The Leadership Think Thank on LinkedIn launched in January the interesting question: “What are your favorite books on leadership?”

I made a first summary on April 1st. This is an update two months later:

1) The question has now 492 (+ 177) comments. 364 (+ 125) different books got in total 686 (+ 167) votes. The diversity even grew from 0,57 to 0,53 mean vote per book.

2) Most books are written by (anglo-)american authors. Only 17 others. Not very diverse!

3) The % of personal leadership books even rose from 59 to 60. From very down to earth tips and tricks (“Talk and grow rich”) over more elaborated  (“The 7 habits”) up to spiritual personal development (“The leader who had no title”).

4) 18 (-1) % deals with organisational theory and or leadership (Peter Senge, Dave Ulrich…)

5) 11 (-1) % refer to biographies from leaders (Jack Welch! Richard Branson!) or non business leaders (Shackleton!)

6) 7 (+ 2) % are about other, more general topics (EQ!), 3 (-1) % about ancient wisdom (The Bible!) and 1 % on literature.

The top 5 books remains the same:

1) “The 21 irrefutable laws of leadership.” (John Maxwell) 30 (+ 9) votes
2) “The 7 habits of the most effective people.” (Steven Covey) coming close with 26 (+ 8) votes
3) “Good to great.” (Jim Collins) 16 (+ 5) votes
4) “The leadership Challenge.” (James Kouzes & Barry Posner) 16 (+7) votes
5) NEW: “The one minute manager” (Ken Blanchard) 13 votes

Our former #5 now falls back to # 11 “The art of war.” (Sun Tzu)  9 (+1) votes. Coming up strong: Robin Sharma’s “The Leader who had no title.” with 11 votes.

Maxwell & Covey continue to rule if we take their other books into account with resp. 51 (+16) and 42 (+14) votes.

I can personally recommend this top 5 except for John Maxwell. I’ve ordered it meanwhile but still have to read it. I don’t like the ‘recipe-for-success’ idea behind it. On top of my book pile are now also:

- “Tribal Leadership: leveraging natural groups to build a thriving organization” by Dave Logan, John King and Halee Fischer-Wright (because of the growing importance of natural leadership)
- “Leadership and the new science: discovering order in a chaotic world” by Margaret Wheatley (same reason, backed up by biology & quantum physics)
- “The book of 5 rings” by Miyamoto Musashi (Samourai wisdom!)
- “The case of the Bonsai Manager – lesson for managers on intuition” by R. Gopalakrishnan (one of the two Indian leadership books on the list!)

Any comment?

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