Read as You Lead: 13 Books Every Leader Should Read

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Reading is an essential skill that we need in life. It is also a very important part of leadership. Good leaders are readers. They read anything they can get their hands on — leadership books, self-development books, technical books, business books, periodicals, inspirationals, fiction, and even comic strips and editorial cartoons. As long as it helps widen their knowledge, they will consume it voraciously.

Leaders from every area of society encourage those who want to become leaders to also build the habit of reading. And the following books are some of their most recommended reading materials.

13 Books Every Leader Should Take the Time to Read at Least Once

  1. Daring Greatly

Brené Brown

There’s nothing wrong with vulnerability and weakness. What’s important is you show up every day, do your best, and try again if you fail. Daring to do the big and difficult things is better than doing nothing.

  1. Team of Rivals

Doris Kearns Goodwin

Two things that are significantly remarkable about Abe Lincoln: his humility and his not being afraid to be challenged. It is these two things that made him unite his cabinet despite their differences in ideologies. Leaders can surely learn a thing or two from Old Abe.

  1. How to Win Friends and Influence People

Dale Carnegie

Regardless of what people say, everyone wants to feel important and needed. This book shows you how to connect with people and win them over by interacting with them meaningfully.

  1. Drive

Daniel H. Pink

Motivation plays a huge role in everyone fulfilling their duties and responsibilities and achieving their dreams and goals. However, it takes a special kind of leader to motivate people into action. Pick this book up and learn about the secrets to motivation.

  1. Tribes

Seth Godin

Most people don’t want to disrupt the status quo, but Godin clearly emphasises the need to step out of it so you can do meaningful work that will create magnificent ripple effects in the generations to come.

  1. The Innovator’s Dilemma

Clayton Christensen

Businessman and Harvard professor Clayton Christensen focuses on what he likes to call “disruptive innovation” in his book. The concept is simple but revolutionary that if you decide to adopt it, you will end up as the head and everyone else will be the tail.

  1. Delivering Happiness

Tony Hsieh

Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh has successfully built a business around two of the most important tenets of business: put your customers first and get the right people for the job. Their success isn’t just determined by their bottom line but even more so by the number of happy and satisfied customers and staff.

  1. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

Steven R. Covey

People who are successful and effective at what they do surely have secrets that make them that way. Covey takes a look at some of the key habits these people have and decided to share them with all of us in this book.

  1. Good to Great… Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

Jim Collins

Not all companies and businesses are created equal, as evidenced in this book. Author Jim Collins examines why some companies fail while others are propelled to greatness. This is a must-read if you want to take your business from mediocrity to greatness.

  1. The Truth About Leadership

James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

Leadership isn’t just about bossing people around. Kouzes and Posner talk about effective leadership principles — such as ethics, credibility, and trust — in this book that is backed by 30 years of research.

  1. The Alchemist

reading a book on the couch

Paulo Coehlo

This Coehlo classic has somehow made its way to almost every successful leader’s must-read list. It’s a good reminder to all of us to follow our own “legend” and pursue it passionately. Once we do, the universe will conspire to make it happen for us. It’s a feel-good read that lifts one’s spirit.

  1. Man’s Search for Meaning

Viktor Frankel

This book narrates some of Frankel’s experiences inside a Nazi prison camp at the time of the Holocaust. It is during this horrific season that he was able to conclude that there is purpose and meaning to all the suffering we go through in life.

  1. Meditations

Marcus Aurelius

Even though Aurelius was writing for himself, the readers of this book can gain plenty of insight about keeping one’s principles amid the distractions and has plenty of practical advice to minimise stress in life.

If you want to continue growing in wisdom and knowledge so that you can lead people better, you need to continue reading.

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