Sign in

8 leadership books you need to read

Whether you’re looking for a way to supplement your coaching sessions or searching for answers to challenges you’re facing, leadership books are a great resource to turn to. But with so many different types of leadership books out there, where do you start? 

Below, we share our favorite leadership books for every point in your professional journey. If you want even more book recommendations, along with discussion questions you can use, check out our ebook

Early career 

7 Habits Of Highly Effective People

By Stephen Covey

In 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People, Covey touches on a common societal problem: why many individuals who achieve high levels of success still struggle with feelings of inadequacy. He comes to the conclusion that it all has to do with our own perceptions which, in turn, shape our behaviors. To fundamentally shift our perceptions, he recommends seven habits that will help people become more effective and successful.

Why we recommend this book: 

Even after almost three decades, 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People still remains one of the most widely recommended leadership books of our time. It’s easy to see why, as the concepts in the book are still highly relevant and fundamental to developing good leadership skills. It’s a great read for those who are early in their careers and want to start off on the right foot.


Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance 

By Angela Duckworth 

In this book, Duckworth unpacks years of her research, which shows that grit – the combination of passion and perseverance – is what truly sets people apart when it comes to success. She explains why grit is so important and what you can do to develop this trait. 

Why we recommend this book: 

It may not shock you to learn that passion and perseverance are important elements to achieving success. But it may be helpful to understand the science behind it, not to mention that the recommendations Duckworth provides throughout her book are ones you can carry with you throughout your career – especially during the challenging moments you face as a leader. 


Want to get our full list of leadership books?
Download our ebook today

Mid career 

Purpose Driven Leadership: Building and Fostering Effective Teams 

By Brigette Tasha Hyacinth 

This book serves as a great “how to” guide for building high-performing teams. Hyacinth covers topics from choosing the right team members, creating a shared vision, investing in the development of your employees, and more. There are also tips on how to build and manage remote teams, which is a particularly relevant topic for leaders today. 

Why we recommend this book: 

We think this is a great book for leaders who are looking for more tactical or concrete guidance on how to effectively build teams. While the other recommendations in this section focus more on ideas and concepts, Purpose Driven Leadership is a step-by-step guide for anyone who wants more support on the execution side of things.

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change The Way You Lead Forever

By Michael Bungay Stanier 

In this book, Stanier encourages leaders to make coaching a regular part of their day-to-day to get the most out of their teams. To provide guidance on how to do so, he distills the fundamentals of coaching into seven key questions. These prompts can be easily incorporated into everyday interactions to improve relationships, problem solve, and encourage development.

Why we recommend this book: 

Coaching is one of the most powerful ways to encourage behavior change and positive self development. That’s why, at Torch, we encourage leaders to seek out coaching for themselves. But there are ways that you, as a leader, can also bring the benefits of coaching to your own people – and this book is a great starting point to learn how.

Late career 

Wooden On Leadership: How To Create A Winning Organization 

By John Wooden 

Wooden is known for being one of the greatest American basketball coaches of all time as well as an inspiring leader. In this book, he shares his top 12 lessons in leadership and outlines the mental, emotional, and physical qualities that are needed to build a winning organization.

Why we recommend this book: 

Even though Wooden’s career was in the sports world, his leadership lessons are timeless and applicable to any role or industry. This is a great read for people who are looking for guidance, inspiration, or motivation from a highly-respected and successful leader.

Open Leadership: How Social Technology Can Transform the Way You Lead 

By Charlene Li 

This book helps leaders understand how to operate in an open, authentic, and transparent way in a time when social technologies are dominating the way businesses are run. Yi shares her best recommendations on how leaders can familiarize themselves with and adapt to the world of social networking and other technological advances.

Why we recommend this book: 

Running an organization today looks very different than it did ten years ago thanks to the rise of social technology. We recommend this book for all seasoned leaders so they can understand how to navigate this new world, where they’re expected to balance being open while still maintaining control of their organization.

New role/company

The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter 

By Michael Watkins 

In this book, Watkins discusses the importance of the first 90 days of any career transition and presents strategies for new leaders at all levels to succeed. The purpose of these strategies is to have the most impactful first 90 days and to shorten your overall learning curve in a new role. 

Why we recommend this book: 

Any type of career transition – whether it’s a promotion, new role, or lateral transfer – can feel nerve wracking. That’s why we recommend The First 90 Days for anyone undergoing these changes. It’ll arm you with the strategies you need to feel confident going into a new position and ensures that you’ll make a positive first impression.

Body Of Work: Finding The Thread That Ties Your Story Together

By Pamela Slim

These days, it’s common to have a diverse range of roles and experiences in one’s career – from working in a corporate job to becoming a freelancer to taking on volunteer work. In her book, Slim explains how you can make the connections between your diverse accomplishments, reinvent yourself, and tell the holistic story of your brand. 

Why we recommend this book: 

This is a great read for anyone making a career transition, but especially for those who might be going into a completely new industry or type of job. Slim’s book can help you create a cohesive narrative around your experiences – instead of discounting them as “irrelevant” to your new position.

Leadership books are a wonderful way to improve yourself on a personal and professional level. To access the rest of our favorite leadership books, along with discussion questions to ask during your next coaching or mentoring session, download 18 Leadership Books For Every Stage Of Your Career