Recommendations For Your Business Books Summer Reading List

This Memorial Day, as you select the books you plan to read for pleasure this summer, how about adding to the list at least one business book. Perhaps a book that will help you improve your leadership skills.

Awhile back, members of five groups on the professional social media web site LinkedIn voluntarily recommended their favorite books about leadership. They responded to a group discussion question, "Best Leadership Books -- What's Your Favorite?"

When contemplating their favorites, they likely thought about which books were in their minds the best, most favored, most inspiring, most instructional, most relevant, and which ones they might reference frequently.

The recommendations came from these member groups:
  • ExecuNet Executive Suite
  • Leadership Think Tank
  • Linked 2 Leadership
  • Keller Graduate School Of Management
  • The Talent Buzz
As the recommendations rolled in, it became clear that leaders learn from, and are inspired by, a wide variety of books -- biographies, autobiographies, books backed by research and academia, books made famous by the popular press, books by motivational speakers, and books by professionals eager to share their personal and professional leadership success stories, tips and suggestions.

Readers' favorites included those written by or about sports coaches, athletes, CEOs, scholars, religious leaders, governmental and military leaders.

Not surprisingly, many well-known leadership book authors made the list, such as authors:
  • Drucker
  • Kotter
  • Maxwell
  • Welch
Interestingly, the discussion thread, particularly within the Linked 2 Leadership group of LinkedIn, generated debate about the value and quality of some of the book recommendations. But, the general consensus was that if someone recommended a book that inspired them or taught them how to be a better leader, the book was worth their time.

Within the list of favorites you'll find titles published decades ago and ones published last month.

Here is the list of all 235 books, in alphabetical order. It represents many of the vast approaches to leadership in practice today throughout the world. Take a look to see how many you've read. Perhaps you'll find one of your favorites.

Then, select one or more for your summer reading list.
  • 1776
  • 177 Mental Toughness Secrets Of The World Class
  • 100 Greatest Ideas For Effective Leadership And Management
  • 100 Greatest Leadership Principles Of All Time
  • 20 Minutes To A Top Performer
  • A Book Of Five Rings
  • A Commitment To Valor
  • A Force For Change: How Leadership Differs From Management
  • A Leader In The Making
  • A Sense Of Urgency
  • A Whole New Mind
  • Against The Gods
  • Alexander The Great
  • Awaken The Giant Within
  • Awesomely Simple
  • Bad Leadership
  • Becoming A Person Of Influence
  • Becoming A Resonant Leader
  • Best Practices In Leadership Development & Organization Change
  • Beyond The Timberline
  • Bo's Lasting Lessons
  • Built To Last
  • Built To Serve
  • Changing The Human Battery
  • Chasing The Rabbit
  • Choices: Discover Your 100 Most Important Life Choices
  • Cracking The Code Of Leadership
  • Credibility
  • Crucial Conversations: Tools For Talking When Stakes Are High
  • Deep Change
  • Defeat Into Victory
  • Developing The Leader Within You
  • Defining Moments
  • Developing The Leaders Around You
  • Discipline Of Market Leaders
  • Effective Supervisory Management
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Energy Leadership
  • Engaged Leadership
  • Evolutionary Leadership
  • Execution: The Discipline Of Getting Things Done
  • Executive Wisdom
  • Exodus
  • Exposing Leadership: Redefining The Top 20 Leadership Traits
  • Fired Up Or Burned Out
  • Firms Of Endearment
  • First Break All The Rules
  • For Your Improvement
  • Force For Change
  • From Worst To First
  • Gates Of Fire
  • Get Out Of Your Own Way
  • Good To Great
  • Gung Ho
  • Handbook Of Leadership
  • Heroic Leadership
  • High Five: The Magic Of Working Together
  • Holy Bible
  • Hostage At The Table
  • How Did That Happen?
  • How Lance Does It
  • How The Mighty Fall
  • How To Get Anyone To Do Anything
  • How To Get From Where You Are To Where You Want To Be
  • How To Grow Leaders
  • How To Lead
  • How To Think Like A CEO & Act Like A Leader
  • How To Win Friends And Influence People
  • In Search Of Excellence
  • Influencer: The Power To Change Anything
  • Inside The Tornado
  • Inspirational Leadership
  • Integrity: The Courage To Meet The Demands Of Reality
  • Integrity Is Everything
  • Irresistible Leadership
  • It's Our Ship
  • It's Your Ship
  • Jesus, CEO
  • Launching A Leadership Revolution
  • Lead To Succeed
  • Leaders: Strategies For Taking Charge
  • Leadership
  • Leadership: Tidbits & Treasures
  • Leadership: Enhancing The Lessons Of Experience
  • Leadership Agility
  • Leadership And Motivation
  • Leadership And The One Minute Manager
  • Leadership And The New Science
  • Leadership And Self-Deception
  • Leadership Brand
  • Leadership Engine
  • Leadership For The Disillusioned
  • Leadership God
  • Leadership Insights
  • Leadership Is An Art
  • Leadership Is Common Sense
  • Leadership Jazz
  • Leadership On The Line
  • Leadership Pipeline
  • Leadership Secrets Of Attila The Hun
  • Leadership Self-Deception: Getting Out Of The Box
  • Leadership Without Easy Answers
  • Leading At A Higher Level
  • Leading Change
  • Leading Leaders
  • Leading Out Loud
  • Leading With Confidence
  • Leading With Kindness
  • Learning From The Links
  • Led To Follow
  • Lessons On Leadership
  • Life Entrepreneurs
  • Lincoln On Leadership
  • Love Leadership
  • Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices
  • Masters And Commanders
  • Masterplanning
  • Maximum Achievement
  • Maxwell Leadership Bible
  • Moments Of Truth
  • Monday Morning Leadership
  • Peak
  • Pivot: How One Simple Change In Attitude Can Lead To Success
  • On Becoming A Leader
  • On Leadership
  • One Thing You Need To Know
  • Only The Paranoid Survive
  • Out Of The Crisis
  • Predictably Irrational
  • Preparing For Leadership
  • Primal Leadership
  • Profiles In Leadership From The Battlefields Of Virginia
  • Real Leaders Don't Do PowerPoint
  • Reclaiming Higher Ground
  • Reframing Organizations
  • Regan On Leadership
  • Resonant Leadership
  • Results-Based Leadership
  • Scuttle Your Ships Before Advancing
  • Scores On The Board
  • Senior Leadership Teams
  • Servant Leadership
  • Silver Parachutes
  • Situational Leadership
  • Son Of Morning Star
  • Start With Why
  • Stewardship
  • Straight From The Gut
  • Strengths-Based Leadership
  • Studying Leadership
  • Survival Is Not Enough
  • Team Of Rivals
  • The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness To Greatness
  • The 80/20 Principle
  • The 48 Laws Of Power
  • The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People
  • The 21 Irrefutable Laws Of Leadership
  • The 360 Degree Leader
  • The 33 Strategies Of War
  • The Adventure Of Leadership
  • The Anatomy Of Peace
  • The Arc Of Ambition
  • The Art And Discipline Of Strategic Leadership
  • The Art Of Possibility
  • The Art Of The Leader
  • The Art Of War
  • The Change Monster
  • The Courage To Teach
  • The Disney Way
  • The DNA Of Success
  • The Effective Executive
  • The Empowered Manager
  • The Essential HR Handbook
  • The Essential Wooden
  • The Extraordinary Leader
  • The Feiner Points Of Leadership
  • The Fifth Discipline
  • The First 90 Days
  • The Five Dysfunctions of A Team
  • The Four Obsessions Of An Extraordinary Executive
  • The Great Game Of Business
  • The Human Element
  • The Inspiring Leader
  • The Leader Of The Future
  • The Leader's Window
  • The Leadership Challenge
  • The Leadership Code: Five Rules To Live By
  • The Leadership Engine
  • The Leadership Matrix
  • The Leadership Moment
  • The Leadership Pill
  • The Leadership Secrets Of Colin Powell
  • The Leadership Test (my (Eric Jacobson's) most recently read favorite)
  • The Magic Of Thinking Big
  • The Maxwell Daily Reader
  • The Mission, The Men And Me
  • The New Leaders
  • The One Minute Manager
  • The Persian Expedition
  • The Practice Of Adaptive Leadership
  • The Practice Of Leadership
  • The Prince
  • The Psychology of Persuasion
  • The Pursuit Of Something Better
  • The Right To Lead
  • The Rules Of Management
  • The Score Takes Care Of Itself
  • The Secret Language Of Business
  • The Secret Language Of Leadership
  • The Servant
  • The Servant-Leader Within
  • The Seven Hidden Reasons Employees Leave
  • The Sustainable Way
  • The Tao Of Leadership
  • The Winner Within: A Life Plan For Team Players
  • The World's Most Powerful Leadership Principle
  • The Wrong Bottom Line & How To Change It
  • Think & Grow Rich
  • Three Laws Of Performance
  • Total Leadership
  • Tough Choices
  • Toy Box Leadership
  • Tribes
  • Walk The Walk: The #1 Rule For Real Leaders
  • We Were Soldiers Once And Young
  • What A Great Idea
  • What Got You Here Won't Get You There
  • What Leaders Really Do
  • What They Don't Teach You At Harvard Business School
  • Why Not The Best
  • Who Says Elephants Can't Dance
  • Winning
  • Winning With People
  • Wooden
  • Words That Sell
  • You Don't Need A Title To Be A Leader


  1. What a wonderful list! Thank you!

    But there are too many! It's very confusing and not very focused!

    A list of 25 or 50 would be much more useful. Where do you start with a list of 235 books????? It's discouraging...

    The idea is good and quite generous, but it needs to be more focused to be more motivating then discouraging.


  2. Hi Mathieu,

    Thanks for your feedback. Hey, perhaps this will help. Here are the five books that have gotten the most recommendations. If you have not read these, perhaps you start with one of these most-often recommended from the list:

    The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People -- Stephen Covey
    Leadership and Self-Deception -- The Arbinger Institute
    The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership -- John C. Maxwell
    The One Minute Manager -- Kenneth H. Blanchard
    The Leadership Challenge -- Jim Kouzes

    Any my favorite is The Leadership Test -- Timothy R. Clark.


  3. Great list! I will definitely be checking some of them out. Another one that should be added to the list, a new one written by Joseph N. Stein is "Bottom-up and Top-Down Innovation: Innovate Your Way to Success! Create an Innovative Company!" It has a lot of helpful hints and is a fun read!

  4. Wow, this is a heck of a list! My all-time favorite is How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I just posted my list here:

  5. I would recommend Peter Church's book Added Value-the life stories of Indian business leaders. Amazing insight on some truly inspirational people. You should read this book not only because it was fantastically insightful and interesting in relation to the individuals but also gives the reader an incredibly helpful view of the mindset of the business leaders. The book is an excellent primer for anyone seeking to do business.


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