I am regularly asked for reading suggestions by MBA students. Sometimes I am asked by complete strangers on Twitter (www.twitter.com/DarinGerdes) for reading suggestions when they learn that I am a management professor.
So I have decided to provide my personal top ten list of leadership books. If you have read my Blog, you will notice that these are books that I have recommended in other articles. That is because these are some of the best.
Note: If you are interested in any of the books listed below, click on the title or the picture. I have linked each to Amazon.com so you can click through and purchase the book. I like to use Kindle because I want to get it right now (and you can download right to your PC with no additional hardware required), but the hardback and softcover editions are listed too.
Top 10 Books on Leadership:
The Leadership Challenge – This one is one of the few books that has fundamentally altered my thinking on leadership.
With 20 to 30 years of leadership research backing the findings, the leadership challenge is one of the sources I trust the most on leadership.
Leadership and Self-Deception – This short little read will cause a paradigm shift in your thinking. Read it, and you will never be the same.
Do you really see people as people or as things to be manipulated? If the latter (and most of us think like this from time to time), we will run into a host of leadership problems.
It’s your Ship – Written by a Navy Captain who transformed one of the worst ships in the Navy into the best. This book incredibly inspirational.
Captain Abrashoff know how to empower his people and he applied these techniques to his command. Apply these ideas to your team too.
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John Maxwell (one of the leading and most prolific writers on leadership) provides outstanding practical advice on leadership. His insights are right on target.
If you have already read the 21 Irrefutable laws, get Leadership Gold.
Primal Leadership – This book blends the study of leadership and emotional intelligence.I found it remarkable because it suggests that the best leaders rotate between 6 basic leadership styles depending on the need.
If you like this, you may also like Emotional Intelligence and Resonant Leadership (by the same authors).
Lead Like Jesus – Learn to lead with the towel and basin. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples, setting an example for his disciples to follow.
This book is much more intelligible than Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership (the book that started the servant leadership movement), and it is written from a well-developed Christian perspective .
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – This book is written in the leadership parable genre made popular by Ken Blanchard. It is surprisingly simple, but you have to read through the entire story to grasp it.
Read the book and apply it. Before long, you will be the change you see.
Leadership Theory and Practice – This one is a textbook that covers all of the academic theories on leadership.
Purchase this only if you are looking for an academic view of leadership. Of course, if you are looking for a textbook, I have to recommend my textbook: The Bottom Line in Leadership and Management.
On Becoming a Leader – Warren Bennis is perhaps the leading authority on leadership. He has been teaching Leadership at UCLA since 1979. He has his own series of books on leadership written by many different authors.
On Becoming a Leader is a must read for the serious student of leadership. It is considered a classic in the field.
The Steward Leader – If you are a Christian, I am not sure that you can lead properly without understanding the concepts in this book.
As a Christian, you are not leading for you, but you are a steward of that which God has entrusted to your care. However, all leaders should understand this concept, since most leaders are agents of others–senior, management, the board, or the people.
I will also compile a top ten list on:
- Organizational Behavior & Teamwork
What books would you like to see on the list? What have I missed? I am always looking for good suggestions. Thanks for reading.
December 4, 2012
Dr. Gerdes is the Director of the MBA Program at Charleston Southern University