25 Must-Read Books Every Business Leader Needs To Read

Reading is a necessary pastime if you want to get ahead in life, especially in the business world.

It doesn’t matter if you read paperbacks, on your Kindle, or if audiobooks are your thing. Reading expands your mind and opens it up to new ways of thinking and broadens your horizons.

If you are looking for new and interesting ways of looking at things within your company or trying to become a better leader for your team, these 25 titles should be added to your must-read list.

The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

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Written by Patrick Lencioni, this book is written as a leadership fable. The author has turned his attention to how teams work within an organization.

Lencioni, throughout the book, identifies the five dysfunctions within a team and how they all work together to harm the overall business.

Lencioni has created a powerful fable, with a simple but strong message for anyone who is working towards being the best team leader they can become.

How to Win Friends and Influence People

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This book by Dale Carnegie is a classic business advice-giving book. How to Win Friends and Influence People shows us how to change other people’s attitudes and behaviors with modification to our own” says Andrew Silvestre, a business writer at Assignment Help and Write My Paper.

This book has been around for a long time and is still considered a valuable read by most successful business leaders.

This book was initially published in 1936 and has sold over 15 million copies. It is a timeless bestseller still useful in today’s business climate.

The Wisdom of Failure

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Authors Laurence G Weinzimmer and Jim McConoughey take the reader on a journey through a seven-year study on failed businesses.

This book is the “how -not-to-lead” book. You can learn to avoid other companies’ mistakes by learning what they did wrong and avoiding those same mistakes in your business.

If you want to be a great leader, then learning from other people’s failures is a necessary part of the job description. This book is an exceptional guide for learning these compelling lessons while avoiding paying the price of failing yourself.

Rising Strong: How the Ability to Reset Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead

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Author Brene Brown has made quite a name for herself within the business world. A social scientist, Brown uses her research to answer some pretty heavy questions about vulnerability, shame, and worthiness.

In this book, she listened to a range of people from all walks of life talk about the times when they fell and picked themselves back up again, and she came up with this:

These people recognize the power of emotion and are not afraid to lean into any discomfort there.

Thinking Fast and Slow

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Daniel Kahneman tackles human decision-making in this book. “It’s a very deep dive into the cognitive and psychological processes of how any human processes information and uses it to make a decision” says Wendy Sessions, a journalist at Assignment Writers and Simple Grad.

Kahneman discusses where we can and cannot trust our intuitions and how we can tap into the benefits of slow thinking. This book was designed to change how you think about thinking.

Who Moved My Cheese?

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Written by Spencer Johnson, the cheese is a metaphor for what you want in life.

Four characters live in a maze and are looking for the cheese that will nourish them. This book is all about going after what you want and what happens when the unexpected happens.

One of the characters is eventually successful and writes what he has learned on the maze walls for you to work out and find.

Emotional Intelligence 2.0

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Travis Bradberry’s book is about learning your emotional intelligence (EQ) and actionable ways to increase it.

Your EQ is responsible for 58% of your performance in all types of jobs, so anything you can do to increase it is essential.

On Becoming A Leader

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This book by Warren Bennis works on the premise that you aren’t born a leader; instead, you become one.

As such, you should be able to work on becoming the best leader you can be.

Bennis walks you through all the qualities that make a great leader and shows you how you can develop these qualities in yourself.

The Art Of War

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This sounds like an odd choice for a leadership book, but this classic by Sun Tzu is really a must-read.

There are 13 chapters in this ancient Chinese military text, and each one covers an aspect of warfare and how the right tactics can swing a war in your direction.

These can easily be applied to your own leadership journey, so it’s worth taking a look.

Good To Great

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This book by Jim Collins takes a close look at 11 hugely successful companies to see what helped them make that leap from ‘good’ to ‘great.’

What made them take that extra step and cement themselves as leaders in their industries?

Often, you’ll see it’s because of top-tier leadership.

This book has introduced many to theories such as the Hedgehog Theory, Level 5 Leaders, and more. That makes this title a must-read for new and existing leaders alike.

Primal Leadership

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Have you ever wondered where the term ’emotional intelligence’ came from in business settings?

This is the book that started it all. It looks at the idea that what makes you a great leader is something quite profound and primal, and that’s based on emotion.

You need to understand how your team feels and work with them to bring the best out of them. If you haven’t read this book before, you’ll want to give it a try.

The Leadership Challenge

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In your work, you’ll see a difference between simply getting things done and actually making great things happen.

As a leader, you want to be striving for the latter, and that’s what this book can help you with.

It covers the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership, and with these, you can take your leadership to the next level.

Start With Why

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If you’ve heard of Simon Sinek before, you’ve probably read his preceding book Leaders Eat Last.

In this follow-up book, he looks at why people will follow leaders. They won’t fully buy into what you do unless they can really see the reason behind it.

He uses real-world examples to show you just how this works and how you can help your team get a feel for why their work is essential.

First, Break All The Rules

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This book presents the data from Gallup’s in-depth study of over 80,000 managers, so you can learn from what they gathered.

Author Marcus Buckingham shows you that the top-performing managers in this study weren’t afraid to break the business rules that most feel they have to follow.

You’ll see why and when you should break the rules to get the very best results and become the best leader you can be.

Execution: The Discipline Of Getting Things Done

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This book was written by Larry Bossidy, the CEO of Honeywell International, and Ram Charan, a highly regarded consultant and author. They argue that the most important thing about leadership is simply getting things done, rather than any convoluted strategy or ideas. You’ll see they go through the process of execution in detail, step by step, so you can emulate the process in your own work.

Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ

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You can see just how important emotional intelligence is, based on the number of books that are listed on the topic here.

This title by Daniel Goleman focuses on what it really means to be intelligent. The IQ test has long been considered the real intelligence test, but he argues that it isn’t the whole picture.

Using psychology, he explains why emotional intelligence is so important, especially as a leader.

Leading Change

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One of the challenges of leadership is keeping things on an even keel, even when change is happening within the business.

That’s something a lot of managers and leaders will know all about, thanks to the events of the last few years.

This book looks at how you can lead during such dramatic shifts and still ensure you get the best out of your team. This includes an eight-step process for management that many swear by.

The Innovator’s Dilemma

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As a leader, you can find that you’re doing everything right, but you’re still not getting the results that you want.

It can be really disheartening, as you feel that you’re never going to improve and improve your business as a whole.

As such, you’ll want to read this book. Author Clayton Christensen shows you the theory of disruptive innovation and how that’s helped leaders worldwide get the change they were looking for.

The Lean Startup

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This book is for those hoping to start their own businesses and lead their own team of people.

Eric Ries goes into a methodological process where you can find out what your customers are looking for quickly and use experimentation to ensure that you make progress sooner rather than later.

Essentially, you’ll be shown how to start making progress quickly, so you won’t waste time or resources.

The 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership

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This book has had millions of copies sold and several editions released, so you know it’s an important book for leaders.

Each law of leadership, as promised in the title, has its own chapter here.

You’ll read about how these laws will help you become a reliable and practical leader, motivating your team to do their best.

The One Minute Manager

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This is another classic management and leadership book that you should have in your library.

The book follows a young worker looking for the perfect manager; you’ll learn as much from it as many others have done over the years.

The First 90 Days

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This book is one of the best for those who are just taking up leadership positions and want to start making a real difference in their role.

It outlines everything you should be doing in the first 90 days and the pitfalls many new managers find themselves in.

It’s one of the best leadership books, so you’ll want to check out.

True North

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Former Medtronic CEO Bill George writes this book, so you know he’s got a lot of experience that he can share with you.

He conducted interviews with over 125 different leaders in different industries, and with that knowledge, he created a leadership success plan that you can use in your own work.


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Author Seth Godin has written several books on leadership, but when it comes to his titles, Tribes is one of his most renowned.

Several people will want to rally a group of people around a central idea. That includes marketers, authors, and of course, leaders. This book shows you how you can do just that.

Extreme Ownership

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Much like The Art Of War, this book written by US Navy Seal officers may not seem to be relevant to you at first.

However, there’s a lot you can learn from their experience. Jocko Willink and Leif Babin led a special operations unit in Iraq and were highly decorated for it.

In this book, they talk about the tactics they used, why they were successful, and how you can use them in your own leadership role.

These top 25 must-read books will make you a better business leader.

Jenny Han
Latest posts by Jenny Han (see all)

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