7 Leadership Books That Will Help You Rise to the Top

Leadership can be a tricky thing to nail down, but fortunately there are plenty of books out there on the subject that will help you hone your skills. The following books cover everything from how to lead without being bossy to how to conquer business politics and more, meaning you can find everything you need in just one place with this list of seven leadership books that will help you rise to the top. And don’t forget to check out the rest of our tips on building the perfect digital library!

1) Start with Why

In their book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, Simon Sinek and leaders at The Container Store identify three core principles of great leadership. The first is start with why, or as Sinek puts it, find your 'WHY.' Every action you take should be designed in such a way that it helps you accomplish your bigger goal. If you're not starting from a place of true purpose—if you don't know your real reasons for taking action—you'll lose focus and end up going in circles.

2) Good to Great

This is a great leadership book for any manager looking to improve his or her team. It follows case studies of business leaders and their strategies, including Jim Collins’ own management guru, Level 5 leaders. In Good to Great, you'll learn about techniques for success such as hiring only talented managers and creating a culture of discipline in your company that promotes self-discipline. If you're feeling frustrated with your team's progress, Good to Great will help you see where things are going wrong and how they can be fixed quickly.

3) Made to Stick

Communicating your ideas is difficult. When it comes to business, people care about things like making money and saving time—not your big idea that will change everything. So how do you make people care? Well, you have to give them a reason to listen. And while they might not take action on their own, they’ll certainly follow if you lead them there. At its heart, Made To Stick is about learning how to tell a story so compelling that your audience can’t help but share it with others.

4) The One Minute Manager

Reading The One Minute Manager can increase your self-awareness and motivate you to better manage your staff. Written by management experts Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson, it’s packed with interesting insights about managing people effectively. For example, you’ll discover what it means for managers to be either producers or managers, as well as understand how leaders can create an environment that encourages their employees to be successful. It even covers tips on hiring top talent!

5) Let My People Go Surfing

This book by renowned author Yvon Chouinard (founder of Patagonia) challenges readers to rethink their opinions on business and sustainability. Even if you’re unfamiliar with leadership, sustainable development, or business in general, you’ll gain valuable insight into how your company can operate more responsibly. An eye-opening read, Let My People Go Surfing will help you develop a new appreciation for responsible leadership and show you how your organization can benefit from it. This is not a dry leadership manual; it's a passionate exploration of being an effective leader and championing sustainability for your team and company.

6) Simply Irresistible (Marketing and Selling Powerfully Simple Ideas)

When an idea is irresistibly simple, it’s almost impossible for customers to say no. Learn how and why extremely simple ideas are often powerful, profitable opportunities. In Simply Irresistible, authors John R. Alexander and Joe Vitale explain why complex ideas don’t sell. Learn how easy it is to craft marketing messages that produce dramatically more sales by using fewer words than traditional campaigns—without losing your customers in a sea of information overload. Take advantage of a wide variety of marketing tools and techniques you can use right away—for free!

7) Good Boss, Bad Boss

Being a good boss is one of, if not, most important components in running a successful business. A bad boss can be detrimental to your team’s success and morale, as well as its overall productivity. If you’re a business owner or leader that strives for peak performance from your employees, it’s time to read up on what makes a great boss. While there are countless books out there about leadership, we’ve found seven that stand out in our search for best practices in creating a healthy and engaged workforce. We hope you find them as valuable as we did


The first book about leadership I ever read was Good to Great by Jim Collins. The book didn’t blow me away, but there were a few gems. Most notably, good is the enemy of great. After that, I took a stab at Dale Carnegie's How To Win Friends and Influence People. This one blew me away. Read it if you haven't already; it's an absolute classic!

Sherlock Holmes

Private Detective, London