Linda Goldstein Consulting

The Best Leadership Books in My Library

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Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers”   

~Harry Truman

Staying informed, inspired, and up to date on best practices is essential for effective leadership. There are so many inspirational and educational leadership books out there but, if you’re like me, you have some books that you read over and over again.

Here are the top five most-read books in my leadership library:

“Life’s a Campaign: What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry, Reputation, and Success by Chris Matthews

Political commentator Chris Matthews does a great job of identifying the “tactics, tricks, and truths that help people get ahead” in politics and life. He draws on his years of interviewing the people who lead our country and shares their stories to teach us about leadership, teamwork, and the importance of understanding human nature.   Truly an interesting, entertaining, and enlightening book…and definitely one of my very favorites.

“Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow” by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie

This book is a terrific resource that explains the importance of understanding your own and other’s strengths as well as how to leverage strengths to improve team performance. The authors use real-life stories and experiences to describe how to get the right people on your team and how to use your personal strengths to lead your organization. Learning how to identify and value individual strengths will benefit your team and make you a stronger leader.

“Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln” by Doris Kearns Goodwin

In addition to leveraging the unique strengths of each team member, building a team with diverse perspectives and experience is paramount for its success. President Lincoln chose the most qualified individuals to fill his cabinet despite the fact that most of them disliked him as well as each other. Through his brilliant leadership, Lincoln succeeded in getting his cabinet focused on group goals over individual agendas and to successfully steer our country through one of the most difficult times in our history. The story of how he won his team’s respect, leveraged their talents, and motivated them to work together for the greater good is fascinating.

“Start with Why: How Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action” by Simon Sinek

When you ask someone what he or she does, they usually tell you exactly that…”WHAT” they do. But imagine someone passionately describing why they do something, why it’s important, and why they feel fulfilled doing it. The premise of this book is that all inspirational leaders and organizations see, say, and do things the same…and they all start by describing “WHY”.

“Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth

The best way to describe this amazing book is to quote Dr. Angela Duckworth: “Grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals. Grit is having stamina. Grit is sticking with your future, day-in, day-out. Not just for the week, not just for the month, but for years. And working really hard to make that future a reality. Grit is living life like it’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

 “Grit” is a book that helps you pick yourself up when things aren’t going well, and it reminds you that passion and persistence are the keys to long-term success.


None of us got to where we are today without a little guidance and instruction along the way. I’m eager to hear how you stay on top of your game.


What leadership books are on your favorites list?

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