieC
    June 6, 2011 (6:13 am)

    Hi Stuart,

    I really recommend “Are leaders born or made?” by David Grabovac. He gives some very interesting tips on how to be a better leader in today’s society, as well as some very nice parallels between our current leaders and other leaders of the past.

    Highly recommended, really fun to read.

    • Stuart Mills
      June 6, 2011 (7:30 am)

      Hey Versie, thanks for the reference! I’ll be sure to check it out 🙂

  • Andrew @ Blogging Guide
    June 7, 2011 (3:59 am)

    Great list. Management and leadership is not an easy task to do so it is always a great idea to read and learn strategies to be effective.

    • Stuart Mills
      June 7, 2011 (9:26 am)

      Definitely agree Andrew, effectiveness is the name of the game!

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

  • Andrew Walker
    June 9, 2011 (7:18 am)

    Yes! I really love the Sun Tzu’s Art of War. All of the strategies in there are just so great and wonderful.

    • Stuart Mills
      June 10, 2011 (3:19 am)

      Oh yeah Andrew, they’re so simple and yet so profound – the best kind 😉

  • Amanda Gordon
    June 10, 2011 (6:50 pm)

    It felt good that I have 30-40% of the list covered. I have read 3 books and watched a video.

    The One Minute Manager
    The Art of War
    Who Moved My Cheese?
    The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

    I was really amazed by a video on The Art of War. The best part of the video was drilling down a very obvious point “Don’t start a war you can win”. I mean so many corporates engage in pyrrhic victories.

    I was totally ticked of by the Ferrari Monk book. Ok, I really liked the first (and original) one. After that it seemed like a rehash after rehash.

    Have you read the Eighth Habit? Any thoughts on it?

    • Stuart Mills
      June 11, 2011 (4:00 am)

      Hey Amanda, thanks for your comment!

      I haven’t read the Eighth Habit yet, but it’s on my to-read list! As is about 100 other books 😉

  • karen
    June 11, 2011 (4:45 am)

    hello sttuart…great post thanks for sharing your book with us i read few of your book now i become addicted i really like to read it i normally read before i go bed…thank for sharing

    • Stuart Mills
      June 12, 2011 (3:42 am)

      No problem Karen, thanks for your comment! 🙂

  • Alison Barrows
    June 11, 2011 (7:49 am)


    I have read the “Millionaire Fastlane” book as well and agree that is very good. I found the title bombastic and had some doubts at first, but the content is top notch. Recommended reading 😉

    • Stuart Mills
      June 12, 2011 (3:42 am)

      Well if the book has two different recommendations then it must be good 😉

  • Coach Jennie
    June 22, 2011 (9:15 am)

    Fantastic list! I would also add Steve Farber’s “Greater Than Yourself: The Ultimate Lesson of True Leadership.”

    • Stuart
      June 22, 2011 (9:16 am)

      I haven’t heard of that one Jennie, I’m gonna check it out, thanks 🙂

  • Steve
    July 5, 2011 (12:21 pm)

    Hi Stuart, There is one book on leadership I would add to the list. You may not know about because it’s only just come out in the UK. It is The Three Levels of Leadership: How to Develop Your Leadership Presence, Knowhow and Skill. The author is James Scouller, an ex-CEO and now an executive coach. Is is practical, easy to read and gets into the leader’s psychology. You can check it out here: The Three Levels of Leadership: Reviews.

    • Stuart
      July 5, 2011 (3:55 pm)

      Hey Steve, I’ll have to check that one out, it sounds great.

      Thanks for sharing it 🙂

  • Redzuan
    July 9, 2011 (12:45 am)

    Hi, Stuart, great infomation about leadership’s references. I looking at basic one for uses daily practice at Office & Organization. Try this one, “On Becoming a Leader”, by Warren Bennis. It’s great.

    • Stuart Mills
      July 9, 2011 (2:53 am)

      It’s a great book Redzuan, I’ve heard a lot about it. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  • Stephen Perkins
    August 3, 2011 (12:30 pm)

    I love the Seth Godin books

  • Stephen Perkins
    August 3, 2011 (12:30 pm)

    I love the Seth Godin books

  • SHFerg
    August 9, 2011 (4:10 pm)

    Excellent list. I would like to add any book by Robert Kiyosaki–especially, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” The book is more about a mindset than it is about Money. And a true leader has a strong mindset even when times are challenging and criticisms run high.

  • 10 Leadership Books Sites | Hold Your Future
    October 10, 2011 (7:56 am)

    […] 20 Books On Leadership That You Must ReadMay 30, 2011 How often do you read? If you were to ask me that question, then I'd freely and happily admit, a lot. […]

  • Peter Borner
    February 4, 2012 (7:02 am)

    I’d add Full Steam Ahead by Ken Blanchard and Jesse Stoner

  • Aditi Chopra
    February 4, 2012 (7:33 am)

    My leadership book, http://goo.gl/uLQyb is very well received. Thanks to my readers!

  • Shivika
    August 23, 2015 (4:49 am)

    Breakfast with Santa! Saturday, December 1st from 9-11AMOssian United Methodist Church201 W. Mill Street in Ossian, In 46777Come have pancakes, dculeiois egg casseroles, smoky links, cereal, donuts, dutch crunch dessert, Coffee, milk and juice something for everyoneHave your children’s picture taken with Santa and then they can shop in the Elf Store for their family members. Elves will be available to help them shop so they can keep it a surprise! All gifts are $2 and gift wrapping is included. This is a fun, holiday event sponsored by the Norwell High School Show ChoirSee you there!

  • Synthia Lapp
    June 23, 2016 (11:25 pm)

    Thought-provoking post – I Appreciate the insight ! Does someone know if my company could obtain a template U.S. Army Leader\’s Book version to work with ?

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