20 best books on leaders – 2023 reading list & recommendations

Are you looking to be inspired by the lives and stories of great leaders? Look no further! We have curated a list of the top 20 books on leaders that will captivate and motivate you. From biographies of influential figures to insightful guides on leadership strategies, these books offer a wealth of knowledge and inspiration for aspiring leaders. Get ready to dive into the fascinating world of leadership with these must-reads!


by Michelle Obama

Becoming, the captivating memoir by Michelle Obama, is not just any book about leaders. It is a profound exploration of the journey towards self-discovery and empowerment. In this remarkable memoir, Michelle Obama shares her personal experiences as the former First Lady of the United States, offering an intimate glimpse into her life and the lessons she learned along the way.

Leadership: In Turbulent Times

by Doris Kearns Goodwin

Leadership: In Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin is a captivating book about the extraordinary journeys of four remarkable individuals who became iconic leaders in times of crisis. This insightful and thought-provoking book delves into the lives and experiences of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson, shedding light on their unique paths to leadership and the challenges they faced along the way.

Goodwin’s masterful storytelling takes readers on a compelling journey through history, exploring the qualities that make a great leader and the impact they can have on society. Each leader’s story is beautifully woven together, revealing their strengths, vulnerabilities, and the pivotal moments that shaped their decision-making.

What sets this book apart is Goodwin’s ability to humanize these larger-than-life figures, painting a vivid picture of their characters and motivations. She skillfully reveals the complexities of their personalities, showing that even the greatest leaders are not immune to doubt, fear, or mistakes. Through her meticulous research and deep understanding of these leaders, Goodwin offers valuable insights into the art of leadership.

Leadership: In Turbulent Times is an inspiring and enlightening read that goes beyond a mere history lesson. It prompts readers to reflect on their own leadership potential and the qualities they can cultivate to become effective leaders in their own lives. Whether you are a history enthusiast or simply intrigued by the fascinating stories of influential individuals, this book is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the essence of leadership.

The Ride of a Lifetime

by Robert Iger

The Ride of a Lifetime: A Captivating Journey into the World of Visionary Leadership

Welcome to the extraordinary world of Robert Iger, where the magic of storytelling intertwines seamlessly with the art of leadership. In his groundbreaking book on leaders, “The Ride of a Lifetime,” Iger takes us on an exhilarating journey through his remarkable career at the helm of The Walt Disney Company.

Prepare to be captivated as Iger delves into the heart of what it truly means to be a leader. This book about leaders is not your typical corporate memoir; it is a testament to the power of creativity, innovation, and fearless decision-making. Iger’s insights and anecdotes will leave you inspired, enlightened, and eager to embrace your own leadership potential.

Throughout “The Ride of a Lifetime,” Iger shares invaluable lessons learned from his encounters with some of the world’s most iconic figures, including Steve Jobs, George Lucas, and Oprah Winfrey. His ability to navigate complex challenges, seize opportunities, and transform both Disney and himself is a testament to his unwavering commitment to excellence.

From his early days at ABC to his role in the acquisition of Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm, Iger’s leadership prowess shines through every page. His relentless pursuit of innovation, coupled with his unwavering belief in the power of imagination, has made him one of the most respected and admired leaders of our time.

Prepare to be inspired, entertained, and enlightened as you embark on this extraordinary journey with Robert Iger. This leaders book is a must-read for anyone seeking to unlock their own leadership potential and make a lasting impact in their chosen field.

The World as It Is

by Ben Rhodes

The World as It Is is a captivating book about leaders, written by Ben Rhodes, a key figure in Barack Obama’s administration. This insightful memoir offers a rare glimpse into the minds and actions of some of the most influential individuals shaping our world today. Rhodes takes us on a journey through the corridors of power, revealing the challenges and triumphs faced by leaders who navigate the complexities of global politics. Through his vivid storytelling and intimate anecdotes, Rhodes paints a vivid portrait of the world as it truly is – a landscape shaped by the decisions and character of leaders. Whether you are a politics enthusiast or simply curious about the inner workings of power, this leaders book is a must-read that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the individuals shaping our world.

The Art of Leadership

by Michael Lopp

Are you ready to unlock your full potential as a leader? Look no further than The Art of Leadership, a captivating book on the art of becoming an extraordinary leader.

In this insightful masterpiece, Michael Lopp takes you on a transformative journey, exploring the intricate dynamics of leadership and providing you with the tools to excel in any leadership role. Whether you’re a seasoned executive, a budding entrepreneur, or someone aspiring to lead a team, this book about leaders is a must-read.

Lopp’s writing style is refreshing and engaging, making it easy to digest complex concepts. Through real-life anecdotes and relatable examples, he seamlessly blends theory with practical advice, ensuring that you not only understand the principles of effective leadership but also know how to apply them in your own life.

One of the book’s highlights is its emphasis on empathy and emotional intelligence. Lopp underscores the importance of truly understanding your team members, their aspirations, and their challenges. By honing these skills, you’ll be able to foster a culture of trust, collaboration, and innovation within your organization.

Another standout feature of this leaders book is Lopp’s focus on self-awareness and continuous improvement. He encourages leaders to reflect on their strengths, weaknesses, and blind spots, enabling them to evolve and adapt their leadership style as needed. This introspective approach ensures that you remain agile and capable of leading effectively in an ever-changing world.

From communication techniques to decision-making processes, The Art of Leadership covers a wide range of essential topics. Each chapter is thoughtfully crafted, providing practical strategies and frameworks that you can implement immediately.

So, if you’re ready to take your leadership skills to new heights, immerse yourself in this transformative book. With The Art of Leadership as your guide, you’ll be equipped to inspire, empower, and lead with excellence.

The Soul of a Team

by Tony Dungy

The Soul of a Team is a captivating book on leadership that delves into the essence of what it means to be a true leader. Written by Tony Dungy, a highly esteemed football coach and mentor, this book is a treasure trove of wisdom and insight for anyone seeking to understand the true qualities of effective leadership.

The Power Broker

by Robert A. Caro

The Power Broker by Robert A. Caro is a captivating book on leaders that takes readers on a riveting journey through the life of one of the most influential figures in New York City’s history. This groundbreaking masterpiece is far more than just a biography; Caro’s meticulous research and vivid storytelling paint a vivid picture of the immense power and ambition that can shape a city.

The Innovators

by Walter Isaacson

The Innovators by Walter Isaacson is not just another book on leaders. It is a captivating exploration of the brilliant minds and revolutionary ideas that shaped the digital age. In this groundbreaking book about leaders, Isaacson takes us on a mesmerizing journey through the lives of the innovators who created the technologies we now can’t live without. From Ada Lovelace, the world’s first programmer, to Steve Jobs, the visionary behind Apple, this leaders book introduces us to the trailblazers and disruptors who forever changed the way we communicate, think, and live.

The Fifth Risk

by Michael Lewis

The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis is a captivating book about those who hold the reins of power, a true gem for anyone intrigued by the inner workings of our society. In this thought-provoking book on leaders, Lewis delves into the world of those who are responsible for making crucial decisions that affect our daily lives.

The Lean Startup

by Eric Ries

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries is a game-changing book on leaders, entrepreneurs, and anyone looking to challenge the status quo. Ries presents a revolutionary approach to building and growing startups, emphasizing the importance of continuous innovation, rapid experimentation, and customer feedback. This book about leaders encourages readers to adopt a mindset of constant learning, adaptability, and resilience, as they navigate the unpredictable world of entrepreneurship. Ries shares powerful insights, practical strategies, and real-life examples that inspire readers to think differently and take bold actions. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting out, The Lean Startup is a must-read leaders book that will equip you with the tools and mindset needed to succeed in today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business landscape.

The Obstacle Is the Way

by Ryan Holiday

The Obstacle Is the Way: A Book on Leaders

In The Obstacle Is the Way, Ryan Holiday presents a refreshing perspective on leadership, advocating that the very obstacles we face in life can become our greatest opportunities for growth and success. Rather than avoiding or complaining about challenges, Holiday argues that we should embrace them as stepping stones towards achieving greatness.

This book about leaders takes inspiration from the teachings of Stoicism, an ancient philosophy that emphasizes the importance of resilience, mental clarity, and self-discipline. Holiday draws upon the wisdom of Stoic thinkers like Marcus Aurelius and Seneca to guide readers through the art of turning obstacles into advantages.

By examining historical figures such as Amelia Earhart, Thomas Edison, and Abraham Lincoln, Holiday demonstrates how they used adversity to their advantage and emerged stronger as leaders. He emphasizes the power of perception and control over our own reactions, showing how we can transform setbacks into opportunities for growth and innovation.

Throughout the book, Holiday provides practical strategies and techniques for developing a resilient mindset, including focusing on what we can control, finding the hidden opportunities within obstacles, and maintaining emotional balance in the face of adversity. He also highlights the importance of persistence and perseverance, encouraging readers to keep moving forward even when faced with seemingly insurmountable challenges.

With its engaging storytelling, thought-provoking insights, and actionable advice, The Obstacle Is the Way is a leaders book that offers a fresh and empowering perspective on leadership and personal development. It inspires readers to embrace obstacles as opportunities, guiding them towards becoming resilient, determined, and effective leaders in their own lives.

The 48 Laws of Power

by Robert Greene

The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene is a captivating and enlightening book on the art of leadership. With its provocative insights and cunning strategies, this book about leaders is a must-read for anyone seeking to understand the dynamics of power and influence.

The Everything Store

by Brad Stone

The Everything Store: The Ultimate Book on Visionaries

In Brad Stone’s riveting book, ‘The Everything Store’, readers are taken on a captivating journey into the world of one of the most influential figures in modern history. This game-changing book about trailblazers, disruptors, and visionaries unveils the extraordinary story of Jeff Bezos and his relentless pursuit of transforming the way we shop, work, and live.

Stone’s masterful storytelling takes us behind the scenes of Amazon, the e-commerce giant that Bezos founded in his garage and grew into a global phenomenon. The book immerses readers in the fast-paced world of innovation, competition, and ambition, shedding light on the trials and triumphs that shaped Bezos’ rise to becoming one of the world’s wealthiest individuals.

More than just a book on leaders, ‘The Everything Store’ is a testament to the power of audacious vision and unwavering determination. Stone delves into Bezos’ unorthodox leadership style, his relentless focus on customer obsession, and his ability to navigate through adversity and uncertainty.

Through interviews with former colleagues, rivals, and industry insiders, Stone paints a vivid portrait of Bezos and the relentless drive that propelled him to revolutionize not only the retail industry but also cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and space exploration. The book offers valuable insights into the mindset and strategies that have made Amazon a true giant in the business world.

Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or simply interested in the stories of remarkable individuals who changed the world, ‘The Everything Store’ is a must-read. It uncovers the secrets behind Bezos’ success and provides inspiration and lessons for anyone seeking to make a lasting impact in their industry.

So, dive into this captivating leaders book and discover the extraordinary journey of Jeff Bezos – the man who turned a small online bookstore into the everything store.

The Wright Brothers

by David McCullough

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough is a captivating book about pioneers who defied gravity and achieved the extraordinary. This remarkable book on leaders tells the story of two brothers, Wilbur and Orville Wright, who forever changed the course of history with their groundbreaking invention – the airplane.

The Innovator’s Dilemma

by Clayton M. Christensen

The Innovator’s Dilemma, written by Clayton M. Christensen, is a game-changing book about visionary individuals who strive to revolutionize industries. In this captivating masterpiece, Christensen explores the challenges faced by these daring trailblazers, offering invaluable insights into the world of leadership and innovation.

The Hard Thing About Hard Things

by Ben Horowitz

The Hard Thing About Hard Things is an indispensable book on leadership and the challenges that come with it. Written by Ben Horowitz, a renowned entrepreneur and investor, this book offers a unique perspective on the trials and tribulations faced by leaders.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X

by Malcolm X and Alex Haley

The Autobiography of Malcolm X is a captivating and thought-provoking book about the life of one of the most influential figures in American history. Co-authored by Malcolm X himself and Alex Haley, this remarkable autobiography takes readers on a journey through the life of a man who transformed from a troubled youth into a powerful leader.

Unlike any other book on leaders, this autobiography gives readers an intimate look into the mind of Malcolm X as he shares his personal experiences, struggles, and growth. From his early years in Harlem to his time in prison, Malcolm X’s story is filled with raw honesty and unparalleled determination.

Through his powerful storytelling, Malcolm X challenges conventional ideas about race, religion, and equality, making this book about leaders a must-read for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of the civil rights movement and the fight against racial injustice.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X is not just a leaders book; it is a testament to the power of self-education, resilience, and the pursuit of justice. Malcolm X’s transformation from a street hustler to a prominent civil rights activist is an inspiring example of the potential for personal growth and the ability to effect change.

With its profound insights and unfiltered perspective, this book on leaders will leave readers questioning their own beliefs and challenging the status quo. Malcolm X’s legacy continues to resonate today, and this autobiography serves as a powerful reminder of the ongoing struggle for equality and the importance of speaking truth to power.

The Art of War

by Sun Tzu

The Art of War by Sun Tzu is not just any book on leaders, it is the quintessential guide for those who aspire to become great strategists and conquerors. This ancient Chinese masterpiece, often referred to as the ultimate book about leaders, offers invaluable wisdom on the art of warfare and leadership.

Through his timeless teachings, Sun Tzu provides a comprehensive framework for understanding the nature of conflict and how to emerge victorious. This leaders book emphasizes the significance of careful planning, adaptability, and the ability to exploit weaknesses in order to achieve success on the battlefield.

However, The Art of War is not merely a manual for military commanders. It delves deep into the psychology of leadership, offering profound insights into the minds of both leaders and their adversaries. Sun Tzu’s writings teach us that true mastery lies not only in winning battles, but in understanding the motivations and intentions of others.

Moreover, this book on leaders encourages leaders to cultivate discipline, self-control, and the ability to inspire loyalty among their troops. Sun Tzu emphasizes the importance of knowing oneself and one’s enemy, as this knowledge is the key to gaining a strategic advantage in any situation.

Whether you are a military strategist, a business executive, or simply someone seeking to enhance their leadership skills, The Art of War is a must-read. This leaders book will guide you towards achieving victory in all areas of life by imparting invaluable lessons on strategy, leadership, and the art of negotiation.

So, delve into the ancient wisdom of Sun Tzu and discover the secrets of successful leadership. Let The Art of War be your guiding light as you navigate the complexities of the battlefield, both in war and in life.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

by Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a game-changing book on leadership and personal growth that has transformed countless lives. Written by Stephen R. Covey, this timeless masterpiece is more than just a book about leaders; it is a roadmap to becoming a highly effective individual in all aspects of life.

Covey’s approach goes beyond the typical self-help genre, delving deep into the fundamental principles that shape our character and define our success. He introduces us to seven powerful habits that can propel us towards greatness, whether in our personal relationships, professional endeavors, or even within ourselves.

This leaders book is a treasure trove of wisdom, offering practical insights and actionable strategies that can be applied by anyone seeking personal and professional growth. Covey emphasizes the importance of proactivity, encouraging readers to take charge of their lives and make conscious choices that align with their values and goals.

Through the book, Covey stresses the significance of prioritizing what truly matters, managing time effectively, and fostering meaningful relationships. He also emphasizes the importance of continuous improvement, highlighting the need to sharpen our skills and expand our knowledge to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world.

What sets this book apart is its emphasis on character development and the understanding that true effectiveness stems from within. Covey beautifully intertwines principles such as integrity, empathy, and humility with practical strategies, creating a holistic approach to personal and professional success.

Whether you are a seasoned leader, an aspiring entrepreneur, or simply someone looking to enhance your effectiveness, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is a must-read. It is a transformative journey that will empower you to unlock your full potential and become the best version of yourself.

The Leadership Challenge

by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner

The Leadership Challenge is a remarkable book about individuals who aspire to be exceptional leaders. Written by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner, this book on leaders provides a comprehensive guide for anyone looking to enhance their leadership skills.


In conclusion, these 20 best books about leaders offer valuable insights into the minds and strategies of some of the greatest leaders in history. Whether you’re looking to enhance your own leadership skills or simply seeking inspiration, these books are sure to leave a lasting impact. From biographies of influential figures to practical guides for developing leadership qualities, there’s something for everyone. Dive into these books and unlock the secrets of successful leadership!