The 29 Books Leaders Must Read to Master Key Skills

Corinna Hagen
18 min readMay 28, 2021

Leadership can be a loaded term. Ask someone what it takes to be a leader, and you’ll likely get different responses. However, there is an expectation for leaders, including a skillset leaders are assumed to master.

So, I’ve taken the time to carefully craft a list of recommended literature along those expectations. Then I combined it with the topics most frequently requested in coaching.

This article organizes 29 of the most influential leadership books into eight categories.

1 — Leading Thought

“It’s not an accident that successful people read more books.” Seth Godin

2 — Grow Your Leadership In These Areas

Reading is vital to your growth as a leader, personal development, and those you will lead. This statement rings especially true if you want to be successful in your organization. Understanding the principles taught in books read by other successful leaders will help you lead well and navigate challenging territory.

To keep it simple, I have organized the recommended leadership books into eight categories. These categories keep coming up most frequently in our coaching conversations. This table of contents should help you quickly navigate to the segment of most interest to you:

Table of Contents (Book Categories):
· Productivity & Time Management
· Communication
· Influence
· Confidence
· Management Principles
· Leading Teams
· Leadership Balance
· Entrepreneurship

3 — The Most Influential Books for Emerging Leaders

Productivity & Time Management

Getting Things Done: the art of stress-free productivity is a must-read on productivity and a timeless classic. Learn how to get rid of ‘busy’ and gain control of your life and work. The author gives readers a practical toolset to overcome procrastination, get organized, manage priorities (vs. them…



Corinna Hagen

Founder of, an executive communication firm. I write about leadership and business communication 1 x month in the “Leading Choices” newsletter.