Top 10 Leadership Books For People Who Mean Business


Books, books, everywhere — yet where’s the time to read?

If you’re a business professional, chances are you’re surrounded by dozens of hard-copy business books, countless websites, and instant access to digital ebooks and audiobooks.

So what will you spend your limited time reading? 

At Mavenlink, we circulate the best of the best. Our leaders, management, and employees knowledge-share the best books they have read that transformed their careers and mindsets.

We read these books because they drive results. In fact, we make reading these as easy as possible by encouraging everyone to access our company-wide Audible account.

So here are ten of our best.

Top 10 Leadership Books — The Ultimate List

"Success does not make you happy. Happiness makes you successful." - Gary Szenderski on leadership

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1. The Happiness Advantage, by Shawn Achor

We live in a world of things. Money, cars, clothes, and more. We constantly tell ourselves, “If only XYZ, I will be happy.”  The Happiness Advantage challenges all of that. In this book, you learn that success does not make you happy. Happiness makes you successful. Watch Achor’s TED talk here.

2. Start With Why, by Simon Sinek

Salespeople pride themselves on having the best product with the most features at an affordable cost you won’t believe. That rarely makes us buy. In Start With Why, Simon Sinek reveals the secret to selling: Start with why. Why does your company do what it does, what does it value and believe in? By answering these questions, you’ll arrive at the differentiating power that moves your brand to the forefront of others.  View Sinek’s TED Talk here.

3. Integrity, by Dr. Henry Cloud

“Blame is the parking brake for improvement,” writes Cloud in one of my favorite lines from Integrity. In this book, the author outlines the six qualities that define your success in business. Each of these contributes to your integrity, who you are and how you handle the pressures of reality. My own copy is annotated all over, so I can point company leaders to pertinent take-aways that immediately influence their current attitudes, mindsets, and outlooks on navigating challenges.

4. The Hard Thing About Hard Things, by Ben Horowitz

This is a must-read for CEOs. Horowitz covers in detail the hell you will go through as you begin building up your business. Through a real story of how you get a company from zero to “some place,” this book gives you the true picture of what you can expect.

5. Escape Velocity, by Geoffrey A. Moore

Escape Velocity is a great title for a book that helps you learn how to grow your established company into a company that drives extreme, next-generation growth. In a several-part strategy, Moore goes into the history of what has made companies take off from successful to extreme trajectory.

“Blame is the parking brake for improvement.” - Dr. Henry Cloud

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6. Leaders Eat Last, by Simon Sinek

Sinek makes his second, well-earned spot on this list. In Leaders Eat Last, you learn why endorphins matter, how to gain team buy-in, and of course, why leaders eat last.

7. The Lean Start-Up, by Eric Reis

Start-ups are defined, understood, and broken down in Reis’ book. This book tells you how to stay agile, pivot quickly, and make a lot of gains with manageable effort. Discover the world of minimum viable products and more in this start-up essential read.

8. Outliers, by Malcolm Gladwell

Outliers is the story of high achievers. Gladwell shows you what has to happen for true success. How did Bill Gates become Bill Gates? This is the book that tells you.


"Greatness belongs to those who have mastered their internal world." -Brendon Bruchard on leadership

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9. Motivation Manifesto, by Brendon Bruchard

This book begins with the simple premise that we are masters of our own lives — and yet, we can look around and see so many people who are just going through the motions. One of the most memorable quotes from this book, in my opinion, is "Greatness belongs to those who have mastered their internal world. We are all plagued by doubt, but the great find faith and begin." Greatness comes from within, in other words.  This book will alter your mindset toward the positivity you need to complete your day’s tasks.

10. Endurance, Alfred Lansing

You might be familiar with the incredible voyage Shackleton took to the Antarctic continent in the past century.  Shackleton is famous for having solicited only the sharpest, most diligent, and willing-to-risk-it-all group of workers on his ship. The miracle was, they all made it back alive, even when the voyage took a turn for the absolute worst. Read this book to get inspired by what a great leader, who draws a great crew, can accomplish.

I feel 100 percent in recommending these books. When you read these books, consider who else in your networks may benefit from sharing the recommendation.

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