The 50 Best Leadership Books of All Time

What is the secret to great leadership? Is it a case of sheer good luck and opportunity, some magical cocktail of in-born genius, ambition and charisma, or can it be learned and taught? Leadership isn’t just about money and power. It’s about understanding what makes people tick, knowing your own values and worth, and working with the people and resources around you to make the best out of things.

It’s good for business, of course, but it’s more than just that. These are life skills that can help you realise both personal and professional goals. Developing your leadership skills can make a big difference to you and the world around you. Who wouldn’t want that?

So if you’re wondering if you have what it takes to be a good leader, you are not alone. Millions of books are sold every year to people hoping that the golden shimmer of success will rub off on them. It makes sense to look to the wisdom and advice of people who have made it to the top of their fields, and maybe take a leaf out of their books.

But with such a mountain of leadership books available, it can be overwhelming, which ones are suited to your needs, and which ones are actually good.

To give you a head start the resume experts at, used Goodreads ratings to identify the top 50 books in the leadership genre and compiled them into one list for ease:

  1. Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
  2. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
  3. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell
  4. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference by Malcolm Gladwell
  5. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  6. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
  7. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Stephen R. Covey
  8. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson
  9. Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki
  10. The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg
  11. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  12. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
  13. The Prince by Niccolò Machiavelli
  14. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance
  15. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle
  16. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill by Napoleon Hill
  17. The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss
  18. Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead by Brené Brown
  19. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t by Jim Collins
  20. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen
  21. Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely
  22. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek
  23. Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
  24. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
  25. Factfulness: Ten Reasons We’re Wrong About the World—and Why Things Are Better Than You Think by Hans Rosling, Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund
  26. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini
  27. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable by Patrick Lencioni
  28. Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes
  29. Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ by Daniel Goleman
  30. The One Minute Manager by Kenneth H. Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
  31. #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso
  32. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  33. Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Amy Wallace and Edwin Catmull
  34. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
  35. Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Jean Greaves and Travis Bradberry
  36. The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
  37. Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking When Stakes Are High by Al Switzler, Joseph Grenny, and Ron McMillan
  38. Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by William Ury, Roger Fisher, and Bruce Patton
  39. The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement by Eliyahu M. Goldratt
  40. Strengths Finder 2.0 by Tom Rath
  41. The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz
  42. Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath
  43. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Christopher Voss and Tahl Raz
  44. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by James C. Collins and Jerry I. Porras
  45. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You by John C. Maxwell
  46. Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
  47. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin
  48. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham
  49. Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brené Brown
  50. Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box by The Arbinger Institute

From the ancient wisdom of a Chinese military strategist, to advice from world-famous leaders in modern business, tech, and media, there’s bound to be a book full of wisdom that makes sense to you.

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