Leadership is an important part of business, managing others, and day-to-day life. Being a good leader will allow you to maximize efficiency, reach more goals faster, and motivate others to do the same. 

According to Forbes’ study on uninspiring leaders, leaders at the bottom 10% in their ability to motivate others had a 93% chance of being rated in the bottom 10% for productivity. While you could always take a course on leadership, reading about how to be a solid successful leader from those with experience can be highly beneficial. Let’s take a look at the best leadership books so you can find the ones worth reading.

Best Leadership Books

Below are the top 11 books on leadership. These books will help you learn how you can become a better leader in your life.

1. Good to Great by James C. Collins 

Good to Great by James C. Collins

Good to Great explains how good companies go from average to legendary through powerful leadership. Collins explains what separates the good from the great, and why most companies fail to become great in the first place. This book includes a helpful model that allows the reader to implement useful leadership and management techniques in their own business.

Collin claims that successful companies are made up of 3 key aspects: disciplined people, disciplined thought, and disciplined action. By reading Good to Great, you’ll figure out how to outperform your competitors and avoid bad habits that lead to downfall. Ultimately, great leadership will foster discipline. 

2. Start With Why by Simon Sinek

Start With Why by Simon Sinek

Author, leadership guru, and motivational speaker Simon Sinek inspires readers to put the purpose before the process in his legendary book Start With Why. Since it was published, this book has created waves of discussion and allowed leaders to transform their sphere of influence everywhere.

According to Survey Monkey, 67% of people prefer to work for a company whose mission they believe in than one that has higher pay. The bottom line: people don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. Explaining why you do it, before anything else, will allow you to get others on board and inspire everyone to take action for themselves, without having to spend time and money on convincing them why they should in the first place. 

3. Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

Leadership guru Simon Sinek created Leaders Eat Last as his highly-anticipated follow up to Start With Why. Great leaders inspire others to get up every morning and go to work. They also let others go to bed satisfied with their day. In Leaders Eat Last, Simon Sinek explains how you can inspire, too. 

While getting up in the morning feeling motivated to work may seem like a radical ideal reality, Sinek explains that this is what happens in most successful organizations. It is great leadership, and lack thereof, that separates the effective teams from the ones that never come together to create something worthwhile.

4. Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg 

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

This #1 international best-seller has effectively reignited the conversation of female leaders in the workplace. In this, Sandberg builds off of her viral TED Talk on leadership, encouraging women to seek challenges and take risks with enthusiasm. This motivational work includes personal anecdotes and compelling data to show how women can stay inspired as leaders.

Ultimately, inspired leaders are those who inspire others. Sandberg dives into negotiation tactics, mentorship, and the key to building a satisfying career. For great leaders, professional achievement and personal fulfillment are one and the same. 

5. Drive by Daniel H. Pink

Drive by Daniel H. Pink

In Drive, Daniel H. Pink uncovers the surprising truth about what motivates us to take action. According to him, human motivation is intrinsic and can be divided into three sections: autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Tapping into motivation tactics is what allows effective leaders to inspire and motivate others.

He goes into what businesses believe sparks motivation and what science tells us sparks motivation. Drawing on four decades of research about human motivation, this #1 New York Times best-seller has created waves of discussion, allowing leaders to view motivation in a new light. 

6. Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman

Primal Leadership by Daniel Goleman

Primal Leadership was the first book to establish the importance of emotional intelligence for leaders. Perfect for any manager or professional, Primal Leadership explains the importance of emotionally intelligent leadership. With this, you’ll learn how to master both the emotional and intellectual pursuits of your mind while leading others.

By silencing the battle between logic and feeling, you’ll be able to make better decisions across the board. Goleman even describes the six different types of leadership and which ones are most effective in gaining power in the professional world. 

7. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell 

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John C. Maxwell

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is one of the best-selling leadership books of all time. In this, leadership expert John C. Maxwell explains every law of leadership, an evaluation tool to assess your leadership skills, and application exercises in each chapter to help you grow as a leader. 

This book is essentially a conversation between the author and the reader, allowing Maxwell to share what he has learned while helping the reader apply their newfound skills along the way.

8. Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

Dare to Lead by Brené Brown

In Dare to Lead, vulnerability and shame expert Brené Brown explains how leaders and teams alike sabotage themselves by avoiding vulnerability. If leaders are not vulnerable to others within their organization, there will be no room left for creativity and innovation. 

This book is about facing your fears and building an organizational culture built on the courage to be vulnerable. Perhaps what made this book a #1 New York Times best-seller is the fact that Brown exposes groundbreaking evidence to show how the most effective leaders shift culture and inspire change.

9. Leadership and Self Deception by The Arbinger Institute

Leadership and Self Deception by The Arbinger Institute

Since it was first published in 2000, Leadership and Self Deception has sparked conversation everywhere. Now translated into over 20 languages, this book was created to inspire the leader within all of us. We can all relate to facing challenges on the job and with our family, but many of us seem to be blinded towards the motivation that’s right in front of us.

This book will help you become unblind to nearby motivation and as an effect, stop sabotaging your own productivity. Once we achieve success and inspire others, we will be happier than ever doing work that we love. 

10. The 5 Levels of Leadership by John C. Maxwell 

The 5 Levels of Leadership by John C. Maxwell

The 5 Levels of Leadership provides the reader with proven steps to maximize their potential. In this, Maxwell explains why being chosen for a leadership position is only ⅕ of the way to becoming a great leader. It’s what you do while you’re in that position that will allow you to fuel success and grow your team at every level.

Great leaders are more than bosses that people must obey. Great leaders invest in their team and inspire others. To achieve results and build a team that produces, help others become leaders as well. 

11. Learning to Lead by Ron Williams

Learning to Lead by Ron Williams

In this Wall Street Journal best-selling book, Ron Williams helps the reader develop professional leadership qualities that deliver both personal and professional success. Suitable for all types of readers, this book will provide you with tested leadership advice and proven ways to transform your organization.

Drawing both data and experience from Williams’ time as an executive, this book will teach you how to launch your career quest, avoid wasting effort, and develop your leadership style that inspires success. 

Conclusions: Best LeaderShip Books

Ultimately, leadership skills have the power to benefit anyone in any walk of life. Developing strong leadership skills will allow you to feel more fulfilled at work and show others what they can accomplish. Use this guide to the best leadership books and become the leader you were meant to be.

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