25 Classic Leadership Books

I’m often asked to recommend great leadership books… and since I love lists, here’s my list of the 25 “must have” leadership books. If you just had these books on your shelf going into 2011, you’d be well versed in a variety of leadership techniques, stories, models and best practices. Of course, new leadership books arrive literally every week (there are hundreds published each year) so you might have to keep adding to the list to stay up to-date. But in my opinion, these 25 represent essential reading on our favorite topic.

Here’s the list, in no particular order – how many of these are on your bookshelf?

  1. The Practice of Management – Peter Drucker
  2. The One Minute Manager – Ken Blanchard & Spencer Johnson
  3. On Becoming a Leader – Warren Bennis
  4. In Search of Excellence – Tom Peters & Robert Waterman
  5. Credibility – James Kouzes & Barry Posner
  6. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – Stephen Covey
  7. Leading Change – John Kotter
  8. Built to Last – Jim Collins
  9. What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There – Marshall Goldsmith
  10. First, Break all the Rules – Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman
  11. Made to Stick – Dan & Chip Heath
  12. Leadership is an Art – Max DePree
  13. Emotional Intelligence – Daniel Goleman
  14. The Extraordinary Leader – Jack Zenger & Joe Folkman
  15. The Lessons of Experience – Morgan McCall, Michael Lombardo, Ann Morrison
  16. Execution – Larry Bossidy & Ram Charan
  17. Results-Based Leadership – Dave Ulrich, Jack Zenger, Norm Smallwood
  18. Competing for the Future – Gary Hamel & C.K. Prahalad
  19. The Leadership Engine – Noel Tichy
  20. The Power of Full Engagement – Jim Loehr & Tony Schwartz
  21. Winning – Jack Welch
  22. It’s Your Ship – Michael Abrashoff
  23. Why CEO’s Fail – David Dotlich & Peter Cairo
  24. Resonant Leadership – Richard Boyatzis and Annie McKee
  25. Authentic Leadership – Bill George