There are a multitude of books on the market purporting to make someone a better leader if they read, absorb and apply the information they receive. However, for a person looking to gain and improve their leadership skills, the sheer volume of information available to sort through can be daunting. Thankfully, we’ve put together a short list of what we consider to be some of the top 3 leadership books readily available today. These are a great starting point for anyone interested in growing as a leader and learning new skills and strategies.
1. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership, by John C. Maxwell
First on the list is John C. Maxwell’s, “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership”. With an impressive reputation as a communicator and leader spanning more than three decades, this classic leadership book by John C. Maxwell is a must read for anyone interested in becoming a better leader. Think of this book more as a foundational instruction manual rather than an abstract examination of leadership. Inside the cover you’ll find 21 practical laws of leadership along with concrete steps for applying them in the workplace, church, community, and your own family.
As you read along you’ll discover new individuals in each chapter who either did, or did not apply the law in question and how it worked out for them. Picking up and successfully applying just one law can make a huge difference in the quality of your leadership. Learning them all and consistently putting them into practice will have others eagerly willing to follow your lead.
2. Extreme Ownership, by Jocko Willink
No list of books on leadership would be complete without mentioning former Navy Seal Commander Jocko Willink’s best-selling leadership book, “Extreme Ownership”. In this book, Jocko Willink relates how his experiences in combat during the Iraq war and the leadership lessons he learned there can be universally applied to business, community, family, and any other areas that require strong leadership.
As the title suggests, this book is largely about taking “Extreme Ownership” of everything directly and indirectly under your influence, and not blaming others or outside circumstances when things don’t go according to plan. The basic premise is, if someone does not take responsibility and ownership of the things in their life, they become powerless to fix or change those things. On the other hand, if responsibility and ownership is accepted, they empower themselves to make the changes necessary to create the best possible outcomes in the future.
3. How to Win Friend and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie
Anyone who has ever been involved in sales or looked for ways to improve their social skills has likely heard of this book at least once before. First published in 1936, Dale Carnegie’s classic self-help book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People” has sold well over 15 million copies to date. In this book, Carnegie offers timeless advice on effective communication, persuasion, career advancement, and how to influence people to your way of thinking.
The principles that taught Andrew Carnegie to lead the US steel industry in the early 90s, and Abraham Lincoln to lead the nation through arguably the most trying of times in its history during the Civil War, are all laid out and expounded on in detail. These principles are all time proven and incredibly effective, but as Dale himself admonishes, “The Principles taught in this book will work only when they come from the heart. I am not advocating a bag of tricks. I am talking about a new way of life.”