15 Classic Leadership Books That Every Business Owner Should Read

leadership speech

Whether you are starting a Small Business or coaching a basketball team, you need to posess great skills in leadership. Leaders can either make or break a team or company.

That’s why we have compiled a list of the most important leadership books for your business book library.

 

“Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us” by Seth Godin

“If you want to create a mission-driven movement, in Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us, Seth Godin shares how to create something that people truly want to get behind. The book gives amazing case studies of people who have created empires by leading their employees to lead thousands of raving fans.” ~ Matt Wilson, Under30CEO.com

 

“Heavy Hitter Selling” by Steve W. Martin

“Ostensibly a book about sales, Steve W. Martin includes a great amount of nuggets for leaders in Heavy Hitter Selling. He’s taught at Cal and USC, and has sold to many Fortune 500 companies. He dives deep into leadership communication, managing up, and more.” ~ Aaron Schwartz, Modify Watches

 

“Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard” by Chip and Dan Heath

“Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip and Dan Heath outlines how behavior change is made—by making people want to change themselves instead of enforcing top-down decisions. Getting your team on board and excited is one of the most important skills of a great leader.” ~ Laura Roeder, LKR

 

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting out of the Box

Not just another book on leadership. It identifies the central issue of all performance. I recommend it very highly. This book shows why the truth about failure is so difficult to see, and explains how to overcome such self-deception.

 

“The Lean Startup” by Eric Ries

“The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is the greatest business book. A must-read for any manager or leader. It teaches you how to build a company and focus on the key aspects that will make it successful. It dives deep into case studies and walks you through exactly what to do. It kills startup myths and gives you specific tactics to help you dominate.” ~ Rishi Shah, Flying Cart LLC

 

Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

Do you want to be the best permanently? Why? Or, why not? Mr. Collins points out that it probably takes no more effort, but a lot more discipline and focus This book shows you the why, how and when!

 

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Drive is the rare book that will get you to think and inspire you to act. Pink makes a strong, science-based case for rethinking motivation–and then provides the tools you need to transform your life.”

 

What It Takes to Be #1 : Vince Lombardi on Leadership

“[Vince Lombardi Jr.] distills the substance of the famous coach’s utterances and his living example into lessons that anyone can use to become a better leader and better person. . . . [What It Takes To Be #1] may inspire you to start a process of self-discovery that could enrich your life and make you more effective at whatever you do.”

“Quiet Leadership” by David Rock

“Every entrepreneur is searching for the elusive formula that perfectly blends the creativity of the start-up with the leadership qualities to guide a growing team. Dave Ramsey reveals the ingredients in EntreLeadership, a guide for the complete business leader.”

The Twelve Absolutes of Leadership

“In The Twelve Absolutes of Leadership, Gary Burnison captures the timeless principles that leaders must possess, beyond intelligence, courage and heart. These essential elements speak to the integrity and authenticity that underscore all effective leadership.”
Carlos Slim, entrepreneur, Investor, and the world’s richest man

 

Leading Change

The leaders of some organizations have no idea how to make successful changes, and are likely to waste a lot of resources on unsuccessful efforts. Professor Kotter has done a solid job of outlining the elements that must be addressed, so now your organization will at last know what they should be working on.

 

The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential

The 5 Levels Of Leadership is John Maxwell’s ultimate contribution to the topic. It’s clear, helpful, inspiring and guaranteed to give any reader the ability to fulfill what Napoleon defined as the role of the leader: ‘Define reality, then give hope.’”

 

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable

This book is helpful to anyone who serves on a team and specifically helpful for team leaders. You will see yourself and your team in this book. More than that, you will find specific steps you can take to make your team better. Through a real life fable, Pat leads you through the steps you need to take to move a team from dysfunction to health. You will find a clear model as well as examples that are as relevant as your last meeting.

 

“The Rare Find: Spotting Exceptional Talent Before Everyone Else” by George Anders

“Being a great leader means filling your team with the best people. I just read The Rare Find by George Anders about how to spot exceptional hires. It uses techniques and case studies—from army recruiting and NBA scouting to top level executive hires. I have used a lot of the ideas to refine my hiring strategy which will hopefully fill my team with judicious choices as we grow!” ~ Vanessa Nornberg, Metal Mafia

 

“Strategic Leadership: The General’s Art” by Mark Grandstaff and Georgia Sorenson

“Edited by Mark Grandstaff and Georgia Sorenson, Strategic Leadership: The General’s Art is a must-read for entrepreneurs looking to improve their management leadership. It provides the keys to leadership success shared by America’s senior military leaders and experts in strategic leadership, critical thinking, and corporate culture. It also provides practical exercises to help put the strategic theories into action.” ~ Anthony Saladino, Kitchen Cabinet Kings

 

Article By Joel Brown

Joel Brown is the CEO and Founder of Addicted2Success.com. With a long time passion for Entrepreneurship, Self development & Success, Joel started his website with the intention of educating and inspiring likeminded people all over the world to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances. Follow Joel Brown on Twitter or keep upto date with him on Facebook:Facebook.com/JoelBrownA2S

16 Comments

  1. Sorin ph

    September 25, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Big THX :)

  2. theunknownleader

    November 16, 2013 at 7:20 am

    Another good Leadership management book that I read for one of my informatics classes is “The Unknown Leader”. It includes some very specific project management guidance (not just big picture stuff).

  3. Pim Pollen

    February 22, 2013 at 5:53 am

    Sorry, for me out of the blue selection of books. Why not the Extraordinary Leader of Zenger and Folkman? Or Neurotic Leaders of Manfred Kets de Vries? The house is yours and that’s it….?

  4. brandon avance (@brandonavance)

    February 21, 2013 at 6:20 pm

    Great list. I’ve loved every single one of these books.

  5. Becky

    December 20, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Wow thanks for the great recommendations. I am especially interested in checking out “Switch” the entire concept of this book makes sense to me- the part that points out that “behavior change is made—by making people want to change themselves instead of enforcing top-down decisions. Getting your team on board and excited is one of the most important skills of a great leader.” As I read this bio on the book, I couldn’t stop thinking about a great book I just finished reading, one I would highly recommend to those wanting to learn great leadership skills, “Green Beans & Ice Cream” by Bill Sims, Jr. The book points out how positive reinforcement is one of the most powerful forces on the planet. I love this leadership style and want to learn how to better implement these techniques into my life. Thank you again for recommending “Switch.”

  6. chandan

    December 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    Great article and recommendations.
    I would love to add Peter Church’s book The Added Value – the life stories of Indian Business Leaders. Definitely a must read for everybody in the corporate world.

  7. arslan

    December 11, 2012 at 9:08 am

    I also enjoy i have read drive better one advise u

  8. SBU Tshabalala

    December 11, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Wow!!

  9. SBU Tshabalala

    December 11, 2012 at 7:24 am

    Wow im encouraged this is what I needed to grow my business and my music school.Im going to get all these books.God bless

  10. Avril McCormack

    November 4, 2012 at 9:34 am

    I would add The Prime Ministers: An Intimate Narrative of Israeli Leadership

  11. Amanda Jordan

    August 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I loved this book SWITCH How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. Wow I just needed this book made an impact in my life so much I found I accomplished so much, it wasnt so much about changing people just how I do day to day things and how I want my children to have the encouragement to change peoples lives with positive out look just knowing they can change things they dont like that are happening around them!

  12. East Coast Fashionista

    July 19, 2012 at 2:32 pm

    Great list! I’m now adding some suggestions to my library. For people of color, the challenges can take on a different nature because you also have to fight stereotypes and negative perceptions. Succeeding Against the Odds, by John H. Johnson, the late founder and publisher of Ebony Magazine – an awesome read, for any business person!

  13. curtis c

    April 9, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    why dont you if you already haven’t write one about how secsessful people confront problems and adversity head on without fear of failure or dispishment. just a thought, yet if you have write one give me a call, if you are writing one or are going to – same thing. call me.

  14. Ward Parker

    March 20, 2012 at 11:44 pm

    Hey
    I really enjoy this web site.
    Great job!

    I am a business consultant and coach and appreciate when free advice is out there for whoever wants it
    I will spend more time on your site
    Thanks

    Ward

  15. EntreVille.ca

    March 20, 2012 at 3:12 am

    Wow! I hadn’t heard of a bunch of these. Tribe and the Lean Start Up are on my list of the next books to read. WHICH FROM THIS LIST ARE THE BEST FOR A SOLOPRENEUR JUST STARTING UP?

  16. Dave

    March 16, 2012 at 11:31 pm

    Good books. I need all the help I can get.

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