Must-Read Books for Business Leaders

June 6, 2015 | Jennifer Goodwyn

Few are natural born leaders. For most people, becoming a powerful business leader takes practice and a willingness to learn from others. Experience is easy enough to come by and can be gained over time, but learning valuable lessons from successful people of varying fields can enrich you with insights that can help to set you apart from others. If you aspire to lead and not follow, check out the five books on this list for inspiration.

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership

Internationally recognized leadership expert and author John C. Maxwell delivers one his best-selling leadership books with 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership. Easy to digest and put into practice, Maxwell lays down the laws of leadership in a clear and concise manner. Whether you decide to put one or all of Maxwell's laws into practice, you'll be sure to be a better leader for it. And, as Maxwell himself says, “Learn them all, and people will gladly follow you.”

Notable Quote: “When the real leader speaks, people listen. The real leader holds the power, not just the position. If you have to tell your people you are their leader, you probably aren't.”

Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization

One of the greatest NCAA coaches of all time, John Wooden, emphasized team spirit, loyalty, enthusiasm and determination and helped his team to win 10 NCAA basketball championships during his coaching career. Having a knack for bringing together players of different backgrounds, he was able to get the best out of all of his players, many of whom looked to him as a father figure.

Notable Quote: “A leader in sports, business, or any other field of endeavor should possess and provide the same qualities inherent in a good parent: character, consistency, dependability, accountability, knowledge, good judgement, selflessness, respect, courage, discipline, fairness, and structure.”

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Considered one of the most inspiring and impactful books ever written, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has had a transformative effect on countless leaders, including Presidents and CEOs. Offering a timeless lesson in leadership and success, Covey will walk you through process involved in making Paradigm Shifts. Broken down, this process consists of independence, interdependence and continual improvement – the desired result of which is meaningful and consistent growth.

Notable Quote: “It's one thing to make a mistake, and quite another thing not to admit it. People will forgive mistakes, because mistakes are usually of the mind, mistakes of judgement. But people will not easily forgive the mistakes of the heart, the ill intention, the bad motives, the prideful justifying cover-up of the first mistake.”

How to Win Friends and Influence People

First published in 1936, Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People is regarded as one of the best self-help books of all time. There's a simple reason as to why this book has been a best seller for decades: when applied, the lessons outlined in this book work. Learn how to be a better leader not just in your professional life but in your personal life as well with this classic book.

Notable Quote: “When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.”

Man's Search for Meaning

Before you can lead others, you have to be able to lead yourself. This can only come through discipline, humility and a sense of purpose. Victor Frankl's life-affirming masterpiece draws on his experiences during the Holocaust and how to find meaning in everything, even suffering.

Notable Quote: “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”