17 Entrepreneurs Reveal Their Favorite Book on Leadership

A reading culture is part of most leader's continuous improvement exercise. With leadership, there're new challenges that unveil every waking day and you have to equip yourself with new knowledge, sharpen your emotional intelligence and find valuable tips available in books or learned from other leaders. With tons of books out there, which book should you go fo to help you keep going and lead yourself first?

We asked entrepreneurs and business owners about their favorite book on leadership and here are the responses.

#1- Discover the Joy of Leadership by William Steiner

Photo Credit: Zack Reboletti

Discover the Joy of Leadership covers all of the big topics important to leaders, including time management, communicating effectively, dealing with change, and developing relationships. What stands out to me most is Steiner's use of real-world stories from his own Executive Coaching practice, as well as the book's handbook-like chapters which allow me to read short sections that are applicable to my immediate situation.

Thanks to Zack Reboletti, Web Focused!

#2- The New Psychology of Leadership

Photo Credit: Lucio Buffalmano

Yes, it ‘s long, it's complex, it's academic and it's full of researches. But if you want to learn about leadership, about actual leadership with science and deep psychology, that's your book.

Thanks to Lucio Buffalmano, ThePowerMoves!

#3- Leadership Game Plan For Success

Photo Credit: Mike Catania

It's a rambling title but is nonetheless a great book: Coach Wooden's Leadership Game Plan For Success. What I like in particular is that it's not preachy nor cold-hearted; that your mental focus and actions need to be on things like cooperation and friendship, and not on innovation and intensity. Because the lessons are frequently couched in sports, it's an easy, casual read and draws some material from those shaped by John Wooden's leadership, former players, who are prolific in their own right. Finally, a decent chunk of the book is blank with prompts to fill in your personal reflections. While I don't find the prompts themselves unusually insightful, I do find it interesting to read my old responses and see how I've progressed (or regressed in some cases) in the same way you can revisit notes from therapy years down the road.

Thanks to Mike Catania, PromotionCode!

#4-West Point Way of Leadership

Photo Credit: Baron Christopher Hanson

Quite possibly the most down to earth, no bullshit book for both women and men to read about toughing through challenging times and leading anyone through anything by honing your mental toughness and bearing as a leader, CEO, and financial decision maker –– especially in today's snowflake-soaked universities and workplaces. The book is over 25 years old, yet every page of it rings true today. This book is about developing soldiers who will follow their leader through anything. I have also suggested the book to many female clients, business owners, and executives who feel they are victims in a men-only business, investing, and financial world. Every one of the women who have read this book came out the other end tougher, leaner, and ready to accomplish anything because this book erases fear and making decisions by emotion.

Thanks to Baron Christopher Hanson, RedBaron Consulting, LLC!

#5- The Lean Startup book

Photo Credit: Keval Baxi

This book was truly life-changing, making me a much more effective entrepreneur. While this book sounds like it would be ideal for a startup, it is a great read for an entrepreneur of any size business. It was clear to me that the author uses many of his real-life experiences to explain his concepts, give business suggestions, and tell success (and failure!) stories. He shares ways to learn very quickly what works, and what doesn’t, and how to use each experience and experiment to better improve your business. A lot of the book is about the importance of customer/client feedback, collecting it and applying it to your business or product. The Lean Startup gave me the mindset that every effective and efficient entrepreneur should have!

See also  29 Business Tips & Lessons from the Entrepreneur’s Bookshelf

Thanks to Keval Baxi, Codal!

#6- No Bullsh*t Leadership

Photo Credit: Vince Massara

There are so many leadership books out there these days, it is hard to figure out what you should actually listen to. No Bullsh*t Leadership offers the trimmed down 20% of action that leads to 80% of results. The book offers to bypass all the fancy rules brought in by those who think up a new technique just to sell a new book. It is kinda like the weight loss book that tells you to exercise more and eat healthily; sure, we all know it deep down, but if we did it, we wouldn't need a weight loss book. If you're a leader or an aspiring leader, then this book will give you the basics on what you need to do in your role, including how to be bold and decisive; and choosing a diverse team for ultimate success.

Thanks to Vince Massara, Book Summary Club!

#7-7 habits of highly effective people

Photo Credit: Joseph Flanagan

7 habits of highly effective people had a profound effect in my leadership qualities and my life as a whole. Although Stephen Covey's book doesn't explicitly address leadership, it outlines actions that can transform you into a very effective leader in every aspect of your life. This book doesn't just simply point out the problem and advice you to solve it. It goes on to teach you how to effectively solve the problem. A brief glance through would reveal that the 7 habits outlines in this book can be found in every great leader.

Thanks to Joseph Flanagan, Tacuna Systems!

#8- Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson

Photo Credit: J-Liew

One can surely learn a lot from the experience of others. As with this book, we take an in-depth look into one of the most profound creative entrepreneur-leader ever there was, whose passion for perfection and intense drive revolutionized six industries: personal computers, animation, musics, phones, tablet computing and digital publishing. This book filled with lessons of leadership teaches us the best way to create value and build companies for the twenty-first century.

Thanks to J-Liew, Great Big Minds!

#9-On Becoming a Leader

Photo Credit: Patricia Russel

This book had and continues to have a strong influence on developing my leadership skills and is a book I often find myself referring to from time to time. Bennis makes a clear distinction between management and leadership and explores the principal qualities of what makes a great leader. I learned the true difference between managing and leading from Bennis and it was inspiring to hear that leaders are made rather than born. This is a must read for aspiring leaders and for anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of the true difference between leadership and management.

Thanks to Patricia Russel, FinanceMarvel!

#10-Leaders Eat Last

Photo Credit: Paige Arnof-Fenn

There are a lot of great leadership books out there but one I highly recommend is Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek. As the subhead states, he shows why some teams pull together and others don¹t. It is a compelling book to show how great leaders from the military, government, business and on Wall Street build trust and inspire cooperation across their people versus using incentives to motivate their teams. He is a terrific writer and there are lots of great lessons and ideas in here!

See also  25 Entrepreneurs List Their Favorite Inspirational Business Books

Thanks to Paige Arnof-Fenn, Mavens & Moguls!

#11-Extreme Ownership

Photo Credit: Dustin Finkel

One of my favorite books is Extreme Ownership – How US Navy Seals Lead and Win. While the title might inspire concerns of overly dominant leadership techniques, it really is all about accountability and not accepting mediocrity in yourself as a leader, in leaders you follow, and in the team around you. The best leaders, ultimately, are not driven by ego or personal desires, but they are focused on the collective goal and how to best accomplish it to benefit the entire team. I am also a huge fan of how it instills confidence in how to constructively build team performance during mistakes – the leader needs to take accountability. Ultimately, it is the leaders responsibility to ensure he/she is clear, set the proper path, and prepare the team. We all must have accountability of our world to ensure the team, collectively, performs at its best.

Thanks to Dustin Finkel, Ka-Pop! Snacks!

#12-The 21 Irrefutable Law of Leadership

Photo Credit: Bobby Dsouza

Having studied this subject passionately ,one of the books that comes to mind is ‘The 21 Irrefutable Law of Leadership-John C. Maxwell', John Maxwell's teaching on the principles of leadership brings in powerful lessons that indicates that though it is 21 laws & can seem too many to keep in mind however each of these laws can be applied and learnt in the real world impacting organization growth whether it is a two-member team or a ten thousand strong workforce! One of the Law: 1 The law of the lid: This means that your effectiveness will be capped by the level of your leadership, if you increase your leadership capability it will automatically impact your performance which in turn will impact your team's performance! Think about that! Wow! Most Leaders & business owners blame the team for low productivity or lower sales, however, if the leader can focus on improving his/her leadership capability each day then sprinkles of these traits will shower on their team's morale & performances impacting business growth ‘True leadership thus is always inside out, when the leader works on his capability it increases the team's ability'.

Thanks to Bobby Dsouza, Empower India Academia!

#13- Good to Great

Photo Credit: Thomas R. Harris

The leadership book I would recommend is Good to Great by Jim Collins. In the book, Collins dives into the difference between a company that is just good and one that is truly great. He discusses the different levels of leadership and what differentiates a person from being a level 4 and a level 5 leader, and then dives into what a level 5 leader does to make their company truly great. I love this book because Collins studied numerous companies to show what makes an effective leader and what an effective leader does to grow their company to be its best.

Thanks to Thomas R. Harris, The Exceptional Skills!

#14-The Speed of Trust

Photo Credit: Jitesh Keswani

I am not a perfectionist, but there are times when I tend to micromanage things. I always had a rather clear image of I wanted to with my business and how to grow it. There were times when I felt uneasy due to how slowly everything was going. That is when I came across a book that changed everything. Author Stephen Covey’s The Speed of Trust: The One That Changes Everything (I know, irony, right?) was the one that taught me how to move at lightning speed without creating unnecessary problems.

See also  How to Get Management Buy-In [INFOGRAPHIC]

Thanks to Jitesh Keswani,  e-intelligence!

#15- Subconscious Power

Photo Credit: Kimberly Friedmutter CHt

Subconscious Power: Create the Life You've Always Wanted (Simon&Schuster/Atria Books) Featuring inspiring success stories, how to become a leader and play big as well as the practical tools you need to make meaningful changes. A twist on the norm, “Subconscious Power” will empower you to stop being a passive participant both in life and business, rather actively choosing the life you truly desire. This book is in the top 3 books corporate America is reading 2019. A successful leader must be tapped into their instincts, intuition and primal gut impulses.  This book amplifies the greatness we all have inside us to lead!

Thanks to Kimberly Friedmutter CHt 

#16- Wooden on Leadership

Photo Credit: Marc Snyderman

I don't typically want to use sports as business metaphors mostly because it's so cliché, but Wooden on Leadership provides amazing insight into one of the greatest coaches and leaders ever. The Pyramid of Success is detailed in the book and really provides clear understanding of the system that made Wooden's teams so great. It was the foundation for the winning culture that had only 1 losing season in 41 years (his first) and 10 national championships. The book is full of some of the great quotes Wooden has had on leadership and demonstrates that leading by example is so critical to gaining buy in and that you have to be uncomfortable being comfortable and discontent [with] being content. I've adopted many of the principles from this book into my businesses.

Thanks to Marc Snyderman, Snyderman Law Group, PC!

#17- Tools of Titans

Photo Credit: Zyma Arsalan

Tools of Titans by Tim Ferris has to be this 2019 best leadership book. It is also #1 New York Times Bestseller. The book is my most prized book in arsenal of leadership books. Why? It is creatively segmented into wisdom, health and becoming rich. Here are my top reasons for making this the most recommended book from my end: 1. Book contains key insights from amazing authors, sport leaders, financial gurus and health experts. It is one stop shop for wisdom from all areas of knowledge. 2. Get best and latest tips from all spheres. 3. The tips from management gurus are no more than 3 pages. So, it is quick read. You get immediate input and insight going from one tip to another. 4. Provides unique steps that can be immediately implemented. All you need is to go through the tips and immediately you see results. Very impressive. 5. The book is about using different tips. Try and test the one that works for you. So here is the first book that has so many different methods. Use the ones that work.

Thanks to Zyma Arsalan, ThinkFaculty!

What's your favorite book on leadership? Tell us in the comments below. Don’t forget to join our #IamCEO Community.

Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(, podcasts, ( and videos ( CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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