The 7 Best Books on Leadership

Martha CarlsonBy Martha Carlson

The ice breaker question at my last Allied Executives Peer Group meeting was “What is the best business book you’ve read?” I was stymied. Not only have I been a business consultant for the Leadershippast 13 years but prior to that, I was an avid reader of business books. This goes back to college when, as Vice President of Membership for my sorority, I read my first book on how to motivate others. Suffice it to say, I’ve been reading up on business, more specifically, leadership for 35 years so choosing just one book was next to impossible!

Influenced by this experience, I have created my personal list of the 7 Best Books on Leadership. I’d like to share them with you and invite you to add your own to the list!

  1. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. First published in 1989, this book remains a classic on how to achieve success through character and principle-based habits. I reference this book at least once a week.

 

  1. The Leadership Pipeline by Ram Charan, Stephen Drotter, and James Noel. I first came across this book in my early days at The Bailey Group. It is an essential read for leaders who are moving up within their organization (or those who are leading them), outlining how the value you add, how you spend your time, and the skills you need must change at each “turn” in the pipeline. Failure to understand this results in getting stuck!

 

  1. Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman. The single best book on how to run and grow your business outlines a straightforward approach to focusing your energy and breaking through obstacles that would otherwise inhibit growth.

 

  1. Necessary Endings by Dr. Henry Cloud. A must read for leaders and others who struggle with decisions to end things – whether a product, line of business, employee relationship, or other key relationship. Cloud offers an objective approach to an emotional process.

 

  1. The Dip by Seth Godin. A nice companion to Cloud’s book, this 85-page novella gives guidance on how to recognize a temporary set-back (the “dip”) in a project or job and push through the barriers to succeed.

 

  1. Your Brain at Work by David Rock. An enlightening view of the neuroscience behind how to overcome distractions, achieve focus, and sustain energy throughout the work day. Rock makes an otherwise hairy topic accessible and understandable.

 

  1. Our Iceberg is Melting by John Kotter. I am an avid fan of Kotter and this book does not disappoint. Kotter uses the fable of a penguin colony in Antarctica to demonstrate the eight essential steps necessary to effect change in any sort of team or organization.

 

What book(s) would you add to this list? Please comment!