Best leadership books

5 of the Best Leadership Books

Looking for some leadership inspiration? Just grab a comfortable seat and one of these books.

Leadership is a necessary skill in today’s business. Leaders who hustle faster than the most talented ringmaster are generally the best prepared to direct the show. Recently, one of our empowered ambitious women asked us a simple question. She was queen of the hustle but had hit a wall. Feared she was getting stale she needed to reinvigorate herself before letting this mindset take hold.

Doing a great job as a senior manager Jane wasn’t looking to reinvent the wheel. She just needed a mental boost, but the trouble was finding the right type of boost. Numerous massages and relaxation sessions had no long-term effect (although, boy was she feeling much like Miranda Kerr after each pamper session!).

There was one question we asked which opened Jane’s mind to a whole new way forward. The question;

“Have you read any good leadership books lately?”

Many women believe they don’t have the time to invest in a “privilege” like reading. But sharpening your skills can often be as easy as picking up a paperback, and it is more beneficial than you think.

Our team at Empowering Ambitious Women have sourced the net and done our research to come up with five of the best leadership books to get you started.

Black Box Thinking – by Matthew Syed

In this book, author Matthew Syed argues that to be successful you must acknowledge, and have a willingness to engage with, failure. The book advocates for changing an attitude towards failure and understanding that the only way we learn is by practice and altering our behaviour based on results.

Matthew highlights individuals such as David Beckham and organisations like Dropbox who have been successful in embracing the “black box approach” to improvement.

The Virgin Way: Everything I Know About Leadership – by Sir Richard Branson

Already embraced by many for his leadership attributes, Sir Richard Branson has put his thoughts on paper to share with the world.

While building his empire, Sir Richard never shielded away from seemingly outlandish challenges, many of which were questioned by his own colleagues as sheer lunacy. He has challenged giants like British Airways and won whilst beaten by others like Coca-Cola. Now he gives us an inside look into his leadership journey – fun, family, passion and the dying art of listening being key components to “the Virgin way”.

Dropped out of school at only sixteen, a sufferer of dyslexia, and only ever have worked for himself. Sir Richard Branson admits he has never read a book on leadership in his life. So, expect anything and everything in his tell-all.

Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World – by Adam Grant

Author Adam Grant is a professor at the Wharton School of Business in the USA. He challenges several invaluable leadership questions in this book;

  1. who does original work?
  2. what are the conditions that help individuals and companies innovate?
  3. what conditions must be present for original ideas to take root?

With research-backed ideas, Grant delves deep into how each of us can be more original as leaders. This is a great reference piece for anyone battling to think up new ideas and concepts.

The Next Generation of Women Leaders: What You Need to Lead but Won’t Learn in Business School – by Selena Rezvani

In this book author Selena Rezvani interviews female executives employed in various industries, roles and job functions. She uncovers how these women navigate leadership offering tools and information to help up-and-comers shape their careers. These stories are geared towards women however, many touch on the value of mentorship and will resonate with both sexes.

Stronger: Develop the Resilience You Need to Succeed – by George Everly Jr and Douglas Strouse

A Navy SEAL, a stress management expert and an entrepreneur are not your regular mix however they got together to explore a leadership dynamic that helps people rise above adversity and excel under pressure.

After interviewing more than one thousand people working in high-stress professions, this team identified the traits which define the most resilient breed of people on Earth. See how you can develop the same attributes at any age to lead successfully in any situation.

Now, I pose the question to you. Have you read any good leadership lately?

Reading the right books is a self-development tool, not a privilege. Books can help move things forward in a consistent nature and craft frameworks nimble enough to be used time and time again.

If it’s getting real take some time out with a good book. Run a bath, get out the sunbed; whatever takes your fancy. Just make a priority to put time aside and get your own spot of inspiration, paperback-style.


To purchase these leadership books and more, following are some online bookstores you might like to check out:

If you have read a good leadership book that has inspired you, please share your thoughts with us below.

Over to you...

Leave your comment below. We'll respond to each and every comment.

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I am a Mum, business founder, author and accomplished CEO with over 20 years’ experience in the corporate world. My childhood dream was to become a fighter pilot, but when that didn’t materialise, I found my place in the corporate world, climbing the sales and marketing ladder to my role as CEO of Cox & Kings Australia.

I'm the founder of Empowering Ambitious Women, I've led start-ups to companies with annual revenues from $55 million to more than $250 million. My role as CEO of Australia’s leading franchise network of professional builders saw me as a pioneer in the industry; as a female CEO leading a large franchise home building company.

I was formally recognised twice by the Telstra Business Women's Awards my achievements in business.

As a woman who became one of the 16% of female CEOs, and who has led in male-dominated industries, I’m passionate about creating pathways for women leaders to step up, take a seat at the table and own it.

I love; French champagne, socialising, dining out and having an impact...

4 thoughts on “5 of the Best Leadership Books”

  1. I’ve been using October to read as many books such as these and it’s quite literally changed my attitude about life! It’s been an amazing month. Right now it’s Rose Abrams’ bio called Pieces of Me. If her story doesn’t empower you then nothing will. Talk about someone who had a awful childhood to become who she is now, this will inspire without a doubt. is her book page, but the book itself is just too good!

    1. Hi Ellen, Good on you for reading as many books as you have in October! Reading is one of our top habits for a growth mindset. We’ll check out Rose Abrams’ book; thanks for the recommendation. Cheers, EAW team. xx

  2. Thanks for the shout out, Caroline. I’m thrilled my book, The Next Generation of Women Leaders, resonated. It was a joy to research in all those 1:1 interviews/mentoring sessions! Selena

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