30 Great Leadership Books for Leadership Pros


Are you serious about your leadership abilities and skills? Looking for some great leadership books to gain insight or improve? Well, if you are going to spend your time and money reading about leadership, then choose wisely. Consuming inaccurate information will undoubtedly result in a flawed or less-than-awesome outcome. Don’t risk it!

I am often asked about the leadership books that I would recommend. I have a variety of recommendations for both the individual leader and organizational issues and perspectives. Understand that there are plenty of great books out there, and I haven’t read them all… yet. However, I understand the need for such a list, considering how much confusion there is regarding the topic. So let me provide you with some advice and two brief lists to consider.

My advice is simple. Regarding leadership books, you want to seek books used in actual leadership education programs in legitimate education settings. This is because the research is cutting-edge and accurate and because you don’t want to read something that could confuse the topic. Remember that almost anyone can publish a book these days; not everyone claiming to be a “leadership pro” actually is.

Now, for the lists. First, I want to clarify that just because a book isn’t on this list, it doesn’t mean that I don’t think it’s good or worthy of reading. Additionally, understand that these are just my top 15 books in each category. There are more, and this was a tough list to put together. Also, remember that many of these authors have more than one book that you might be interested in and that some of these books might have new editions.

Again, these lists will not include all the many great authors on leadership, and these lists are not in any particular order. To help you learn more about each book, I will make each heading a link to Amazon, so you can look it over or order it if you like.


Leadership Books for the Individual

  1. Leading Change – John Kotter
  2. The Leadership Challenge – Kouzes/Posner
  3. Bad Leadership – Barbara Kellerman
  4. Leadership – Northouse
  5. Ethics, the Heart of Leadership – Joanne B. Ciulla
  6. Leadership and the Leadership Process – Pierce/Newstrom
  7. Leadership is an Art – Max DePree
  8. Leadership and the Art of Change – Lee Roy Beach
  9. Leadership – Enhancing the Lessons of Experience – Hughes/Ginnett/Curphy
  10. Decision Making (Harvard Business Essentials)
  11. Critical Thinking: A Students Introduction – Bassham
  12. Changing Minds – Gardner
  13. Negotiation: Readings, Exercises, and Cases – Barry/Saunders/Lewicki
  14. Practicing Leadership – Principles & Application – Shriberg/Shriberg
  15. Voices 8: Foresight as the Central Ethic of Leadership – Kim

Leadership Books Regarding Organizations

  1. A Systems Approach to Small Group Interaction – Tubbs
  2. The Team Handbook – Scholtes/Joiner/Streibel
  3. Organization Development: The Process of Leading Organizational Change – Anderson
  4. The Strategic Planning Workbook – Lake
  5. The Center for Creative Leadership Handbook of Leadership Development
  6. Organizational Theory Design and Change – Jones
  7. Simplified Strategic Planning – Bradford/Tarcy
  8. Evaluations in Organizations – Russ-Eft/Preskill
  9. Business Communication (Harvard Business Essentials)
  10. Business Communication: Building Critical Skills – Locker/Kaczmarek
  11. Interpersonal Skills in Organizations – De Janasz/Dowd
  12. The Conflict Survival Kit – Griffith/Goodwin
  13. Organizational Behavior: Emerging Knowledge Global Reality – McShane/Von Glinow
  14. Managing Cultural Differences: Global Leadership for the 21st Century – Abramson/Moran
  15. Social Intelligence: The New Science of Success – Albrecht

Did you enjoy this list? If you did, you might also like my book review: Bad Leadership – A Great Book