13 Books on Business Leadership Every Manager Should Read

Today with this article, I will be talking about some of the most phenomenal examples of Business Leadership books that are all must-reads for every current/future manager interested in knowing more about how to work efficiently. 

I hope you’ll find them useful. 

Let’s go. 🤩

Books on Leadership – 3 Best Books for Effective Leadership Skills

1- Leaders Eat Last

Quick info

Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek is one of the most compassionate leadership books that has been written and introduced to the world. What makes the book quite special is the fact that it primarily draws attention to the military principles, building a different perspective on the matter.

What Sinek shows the reader is something that can be interpreted and understood in many aspects. But at its core, it’s about how a ‘people-first leadership’ attitude concerns with making the teams feel supported and respected; these manners result in a mutual relationship that’s built on loyalty and respect. Sinek supports that reliability, comfort and safety are the critical factors that lead to excellence. He supports his argument with numerous practical examples from lots of different kinds of businesses around the world.

Author biography

Simon Sinek is an American author, motivational speaker, and leadership expert. Throughout his professional life, he has worked with many advertising agencies including ‘Ogilvy & Mather and ‘Havas Creative’ (then known as ‘Euro RSCG’).

Soon after, he launched his own firm, ‘Sinek Partners.’ Later on, he started building his career as a motivational speaker and a primal leadership coach. 

Gradually, he established his career as a motivational speaker and leadership coach. He has five books in which he conveys his ideas and concepts; titled ‘Start with Why,’ ‘Leaders Eat Last,’ ‘Together is Better,’ ‘Find Your Why,’ and ‘The Infinite Game.’

Why should you have it?

‘Leaders Eat Last’  is a highly insightful book that conveys many different aspects of an effective leadership process. It primarily talks about real-life experiences and examples of effective and ineffective leadership; how it’s connected with people’s behaviour in the workspace and how it’s relevant to the perspective and mindset of businesses. If you’re idealizing leading a business in the future, or already running one, this book is a must-read for you. 

Reviews 

Leaders Eat Last book review
Review of the book Leaders Eat Last

Link 

Here’s the Amazon link to this book.

2- Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead

Quick info 

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead, written by Facebook executive Sheryl Sanderson is one of the books about leadership that has influenced many female leaders interested in improving their performances and putting more effort and value into their businesses. 

It’s worth mentioning that the book was inspired by personal experience and a TED Talk delivered by the author herself back in 2010, detailing all the ways women settle down for less and miss career opportunities due to unnecessary politeness and being passive. 

The author particularly deals with this subject and aims to encourage women to pursue wise and strong mentors, and lawyers to defend themselves, and stand out for their place in the business world. 

Author biography

Sheryl Sandberg, was born in Washington, DC, USA in 1969. She studies economics at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She received her bachelor’s degree in 1991 and was the top student in her class. She later joined her economist friend Lawrence Summers who had been working as chief economist at the World Bank in Washington, DC. Together, they worked on many projects that were very helpful for numerous developing countries.

Why should you have it?

This book is one of those solid books that simply do not get old easily; even though it’s a few years old now, the timeless lessons it conveys and all the advises are still highly relevant and fresh. After all, the challenges that threaten women’s careers haven’t changed that much, and are still present in their most complex forms, making it difficult for women to speak up for themselves and realize their contribution the business world. With this book, you’ll be able to revisit these personal experiences told by the author.

Reviews

Lean In: Women, Work, and the W book review
review of the book Lean In: Women, Work, and the W

Link

Here’s the Amazon link to this book.

3- Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts.

Quick info

Dare to Lead is a brilliant book that generously shares experiences and lessons on the strength of vulnerability, human connection & empathy and the importance of these notions in primal leadership.

The author stresses the fact that conscious leadership is not solely -or at all- about status or control, but quite the opposite, it’s about realizing the potential that each individual and idea holds. 

Author biography

Brene Brown is an American author, storyteller, professional speaker, social worker, and research professor. 

She spent her early childhood in New Orleans, Louisiana and studied at the University of Texas where she graduated with a Bachelor degree of Social Work in 1995. Later on, she received her PhD from the University of Houston’s Graduate College of Social Work in 2002.

Why should you have it?

Dare to Lead offers the readers a complete and in-depth guide to becoming a fearless, self-confident, motivated, and a successful leader. The book is completely gifted with the natural writing skills the author possesses; talking about vulnerability, courage, attitude, strength and much more in a constructive, empowering way. Be ready to expose yourself to a fully-committed atmosphere that will instantly draw you in and push you beyond your limits. 

Reviews

Dare to Lead: Brave Work business leadership book
business leadership book Dare to Lead: Brave Work

Link

Here’s the Amazon link to this book.

 

Business Management – Best 5 Books for Managing Wisely 

1- Financial Intelligence

Quick info

In Financial Intelligence, the authors, Karen Berman and Joe Knight, manage to convey the very basics of finance – but in a rather special way.

The authors take ‘financial reporting’ in a slightly different angle and suggest that it’s an art form as well as science; stating that it should be handled with care. This approach creates a need for managers worldwide; They need to know how particular bias can impact the financial world and how the numbers cannot always be trusted.

Author biography

Dr. Berman is a Senior Investigator and Chief of the Clinical and Translational Neuroscience Branch. She practices translational investigations, mainly dealing with neurogenetic, molecular, cellular, and system-level mechanisms in neurodevelopment disabilities. This work of hers was published in Nature Neuroscience, Nature Medicine, Neuron, the Journal of Clinical Investigation, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and the Journal of Neuroscience, among many others.

Why should you have it?

With a very easy-to-follow structure, Financial Intelligence manages to attract thousands of readers thanks to its accessible, jargon-free and entertaining context with various examples of real companies. The book is a gem for those interested in financial knowledge even though they are not necessarily finance managers. 

The authors have trained tens of thousands of managers at many leading businesses up until now. If you wish to learn from personal experience, this is the book for you.

 

Reviews 

business leadership book Financial Intelligence
Financial Intelligence business leadership book

Link

Here’s the Amazon link to this book.

2- Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive

Quick info

This handbook written by the bestselling author and self-made millionaire Harvey Mackay, does a magnificent job defining the path to success for readers all across the globe.

This straight-from-the-hip handbook by bestselling author and self-made millionaire Harvey Mackay spells out the path to success for readers everywhere, acting as an extraordinary guide for people in sales, or anybody in a leadership position in addition to new managers. Filled with easy-to-implement suggestions and ideas, the book manages to help thousands of business leaders in their journey of managing people while keeping their sanity. 

Author biography

Harvey Mackay is a seven-time New York Times best-selling author of “Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive“, and “Beware the Naked Man Who Offers You His Shirt.”

These two books have managed to become among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, making the author an irreplaceable gem who’s solely here to share his experiences and suggestions with his readers. 

He’s also one of the USA’s most popular and entertaining business speakers; he was named one of the top five speakers in the world by Toastmasters International.

Why should you have it?

If you choose to read this book, you will learn how to outsell by getting the chance to create appointments with people who do not want to see you or talk to you, and then making them regret they haven’t contacted you earlier!

Reviews

business leadership book Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive
Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive business leadership book

Link

Here’s the Amazon link to this book.

 3- What Management Is

Quick info

To fully understand what it takes to create an organization that performs efficiently, this book is here to encourage you to take a step forward and start with the basic principles, whether you’re an experienced executive or new to the field.

With various examples from several different companies, you’ll be able to see the comparison between a successful process and a failed process, understanding why a particular business model and/or a strategy fails while another one stands out. 

Author biography

Joan Magretta is a Senior Institute Associate at Harvard Business School’s Institute for Strategy and Competitiveness. She has won several awards for her contributions the Harvard Business Review, where she formerly worked as a strategy editor during the 1990s. 

Why should you have it?

What Management Is is one of those rare pieces of work that manage to be a beginner’s guide and a handbook for many experts dealing with the principles of management, at the same time. The book is basically an ocean of knowledge, gathering numerous articles and wisdom into a one common and clear environment, explaining the logic behind successful businesses in detail. 

Reviews 

business leadership book What Management Is

Link

Here’s the Amazon link to this book.

4- The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You

Quick info

John C. Maxwell, through this masterpiece book, outlines the particular guidelines for business leaders and talks about the ways and methods that will enable them to maximize influence and create a common perspective that they can work around as teams.

The author also takes a step forward and explains each and every rule very clearly and provides insightful examples along the way, uncovering every key detail and unknown fact about leadership.

 Author biography

After completing his bachelor’s degree at Ohio Christian University, John Maxwell obtained his Masters degree at Azusa Pacific University and pursued his father’s profession which made him enter the ministry. Since the 1970s, John Maxwell has led several churches and worked as a senior pastor, leading the pastoral team and focusing on all leadership styles. 

He has always been highly passionate about teaching and this devotion made him commit his time and energy to full-time speaking and writing.

He and his brother Larry, have established a non-profit organization called EQUIP that primarily deals with personal development, training, a leadership lesson, speaking, and mentoring young and interested people.

Why should you have it?

This book presents the ideology, methodology and theories of one of the most influential leaders that has ever lived. If you’re interested in giving it a shot, you will be exposed to much information regarding every aspect that builds the notion of ‘leadership’ and the others that come along with it. 

Reviews 

business leadership book The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Lead
The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Lead business leadership book

Link

Here’s the Amazon link to this book.

5- First, Break All The Rules: What The World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently

Quick info

This book primarily deals with the standard management thinking process and how great managers around the world create and maintain overall employee satisfaction and engagement. As a result of observations based on over 70,000 interviews with managers conducted by the Gallup Organization in the last 25 years, the book came up as a complete gathering of the essentials; the key ideas, old myths about management, the core that lies under the ideology, and the personal life experiences shared by numerous managers to give you a clearer idea. 

Author biography

Marcus Buckingham is the writer of two of the best-selling business management books of all time, he has two of Harvard Business Review’s most anticipated and discussed articles, and he has been the center of The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Forbes, and even The Oprah Winfrey Show.

He spent two decades studying excellence at the Gallup Organization and building his own Coaching + Education firm, The Marcus Buckingham Company. 

He’s also quite popular as the world’s most experienced researcher on the challenges, strengths, and leadership of the workplace. He is now leading research at the ADP Research Institute. 

Why should you have it?

The reason why you should have this book in your bag and take it everywhere with you is quite simple, actually. 

This is a book that was written by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman, who both offer resolutions to better employee engagement and satisfaction with the help of numerous examples of how the greatest managers handle their own employees. If you wish to read this brilliant work that appeared on the New York Times bestseller list for 93 weeks, don’t have second thoughts!

Reviews

business leadership book First, Break All The Rules: What The World's Greatest Managers Do Differently

Link

Here’s the Amazon link to this book. 

5 Best Books Written by Successful CEOs and Leaders – For Inspiration 

1- Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Quick info

Thinking, Fast and Slow is a book that explores different approaches to the process of thinking: emotional, impulsive and immediate judgement, and the more logical and slowly-built approach. Each technique has its own relevant applications and they fit into different specific situations. 

Daniel Kahneman explains these styles of thinking in an in-depth process that involves the ideology of decision making within the business world.

The author also stresses the fact that a CEO needs to be the central brain of an organization, being aware of the balance between emotions and reason, helping teams combine these two strengths to practice management at its finest.

Author biography

Daniel Kahneman was born in 1934, March 5 in Palestine. He’s a psychologist, Nobel prize winner (for Economics in 2002) and is a pioneer in human judgement and decision making studies. With his books, he has impacted tens of thousands of readers and has managed to touch their lives with his unique words and wise advice. 

Why should you have it?

If you choose to read this book, you will learn about how the mind works in terms of decision-making processes and you will be able to figure out how to improve your own leadership roles by enhancing your judgement and eliminating the errors that come up along the way. 

Reviews

business leadership book Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman business leadership book

Link

Here’s the Amazon link to this book.

2- A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Quick info 

A Promised Land is the story of Barack Obama’s phenomenal rise to the highest position in the US. The book sheds light upon the personal experiences and insights from the 44th president himself. Mostly acting as a memoir,  the book manages to be personal while covering the essential subjects such as national history, inspiration, and the leadership that makes it all happen. 

Author biography

Barack Obama was an effective leader and the 44th president of the United States and was the first African-American commander-in-chief. During his active years, the served two teams in 2008 and in 2012. 

He was born and raised in Hawaii with parents from Kenya and Kansas. He graduated from Columbia University and Harvard Law School, where he was president of the Harvard Law Review. 

After completing his service in the Illinois State Senate, he was elected a U.S senator representing, again Illinois in 2004. 

Why should you have it?

In his book, Obama covers critical concepts like the responsibilities that come with successful leadership, the inevitable obstacles and how to overcome them, while keeping his sense of humour and hopeful attitude toward the future. This book is a high recommend for anyone who’s interested in learning from a wise man’s experiences. 

Reviews

 A Promised Land by Barack Obama business leadership book
business leadership book A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Link 

Here’s the Amazon link to this book.

3- Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

Quick info

Shoe Dog is considered one of the best CEO memoirs by experts today. And when I say experts, I’m talking about the greats like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. They must know what they’re talking about, right?

The books talk about the story of Nike founder Phil Knight, tracking his leadership journey from the very beginning to the creation of the most famous shoe company. Knight demonstrates an honest and candid review of the challenges he faced, going into detail about how he overcame them and how he shaped his relationships and connected with real people along the way to build one of the most impactful brands in the world. 

Author biography

Philip Hampson Knight was born on 1938, February 24. He’s an American billionaire businessman. He’s the co-founder and chairman of Nike, Inc., He graduated from the University of Oregon and Stanford Graduate School of Business. 

With an estimated net worth of US$54.5 billion, Knight was ranked as the 24th richest person in the world by Forbes.

He’s also the owner of the stop motion film production company Laika. 

Why should you have it?

This book is extremely special in that it’s the piece of work in which the Nike founder and CEO Phil Knight shares the inside story of the company’s beginner days as a fresh start-up and its progressive transformation into a globally accepted, one of the most iconic and productive brands. 

If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking for inspiration and encouragement, you’re going to love this book.

Reviews

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight business leadership book
business leadership book Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike by Phil Knight

Link

Here’s the Amazon link to this book.

4- The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win by Maria Konnikova

Quick info

This book by Maria Konnikova really stands out from the other ones on my list since it has a rather different approach to the matter: it’s about poker. 

Are you interested?

Here’s more about it.

While recommended leadership books are mostly memoirs of business leaders, this book talks about poker being a game that focuses on reading -their actions, mimics, behaviors, hand movements, etc- people accurately and keeping that mysterious vibe while doing so. 

The writer focuses on these actions and suggests that they are what all CEOs must practice in their offices and workplaces as well. 

Author biography

Maria Konnikova is the author of The Biggest Bluff, two New York Times bestsellers, one of the Times’ 100 Notable Books of 2020, and is a finalist for the Telegraph Best Sports Writing Awards for 2021. 

She’s now the contributing writer for The New Yorker and her writing continues to win numerous awards, including the 2019 Excellence in Science Journalism Award from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. 

Why should you have it?

The Biggest Bluff is an artwork mostly dealing with human psychology and the basics of persuasion conveyed through the perspective of one woman’s experiences and perception of the world of professional gambling.

Reviews 

The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win by Maria Konnikova business leadership book
business leadership book The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win by Maria Konnikova

Link

Here’s the Amazon link to this book.

5- No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram by Sarah Frier

Quick info

Today, Instagram is one of the most influential companies that continue to create a tremendous impact on our daily lives. Reporter Sarah Frier introduces the readers with a personal look into the organization, tracking the company from infancy to becoming a huge app that people love and use every day.

Author biography

Sarah Frier is a senior technology reporter for Bloomberg News of San Francisco. Her reputation has progressively transformed into a huge success thanks to her award-winning features and breaking stories, telling all about how Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter make business decisions that impact their future and satisfy their users. 

Why should you have it?

This book does a great job outlining the founders’ vision, perspective, and mission, specifically defining the effect of Instagram that has made a huge mark on modern life. If you’re interested in finding out about this amazing story, you should give this book a chance.

Reviews

business leadership book No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram by Sarah Frier
No Filter: The Inside Story of Instagram by Sarah Frier business leadership book

Link

Here’s the Amazon link to this book.


Frequently Asked Questions


What are CEOs reading in 2022?

In 2022, a few of the most popular books among CEOs are:

  • Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management For Mortals By Oliver Burkeman
  • The Awakened Brain: The New Science Of Spirituality And Our Quest For An Inspired Life By Dr. Lisa Miller 
  • Caste: The Origins Of Our Discontents By Isabel Wilkerson 
  • Designing Your Work Life: How To Thrive And Change And Find Happiness—And A New Freedom—At Work By Bill Burnett And Dave Evans
  •  Apples Never Fall By Liane Moriarty

What leadership book should I read to manage a team? 

To have a better understanding of how to manage a team in the most efficient way, there are numerous books that you can read and take advice from. You can read:

  • Leaders Eat Last by Simon Sinek,
  • What Management Is
  • Dare to Lead
  • Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
  • A Promised Land

must read business leadership books

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Suay Çakırca

I'm one of UserGuiding’s creative content writers that work hard every day to come up with 💯 content. I usually write about UX, onboarding, and growth. If you like what you read, let’s connect on LinkedIn to talk more about it! I’ll be replying with my cat on my lap and will most probably pause a movie, but hey, I don't mind at all!

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