As I’m often asked for book recommendations on various subjects, I decided to put together an online list of my top ten books in various categories. Basically, if I was only allowed 10 books in my library on that subject, these are the ten I would choose. Other posts include:

Today I’m listing the Top 10 Books on Leadership. Although not specifically Christian books, when read through the spectacles of the Bible you can read these books with great profit for every leadership role, including pastoral ministry. I’ll follow up with a separate list of books on Christian leadership.

These are the books I encourage my teenage sons to read to set them up for maximum usefulness in their homes, workplaces, and the church.

You may also want to see the leadership resources here:

After this Top 10 list you’ll find a poll where you can cast three votes for your favorite books and help others choose the best books on the subject. Click on “View Results” to see what books are most popular.

You can also add any book not on the list by writing the title in “Other” or in the Comments  I’ll add these to the end of the post under “Reader Suggestions.”

1. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by Dave Allen.

Still the go-to book for organizing to-do lists and maximizing time-management. You’ll probably not implement all the details of Allen’s system, but you’ll learn principles and practices that you can apply to whatever role you are in – from homemaker to pastor to house-builder to CEO.

2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change by Steven Covey.

I re-read this book quite regularly and always learn something new from it. Covey starts with personal management before moving on to personnel management, character before conduct and contact – a vital order.

3. The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker.

Some overlap with Getting Things Done, but simpler and more focused on decision-making.

4. Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward by Henry Cloud.

Deals with the unpleasant but vital area of letting people (and plans) go when they are not working out. Some outstanding advice on how to decide who and what is working out or not. Takes a persuasive positive approach by arguing the benefits to everyone of “necessary endings.” I previously summarized chapter 7 in this book in Wise or Foolish? One Simple Test. See also Cloud’s Boundaries: When To Say Yes, How to Say No

5. Digital Leader: 5 Simple Keys to Success and Influence by Erik Qualman

So important for anyone with any leadership role to understand the powerful influence of using digital technology well. Heres A Digital Dictionary For Leaders and 10 Digital Commandments I gleaned from this book.

6. The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor.

Might seem like an odd choice for a list of books on leadership, but Shawn Achor makes a compelling (and entertaining) scientific and statistical case for the productivity of happiness.

7. Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman.

So important when interacting with and managing other people. Way more important than IQ, and most encouragingly can be developed and grown. See also Goleman’s Focus: The Hidden Driver of Excellence.

8. Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality by Scott Belsky.

So many churches could do with a good dose of this book. We usually have plenty of visionaries and dreamers, but how to get there….? This book is about execution, execution, execution.

9. Organizing from the Inside Out: The Foolproof System For Organizing Your Home, Your Office and Your Life by Julie Morgenstern.

This book is about managing your space, your desk, your office, your files, etc. Time Management from the Inside Out (also by Morgenstern), applies the same principles to managing and organizing time. And her Never Check Email In The Morning takes a closer look at managing email.

10. View From the Top: An Inside Look at How People in Power See and Shape the World by D. Michael Lindsay.

This book is the result of a remarkable 10-year study of 550 top American leaders from all walks of life. It provides a wealth of fascinating statistics, a treasure trove of personal anecdotes, and some priceless quotations from well-known leaders. I was astounded by the access granted to Lindsay and by what he was able to draw out of his normally hyper-cautious interviewees. If you want to know how the most influential people in our culture got there, and how they think and operate, you will love and and profit from this book.
Now you decide, what are your favorites? You can cast three votes and write a book in “Other” if it’s not on the list and I’ll add it to Reader Suggestions below.

Reader Suggestions

What would you add to the list and why?

Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting out of the Box

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  • Scott

    Hi David, in addition to your list, I would add: Leadership and Self-Deception from the Arbinger Institute. I have found that through a very practical, easy to read, non-Christianese story, this book presents powerful gospel foundations for reflection and action. I think a key to leadership (and life) is to see oneself and others through the lens of the gospel. This book gets to that core but not in an overt Christian way, instead, it is through a business example.

    • David Murray

      Thanks Scott. I added it.

  • Bob Browning

    I was a little surprised to not see Al Mohler’s book Conviction to Lead. I would highly recommend it.