Leaders need to be constantly learning. By continually growing and learning, leaders become stronger and better leaders. This is a list of some of the leadership books that I have read that have inspired my own leadership development.
I would encourage you to check out my other lists of recommended books as well, because a leader should learn all that he/she can. But I'd start with these, because they teach some of the best information on leadership.
I will add to this list as I read more, but if you have one that you think I should read, let me know! If you read one of these or have a suggestion for me, tag me on Instagram or Twitter with @kylewierks or on Facebook at Great North Dynamics.
Below this list, I have written my thoughts on each book.
Ever heard of Pixar Animation Studios? Yeah, so has just about everyone else. Creativity, Inc. is a one-of-a-kind book co-authored by Ed Catmull, the head of Pixar. This book is half history of Pixar and half leadership development. The history part is a fascinating story of hard work, creativity, and success (it could probably fit in the success and creativity sections as well). The leadership section can get quite dry, but there are leadership principles heavily salted throughout that make reading the story of Pixar a leadership learning experience. If you've ever wanted to learn about how to build a creative company or lead a creative team, look no further. I can't say I agree with all the principles in this book, but I loved most of them and was challenged by all of them. This is worth a read. And a second read. And even more reads for a refresher.
This is a classic in leadership books. There are few people as well-respected on the topic of leadership as John Maxwell. This book is a must-read for all leaders, whether you are just starting out or you've been leading for a long time. Like most books that I read, I don't agree with everything the author says (I even disagree with the theses of one or two of his irrefutable laws), but if you ever read a book where I agree with everything, you're not thinking for yourself. I have to say, this book gets better as it goes on. The second half is packed full of awesome information and challenging subject matter. I cannot recommend it enough.
Leadership is an Art is considered a classic of leadership books and is a seminal writing in many leadership courses. What I loved about this book was that it was written by the owner and leader of a successful 20th century manufacturing company. This is not a book about fancy new techniques that cater to a new generation or a specific industry; the lessons in this book were drawn from decades of hard work in the trenches of leadership, leading a company of thousands of employees, building a company that built furniture. This is about as blue-collar as you can get in leadership books, and I found it refreshing.