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Top 10 Books on Leadership Every Manager Should Read

Becoming a successful leader requires a range of skills. Regardless of the stage of your management career, reading about new strategies and approaches can help you to improve and become more effective in your role. From management classics, to books on how to improve your presentation and persuasion skills, here are the top 10 books on leadership every manager should read.

1. First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently by Marcus Buckingham

Using insights and findings gathered from Gallup’s study of over 80,000 managers, author Marcus Buckingham reveals what distinguishes a great manager from everyone else. The findings highlight some interesting and surprising facts, including that outstanding managers aren’t afraid to break business rules, regardless of their style or backgrounds. This book is a fantastic guide for those interested in learning how to give effective feedback, as well as the importance of focusing on the strengths of individual team members.

2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

As a manager, effectively communicating, working with, and leading others is essential. However, accomplishing this can be one of the greatest challenges facing managers, especially those just starting out in the role. In this book, Dale Carnegie offers readers simple and actionable ways in which managers at all levels can improve their understanding and communication with others. From understanding how to motivate your team members, to how to persuade them to your way of thinking, this book is a must-read for all those looking to improve their leadership skills.

3. High Output Management by Andy Grove

Regarded by many as a “bible for managers,” High Output Management is an essential read for new managers. In this book, Andy Grove focuses on the numerous challenges which many new managers are confronted with, including having to attend more meetings, dealing effectively with people problems and learning how to support everyone to work more efficiently and cohesively. This book is ideal for anyone making the transition from individual contributor to manager.

4. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating as If Your Life Depended on It by Chris Voss

One of the most important skills that managers require is the ability to negotiate effectively in a range of situations. From negotiating with your team, to negotiating with your own line manager and peers, negotiating is a constant part of a managerial role. In this book, Chris Voss provides readers with effective and actionable tactics that all managers can use.

“The book primarily focuses on the mindset and process of negotiation itself, rooting the tactics in empathy, clearly understanding the person who you’re negotiating with and developing a good rapport. This is a great guide for anyone looking for strategies which they can instantly apply to their management and leadership role,” says Julia Hopper, a writer at Paperfellows and OXEssays.

5. Own the Room: Business Presentations that Persuade, Engage and Get Results by David Booth, Deborah Shames, and Peter Desberg

As a manager, it’s likely that you will have to deliver many presentations. Developing your presentation skills is extremely important, particularly if you want the content to be memorable, help you earn the respect of your co-workers, succeed in securing more resources for your team and effectively communicate your ideas to others. Written jointly by a film director, an actor, and a psychologist, Own the Room, is a great resource for any manager looking to improve their presentational skills. As well as offering insight into how to make the content of your presentations persuasive and engaging, the authors also provide advice on body language and ways to move your body to convey points effectively.

6. Learning to Lead: The Journey to Leading Yourself, Leading Others, and Leading an Organization by Ron Williams with Karl Weber

This book is best suited to those who are beginning their careers and looking to find the best path to leadership. Ron Williams, a successful top health care executive, shares examples from his own career journey with readers, including ways in which he overcame the struggles that confronted him. As well as offering broad philosophical lessons with those embarking upon the management journey, the book also provides readers with tangible and specific advice.

7. Disrupt-It-Yourself: Eight Ways to Hack a Better Business – Before the Competition Does by Simone Bhan Ahuja

Written by innovation expert, Simone Bhan Ahuja, Disrupt-It-Yourself, is a great read for anyone looking to improve and rejuvenate their business and boardroom.

“In this book, Ahuja proposes eight ways in which organizations can innovate from within the business itself, instead of waiting for the competition to jolt you into it. Through broad examples, the book highlights why internal disruption and innovation can help a business to not only survive, but also thrive in the long-term,” says David Phillips, a leadership expert at Assignment Help and Essay Writers.

8. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini

In order to succeed in your management and leadership role, you need to be effective in persuading people to listen to you, follow your suggestions, and take your ideas seriously. In this book, Dr Robert Cialdini examines the core concepts underpinning the art of persuasion, as well as explaining psychological studies which clarify how and why people say yes to new suggestions. Using interviews and personal stories, Dr Cialdini aims to teach readers how to improve their persuasion skills and how to apply them to business communication, as well as wider aspects of daily life.

9. The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups by Daniel Coyle

Creating a positive and inclusive workplace culture is a key part of a leadership role. The notion of a great workplace culture has tended to be dominated by images of tech startup teams, with flexible working hours and post-work get-togethers. In The Culture Code, however, Daniel Coyle examines a diverse range of workplace cultures, including Zappos and the U.S. Navy Seals. He unpicks what makes these organizations’ workplace culture so effective and positive, whilst sharing key learning points which readers can then apply to their own lives and workplaces. This is an ideal read for anyone looking to create a positive workplace environment which is innovative and promotes positivity.

10. The Effective Executive: The Definitive Guide to Getting the Right Things Done by Peter F. Drucker

The Effective Executive was originally written by Peter Drucker, the “father of modern management,” in 1967 and remains a classic guide for managers to this day. The premise of the book centers on one of the simplest, yet hardest to achieve goals of effective management – the ability of leaders to get the correct things done. Drucker outlines five practices which he deems essential for effective business management, including the ability to set priorities and successful time management.


Whether you’re a new manager at the outset of your career, or an experienced leader looking to improve your skills and become more effective in your role, there is a book for you. With practical advice, workplace examples, and interviews, books can provide managers at all stages of their careers with helpful information. With plenty of titles to choose from, it’s never been easier to improve your skillset and become a great leader.

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