10 Powerful Books for Aspiring Leaders

We had a lot of fun creating this reading list of the best leadership books for our amazing readers at Everyday Power.

As I travel and speak to students at colleges and universities across the country, I’m often asked what the best leadership books for a young leader to read.

I love answering this question, because it shows that the individual asking is hungry to learn and understands that there is wisdom from history that he or she can gain.

Years ago, I created a list of “Must-Reads” for established leaders.

Today, I’m sharing what I consider great reads for emerging leaders.

A collection of the best leadership books for young professionals.

These leadership books are not only beneficial to teens and twenty-somethings who aspire to become capable role models, they are also helpful to any young person beginning their career journey.

Also, check out our collection of inspirational leadership quotes for more insights.

Best Leadership Books For Future Leaders

1. Leadership and Self-Deception, by the Arbinger Institute

This is often the first book I recommend to a student who has begun their leadership journey.

It’s a parable about a self-absorbed man who learns to get beyond himself.

I love this book because it helps young people to see leadership as a selfless act, and to truly think of others first.

Best Influential Books for Emerging Leaders

2. The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey

This classic by the late Stephen Covey covers seven key habits that successful people in any industry have chosen to embrace: priorities, decision making, goals, etc.

Best Influential Books for Emerging Leaders

3. How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

Although this book was written decades ago, it’s truly a classic.

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It covers timeless truths for engaging people and earning the right to be heard.

I recommend it because it contains simple lessons in emotional intelligence.

As research has proven, emotional intelligence and soft skills (rather than just a high GPA) are what people need to succeed in today’s world.

Best Influential Books for Emerging Leaders

4. Drive, by Daniel Pink

I believe leaders must understand their people before they lead them.

This book helps young leaders understand how human motivation has changed over time: from carrots and sticks (rewards and punishment) to the longing for autonomy, mastery, and purpose.

Best Influential Books for Emerging Leaders

5. Managing Up, by Rossane Badowski

This is one of the most influential books every young leader should read due to the simple fact that most young adults are going to start their career under the leadership of others.

Badowski talks about how to influence and lead when you’re not the “boss”.

It’s about healthy relationships, trust, and value.

Best Influential Books for Emerging Leaders

Best Leadership Books for Young Professionals

If you’re enjoying this article, be sure to check out our collection of the best motivational books for personal development.

6. The 360-Degree Leader, by John C. Maxwell

This book explains the concept of how we influence all those around us, and how people can still become influential without a lofty title or position.

Today’s students and young professionals need to understand that leadership must be earned through positive influence.

Best Influential Books for Emerging Leaders

7. Made to Stick, by Chip and Dan Heath

This is a timely book on how to communicate effectively.

Researchers say much of the next generation will need to work on this skill before entering the workforce, as technology has not helped them develop this muscle.

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It is researched-based and full of case studies on what makes communication memorable and life-changing.

Best Influential Books for Emerging Leaders

8. Talent is Never Enough, by John C. Maxwell

One of the best influential books to help young leaders build characteristics and habits in life that don’t require talent.

Ultimately, this should enable them to capitalize on their gifts. Very inspirational!

Best Influential Books for Emerging Leaders

9. The One Thing You Need to Know, by Marcus Buckingham

This book, written by the king of “strengths-based” leadership, focuses on the single most important element for successful life and leadership.

I recommend it to emerging leaders because it simplifies the journey and offers applicable life examples.

Best Influential Books for Emerging Leaders

10. Habitudes®—Images That Form Leadership Habits and Attitudes, by Tim Elmore

At the risk of sounding self-serving, I also recommend “Habitudes®” to emerging leaders who desire to understand timeless principles of leadership via stories and images.

Best Influential Books for Emerging Leaders

Which of these best leadership books will you read first?

Did you enjoy our collection of the best leadership books?

What other influential books do you recommend to fellow emerging leaders?

We would love to hear your ideas and comments.

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