Becoming a Great Leader (Our 5 Favorite Books on Leadership)

Becoming a great leader

One of the key components of being able to unplug from your business is to develop a tight and passionate team of A players. The only way to do that is to truly inspire them to run your business for you.

And you do that by becoming a great leader.

But just like everything else in business, there is no one golden rulebook on how to be a great leader. 

Instead, educating yourself and developing your OWN leadership skills and style is the key to becoming the leader that your team and customers need you to be.

Luckily, there are many books on management and motivation that can help inspire and guide you as you strive to improve your leadership. 📚

In no particular order, here are a few of our favorite books on leadership from some incredible authors. Add them to your ever-growing digital library today!

Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek (2014)

“Like the Spartans, we will have to learn that our strength will come not from the sharpness of our spears, but from our willingness to offer others the protection of our shields.”

We start this list with a classic New York Times bestselling book from the British-American author and inspirational speaker Simon Sinek. (Check out his iconic TED talk on leadership, which remains one of the most watched in the history of the media organization).

In this book, Sinek offers recipes on how to become a great leader. 

The title refers to the tradition that, in US military mess halls, officers eat last while junior marines eat first. The message here is that great leaders take care of others. They sacrifice their own comfort and even survival for the good of the teams they lead.

The book is packed with similar metaphors and interesting case studies from outside the world of business. It offers glances at the leadership styles of legendary figures including Ronald Reagan, Newt Gingrich, Steve Jobs, and Stanley O’Neal. A must-read!

Good Leaders Ask Great Questions – John C. Maxwell (2014)

“Good leaders ask great questions that inspire others to dream more, think more, learn more, do more, and become more.”

In Good Leaders Ask Great Questions, John C. Maxwell – the bestselling author, coach, and speaker – explores how asking questions can change your business life. It’s a simple but powerful concept that has helped us improve our leadership in business over the years. 

Through the pages, you will learn more than 70 questions that you can ask both yourself as a leader, and your team as you aim to connect with them on a deeper level.

Questions asked (and answered!) within the book include: “What are the top skills required to lead people through difficult times?”, “How do I get started in leadership?”, and “How do I motivate an unmotivated person?”. 

With such a wide scope, this book is as good for veteran leaders as it is those completely new to the business of leadership.

Reinventing Organizations – Frederic LaLoux (2014)

“Extraordinary things begin to happen when we dare to bring all of who we are to work.”

Considered one of the most influential management books of the last decade, Reinventing Organizations explores different paradigms of human organization through the ages.

Simultaneously, it introduces ‘teal organizations’ – where management is based on worker autonomy and peer relationships.

Originally published in 2014, Frederic LaLoux’s handbook has since inspired thousands of organizations to adopt more soulful and purposeful methods of running their companies.

Make no mistakes, the in-depth original is a modern classic. However, we recommend checking out the 2016 iteration! This version is beautifully illustrated and slightly simplified to make it more accessible for the busy entrepreneur. One of the best books on leadership you will read!

Extreme Teams – Robert Bruce Shaw (2017)

“Almost all great achievements, in business and society, are the result of small groups of people working together to achieve ambitious goals. Teams, not individuals, make the difference.”

Robert Bruce Shaw is a consultant who specializes in building high performance teams. Through the highly-rated Extreme Teams he demonstrates how you can do the same by focusing on the philosophies used by a handful of iconic companies.

The author classes these companies (including Pixar, Netflix, Airbnb, Whole Foods, and Patagonia) as “2.0 Teams”. These are a new breed of teams experimenting with innovative approaches to outperform their competitors.

It’s not solely an exploration of what others do well, as the author also provides practical suggestions that you can use to engage your own team and improve performance.

Drive – Daniel H. Pink (2009)

“Greatness and nearsightedness are incompatible. Meaningful achievement depends on lifting one’s sights and pushing toward the horizon.”

Subtitled ‘The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us’, Drive is a multi-bestseller that turns motivation on its head.

Author Daniel H. Pink outlines arguments against the carrot-and-stick approach to motivation, which can quickly turn play into work.

He offers an alternative that resonates more with what humans really crave: to direct our own lives. The focus then shifts to the three elements of true motivation: autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

In the latter stages, Pink offers a toolkit. This provides practical exercises for improving yourself and your organization, as well as questions to ask in your book club. It even provides a digestible summary of the book, which – the author says – “will help you fake your way through a cocktail party”!

We’ll drink to that!🍸


Have we tempted you to add some new books to your library? Be sure to read our guide to building a healthy reading habit for tips on how to read and absorb more of these incredible books on leadership.

Questions? Comments? We’re here for you at!

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