Were you to ask any great leader in the world for his or her secret to success, the answer would be simple: listening. That's because the best leaders aren't necessarily the best at speaking, in order to dictate, but rather listening, to understand.
Yes, being a leader requires a large drive to learn, which is why I've compiled a list of some of the best books on leadership. Check them out below:
1. "Meetings Suck," by Cameron Herold
Everyone hates useless meetings. You know . . . the ones where you're sitting there not really knowing what to do or say, and feeling that whatever is being said could be consolidated into a single email. They're tedious, frustrating and, quite frankly, a waste of time.
Luckily for us, Cameron Herold, founder of COO Alliance, put together Meetings Suck, a crash course into how to run successful meetings. Herold's crash course includes wisdom on how to make your meetings more productive, as well as resources on conducting them and tips on saving time. And, as an entrepreneur or leader, you'll likely find that Meetings Suck is the perfect introduction on how to bring your team together, starting from day one.
2. "The Art of Seduction," by Robert Greene
As a book lauded by the likes of celebrity entrepreneurs 50 Cent and Jessica Alba, Robert Greene's The Art of Seduction takes a look into the relationship between power and manipulation. While many consider this book a "pick-up artist" piece, Greene offers more, detailing the power dynamics and behaviors for people. Believe it or not, the book actually follows suit with how being a nice guy (or gal) can be a good thing (and also work to your advantage).
3. "The 4 Hour Work Week," by Tim Ferriss
The The 4 Hour Work Week's primary focus is helping you maximize your work efficiency and productivity. The goal is to cut out the clutter and accordingly help you live a more stress-free, successful lifestyle.
4. "The Tanning of America," by Steve Stoute
Perhaps one of the most important books on the relationship between marketing and culture, The Tanning of America dives deep into the relationship between brands and artists (specifically, those in hip hop.) As a member of the Advertising Hall of Fame (as well as the former manager for Nas, Will Smith and Mary J Blige), Steve Stoute dives deep into how culture is shaping advertising and marketing, as well as the success of innovative partnerships.
5. "The Art of the Pitch," by Peter Coughter
Every leader needs to learn Peter Coughter's The Art of the Pitch, to be successful. Coughter walks you through the journey of not just how to write a good pitch or presentation, but also how to tell a captivating story in a concise way. And, as we can all talk for days about the changes we want to make in the world, The Art of the Pitch helps us carve out the meat and potatoes there, empowering us to express our core mission.
6. "The 48 Laws of Power," By Robert Greene
Greene's first hit book, The 48 Laws of Power, goes over a few different sets of laws dealing with power dynamics. These are incredibly useful for anyone striving to be mindful in formulating an approach to leadership.
7. "A People's History of the United States," by Howard Zinn
Usually, the winners of wars are the ones who write history. But Howard Zinn's A People's History of the United States tells the stories of the losing side. Diving deep into the perspective of those who had little power, A People's History is a good way for readers to reflect on holding a well-rounded approach to leadership.
8. "The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People," by Stephen R Covey
Arguably one of the most popular self-help books ever, The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People delivers the basic principles on how to become a more productive person. You can check out a peep of some of them here.
9. "The Lean StartUp," by Eric Ries
The Lean Startup offers advice gleaned from the career of serial entrepreneur Eric Ries. Ries develops a philosophy in the book on how we tend to look at our processes all wrong, leading most companies to failure. Instead, he puts his focus on what the business should represent as well as what people want.
10. "Extreme Ownership," by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin
Written by two former Marines, Extreme Ownership takes the lessons they learned from their time in the service and applies them to business and life. The thesis of the book is to understand how leadership is structured, why it's necessary for every scenario and how to build high-performance, winning teams. This book will give your company structure like no other.
AJ Agrawal is the CEO and co-founder of Alumnify. an alumni-engagement platform.