The Best Rated Leadership Books (According to Goodreads Data)

best rated leadership books

Leadership is about more than a job title or being ‘top dog.’ It’s a valuable skill for business, management, and day-to-day life. Good leaders can inspire and motivate others to reach their potential. They communicate clearly to bring a team together for a common goal. They make an impact, and they get results.

But is leadership a gift, or something that you can learn?

If you want to develop your leadership skills, you are not alone. Leadership books are a hugely popular genre for people who are striving for personal and professional fulfilment, and for good reason. They contain the wisdom and advice of people who are proven successes.

The resume experts at used Goodreads user data to identify the top 50 best reviewed and most recommended leadership books of all time. You can see the full ranking here:

See image in full size

Their team then purchased all 50 best rated books on Amazon Kindle to find out what readers have found most inspiring. They used the ‘most highlighted’ feature in Amazon’s Kindle to find the most popular quotes, and put them together in bite size chunks of motivational wisdom.

From the power of positive thinking, to practical advice on hard work and perseverance, these leaders and thinkers offer valuable insights for the aspiring leader. Below are the top five most popular leadership quotes to encourage you.

1. Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson

Steve Jobs gave permission for this frank, but tender, ‘warts and all’ biography. He wanted the world to know that even he, as a young and inexperienced technician, once had to ‘fake it until you make it.’

2. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything, by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Using statistics to highlight patterns in human behaviour, Levitt and Dubner suggest that people are driven to act on economic, social, and moral incentives.

3. Outliers: The Story of Success, by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell discusses the factors that worked in some notable success stories, and advocates support and collaboration. He also introduced the idea of the 10,000-Hour Rule, which argues that perseverance over time is the best way to develop skills.

4. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference, by Malcolm Gladwell

Gladwell offers an alternative view in this book, suggesting that, in some cases, a ‘critical mass’ can trigger overnight success. This sociological phenomenon depends on a combination of three factors: word of mouth (nowadays, social media would count), ‘stickiness’ (a memorable quality), and context (right time and place).

5. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Caregie

Possibly the most famous self-help guru of his time, Dale Carnigie made a strong appeal to empathy and making sincere connections with others. At over 80, this book about how to be more likable may be the oldest in the list, but with more than 15 million copies sold worldwide, its influence is undeniable.

These quotes show that, while there isn’t one magic answer to becoming a good leader, it helps to gain an understanding of what makes people tick. It might take a while to read all these books in full, so in the meantime we hope these quotes gave you some food for thought.

Which quote has inspired you the most?