Hand giving the Bible to another person over blue sky

The 5 leading books on leadership

Growing up, at least one of my parents was always reading a non-fiction, leadership-type book. Whether it was Stephen Covey’s classic “7 Habits for Highly Effective People” or Susan Scott’s renowned “Fierce Conversations”, the books my parents picked up gave their little hair salon the reputation as one of the best to work at in Seattle.

Here’s our roundup of the top five leadership books selected by major business outlets and myself.

  • “High Output Management” by Andy Grove – Voted one of the top three books any leader should read by TIME. The former Intel CEO speaks of his experience at the major tech company in the 70s and the, “art of the entrepreneur.” Anyone, from teachers to startup founders and managers alike, can gain invaluable insight into how one can motivate and shape people to perform at their best.
  • “The Art of War” by Sun Tzu – Don’t judge this book by it’s title. This classic has inspired and can be linked to leaders throughout history, from Napoleon Bonaparte to Steve Jobs. Since 5th century B.C., this ancient Chinese military manual has taught leaders about setting and achieving goals, and how strategy isn’t a matter of completing tasks as much as it is about preparing for swift, effective reactions to anything that arises. chose this one for one of its top leadership books of all time.
  • “How to Fly a Horse: The Secret of Creation, Innovation, and Discover” by Kevin Ashton – MIT graduate and founder of three startups, Kevin Ashton knows the fear most of us face when creating something from the start. Ashton takes readers on a journey through some of humanity’s greatest creations to show us who did it and how they made it. Published just this year, Forbes and I recommend this book for anyone who’s ever thought about or currently working in a startup.
  • “7 Habits for Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey – I mentioned this earlier, but you can’t have a list like this without calling out this book. For more than 25 years, Covey’s book has inspired and transformed the lives of presidents, teachers, and many more through the handiness of his tried-and-true seven habits.
  • “Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap…and Others Don’t” by Jim Collins – Quite possibly one of the most talked about books from my childhood and later followed by close friends. This book presents the results of a business study and has provided many leaders with the sometimes bitter truth to their management questions.

What book have you read that inspired you to become a leader at work?