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Master Leadership With These 27 Expert Books

Raise your leadership powers and become a leader of men.

Leading is the ultimate position of power, the one in which your very words become orders that drive the actions of someone else and finish in results that have real impact on the world. But with great power cometh great responsibilities.

Leading is an art that is as subtle as it is aggressive, you must learn to discern in which situation to play nice, when to negotiate and when to swiftly strike. To help you develop these abilities, here’s a list of the greatest books about leadership.

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#1 The Business Acumen Handbook by Steven Haines

The Business Acumen Handbook by Steven Haines
The Business Acumen Handbook by Steven Haines

Book recommendation by Tate Tegtmeier from Business Acumen Institute

Leaders rely on business people to see the big picture and get things done. They want mindset and mojo, all in one! The problem is that all business people aren’t wired that way, and that’s where The Business Acumen Handbook comes in. The main idea behind The Business Acumen Handbook is to help managers understand the pillars of their company’s business, and to operate more effectively and efficiently.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#2 Make an Impact by Fab Giovanetti

Make an Impact by Fb Giovanetti
Make an Impact by Fb Giovanetti

Book recommendation by Fab Giovanetti from Health Bloggers Community

This book talks about the role of social influencers, how their authority has grown recently – and what we can learn from there in order to become better leader and become an authority in any industry. If you’ve ever wondered what your role is in this new generation of influencers, or how it can and will impact the commerciality of what you do (for work or play), then these habits can make you a better leader within your community.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#3 The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene

The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene
The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene

Book recommendation by Alex Kaschuta from Fundsquire

This book shines a bright light on human nature in all its complexity, without pulling any punches or sugarcoating the dark side. As a leader, having a deep understanding of human nature is paramount. Robert Greene’s analysis leaves no stone unturned and reveals humanity as it is, so no behavior or action will ever come as a surprise again, but rather as an expression of a familiar pattern.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#4 Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Book recommendation by Keri Lindenmuth from KDG

This book outlines how those in leadership roles excel through proper planning, thorough decision making, conflict, and accountability. It talks about the “chain of command” and how a leader’s team is only as good as the leader. A leader cannot expect his or her team to succeed if he or she is not setting by example and clearly outlining their goals and strategies in a way that gets their team to buy in.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#5 Good to Great by Jim Collins

Good to Great by Jim Collins
Good to Great by Jim Collins

Book recommendation by Tony Sch

This Jim Collins classic outlines what it takes to break away from being “average” or “good” and elevate to the status of being “great.” There are fundamentals that are neither complex to understand or implement, yet most CEOs simply don’t make the decision to be “great” and invest time and money to make it happen.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#6 Network Beyond Bias: Making Diversity a Competitive Advantage for Your Career by Amy C. Waninger

Network Beyond Bias: Making Diversity a Competitive Advantage for Your Career by Amy C. Waninger
Network Beyond Bias: Making Diversity a Competitive Advantage for Your Career by Amy C. Waninger

Book recommendation by Amy C. Waninger from Lead at Any Level LLC

Network Beyond Bias: Making Diversity a Competitive Advantage for Your Career makes connecting across difference easier for professionals at all levels. The book incorporates concepts from neuroscience, sociology, career management, and interpersonal relationships. The author shares personal stories of success, embarrassing failures, and critical lessons learned along the way. This book is a quick read that seems simple on its surface. Make no mistake, Network Beyond Bias is a well-researched, step-by-step guide for seeing yourself and others in a new way.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#7 The New Manager’s Survival guide by Steven Haines

The New Manager's Survival guide by Steven Haines
The New Manager’s Survival guide by Steven Haines

Book recommendation by Tate Tegtmeier from Sequent Learning Networks

“Whether you’re an experienced employee in a first time managerial role or a complete business novice, this guide has everything you need to excel in your field

It helps you advance your career by covering the nuts and bolts of managing a business, which is not often taught in business classes and which even experienced managers sometimes need to brush up on.”

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#8 The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone

The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone
The 10X Rule: The Only Difference Between Success and Failure by Grant Cardone

Book recommendation by Wagner Saucedo from Teqroom

This book by Grant Cardone tells you key strategies on how to maximize growth in life and business to achieve success. By multiplying average actions by 10, you will achieve faster and better results than your peers. This book also goes deep into having a winning and positive mindset when everything seems to be going downwards. Great motivational read to start your day.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#9 Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Start with Why by Simon Sinek
Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Book recommendation by Tony Schy

Sinek’s paradigm shift forces you to go beyond the tactics of what you do or how you do it. True leaders inspire others with a clear explanation of why you exist in the first place. This shift in thinking creates a bright line separating managers from leaders.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#10 The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz

Book recommendation by Calvin Rosser from Life Reimagined

Entrepreneur and Andreessen Horowitz founder, Ben Horowitz, provides actionable and invaluable life and leadership lessons. You’ll learn about hiring for strengths instead of weaknesses, how to set expectations, the importance of trust, and how to choose the right metrics to track.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#11 How One Cup of Coffee Can Change Your World by Robert Thibodeau

How One Cup of Coffee Can Change Your World by Robert Thibodeau
How One Cup of Coffee Can Change Your World by Robert Thibodeau

Book recommendation by Robert Thibodeau from Leadership & Podcast Training

Using “coffee” as an analogy, Robert helps your audience to identify the 3-4 key components that must be present for the future success in life and/or business. Once the key elements are identified, the quality of the “coffee” is simply a mixture of the key elements. This training analogy is so memorable, you will never look at your morning cup of coffee the same way, ever again!

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#12 Lead Like a Pirate! Leadership Secrets of the Pirates of St. Croix by Christopher Novak

Lead Like a Pirate! Leadership Secrets of the Pirates of St. Croix by Christopher Novak
Lead Like a Pirate! Leadership Secrets of the Pirates of St. Croix by Christopher Novak

Book recommendation by Ryan Novak from Chocolate Pizza Company

Leadership in the golden age of pirates leaves lessons for today’s captains of business. Set sail with Captain Tiger-Eye Taylor and the crew of the Ebony Ghost on a leadership excursion that introduces classic concepts and tools. Finally, a professional resource that is as fun as it is effective – excellent for team-building and discussions on front-line leadership. Original illustrations and an interactive format make this quick-read book a must-have resource in any leader’s library.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#13 The Decline of America: 100 Years of Leadership Failures by David D. Schein

The Decline of America: 100 Years of Leadership Failures by David D. Schein
The Decline of America: 100 Years of Leadership Failures by David D. Schein

Book recommendation by Dr. David D. Schein from Cameron School of Business University of St. Thomas

This book examines leadership with an emphasis on ethics by focusing on the last 100 years of American presidents. This is a non-partisan look with a management perspective. It is heavily documented with facts about the administration of each president, Wilson through Obama. It is in numerous public and university libraries and has garnered five star reviews on Amazon.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#14 Traction by Gino Wickman

Traction by Gino Wickman
Traction by Gino Wickman

Book recommendation by Renata Trebing from Nourish with Renata

This book provides step-by-step description on how to set up your entrepreneurial business, starting with what you, as the leader, believe about your company. It provides real world examples showing how clarity of the leader’s vision, and their ability to discuss and collaborate with others, is the key to developing a sustainable foundation for your business. In addition, the author, Gino Wickman, provides downloadable forms to assist with setting up the system within your own company. The book is easy to read, easy to apply and highly recommended for leaders starting a business and want to implement a system that can sustain growth long term.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#15 Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler, Roppe

Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler, Roppe
Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Patterson, Grenny, McMillan, Switzler, Roppe

Book recommendation by Adam Cole from A Jazz Musician Who Writes Books

One of the hardest things about being a leader is talking with the people you supervise. Many important conversations either go unspoken, or are executed badly. This book provides a wonderful foundation in how to have critical conversations that serve the situation and preserve the relationship.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#16 Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath, Dan Heath

Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath, Dan Heath
Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath, Dan Heath

Book recommendation by Christine Flynn from fás trí comhar

Chip and Dan Heath provide a fascinating outline of how our emotional and rational minds compete to sabotage our personal, team and business goals. Their visual storytelling provides an easy to understand break down of how to unify our competing desires and shape our environment to create new patterns for success.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#17 The Leadership Challenge, 6th Ed by James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner

The Leadership Challenge, 6th Ed by James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner
The Leadership Challenge, 6th Ed by James M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner

Book recommendation by Sherri Blix from Blix Consulting & Coaching LLC

Unlike other faddish books on the topic of leadership, this evidence-based book distills leadership into “Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership.” These perennial practices have stood the test of time from when James and Barry initially conducted their research and published the first edition in 1987. Each practice is distilled down to specific behaviors that readers can start demonstrating immediately. The book weaves real-life examples of leaders from all levels and industries who exemplify these practices. As the authors state, “…leadership is everyone’s business” and upon finishing this book, readers from the front line to the C-Suite will feel fully capable to step into their leadership potential.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#18 Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown
Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

Book recommendation by Brandi Bernoskie

Many books on leadership provide readers with a set of operating principles, but Dare to Lead rumbles through some of the more complex pieces of leadership like vulnerability, empathy, values, and trust. The exercises in the book help company leaders better connect with team members and deepen relationships, allowing for a more engaged culture that collaborates in new ways to achieve lasting impact — financial and societal.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#19 Lead Like Jesus Revisited by Ken Blanchard

Lead Like Jesus Revisited by Ken Blanchard
Lead Like Jesus Revisited by Ken Blanchard

Book recommendation by Dave Domzalski from Hero Story

The biggest takeaway from this book for was its foundation not just of Christ, but in humility. Being a leader, according to the authors, is centered around being a servant. True leadership in the 21st century must be people-based and it must come from a commitment to serve others before yourself. That’s the makings of a heroic leader.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#20 Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek
Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

Book recommendation by Caleb Backe from Maple Holistics

In this book, Simon Sinek talks about how businesses can get their employees to feel like more of a team and how doing so can catapult a company to success. Sinek considers the dynamics amongst Marines, who are willing to risk their lives for one another because they know that their comrades have their backs too. According to the author, translating this message to the workplace environment can allow employees to think big and take more risks, since they will feel that their whole team is behind them. This is an important read for a company leader who wants to figure out how to encourage growth amongst the team and consequently take the business to the next level.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#21 The One Minute Manager by Kenneth H. Blanchard

The One Minute Manager by Kenneth H. Blanchard
The One Minute Manager by Kenneth H. Blanchard

Book recommendation by Caleb Backe from Maple Holistics

This book by Kenneth H. Blanchard and Spencer Johnson is an easy read if you’re looking to boost efficiency, earnings and job satisfaction. It discusses a whole new way to manage employees and a business, and it’s building momentum as more and more company leaders start using it. The book details three simple tips for leadership, using information from a variety of studies to demonstrate why these tips work. It’s a quick, relatable book that can truly help your company.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#22 The Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

The Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin
The Dichotomy of Leadership by Jocko Willink & Leif Babin

Book recommendation by Jeffrey Forbes from Elite Ethics

Jocko Willink and Leif Babin are both highly decorated retired U.S. Navy Seal Officers who have succeeded on some of the toughest missions our military has faced in the last twenty years. This book shows the hardship any leader will face and provides examples on the necessity for quick thinking in order to dominate your competition. They explain the need to master every decision as a leader and how to bring your team closer together. You will be inspired when reading the routines of these two men, which in return, became crucial for the success of their men.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#23 Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Book recommendation by Dennis Bartel from Biz Text

This eye-opening book explains why some leaders and organizations inspire when others can’t. With a simple approach emphasizing the “why,” “how” and “what,” Sinek explains how to be a true leader by thinking from the inside out. The concepts are simple but profound, using plenty of examples of companies and leaders that set themselves apart from the rest like Apple and Steve Jobs.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#24 The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork Embrace Them and Empower Your Team by John C. Maxwell

The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork Embrace Them and Empower Your Team by John C. Maxwell
The 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork Embrace Them and Empower Your Team by John C. Maxwell

Book recommendation by Dennis Bartel from Biz Text

This is a great step-by-step book on the principles for leading a team and the importance of knowing your leadership style. Whether you’re a CEO, or a Little League coach, this book will help you understand your own leadership style, and adapt it to get the most from the members of your team.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#25 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin

13 Things Mentally Strong People Don't Do by Amy Morin
13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do by Amy Morin

Book recommendation by Dennis Bartel from Biz Text

“Although this book is not specifically about leadership, it’s a great guide to the traits necessary for leaders to be efficient and effective. This book helps you identify and change unhealthy mental habits, and cultivate the mental strength that enables leaders to inspire and influence others.”

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#26 First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham, Curt Coffman

First, Break All the Rules: What the World's Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham, Curt Coffman
First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham, Curt Coffman

Book recommendation by Dennis Bartel from Biz Text

Although this is an older book it still holds its own in the crowded field of business and leadership books. Drawing on over 80,000 interviews conducted by Gallup, the authors identify the factors that make managers excel, such as hiring for talent rather than skill and focusing on building peoples strengths rather than fixing their weaknesses. This book flipped everything I knew at the time about leadership.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

#27 Ego is the enemy by Ryan Holiday

Ego is the enemy by Ryan Holiday
Ego is the enemy by Ryan Holiday

Book recommendation by Roh Habibi from Roh’s Website

This book by Ryan Holiday is a complete mental game changer. We often go throughout life climbing the mountain top of achieving success in big business seldomly re analyzing instances of failure, and what caused them.

Ego is the enemy contributes the biggest failures, broken relationships, meltdowns of companies on the human ego. It will never be satiated and wants more, only after we have realized this part of our life that will never go away can we battle it to realize when the ego is about to burn us the most. A must read for all.

Read more reviews and buy the book here.

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Written by Zak Parker

Journalist, writer, musician, professional procrastinator. I'll add more here later.

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