After giving speeches and seminars I am often asked during the question and answer period, or later as I chat with people one-on-one, what books about leadership that I would recommend for purposes of personal leadership development. Here they are:


“A First-Rate Madness: Uncovering the Links Between Leadership and Mental Illness” by Nassir Ghaemi. The Penguin Press, New York, 2011.

“Drucker on Leadership: New Lessons from the Father of Modern Management” by William A. Cohen. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 2009

“Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box” by The Arbinger Institute, 2010.

“Leadership and the New Science: Discovering Order in a Chaotic World” by Margaret J. Wheatley. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2009. (3rd edition).

“Mary Parker Follett: Prophet of Management” edited by Pauline Graham. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press, 1995.

“Punished by Rewards: The Trouble with Gold Stars, Incentive Plans, A’s, Praise, and Other Bribes” by Alfie Kohn. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1999.

“Seeing Systems:  Unlocking the Mysteries of Organizational Life” by Barry Oshry. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2007.

“Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance? Leading a Great Enterprise through Dramatic Change” by Louis V. Gerstner, Jr.  HarperBusiness, 2003.

Frankly, I find that I often learn the most about leadership by reading about historical events and how leaders shaped them. If you like history, and want to study leadership via reading about history, go here:  Leadership in History