The Arena Media Brands, LLC and its partners may receive compensation for links to products and services on this website. This content is created by a 3rd party. TheStreet editorial staff are not involved in the creation of this content.
Define Your Leadership Philosophy With The Best Leadership Books
Last updated: 17 Jan 2023
What's your leadership philosophy? Leadership is a complex topic that often doesn't come naturally or easily. It’s a skill that some people may not have significant experience with before being in charge of others. For many, acquiring leadership skills takes years of practice, failure, and success to nail.
For leaders out there, or those aspiring to be leaders, you don’t need to shoot in the dark for answers. Leadership books (such as the ones below) provide you with the mentality, attitude, and framework that a true leader must have to succeed. These are the best leadership books in 2023, offering valuable wisdom that can help you become an excellent leader in both your personal and professional life.
Available in Kindle, paperback, and hardcover versions
Provides techniques for teachers, parents, and students to become lead learners and inspire learning
Identifies and provides solutions to ten common problems in school leadership
In recent years, the term “hacking” has come to refer to unconventional, unknown, or unlikely methods of achieving something. In this book, you will learn unlikely yet effective methods to teach children and adults alike. Leadership is for everyone, and even at a young age, you can learn to become a leader.
By simplifying methods of leadership, one can understand the underlying concept of leadership as a whole and better communicate with their group. Some may argue that this oversimplification can lead to problems down the road, and while this is possible, it’s best to look at this book as a reference guide rather than a crash course. Leadership is unique from person to person, and these “hacks” are more useful hints than actual frameworks that you need to base your entire mindset and philosophy on.
Prioritizes the importance of character-building over skillset mastery
Can improve anyone’s leadership skills
While companies used to focus more on hiring the brightest individuals available, these days the hiring process tilts a bit in favor of emotional intelligence. The ability to sympathize with others, understand colleagues, and work harmoniously is seen as just as important of a trait as intelligence. For leaders who wish to understand the emotional intelligence required of a leader, this book serves as a great guide. Often we see leaders based on their skill sets, but it’s their emotional intelligence that truly allows them to work effectively.
Written by the Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns Goodwin
Draws lessons from the leadership styles of four US Presidents including Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson
Provides an easy-to-understand roadmap for aspiring leaders
When looking for a book to read, many people turn to professionals for advice. And what better way to learn about leadership than from a book written by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Doris Kearns? The book spans decades of studies into the concept of leadership, and you’ll find that there are some elements that have stayed the same throughout the years.
With an 18-hour audiobook available on Amazon, you can bet that you’ll learn plenty of fresh ideas as well as revisit previously understood concepts. This can be the perfect e-book to listen to on your way to work, during exercise, or while preparing your next meal. You’ll find that the information just enters your brain, and you’ll be able to absorb a surprising amount of information this way.
Many leadership books deal with theories, concepts, and ideas, with the main goal of giving you the tools you need to navigate daily leadership challenges. But what if you need results immediately, and you don’t have the time to grasp all the theories? That’s where this book comes in. Styled like a military book, this book offers you pragmatic solutions to leadership problems so you can lead on the fly. It’s perfect for people who’ve had to work with promotions, fill in for a position, and other similar circumstances.
Takes advantage of a unique aspect of organizations
Once mastered, easy to execute
Can lead to fast growth within a group
This book is based on an interesting principle – that in any given organization, groups or cliques of people will naturally form, one way or another. This can be due to a variety of reasons – race, gender, hobbies, and so on. The concepts outlined in this book showcase how one would be able to lead a group of people by naturally leveraging these groups instead of having to start something from scratch. If you’re working with multiple cliques and groups of people, then this book will definitely help you out.
What if you could look into the mind of a great leader? What would you see? You don’t have to wonder at all, because many leaders such as John C. Maxwell publish books detailing their stories and their successes. This book outlines 21 different laws that have helped John become the successful leader that many company CEOs praise him for. With simple concepts that are surprisingly deep and comprehensive, you’ll find that there’s a lot to learn from the mind of a true leader.
Discusses a five-step leadership framework that’s easy to follow
Written by award-winning author
Also available in audio-book format
Not a fan of abstract concepts? What if you just wanted a simple step-by-step plan to become a good leader? While not exactly ideal for every situation, this book is great if you want a simple yet effective way to learn the concepts of leadership without the riff-raff. You’ll also be pleased to find out that the author of this book, John C. Maxwell, is the same author of the 21 Irrefutable Laws book mentioned earlier. If you liked that book, you should definitely give this one a try.
Leadership books outline the steps required to become an efficient and effective leader. But with so many leadership styles developed over the years and experts claiming their own style as the best, it can be difficult to figure out which one’s ideal for you.
Luckily, you don’t have to. This quick guide will give you an insight on how to pick the best leadership books.
What is a leadership book?
A leadership book is a book that offers knowledge and insight regarding leadership, the effectiveness of different leading practices, and so on. It is often written by leaders who provide their own experiences and steps to success.
Why do you need leadership books?
Here’s why leadership books are so helpful.
Being a leader requires knowledge
Even if you were called a “natural-born leader” as a child, you may still lack critical information on other aspects of leadership. As you age and gain more responsibilities, leadership becomes far more complex, and you can’t just deal with everything the same way you did when you were young. For this reason, leaders should always look to improve their methods, gaining knowledge from leaders both past and present through works that they have published. This can give you a general idea of how you’re supposed to lead in more chaotic and complex scenarios.
They can be applied in all aspects of life
To some degree, we’re leaders in our own way. For example, parents lead their children, older siblings lead younger siblings, and so on. In some manner, we can apply the practices shown through leadership books and use them in situations outside work. Just because leadership books are so often geared towards business executives doesn’t mean it’s reserved for them alone.
They can help you understand leadership from a member’s perspective
Leadership is no easy task, and those who aren’t used to the position may cause their members and subordinates some trouble and inconvenience. It is important to note that leadership is a lifelong practice that needs to be honed through years of experience. This isn’t trying to make incompetent leaders innocent – it’s just pointing out that leadership isn’t as easy as giving orders.
Things to consider when buying leadership books
Remember these tips when getting a leadership book.
Books aren’t cheap, especially those that provide some form of knowledge. Educational books have always had a bad rep for being unnecessarily expensive, but luckily, that isn’t exactly the case with leadership books. These books don’t cost nearly as much as hundred-dollar science textbooks, and many of them are small enough to fit your bag, too.
If you really want to save up on money, then you’ll want to get the leadership books as either audiobooks or e-books. E-books are also known as electronic books, and they’re basically digital copies of books. This means that you won’t have any paper to hold when reading what’s inside. For some, this ruins the charm of books, but others may enjoy the convenience of being able to read on any device.
Alternatively, you can go for audiobooks. Essentially just audio transcripts of books, audiobooks require you to listen than to read. This is perfect if you’re doing a visual task such as driving, cooking, and the like. You could play it instead of music or a podcast to learn while you’re doing something else, allowing you to maximize your productivity.
Remember, each type of book has its own advantages and disadvantages. For example, hardbacks take up space, but they have that classic book appeal. E-books are portable, but you’ll need a device to access them. And for audiobooks, you won’t be able to focus your ears on other things since you’ll be busy with the book. Figure out which type of book fits your lifestyle best to get a good idea of what you should go for.
Leadership books are different from other educational material in the sense that many of the ideas presented in them are opinions, not facts. Sure, it may work for many people, but certain styles can also be ineffective for others. This means that there is no one true leadership style that everyone should follow. But how do you know what type of style you should be adopting? The answer lies in figuring what type of leader you idolize the most.
Think of the most popular leaders of our time, and see if there are any that have written works or books that discuss their leadership style. There’s a good chance that they have, especially if they’ve come from a field of business. This should help you become the leader that you prefer. However, it’s worth noting that you should learn to adapt your own style of leading eventually by figuring out what works best for you specifically.
Leadership books can be generalized, but there are other leadership books that detail leadership practices in certain fields. If you’re looking to improve your leadership skills in general, then most leadership books will suffice, but if you want something that’s relevant to your career, then it’s best to look for a leadership book written by someone in your industry. These sorts of books will have familiar experiences and terms that can help you understand their thought processes much more effectively.
For example, if you want to learn about the leadership strategies of a tech company leader, then look no further than the biography of Steve Jobs. While not directly outlining his methods of leadership, you can get a good idea of how one would manage and innovate in a new and rising industry.
Leadership books price range
Leadership books cost quite a bit of money, especially if you’re buying a hardback copy. For around $10-$50, you can get a hardback copy of most leadership books, with some exceptions. If you want something far more affordable, you can opt to buy digital copies instead. While not the same as reading an actual book, it has the advantage of being portable, allowing you to read any time and anywhere you wish.
How we chose the best leadership books
We chose the leadership books in our list based on the author, their field of expertise, and customer reviews.
Leadership Book FAQ
Q: Are leadership books effective?
A: Leadership books can be hit-or-miss depending on who you’re reading, and the effectiveness of the methods discussed is reliant on your own personal ideals compared to those held by the author.
Q: Is leadership a learned skill?
A: Some people believe in the existence of natural-born leaders, but with enough studying and learning, one can become an effective leader even without being “born with it”.
Q: What is the appropriate age to start reading leadership books?
A: You can read leadership books at any stage of your life, provided you have picked one that is easy enough for you to understand. If you pick a book that is too complex, it would not be of much help to you. Hence, always opt for a book that is suitable for your reading level, regardless of your age.
Nicole is a first grade teacher who entered the field of education for one simple reason: she loves helping people. True satisfaction for Nicole comes when her students demonstrate improvements due to her teaching, and she hopes her input will help educators around the world enhance their classrooms.