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15 Classic Leadership Books That Every Business Owner Should Read

Joel Brown (Founder of Addicted2Success.com)

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Leadership Speech Books

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

I am the the Founder of Addicted2Success.com and I am so grateful you're here to be part of this awesome community. I love connecting with people who have a passion for Entrepreneurship, Self Development & Achieving Success. I started this website with the intention of educating and inspiring likeminded people to always strive for success no matter what their circumstances.I'm proud to say through my podcast and through this website we have impacted over 200 million lives in the last 10 years.

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Avatar

    uduak John

    May 31, 2015 at 5:38 pm

    Great, it help

  2. Avatar

    uduak John

    May 31, 2015 at 5:36 pm

    great

  3. Avatar

    Jeff

    May 15, 2015 at 9:46 pm

    Another great book in my humble opinion is Launching a Leadership Revolution by Orrin Woodward & Chris Brady

  4. Avatar

    Sorin ph

    Sep 25, 2014 at 1:14 pm

    Big THX 🙂

  5. Avatar

    theunknownleader

    Nov 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).

  6. Avatar

    Pim Pollen

    Feb 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….?

  7. Avatar

    brandon avance (@brandonavance)

    Feb 21, 2013 at 6:20 pm

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

  8. Avatar

    Becky

    Dec 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.”

  9. Avatar

    chandan

    Dec 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.

  10. Avatar

    arslan

    Dec 11, 2012 at 9:08 am

    I also enjoy i have read drive better one advise u

  11. Avatar

    SBU Tshabalala

    Dec 11, 2012 at 7:25 am

    Wow!!

  12. Avatar

    SBU Tshabalala

    Dec 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

  13. Avatar

    Avril McCormack

    Nov 4, 2012 at 9:34 am

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

  14. Avatar

    Amanda Jordan

    Aug 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!

  15. Avatar

    East Coast Fashionista

    Jul 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!

  16. Avatar

    curtis c

    Apr 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.

  17. Avatar

    Ward Parker

    Mar 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

  18. Avatar

    EntreVille.ca

    Mar 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?

  19. Avatar

    Dave

    Mar 16, 2012 at 11:31 pm

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

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It has been said by Robin Sharma, “5 AM is the time of least distraction, highest human glory, and greatest peace.” This also happens to be the central idea or the core value he has discussed in his book, ‘The 5 Am Club.’ Speaking of early mornings, at what time do you wake up? Are you annoyed by the fact that you wake up on the edge of time and then rush to work in haste? 

The life lessons put forth by The 5 AM Club are exactly the learning and motivation you need to challenge your complacency. In your race against time, you may not have the time to read this fabulous book. So, we have summed up the key book’s takeaways for your convenience.

1. The vigor of waking up early

This is what the book’s most fundamental advice to everyone is. Waking up at 5 am every day can work wonders to avert failures and make success a natural habit. When we wake up at 5 am, we have more time on our hands than others. Besides, this is when we have minimum interruptions and maximum powerfulness of the mind. 

To add, the early morning peace is priceless! You can schedule your most important tasks of the day between 5am, and 8am. This book teaches us in the simplest way, how we can train our mind and strengthen it to deliver the highest productivity by waking up early. This energy that you have when you wake up in the morning and the few additional hours in your day are what serve as perfect ingredients for success.

“The secret to productivity is simplicity.” – Robin Sharma

2. The power of finding the right balance in life

The book talks about a precious lesson of finding the right balance within. We often talk about the need for mindfulness and achieving the right mindset to perceive things. But this book goes a few steps ahead of our usual approach to life. It highlights the vitality of mindset and introduces the concepts of heartset, healthset, and soulset.

These terms may seem new, but they are self-explanatory. The idea of heartset endorses the essentialness of emotional stability and well-being. Next, the perspective of healthset indicates the need to look after physical health. At last, soulset is an attribute of spirituality. As explained in this book, success prospects can be enhanced big time by achieving the right balance between these internal virtues.

3. The iconic 20/20/20 modus operandi

What is the first thing you will do if you start waking up at 5 am every day? Did you ever spare a thought about it? This book has the answer to this question, and you will be convinced that it is a great way to begin your day!. The author suggests that you should split the first hour of the day into three equal parts of 20 minutes each.

In the first 20 minutes of the day, you should prioritize your physical fitness and exercise. In the next 20 minutes, you should energize your soul and spirit via self-reflection and soulful meditation. This will prepare you for the rest of the day and will enable you to bolster your commitment and focus. In the last 20 minutes of the first hour, you should read and learn. But what are you going to read about in those 20 minutes? Read about successful people and their inspiring journeys to the pinnacle of success.

4. The significance of a proper sleep schedule

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Sometimes even if we do not have any critical work, we keep whiling our night time on social media or television. What are we gaining from it is the real question, and I am afraid the answer is nothing! We learn from this book that it is critical to look after your sleep cycle and start your day at 5 am afresh. Sleep and rest are indispensable for mental and physical well-being, or your productivity will decline.

“If you want to have the results only 5% have, you must be willing to do and think like only 5% do and think.” – Robin Sharma

5. The art of evolving

The book sheds light on the need to be spiritual and master self-reflection. However, do you realize the purpose that the routine of reflection each morning serves? The idea is to keep learning, keep reflecting on the mistakes and keep evolution an ongoing process. You should evolve every day and strive to be a better version of yourself every day. So, one of your primary goals after waking up should be to reflect on your actions and missed opportunities of the previous day.

To recapitulate, The 5 AM Club is a must-read book if you are a passionate reader. It has the prowess and charm to refurbish your perception of life altogether. Even if you cannot read the book for some reason, make sure you incorporate the above key takeaways into your life. By starting your day at 5 am, you can rediscover your lost soul and enthusiasm, and you would not have complaints to make about the lack of time. If you can own your mornings, you can go places on the ladder of success, for excuses are only for those who are not committed to their goals.

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