Top 5 Leadership Books For Today’s Leaders

Top 5 leadership books

Leadership books are standard in today’s corporate culture. Since there are so many to choose from, it may be confusing to decide on your next great read/listen. And, I would argue that there is more than a list of top 5 leadership books.

However, you can’t read everything, so it’s better to narrow the list to prioritize your next great reads.

These books are critical to today’s leaders. Each book highlights an element of accountability, habit creation, and communication techniques that are challenging to find in today’s professional environment.

Although good leaders strive to read what they can, it’s not always obvious which books to consider for professional development.

There are many great leadership books, but there are five that stand out from the rest. Here are my top 5 leadership books.


Extreme Ownership

Extreme Ownership

Written by former Navy SEALS Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, Extreme Ownership outlines how accountability creates great leaders. The authors highlight their experiences and apply them to corporate.

Moreover, the concepts Extreme Ownership teaches are life-changing. Leaders must accept responsibility for failure. If something is wrong, then the leader needs to fix it.

Leaders are at their best when they understand a problem and find the solution, and that is the book’s central message.

Mostly, Extreme Ownership makes you think about the areas of your life and how you can improve them by being accountable to yourself.

If you want to read a full review of Extreme Ownership, click here.

Start With Why

Start with why

As one of the greatest leadership minds of our generation, Simon Sinek breaks down why the best companies continue to thrive while others wither away. Success isn’t contingent upon growth or cost-cutting. Instead, companies should exist because they believe in something.

Start With Why expertly explains how good work cultures will find continued success because they want to fulfill their purpose. People thrive off drive and passion, which leaders can provide with the proper direction and motivation.

Additionally, Sinek presents his unique idea about the Golden Circle of safety. The Golden Circle metaphor sustains Sinek’s idea that people need an emotionally comfortable environment in which to work.

Contrary to popular belief, a great work culture doesn’t consist of the best performers in previous jobs or school. Instead, people who believe in the company’s mission and are willing to work for it are the best fits for companies. Sinek emphasizes the Golden Circle idea throughout the book.

Sinek walks the audience through the chemistry of safe work cultures and how leaders can create such environments in their workplaces. As far as leadership books go, this is one of the best.

Read a full review of Start With Why here.

Turn the Ship Around

Turn the Ship Around

Retired Navy Captain David Marquet’s powerful account of his experience as a nuclear submarine captain shows how leaders can either make or break an organization. Marquet’s twist of fate had him commanding the worst submarine in the Navy called the USS Santa Fe.

Commanding the USS Santa Fe required an astute leader with an ability to adapt to changing environments. Turn the Ship Around provides a unique perspective on leadership by persuading leaders to delegate authority to subordinates who have the information. In short, don’t give orders. Delegate responsibility instead.

Marquet’s theme throughout the book is empowerment. The more leaders delegate authority to the information holders, the more successful an organization can become. Although the idea sounds great, it takes a lot of work.

Marquet’s experiences in Turn The Ship Around go against the typical leadership stigma where the leader must have all of the answers and drive the team toward success.

Instead, Marquet’s leader-leader model, where everyone is a leader within their position, causes people to take pride in their work and will then support the organization.

Reading Turn the Ship Around will provide a new perspective for all audiences, whether you’re in a leadership position or not.

Read a full review of Turn the Ship Around here.

The Power of Habit

The Power of Habit

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg describes the habit loop as an individual cycle to make and break habits. In turn, these routines can be hijacked to create new habits that improve personal performance.

Duhigg provided several examples of how we use habits to move throughout our lives. Personal rituals can support organizational practices if channeled effectively.

Duhigg returns to the habit loop often in The Power of Habit. And, more importantly, the book provides adequate solutions for defeating bad habits by replacing them with good ones.

Leaders can apply this habit loop to their organizations. Duhigg’s extensive research shows that companies can use habits to improve their organizations and be successful.

Read a full review of The Power of Habit here.

Brief: Make a Bigger Impact By Saying Less

Brief: Make a bigger impact by saying less

A lesser-known book by Joe McCormack is instrumental in today’s business world. In a corporate culture where meetings are too long, and emails are unclear, Brief is a welcomed relief for any audience.

McCormack offers his audience a way to improve communication drastically. Most people have trouble sitting through hours of meetings when most of those could have been emails anyway. Also, McCormack’s methods for condensing information are critical for today’s bite-sized media consumption model.

More compelling, McCormack’s suggestions to his audiences are revolutionary to today’s digital world. For instance, McCormack advocates for turning off notifications from cell phones to better concentrate on tasks. Also, he advises his audience to prepare thoroughly for briefs and meetings to avoid over-explaining a concept or sales pitch.

Read a full review of Brief here.


These five books can change the way you view leadership. Applying the principles of these books to your leadership style will enable you to better maneuver throughout your workspace to be more effective at your job.

Whichever book you choose, remember that books are here to remind us of past lessons and solve current problems. So, keep reading and see where your literature journey takes you.

What leadership books have you enjoyed? What are your top five leadership books? Thanks for reading!

Image Credit

Featured Image: Oladimeji Ajegbile


6 thoughts on “Top 5 Leadership Books For Today’s Leaders”

  1. Hey Robert,

    Love this article and the books you have discussed. I have read “Start With Why” a number of times, it was one of the first leadership books I ever read in 2008. That was when I really took an interest in leadership and started to study it. I also read “Find Your Why” and that is when I learned my “Why” and my “Just Cause & Vision”.

    I have also read “Turn The Ship Around”. But, it was a while ago so I need to recap with this book and read it again.

    The book “Extreme Ownership” written by a Navy Seal does sound like it would be very interesting and helpful. I love reading books written by military people because leadership is never more important in the military. I will let you know when I get this book and when I read it. I will give it my own review.

    Thank you for sharing these books and keep up the great work with your site.

    All the best,


    1. Tom,

      Start With Why was a game-changing book for me in leadership. I think you’d enjoy Extreme Ownership. Thanks for your comment!


  2. Great selction of books. If the other 4 are anything like the power of habit then they are some good reading material. I just picked up the power of habit and have just started reading it, it is a greata book so far. Our habits determine our outcomes, they deteremine who we will become. It is such an important and simply concept to understand. What you do on a daily basis has serious impacts on your future. Everyone wants everything now, but that is not the way it works. You success is contingent on your daily positive habits. Cheers

    1. Robb,

      All of these books are great for anyone in leadership! I especially enjoyed The Power of Habit as well. Thanks for your comment!


  3. Nothing but praise for the Power of Habit. This book should be republished every year as it has been that good and valuable for me.

    I still finished it yet, but I’m nearly there. It’s genuinely one of those books that’s exceptionally explicit in every area, and it’s honestly amongst the top three books I’ve read so far.

    It speaks a lot about changing bad habits into good ones, and teaches the power and usefulness of rewards. I highly recommend it. If you are fascinated by human behavior and habits, then this book is will, without a doubt, be a great addition to your bookshelf.

    I’ve been struggling to understand why I’m having such a hard time quitting certain behaviors, and this book has unquestionably helped me in that view.

    I highly recommend it, and I promise it will do wonders for you as well.

    1. Gorjan,

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the book! It really is a great addition to any leader’s library. Thanks for your comment!


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