16 Entrepreneurs Reveal Their Favorite Book on Leadership

A reading culture is part of most leader's continuous improvement exercises. 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- Lean In

Photo Credit: Jinjing Liang

My favorite book on leadership is Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. In business, women are automatically placed at a disadvantage because of their social identifications and norms. In Lean In the book, Sheryl Sandberg. Facebook COO and one of the most powerful women in business, addresses this issue, looks at what women can do to help themselves, and how to makes small changes that can lead to changes on a universal scale. I found the book very eye-opening, as I have never systematically examed some of these issues that women face in a professional setting before reading the book. And I have applied the learnings from the book to my day-to-day work, which allows me to lead more effectively.

Thanks to Jinjing Liang, Lovecast!

#2- Gratitude Infusion

Photo Credit: Lori Lite

I love Gratitude Infusion: Workplace Strategies for a Thriving Organizational Culture because it takes leadership by surprise when they realize how important gratitude is to be a successful leader. Relationships flourish and workplace culture thrives when all aspects of business management and interaction come from a place of gratitude. This book gives easy mindful strategies that I have implemented in my personal and business

Thanks to Lori Lite, Actualize Consulting!

#3- The Obstacle is The Way by Ryan Holiday

Photo Credit: Yker Valerio

It isn't exactly a book about leadership. However, is a book every leader will find useful. Particularly, in difficult times, like now. I love this book because it describes inspiring examples of resilience and character. Moreover, it contains valuable lessons about facing tough times, becoming stronger, and leading through example.

Thanks to Yker Valerio, Bon Vivant Caffè!

#4- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People for the win!

Photo Credit: Mary Elizabeth

Stephen Covey does an excellent job breaking down the principles that form a successful leader. One of my favorite parts about his book is that he has stories to help connect concepts with concrete examples, which makes it more memorable and enjoyable to read through. Much appreciation for all the effort Mr. Covey put into this! This really just can't be beaten for a good leadership guidebook, and I recommend it in particular if you need guidance on how to start behaving like a leader – whether at home or at work (or both). Definitely one of my favorite reads!

Thanks to Mary Elizabeth, MeMoreMoney!

#5- Anatomy of a Leader – qualities required for a successful path

Photo Credit: James Idayi

A very educational book that was my favorite since then was ‘Anatomy of a Leader' by Carl Mays. He has defined different parts of the human body to which skills or qualities a leader should possess. It definitely molded me into what I am today as a leader. A successful leader should have the heart to recognize oneself and other's qualities, the backbone to support others, muscles to provide vitality to the organization, ears that listen to others, and the likes.

Thanks to James Idayi, Cloudzat!

#6- Good to Great | James C. Collins

Photo Credit: Will Cannon

One of the finest scientific studies ever taken in the realm of business management and success, Jim Collins Good to Great is a holy treatise for business owners to convert from good to legendary. Although the book is more focused on describing business management essentials about what makes one of the greatest companies in the world a leader in their niche, these are nonetheless things that business owners must know to develop the leadership style required for businesses to go from good to great. The book is a 15-year long study of some of the biggest names in the corporate sector globally, where Jim distinguishes between standards, comparisons, challenges, and finally, the findings. To all business owners, whether large, small, or micro; this is the book you need at once!

Thanks to William Cannon, Uplead!

#7- The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Photo Credit: Adam Rowles

Dating back 2000 years, this Chinese literary work pictures military tactics. This book reflects the scenario of Chinese military warfare and their thoughts. The teachings have been widely used in politics, businesses, and normal life too. Each chapter of this book is devoted to a unique aspect of military and warfare techniques. This book is considered to be one of the most influential books in East Asia. Even though it is based on a military background, the book consists of a lot of business tactics and legal strategies. It is famous for its tactics of gaining an advantage over opponents.

Thanks to Adam Rowles, Reduce Power Bills!

#8- On Becoming a Leader

Photo Credit: Leonardo Gomez

Author of On Becoming a Leader, Warren Bennis has been named “the Dean of Leadership Gurus” by Forbes magazine. He truly believes that leaders aren’t born, they are made by one’s dedication and strong willpower. This book talks about getting through economic hardships and showcases the extreme depths that a leader dives into for his followers. It amplifies the qualities of an ideal leader and talks about various strategies for efficient functioning. The book wonderfully describes the challenges faced by today’s leaders. The turbulent environment is highlighted along with brave leadership solutions for the aspiring ones.

Thanks to Leonardo Gomez, Try Runball!

#9- Leadership and Self-Deception

Photo Credit: Huy Pham

There are many great leadership books out there. But my favorite amongst the rest is “Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box”. This book is very relatable and despite its approach to telling a story, it contains applicable information that aspiring leaders can use to improve their standing in the workplace and dealing with people in general. It's a good book that helps any starting leader learn the basics and I’d reread it again if I had the time.

Thanks to Huy Pham, Healthcanal!

#10- Execution

Photo Credit: Benjamin Aronson

Well, I'm a fond reader and I've read multiple books on leadership but the one that stands out among them is a book called Execution by Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan, and Charles Burck. This is the book that will show you how to get the job done and generate results, whether you're heading a company or just starting out in management. Larry Bossidy is one of the most well-known CEOs in the world, a leader with few peers who has a proven track record of success. Ram Charan is a legendary advisor to senior executives and boards of directors, a man who has unrivaled insight into why certain businesses succeed while others fail. They've combined their knowledge and experience into a single book on how to close the gap between what's promised and what's delivered, which is critical for today's businesspeople.

Thanks to Benjamin Aronson, FinancePond!

#11- Turn the Ship Around

Photo Credit: Shaun Price

I found L. David Marquet's book Turn the Ship Around immeasurably helpful when building my business, MitoQ. It's a guide to creating a leadership team with high levels of accountability and transparency, and I refer back to its wisdom regularly when determining best practices for growing my company efficiently. It reminds me that empowering my people will motivate them to work at their highest levels, taking the initiative to solve problems within their specialty that I didn't even realize we had. Building a passionate workforce you can trust and allowing them to thrive is key to building a successful business.

Thanks to Shaun Price, MitoQ!

#12- The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

Photo Credit: Jeremy Haug

One of the greatest understandings that I was able to achieve from this book is the simplicity that leadership is influence. If you can influence others to achieve greatness then you are a leader. If you have a title but cannot influence then you are not a leader. Leadership is all about what you can achieve, not about your title.

Thanks to Jeremy Haug, B2B Business Experts!

#13- Drive

Photo Credit: Chana Charach

With his No. 1 New York Times bestseller, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel H. Pink swept the financial world by storm. He had the audacity to say that becoming a successful leader began with tossing out rewards. Don't try to motivate your staff by dangling carrots in front of them. Give kids skills and a feeling of purpose before letting them sink or swim on their own. Pink is known for being on the cutting edge of new ideas, and he is the author of the New York Times best-selling book A Whole New Mind. Pink is rapidly achieving international guru status, according to the Financial Times, and this leadership book has received great ratings from readers. That's a lot of compliments.

Thanks to Chana Charach,!

#14- Start with Why

Photo Credit: Thomas Vibe

I first read Simon Sinek’s Start with Why back in college and it has greatly influenced the career path I took after graduation. I always knew I wanted to have my own business but needed to understand how to become the type of boss that can lead effectively. This book was the answer. It posits that people won’t truly buy into a product, service, movement, or idea until they understand the WHY behind it. I especially like how Sinek weaves together a clear vision of what it truly takes to lead and inspire by drawing on a wide-range of real-life stories.

Thanks to Thomas Vibe, Stone Wizards!

#15- Creativity, Inc. by Edwin Catmull and Amy Wallace

Photo Credit: Francis Angelo Reyes

The book shows that leadership is about engaging people and making them the best version of themselves. What's great about this book is it exposes office politics that hinder creativity. There are chapters dedicated to what makes Pixar different from Walt Disney from leadership to animation. Walt Disney had old ways of doing things that prevented creativity. They were stringent about what goes through the screen for audiences to watch. The book shows how research trips lead to creative stories. Other sections also show the brain trust of Pixar that lets you see perspectives on what it's like to be in Pixar offices. It's also a nice touch if you're a fan of Pixar films.

Thanks to Francis Angelo Reyes, Lupage Digital!

#16- The Gumbo Coalition

Photo Credit: Tyler Garns

The Gumbo Coalition: 10 Leadership Lessons That Help You Inspire, Unite, and Achieve. One of the most important aspects of a team's success is its ability to work together. Marc Morial, the author of this book, will teach you how to get people of various backgrounds to work together. He discusses the necessity of working in diverse teams and the advantages that come with it. He also gave tried-and-true leadership advice based on his own experiences, which you'll find fascinating and useful as you lead your own team.

Thanks to Tyler Garns, Box Out Marketing!

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

Mercy - CBNation

This is a post from a CBNation writer. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand 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 Blue 16 Media.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Back to top button
We're 20,000+ CBNation Members Strong & GROWINGJOIN FOR FREE
+ +