30 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 for 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- Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek

Simon imagines a Utopian corporate world in this book, where everyone enjoys getting up early and going to work. This is a world where companies go to great lengths to establish a work atmosphere that makes their people enjoy their jobs. This isn't far from reality nowadays. Many young entrepreneurs have abandoned micromanagement and superfluous formalities in favor of an environment that boosts staff morale dramatically. When everyone on your team has the same excitement, the company succeeds.

Thanks to Dean Lee, Sealions!

#2- The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell

Photo Credit: Nick Rubright

I would say that Maxwell identifies the commonalities of great leaders while also guiding readers through the 21 universal laws of effective leadership. I believe that the most important aspect of leadership is not how far we advance ourselves, but rather how far we advance others. This is accomplished by serving others and enriching their lives. There is a reason why it is considered one of the best leadership books ever written. Because it is practical and simple to implement, entrepreneurs, executives, and managers find Maxwell's advice helpful.

Thanks to Nick Rubright, SuperCan Bully Sticks!

#3- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Photo Credit: Joe Troyer

Thinking, Quick and Slow looks into the human mind and the two systems that run it—one fast and one slow. According to Daniel Kahneman's book, these two systems are to blame for everything from workplace overconfidence to cognitive bias to how we make judgments. Learn when to trust your instincts, when not to, and how to avoid common mistakes while making decisions in our personal and professional lives in this choice. Kahneman is a Nobel Laureate in Economics and a psychologist.

Thanks to Joe Troyer, Review Grower!

#4- The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni

Photo Credit: Edward Wright

The first two bestsellers in Patrick's series both focused on CEO and other high-ranking executives, this book, however, focuses on team leaders. In the book The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Kathryn Peterson, the CEO, is depicted as having difficulty bringing her employees together in the face of potentially disastrous outcomes for her business. Five difficulties that every team, no matter how good, needs to deal with are addressed in this daring and smart leadership book.

Thanks to Edward Wright, Cereal Secrets!

#5- How  to Lead by David M. Rubenstiens

Photo Credit: Max Whiteside

How to Lead is one of my all-time favorite books. This book compiles the insights, guidance, and philosophies of visionary leaders such as Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffet, among others. Each chapter offers numerous perspectives on the secrets of success and the attributes of a great leader, presenting a diverse range of leadership perspectives. From these instances, readers can draw motivation and directions for achieving their own goals.

Thanks to Max Whiteside, Breaking Muscle!

#6- Leadership: In Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Photo Credit: Tim Davidson

Leadership: In Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin*There is a significant demand for leaders to guide their teams through times of instability. Perhaps the most important advice for leaders is on how to navigate a crisis, as well as confidence that historical greats faced identical obstacles. In Leadership: In Turbulent Times, the barriers faced
by Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, and Lyndon Johnson are analyzed. Goodwin's book explores the hardships, victories, and strategic methods of each presidency, using them as examples of how to turn tragedy into success.

Thanks to Tim Davidson, Car Title Loan Lenders!

#7- The Effective Executive by Peter F. Drucker

Photo Credit: Luke Lee

Effectiveness, in my opinion, is a prerequisite for success. This is a quality that leaders can't afford to be without, from demanding change to encouraging their workforce. As a result of this, many business owners and executives knowingly engage in practices that have negative consequences for their businesses. Ineffective leaders feel, lack of emotional intelligence. To put it simply, I believe The Effective Executive is for people who want to actively work on eliminating poor leadership attributes.

Thanks to Luke Lee, Palaleather!

#8- Good to Great, by James C. Collins

Photo Credit: Dave Polykoff

This book introduces the concept that great leaders build businesses that outlive their lifetime. What a person does should last, and people behind them should know and appreciate their work even after they are long gone. The lessons in this book teach how to develop a strategy and build a highly driven and disciplined team. It contains an essential concept of the Stockdale Paradox, which is about managing expectations. Leaders have to be realistic about the performance to make the most suitable decisions.

See also  26 Entrepreneurs List Their Favorite Business Books

Thanks to Dave Polykoff, Zenpost!

#9- Humble Leadership by Edgar H. Schein and Peter A. Schein

Photo Credit: David Wurst

This book is ideal for aspiring and emerging leaders. It emphasizes the importance of developing authentic relationships and trust in order to foster collective growth and development. When work interactions are more authentic, organic growth and commitment can occur, as opposed to when obsolete, hierarchical role relationships are used. Overall, the book contends that true leaders are insightful listeners who are transparent, accountable, and adept at facilitation.

Thanks to David Wurst, WebCitz!

#10- Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Photo Credit: Emir Bacic

My all-time favorite book on leadership is Start with Why because I think that When you read Start with Why, you'll learn about what it means to lead with purpose from the beginning. Reading this book is a must for those who want to reinvigorate and revitalize their companies. I assume the beauty of this book is that it is a game-changer for the way business leaders lead their organizations. So that owners and executives don't lose sight of the company's objective, it underlines the need of putting purpose at its core.

Thanks to Emir Bacic, Pricelisto!

#11- Minority Leader: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change by Stacey Abrahams

Photo Credit: Mark Valderrama

Minority Leader: How to Build Your Future and Make Real Change is, in my opinion, one of the best leadership books currently available. This book describes how to lead as an outsider. Using your unique perspective and tenacity, for instance, you may implement significant and long-lasting change in even the most seemingly rigid institutions. This work is a combination of autobiography and education, helping readers through stages to find passion and develop abilities through topics such as embracing otherness and overcoming failure.

Thanks to Mark Valderrama, AquariumStoreDepot!

#12- The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Photo Credit: Joshua Pelletier

The Hard Thing About Hard Things: Building a Business When There Are No Easy Answers by Ben Horowitz. My opinion is that becoming a leader may not necessitate adopting a pre-existing executive role within an established corporation, but rather forging a brand-new path and launching a brand-new business. Ben Horowitz highlights the realities of entrepreneurship in The Hard Thing About Hard Things, discussing how to establish a firm from the ground up, unearth confusing answers, and make difficult judgments and decisions with no advice or support.

Thanks to Joshua Pelletier, BarBend Inc!

#13- The Speed of Trust by Stephen Covey

Photo Credit: Sara Johansson

I am not a perfectionist, but I do have a tendency to micromanage things at times. I've always had a pretty clear idea of what I wanted to do with my company and how to expand it. I was concerned at times because of how slowly everything was moving. That's when I stumbled across a book that completely changed my life. The Speed of Trust: The One That Changes Everything (I know, irony, right?) by author Stephen Covey was the book that taught me how to operate at breakneck speed without causing additional complications.

Thanks to Sara Johansson, Onister!

#14- Dare to Lead by Brene Brown

Photo Credit: James Parkinson

Dare to Lead, a New York Times bestseller, combines author Brené Brown's characteristic no-nonsense style with research on what makes an effective leader. Brown's core thesis is that, based on the ideals of courage, empathy, and human connection, courageous, successful leadership can be taught. This pick, named one of the best books of the year by Bloomberg, blends stories, research, and real-life leadership accounts to show how courage and leadership go hand-in-hand.

Thanks to James Parkinson, Personnel Checks!

#15- Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki

Photo Credit: David Floyd

The book Rich Dad, Poor Dad is intriguing. It's partly autobiographical and part self-help, but it's a huge hit. Young Robert wanted to learn how to make money, so he went to his biological father, who, as a failing high school teacher, didn't have the solution. His curiosity was sated, though, when his closest friend's father had the solution he was looking for. From there, the book is jam-packed with advice on how to successfully manage narratives of one's own life by making unconventional the financial decisions.

Thanks to David Floyd, The Pest Informer!

#16- High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard

Photo Credit: Colin Toh

My favorite leadership book is High Performance Habits by Brendon Burchard. This book is packed full of actionable advice on how to level up as a leader. It focuses on both personal and professional habits to develop so that you can be a well-rounded leader while still avoiding burnout. Each chapter features question prompts for you to reflect on and try out what you’ve just learned in a real-world scenario. This is a useful feature because it helps to turn the ideas you’ve read into something actionable.

See also  18 Tips on Websites, Leadership, Fashion, Engagement & More [CEO Bookshelf]

Thanks to Colin Toh, Headphonesty!

#17- Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It by Chris Voss

Photo Credit: James Diel

Great communication skills are crucial in successful leadership, which is why Never Split the Difference is such a great read. Who better to learn high-stakes negotiation tactics from than a former international hostage negotiator? Voss shares the skills that helped him save lives through negotiating, and though in business the stakes aren’t quite as high, the lessons are universal. Some of the principles he shares seem counter intuitive, but they’re tried and tested for success.

Thanks to James Diel, Textel!

#18- Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More than IQ by Daniel Goleman

Photo Credit: John Li

There is a mountain of great leadership books to choose from, but this one stood out to me because it addressed one of the most important factors impacting our ability to lead our emotional intelligence. Goleman addresses our “two minds,” showing how our rational and emotional minds intertwine to shape our behavior and, eventually, our success or failure. Though many leaders are brilliantly talented on the rational side, it’s critical to put in work to build the emotional side.

Thanks to John Li, Fig Loans!

#19- Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman

Photo Credit: Edith Hamilton

This book tackles the importance of using emotional intelligence in your leadership strategy and does a superb job of hitting all relevant talking points. Goleman, Boyatzis, and McKee have come together to create one of the best leadership books available to those people who want to be a leader, improve their ability to lead, and enhance their thinking when it comes to being an effective leader. This book outlines important points on being a good leader but also helps you strategist your professional mindset so you can become the leader you want to be. Very good content!”

Thanks to Edith Hamilton, NEXT New Growth!

#20- The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Photo Credit: Kris Harris

A book entrepreneurs swear by, The Hard Thing About Hard Things has every lesson you need to build and run a startup, and does complete justice to its tagline, “Building a business when there are no easy answers.” Taking into account every aspect of leadership the author depicts each problem and then goes on to analyze it, allowing readers to associate their own hurdles with the ones mentioned. This makes it easier to put to work the solutions that come after.

Thanks to Kris Harris, Nootka Saunas!

#21- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey

Photo Credit: Gabrielle Hartley

In my journey setting up my own law practice, I read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey. I started reading it while I was in the early stages of establishing my brand, and it’s been an incredibly useful guide for me as a leader. My biggest takeaway from it is that by thinking differently we can solve problems. Carol Dweck's Mindset book also helped me recognize where I was operating from a fixed mindset rather than from a flexible perspective. I highly recommend anyone who might not be feeling too confident in their skills as a leader to pick up these books!

Thanks to Gabrielle Hartley, Better Apart!

#22- How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

Photo Credit: Rahul Vij

How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie: is one of my best read books now because it brings positive change in oneself by treating others in the right manner. It consists of 30 principles that a person needs to follow to lead, recognize and support others. This book helps you become a people's leader by creating your pragmatic aura with a handful of lessons to be practiced in your daily life to win others' hearts and have a long-lasting affirmative effect on the minds of others.

Thanks to Rahul Vij, WebSphere Solutions!

#23- Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sanderson

Photo Credit: Datha Santomieri

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sanderson is simply a sensational read. This book is full to the brim with insight into the challenges and opportunities facing women in the workplace. Lean In encourages women to seek strong mentors, advocate for themselves, and assert their place in the business world. Sanderson’s sharp delivery and compelling commentary flawlessly changes the conversation from what women can’t do to what they can. As a female entrepreneur, the insights in this book vastly shaped my vision for success.

See also  36 Business Tips & Lessons from the Entrepreneur’s Bookshelf

Thanks to Datha Santomieri, Steadily!

#24- Seasons of Life by Jim Rohn

Photo Credit: Ashley Amor

In my opinion, famous leaders are great readers. I remember this before starting my business. In any case, we need leadership qualities in the business sphere and on the personal front. For me, Seasons of Life is quite inspirational. It is a thought-provoking book that focuses on the basics of human behavior and how it affects optimal performance, personal and professional. I believe the author of the book tries to help us learn how to generate complex ideas and simplify them so that they bring the results.

Thanks to Ashley Amor, PeopleFindFast!

#25- Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

Photo Credit: Heather

The book that truly changed things for me and opened my eyes was Steal
Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. It walks the tightrope between teaching what you know and teaching what you've learned, inspiring you to move forward with a mix of the two. Most of our new ideas come from things we've learned, which makes sense… Those new concepts we're learning provide inspiration. And many times, our ideas combine what we've learned from others with our own spin. This book bridges the gap between what's theirs and what's yours while encouraging to move forward and share your knowledge.

Thanks to Heather Remec, SalesSong!

#26- The High-Potential Leader by Ram Charan

Photo Credit: Tim Absalikov

To my mind, Ram Charan's The High-Potential Leader: How to Grow Fast, Take on New Responsibilities, and Make an Impact is worth reading and re-reading. It covers all points a modern leader is focused on. The book will help you realize what kind of a leader you are and show the direction to accelerate your growth. You will be given practical and valuable pieces of advice to make you an effective and productive leader. The book is worth each minute spent on reading!

Thanks to Tim Absalikov, Lasting Trend!

#27- Wooden on Leadership by John Wooden

Photo Credit: Christopher Sioco

According to the book Wooden on Leadership by John Wooden, only the lifelong learners are the best leaders. Even though the thought of the book may be too basic, it is something most entrepreneurs miss out on. As an entrepreneur or business leader, irrespective of the knowledge you have, you need to keep learning more and more throughout your life. There should never be an end to learning, and it only makes you closer to success. This book teaches business professionals how to build an effective team and drive the team towards success by focusing on morals and ethics.

Thanks to Christopher Sioco, Parachor Consulting!

#28- Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Photo Credit: Jack Klauber

The book Start with Why by Simon Sinek emphasizes a three-step framework to
find the right purpose of driving a business to success. This is one of the best leadership books as it focuses on enlightening you with your purpose that makes your business shine in front of your customers. Business owners looking to refresh and revive their companies should absolutely read this book as it gets you closer to your business
values and inspirations which can often lose their direction during the tenure.

Thanks to Jack Klauber, Everyday Dose!

#29- The Five Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize your Potential by John Maxwell

Photo Credit: Struan Baird

This is a great book as it debunks the idea that leadership is about position and titles. On the contrary, anyone can emerge as a great leader if you can develop the skills to maximize your potential and recognize the true qualities that make a great leader. The author demonstrates that leadership is a skill that can be honed with maturity and experience to produce outstanding results of impact and persuasion. This is a great book for entrepreneurs who aspires to emerge as a great leader in a specific niche.

Thanks to Struan Baird, Luxury Ireland Tours!

#30- Fantastic Future Paperback” by Ashlee Vance

Photo Credit: Wes Kiselev

My favorite book on leadership is “Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future Paperback” by Ashlee Vance. Elon Musk is a legend of Silicon Valley and one of the most amazing persons in the history of world business. This book is an opportunity to get to know the man who has achieved so much, to trace his path, and to observe the factors of success and the causes of failure. It is inspired by showing what people who are obsessed with dreams are like and how they manage to realize ideas.

Thanks to Wes Kiselev, Top 3D Shop Inc!

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

Ashok - 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.

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