The top leadership books are a must-read list because everyone is a leader in some capacity. It does not matter if you’re a coach, a manager at work, or a parent. The chances are that you lead someone, and because of that, you need to improve your leadership skills continually.

These top leadership books cover many different aspects of leadership from, sports, to self-management, to Military to control and using leadership to get the best out of people. You could probably get 5-10 different John Maxwell books on this top leadership books list as well.

10 Top Leadership Books

Honorable Mention for Top

Leadership Books – All In

All In - Top Leadership Books

Book Name Author(s) Pages Publish Year

All In

Adrian Gotick

Chester Elton

242 2012

The thing I love about All In is how much the book focuses on how to get your team to move in the right direction. A lot of leadership is getting the best people on your side, but once you have them, you need to know what to do with them. The book breaks down into setting a culture, practical ways to get the most out of your team, and then lastly, it gives you tools to make sure that you can keep it going. I got this book for $2 from a used book store, and I had 0 expectations from it, and I feel like I underlined the entire book.

#10 – Managing Oneself

Managing Oneself - Top Leadership Books

Book Name Author(s) Pages Publish Year

Managing Oneself

Peter Drucker 60 2008

Managing oneself teaches you to do what the title says. Including this book by Peter Drucker is a must because there is no leadership if you don’t understand how first to lead yourself. The author lays out ways you can better understand your ability to set goals, meet goals, how you learn best, and how you communicate with others.

The more you can understand yourself, the better you can understand your expectations and the expectations of others so that they line up. At 60 pages, this book has some of the most bangs for its buck of any leadership book. It’s worth having a copy around at all times.

#9 – Eleven Rings

Eleven Rings - Top Leadership Books

Book Name Author(s) Pages Publish Year

Eleven Rings

Phil Jackson 367 2013

Phil Jackson was the coach of the Chicago Bulls and the Los Angeles Lakers. The reason this book is so important is that he won eleven NBA championships in the 1990s and 2000s. The even more impressive part is who Phil Jackson was leading. He coached Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Scottie Pippin, Shaquille Oneal, Dennis Rodman, Steve Kerr, and many other NBA greats.

Anyone who has to lead some of the names above has to know how to deal with many different egos on one team and find a way to get them to work together. No one was better at doing this, and anyone who has a superstar team in any facet of life will have to learn how to manage some larger than life egos.

#8 – Start With Why

Start With Why - Top Leadership Books

Book Name Author(s) Pages Publish Year

Start With Why

Simon Sinek 240 2009

Start with Why is a popular concept because of the Ted talk that Simon Sinek did. It’s worth noting that the book is a must-read leadership book. You apply the principles of this book before you even recruit one member.

When you decide why you are doing what you are doing, you can recruit people who share that why. It gives your entire company, team, or organization direction. Everything you do bleeds from the why, customer service, marketing, and things like how you speak to people all stem from your why.

# 7 – How to Win Friends and Influence People

How to win friends and influence people - Top Leadership Books

Book Name Author(s) Pages Publish Year

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Dale Carnegie 258 1936

How to Win Friends and Influence People is a must for the top leadership books list because influence is leadership. Leadership is not as much about the title as it is about influence. You can have a big title but not be able to influence anyone around you. Dale Carnegie teaches you how to win people over in a healthy way in this book. Whether you are trying to close a sale, or you need someone on your team to do something for you. How to Win friends teaches you how to get people to see things your way and take action.

#6 – Tribal Leadership

Tribal Leadership - Top Leadership books

Book Name Author(s) Pages Publish Year

Tribal Leadership

Dave Logan

John King

Halee Fischer-Wright

301 2007

Tribal leadership is one of the more unique concepts on the top leadership books list. Most other books on the least teach things that feel more like common sense. This book focuses on the language we used. It shows you the difference between me and Us on the team and why it matters. Unlike managing oneself, this book is solely focused on the entire group and how the language that an individual in that group uses plays into the level of leadership in that group. The bad news is that you have to go through each level, but the good news is that it gives you great language cues to know where your team is.

#5 -Extreme Ownership

Extreme Ownership

Book Name Author(s) Pages Publish Year

Extreme Ownership

Jocko Willink

Leif Babin

313 2015

Extreme Ownership is one of the best books you can read to improve your leadership skills. As an entrepreneur, you need to get the point of the book drilled in your head. It’s always your fault, and you never have any reason to blame any other person for failure but yourself. It’s that simple. If you’re still looking to blame, its because your not a leader, and you’re not ready to take control.

#4 – Pushing Up People

Pushing Up People

Book Name Author(s) Pages Publish Year

Pushing Up People

Art Williams 170 1985

This book is an old school book that has been slept on by many. Pushing up people is written by a former football coach who went on to start his own insurance sales company. He focuses much more on motivating and caring for his people than he does use a dictator whip.

If you are going to be an entrepreneur, you’re going to need to know how to build a team and retain your team. Treating people with respect and motivating them to be their best is a massive part of that, and Art Williams nails just ho to do that.

#3 – Legacy

Legacy by James Kerr - Top Leadership Books

Book Name Author(s) Pages Publish Year

Legacy

James Kerr 207 2013

Legacy is the second sports leadership book on this list. The book is powerful, especially for Americans who may not be as familiar with the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby team. These guys have been dominant for a while, and after reading this book, you will understand why.

One part that made a big impact on me was on being willing to change when you are on top. Most leaders see they are doing well, and they coast and stop growing and taking risks, and its the reason they eventually fall. All blacks keep pushing to be better.

#2 – Leaders Eat Last

Leaders Eat Last - Top Leadership Books

Book Name Author(s) Pages Publish Year

Leaders Eat Last

Simon Sinek 350 2014

Leaders Eat Last hit me the hardest of all of these books because most of the reasons I think people suck at leadership are addressed in the book. Bad leadership comes down to leaders continually looking out for themselves and the people at the top, forgetting that the people at the bottom are the ones doing all of the work.

Simon Sinek does an excellent job teaching you how you can make everyone in the company feel cared for a loved one. The more secure people feel, the more all in for your mission that they will be. When you follow the teachings of this book, you will be seen as a more caring and favorable leader.

#1 -The Law of Success

Law of Success - Napoleon Hill - Top Leadership Books

Book Name Author(s) Pages Publish Year

The Law of Success

Napoleon Hil 612 1928

The Law of Success may not be considered to be a leadership book, but it covers everything you need to be successful in a great deal. Its a 600 manual on everything about success and almost every chapter touches on leadership. The book illustrates how little things like how saving money can help put you in a leadership position or how you have to be able to take the initiative to be a leader. Classic Napoleon Hill also studies the great leaders of his time like Henry Ford, Firestone, and Andrew Carnegie.

Summary of The Top Leadership Books

  1. The Law of Success
  2. Leaders Eat Last
  3. Legacy
  4. Pushing Up People
  5. Extreme Ownership
  6. Tribal Leadership
  7. How to Win Friends and Influence People
  8. Start With Why
  9. Eleven Rings
  10. Managing Oneself
  11. All In

Ian Warner

About the author

I went from a broken leg to a 2012 Olympian. I have spent the last 15 years building positive habits as a track athlete and entrepreneur. I founded Habit Stacker and dedicated my life to helping people to develop winning habits. I have helped over 5,000 people...

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