Wisdom of the LinkedIn crowd on the best leadership books.

The Leadership Think Thank on LinkedIn launched in January the interesting question: “What are your favorite books on leadership?”

I made a first summary on April 1st. This is an update two months later:

1) The question has now 492 (+ 177) comments. 364 (+ 125) different books got in total 686 (+ 167) votes. The diversity even grew from 0,57 to 0,53 mean vote per book.

2) Most books are written by (anglo-)american authors. Only 17 others. Not very diverse!

3) The % of personal leadership books even rose from 59 to 60. From very down to earth tips and tricks (“Talk and grow rich”) over more elaborated  (“The 7 habits”) up to spiritual personal development (“The leader who had no title”).

4) 18 (-1) % deals with organisational theory and or leadership (Peter Senge, Dave Ulrich…)

5) 11 (-1) % refer to biographies from leaders (Jack Welch! Richard Branson!) or non business leaders (Shackleton!)

6) 7 (+ 2) % are about other, more general topics (EQ!), 3 (-1) % about ancient wisdom (The Bible!) and 1 % on literature.

The top 5 books remains the same:

1) “The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership.” (John Maxwell) 30 (+ 9) votes
2) “The 7 habits of the most effective people.” (Steven Covey) coming close with 26 (+ 8) votes
3) “Good to great.” (Jim Collins) 16 (+ 5) votes
4) “The leadership Challenge.” (James Kouzes & Barry Posner) 16 (+7) votes
5) NEW: “The one minute manager” (Ken Blanchard) 13 votes

Our former #5 now falls back to # 11 “The art of war.” (Sun Tzu)  9 (+1) votes. Coming up strong: Robin Sharma’s “The Leader who had no title.” with 11 votes.

Maxwell & Covey continue to rule if we take their other books into account with resp. 51 (+16) and 42 (+14) votes.

I can personally recommend this top 5 except for John Maxwell. I’ve ordered it meanwhile but still have to read it. I don’t like the ‘recipe-for-success’ idea behind it. On top of my book pile are now also:

– “Tribal Leadership: leveraging natural groups to build a thriving organization” by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright (because of the growing importance of natural leadership)
– “Leadership and the new science: discovering order in a chaotic world” by Margaret Wheatley (same reason, backed up by biology & quantum physics)
– “The book of 5 rings” by Miyamoto Musashi (Samourai wisdom!)
– “The case of the Bonsai Manager – lesson for managers on intuition” by R. Gopalakrishnan (one of the two Indian leadership books on the list!)

Any comment?


About Koen Marichal

Director Future Leadership Initiative at Antwerp Management School
This entry was posted in Comments & events, English and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Wisdom of the LinkedIn crowd on the best leadership books.

  1. Pingback: Leadership thought 9: Fools rush in where angels fear to thread (A. Pope) | Thefutureleadershipinitiative

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