Top 10 books a young leader should read (5-1)

You might have stumbled across my earlier post, with the top 10 books from 10-6. If not, click here, and take a read there first. Otherwise, welcome to the top 5 books.

5. Emotional Intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ, Daniel Goleman.


I was challenged with deciding between this book, and Travis Bradberry’s Emotional Intelligence 2.0. Both present some excellent insight into emotional intelligence, by Goleman was my first favourite. In fact, I’d recommend both. Emotional intelligence came at the turn of the century as a pivotal aspect of being an effective person.

From self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management, both of these authors present strong arguments and analogies for practicing emotional intelligence. Goleman goes as far as to say it’s far more important than intelligence and IQ scores.

Add this on to your summer reading list, as number 5 on my top 10 books.



4. Quiet, The power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking, by Susan Cain.

Image result for quiet susan cain

I purchased this book as an extrovert trying to understand an introverted girlfriend. Surprised as I was, I realised I was an introvert masquerading as an extrovert. I learnt why I needed recharge time when none of my friends did. I’m pretty smack bang in the middle of the Myer Briggs Personality Indicators for extrovert-introvert. But it helped to understand more about how I operated. And how others did too.

Susan Cain goes through her own journey, similar to mine, of how she realised she was an introvert. And has since been a fierce advocate for introverts in the ‘extrovert world’. Whether you’re introvert or extrovert, leaders have to understand themselves and their opposites. We aren’t all the same, and recognising what drives behaviour in a big part of the population, helps us lead better.


3. How to win friends and influence people, Dale Carnegie.


I love pairing this book with Susan Cain’s Quiet, and for good reason. In my opinion, this book is the extrovert equivalent to Quiet. Carnegie uses his analysis skills to determine a number of principles that make someone likable. Warren Buffett claims it changed his life, so it can’t be that bad, right?

Carnegie is a salesman, and he does a terrific job of convincing the reader of the value of his principles. Through stories of some of the most prolific leaders, Carnegie tells of the influential person. The person who everyone wants to know. As a leader, it helps to know if you are doing some things which irritate people. It also helps to know what you could be doing to get the best edge on communication exchanges.


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

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.jpg

This one is still one of my all time favourite books, and it is crazy how many times I’ve read this and learnt something new. The seven habits provide transformative lessons in how we can be a better person.

The one that relates most closely to me is the ‘Put First Things First’. Covey’s matrix goes from important and urgent to not important and not urgent. We are required to work in the important and urgent ‘box 1’, the daily and weekly tasks we need to complete now. But Covey argues that working in ‘box 2’ or the important and not-urgent box reduced the time spent doing those daily ‘box 1’s. I also love his philosophy on the ‘win-win’. We love to think in dichotomies: one person wins, one loses. But there is the possibility to think outside that box and think of how both sides can win.


1. True North, by Bill George.

Image result for true north bill george

To be honest, this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to my regular readers. Bill George presents the case for authentic leadership, and how our authenticity defines our leadership. I considered his first book on authentic leadership, from 2002, but this book is more of a practical guide to being a better leader. From a theory perspective, the first is more interesting and insightful, but True North is far more practical.

In a world where we regularly have to work out who we are, it helps to have an understanding of ones’ self. This book helps that process.



I hope you’ve enjoyed this list, please feel free to comment books which should have been added.

Feature image by Sam Greenhalgh.


One thought on “Top 10 books a young leader should read (5-1)

Comments are closed.