100 Books to Inspire Leadership and Create Movers and Shakers


Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Not everyone is a leader. Most people don’t want to lead. Not truly. A leader sacrifices, as opposed to a tyrant who crushes. Think back to the greatest leaders of all time.  They all sacrificed and suffered, but it was for a greater good that they took those risks.

A few leaders are born. They are the exception. Most leaders are made.  They set their minds on something greater and didn’t rest until they achieved it.   If you are one of these, then this list is for you.

Related Posts: 17 Free Business eBooks to Build Your Brand and Bank Account

The list is alphabetical and contains 100 of the very best books on leadership. Pick one up a week, and in 2 years you will have the same dynamic potential as the movers and shakers that caused change and progress across the globe and throughout history.

Ready? Begin.

1 – 10

1.    Age of Discontinuity, The: Guidelines to Our Changing Society – Peter F. Drucker
2.    Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors – Piers Paul Read
3.    Anything You Want – Derek Sivers
4.    The Art of War – Sun Tzu
5.    Authentic Leadership – Bill George
6.    Beyond Counterfeit Leadership – Ken Shelton
7.    Built to Last – Jim Collins
8.    Cigars, Whiskey and Winning: Leadership Lessons from General Ulysses S. Grant – Al Kaltman
9.    Competing for the Future – Gary Hamel & C.K. Prahalad
10.  Control Your Destiny or Someone Else Will – Noel Tichy and Stratford Sherma

11 – 20

11.  Courageous Follower, The: Standing Up to and for Our Leaders – Ira Chaleff
12.  Credibility – James Kouzes & Barry Posner
13.  Deep Change: Discovering the Leader Within – Robert E. Quinn
14.  Delivering Happiness: A Path to Profits, Passion and Purpose – Tony Hsieh
15.  Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us – Daniel H. Pink
16.  Effective Executive, The: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done – Peter F. Drucker
17.  Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goleman
18.  Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage – Alfred Lansing
19.  Enlightened Leadership – Getting to the Heart of Change – Doug Krug
20.  Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done – Larry Bossidy, Ram Charan, and Charles Burck

21 – 30

21.  Extraordinary Leader, The – Jack Zenger & Joe Folkman
22.  Fifth Discipline: The Art and Practice of the Learning Organization – Peter M. Senge
23.  First, Break all the Rules – Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman
24.  Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable – Patrick Lencioni
25.  Five Levels Of Leadership  – John Maxwell
26.  Forty-Eight Laws of Power – Robert Greene
27.  Founding Fathers on Leadership: Classic Teamwork in Changing Times – Donald T. Phillips
28.  Genius of Robert E. Lee, The: Leadership Lessons for the Outgunned, Outnumbered and Underfinanced – Al Kaltman
29.  George Washington on Leadership – Richard Brookhiser
30.  George Washington’s Leadership Lessons: What the Father of Our Country Can Teach Us about Effective Leadership and Character – James Rees

31 – 40

31.  Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… And Others Don’t – Jim Collins
32.  Heavy Hitter Selling – Steve W. Martin
33.  How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie
34.  In Search of Excellence – Tom Peters & Robert Waterman
35.  It’s Your Ship – Michael Abrashoff
36.  John P. Kotter on What Leaders Really Do – John P. Kotter
37.  Knowing-Doing Gap, The: How Smart Companies Turn Knowledge into Action – Jeffrey Pfeffer and Robert I. Sutton
38.  Leader’s Handbook: A Guide to Inspiring your People and Managing the Daily Workflow – Peter Scholtes
39.  Leadership – James MacGregor Burns
40.  Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting out of the Box – The Arbinger Institute

41 – 50

41.  Leadership Challenge, The – Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner.
42.  Leadership Engine, The – Noel Tichy
43.  Leadership from the Inside Out: Becoming a Leader for Life – Kevin Cashman
44.  Leadership is an Art – Max De Pree
45.  Leadership Jazz: The Art of Conducting Business through Leadership, Followership, Teamwork, Voice, Touch – Max De Pree
46.  Leadership Lessons from the Civil War: Winning Strategies for Today’s Managers – Tom Wheeler
47.  Leadership Made Simple – Ed Oakley and Doug Krug
48.  Leadership Moment, The – Michael Useem
49.  Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun – Wess Roberts
50.  Leading Change – John Kotter

51 -60

51.  Lean Startup, The – Eric Ries
52.  Lessons from the Top: The 50 Most Successful Business Leaders in America–and What You Can Learn From Them – Thomas J. Neff, James M. Citrin
53.  Lessons of Experience, The – Morgan McCall, Michael Lombardo, Ann Morrison
54.  Lion of Liberty: The Life and Times of Patrick Henry – Harlow Giles Unger
55.  Management – Revised Edition – Peter F. Drucker
56.  Military and Political Leaders & Success: 55 Top Military and Political Leaders & How They Achieved Greatness – Business Daily Investor
57.  My Years with General Motors – Alfred P. Sloan, Jr.
58.  Never Give In! – Speeches by Winston Churchill
59.  No BS Ruthless Management – Dan Kennedy
60.  On Becoming A Leader – Warren G. Bennis

61 – 70

61.  On Leadership – John William Gardner
62.  One Minute Manager, The – Kenneth Blanchard and Spencer Johnson
63.  Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul – Howard Schultz
64.  Power of Full Engagement, The – Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz
65.  Practice of Management, The – Peter F. Drucker
66.  Primal Leadership: Realizing the Power of Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goleman
67.  Prince, The – Niccolo Machiavelli
68.  Profiles in Courage – John F. Kennedy
69.  Profiles in Leadership – Alan Axelrod
70.  Questions of Character: Illuminating the Heart of Leadership Through Literature – Joseph L. Badaracco Jr.

71 – 80

71.  Quiet Leadership – David Rock
72.  Radical Leap, The – Steve Farber
73.  Rare Find, The – George Anders
74.  Resolved: 13 Resolutions for LIFE – Orrin Woodward
75.  Results-Based Leadership – Dave Ulrich, Jack Zenger, Norm Smallwood
76.  Revolutionary Strategies of the Founding Fathers – Scott Thorpe
77.  Robert E. Lee on Leadership: Executive Lessons in Character, Courage, and Vision – H.W. Crocker III
78.  Ronald Reagan: How an Ordinary Man Became an Extraordinary Leader – Dinesh D’Souza
79.  Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, The – Stephen Covey
80.  Story Factor, The – Annette Simmons

81 – 90

81.  Strategic Leadership: The General’s Art – Edited by Mark Grandstaff and Georgia Sorenson
82.  Successful Manager’s Handbook, The – Lisa A. Stevens, Carol J. Skube and David G. Lee
83.  Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard – Chip and Dan Heath
84.  Taking People With You – David Novak
85.  Tao of Leadership, The – John Heider
86.  Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln – Doris Kearns Goodwin
87.  Misssion, the Men, and Me, The; Lessons from a former Delta Force Commander – Pete Blaber
88.  Theodore Roosevelt on Leadership: Executive Lessons from the Bully Pulpit – James M. Strock, Ed Goldman
89.  Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us – Seth Godin
90.  Truth About Managing Effectively, The – Robbins, Fyock and Finney

91 – 100

91.  Twelve Absolutes of Leadership, The – Gary Burnison
92.  21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, The – John Maxwell
93.  Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits – Robert L. Townsend
94.  What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There – Marshall Goldsmith
95.  What It Takes to Be #1: Vince Lombardi on Leadership – Vince Lombardi
96.  Who Moved My Cheese? An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life – Spencer Johnson
97.  Why CEO’s Fail – David Dotlich & Peter Cairo
98.  Why Leaders Can’t Lead: The Unconscious Conspiracy Continues – Warren Bennis
99.  Winning – Jack Welch
100. Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization – John Wooden

In two years, you may have people looking to you with hope and confidence, and you responding with surety, mentally equipped to take the risks.  Feel free to add any of your favorites in the comment section.

Did we miss anything? What books have inspired leadership in you?

Join the discussion by leaving a comment below and please spread the word by sharing this post with your friends.

 Stay up to date on our latest posts by liking us on Facebook, following us on Twitter or by subscribing to our RSS Feed.

About the Author: Michael “Big Mike” McCaffery loves his career at GoDishCareers.com and enjoys bringing to people something they love to receive.  Stop by LinkedIn when you get the chance.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here