The Top 20 Leadership Books For A New Manager

A couple years ago, I posted the question “What’s The First Leadership Book You Would Give To A New Manager?” within the discussion forum for the LinkedIn group Linked 2 Leadership.


That question generated 603 comments.  Some people suggested more than one book.  

The book suggestions remain important recommendations even today.
So, here were the results:
·    412 different/unique books were recommended

·    The Top 20 recommended books, collectively, received 250 of the total recommendations

·    Two authors – Stephen R. Covey and John C. Maxwell each have two books in the Top 20

·    Group members recommended other things instead of giving a book about leadership to a new manager, such as:

o   Interviewing everyone in the company with whom they will directly work

o   Giving a book about management first

o   Mentoring the person for a period of time before recommending a leadership book 
And, unlike a question about “What is Your Favorite Leadership Book,” the question asked what is the first book you would give to a new manager.

The Top 20 Books that were recommended were:

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen R. Covey
  2. Leadership and Self-Deception – Arbinger Institute
  3. The First 90 Days – Michael Watkins
  4. The One Minute Manager – Kenneth H. Blanchard
  5. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership – John C. Maxwell
  6. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – Patrick Lencioni
  7. First Break All the Rules – Marcus Buckingham
  8. The Leadership Challenge – Jim Kouzes
  9. How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
  10. Good to Great – Jim Collins
  11. It’s Your Ship – Michael Abrashoff
  12. The Speed of Trust – Stephen M. R. Covey
  13. Developing the Leader Within You – John C. Maxwell
  14. Who Moved My Cheese – Spencer Johnson
  15. Don’t Bring it to Work – Sylvia Lafair
  16. Leaders Without Borders – Doug Dickerson
  17. Leadership and the One Minute Manager – Kenneth H. Blanchard
  18. On Becoming a Leader – Warren Bennis
  19. The Anatomy of Peace – Arbinger Institute
  20. The Art of Possibility – Benjamin Zander and Rosamund  Stone Zander

Within the Top 35 list of the book recommendations, you’ll find four more John C. Maxwell books, including:
·        The 360 Degree Leader

·        Developing the Leaders Around  You

·        Failing Forward

·        Leadership 101
The authors and leadership book publishers most discussed within the group forum were:
·        Dale Carnegie

·        Jim Collins

·        Jim Kouzes

·        John C. Maxwell

·        Kenneth H. Blanchard

·        Marcus Buckingham

·        Michael Watkins

·        Patrick Lencioni

·        Stephen R. Covey

·        Arbinger Institute
Group discussion participants are clearly inspired by a wide variety of books – biographies, autobiographies, books backed by research and academia, books made famous by the popular press, books by motivation speakers, and books by professionals eager to share their personal and professional leadership success stories, tips and suggestions.


  • What would book would you add to this list now that it's been a couple years since the list was developed?

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