Book Lists

Best Leadership Books of All Time

View all Best Picks for Adults book lists; This list was last updated on 7/9/2013
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1 - 12 of 12 results
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Questions of Character
The hardest tests for leaders challenge their character as much as their skills, and a growing body of research shows that the self-knowledge gained from such tests is critical to leaders' success.

In Questions of Character, Joseph L. Badaracco outlines eight fundamental challenges that test a leader's character, and proposes exploring them through the lens of literature. Badaracco argues that serious fiction provides us with memorable characters facing compelling challenges similar to those that confront business leaders. Through rich analysis of the main characters in The Death of a Salesman, The Secret Sharer, The Last Tycoon, and other stories, Badaracco addresses complex issues leaders face, such as the soundness of their vision, their readiness to take on responsibility, the depth of their compassion, and their ability to manage success.

Presenting classic leadership dilemmas in a novel and valuable light, Questions of Character helps leaders and aspiring leaders prepare for the opportunities and tests before them.
by: Sun Tzu
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The Art of War
Written in China more than 2,000 years ago, Sun Tzu's classic The Art of War is the first known study of the planning and conduct of military operations. These terse, aphoristic essays are unsurpassed in comprehensiveness and depth of understanding, examining not only battlefield maneuvers, but also relevant economic, political, and psychological factors. Indeed, the precepts outlined by Sun Tzu can be applied outside the realm of military theory. It is read avidly by Japanese businessmen and in fact was touted in the movie Wall Street as the corporate raider's bible.
In addition to an excellent translation of Sun Tzu's text, Samuel Griffith also provides commentaries written by Chinese strategists, plus several thought-provoking essays on topics such as the influence of Sun Tzu on Mao Tse-tung and on Japanese military thought, the nature of warfare in Sun Tzu's time, and the life of Sun Tzu and other important commentators. Remarkable for its clear organization, lucid prose, and the acuity of its intellectual and moral insights, The Art of War is the definitive study of combat.
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The Prince
From his perspective in Renaissance Italy, Machiavelli's aim in this classic work was to resolve conflict with the ruling prince, Lorenzo de Medici. Machiavelli based his insights on the way people really are rather than an ideal of how they should be. 3 cassettes.
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Primal Leadership
National bestseller now available in paperback.

Drawing from decades of research within world-class organizations, the authors show that great leaders excel not just through skill and smarts, but by connecting with others using Emotional Intelligence competencies like empathy and self-awareness. The best leaders, they show, have "resonance"--a powerful ability to drive emotions in a positive direction to get results--and can fluidly interchange among a variety of leadership styles as the situation demands. Groundbreaking and timely, this book reveals the new requirements of successful leadership.
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Alive

On October 12, 1972, an Uruguayan Air Force plane carrying a teamof rugby players crashed in the remote snowy peaks of the Andes. Ten weeks later, only sixteen of the forty-five passengers were found alive. This is the story of those ten weeks spent in the shelter of the plane's fuselage without food and with scarcely any hope of a rescue. The survivors protected and helped one another, and came to the difficult conclusion that to live meant doing the unimaginable. Confronting nature at its most furious, two brave young men risked their lives to hike through the mountains looking for help -- and ultimately found it.

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.
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On Becoming a Leader
Deemed “the dean of leadership gurus” by Forbes magazine, Warren Bennis has for years persuasively argued that leaders are not born—they are made. Delving into the qualities that define leadership, the people who exemplify it, and the strategies that anyone can apply to achieve it, his classic work On Becoming a Leader has served as a source of essential insight for countless readers. In a world increasingly defined by turbulence and uncertainty, the call to leadership is more urgent than ever.

Featuring a provocative new introduction, this new edition will inspire a fresh generation of potential leaders to excellence.

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Onward
In this #1 New York Times bestseller, the CEO of Starbucks recounts the story and leadership
lessons behind the global coffee company's comeback
 
In 2008, Howard Schultz decided to return as the CEO of Starbucks to help restore its financial health and bring the company back to its core values. In Onward, he shares this remarkable story, revealing how, during one of the most tumultuous economic periods in American history, Starbucks again achieved profitability and sustainability without sacrificing humanity.
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Team of Rivals
Winner of the Lincoln Prize

Acclaimed historian Doris Kearns Goodwin illuminates Lincoln's political genius in this highly original work, as the one-term congressman and prairie lawyer rises from obscurity to prevail over three gifted rivals of national reputation to become president.

On May 18, 1860, William H. Seward, Salmon P. Chase, Edward Bates, and Abraham Lincoln waited in their hometowns for the results from the Republican National Convention in Chicago. When Lincoln emerged as the victor, his rivals were dismayed and angry.

Throughout the turbulent 1850s, each had energetically sought the presidency as the conflict over slavery was leading inexorably to secession and civil war. That Lincoln succeeded, Goodwin demonstrates, was the result of a character that had been forged by experiences that raised him above his more privileged and accomplished rivals. He won because he possessed an extraordinary ability to put himself in the place of other men, to experience what they were feeling, to understand their motives and desires.

It was this capacity that enabled Lincoln as president to bring his disgruntled opponents together, create the most unusual cabinet in history, and marshal their talents to the task of preserving the Union and winning the war.

We view the long, horrifying struggle from the vantage of the White House as Lincoln copes with incompetent generals, hostile congressmen, and his raucous cabinet. He overcomes these obstacles by winning the respect of his former competitors, and in the case of Seward, finds a loyal and crucial friend to see him through.

This brilliant multiple biography is centered on Lincoln's mastery of men and how it shaped the most significant presidency in the nation's history.
release date: Jan 01, 2005
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Wooden on Leadership

A Wall Street Journal Bestseller

A compelling look inside the mind and powerful leadership methods of America's coaching legend, John Wooden

"Team spirit, loyalty, enthusiasm, determination. . . . Acquire and keep these traits and success should follow."
--Coach John Wooden

John Wooden's goal in 41 years of coaching never changed; namely, to get maximum effort and peak performance from each of his players in the manner that best served the team. Wooden on Leadership explains step-by-step how he pursued and accomplished this goal. Focusing on Wooden's 12 Lessons in Leadership and his acclaimed Pyramid of Success, it outlines the mental, emotional, and physical qualities essential to building a winning organization, and shows you how to develop the skill, confidence, and competitive fire to “be at your best when your best is needed”--and teach your organization to do the same.

Praise for Wooden on Leadership:

“What an all-encompassing Pyramid of Success for leadership! Coach Wooden's moral authority and brilliant definition of success encompass all of life. How I admire his life's work and concept of what it really means to win!”
--Stephen R. Covey, author, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People and The 8th Habit: From Effectiveness to Greatness

Wooden On Leadership offers valuable lessons no matter what your endeavor. 'Competitive Greatness' is our goal and that of any successful organization. Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success is where it all starts.”
--Jim Sinegal, president & CEO, Costco

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Never Give In!
Winston Churchill was the most eloquent and expressive statesman of his time. It was as an orator that Churchill became most completely alive, and it was through his oratory that his words made their greatest and most enduring impact. While the definitive collection of Churchill's speeches fills eight volumes, here for the first time, his grandson, Winston S. Churchill, has put together a personal selection of his favorite speeches in a single, indispensable volume. He has chosen from his grandfather's entire output and thoughtfully introduces each selection. The book covers the whole of Churchill's life, from the very first speech he made to those of his last days. It includes some of Churchill's best-known speeches as well as some that have never before been published in popular form. Today, Sir Winston Churchill is revered as an indomitable figure and his wisdom is called upon again and again. Reading these speeches, from the perspective of a new century, we can once again see Sir Winston Churchill's genius and be moved and inspired by his words.
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Delivering Happiness - A Round Table Comic

In his first comic book, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh shares the different lessons he has learned in business and life, from starting a worm farm to running a pizza business; through LinkExchange (acquired by Microsoft for $265 million), Zappos (acquired by Amazon for over $1 billion in stock), and more.

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Endurance
The astonishing saga of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton's survival for over a year on the ice-bound Antarctic seas, as Time magazine put it, "defined heroism." Alfred Lansing's scrupulously researched and brilliantly narrated book -- with over 200,000 copies sold -- has long been acknowledged as the definitive account of the Endurance's fateful trip. To write their authoritative story, Lansing consulted with ten of the surviving members and gained access to diaries and personal accounts by eight others. The resulting book has all the immediacy of a first-hand account, expanded with maps and illustrations especially for this edition.
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