Amazon’s editors selected their 100 favourite books on leadership and success.
We’ve highlighted 25 below, including books by psychologists, economists, and competitive athletes. Each one offers a unique look at what it means to be truly successful and how you can achieve your full potential.
Read on and start stocking your shelves with inspiration.
‘Getting to Yes’ by Roger Fisher, William Ury, and Bruce Patton
Based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project, this 1981 best-selling business book – the second edition was released in 1991 – offers strategies for dealing with personal and professional conflicts. Those include separating the people from the problem and focusing on interests, not positions.
‘Getting Things Done’ by David Allen
Thirteen years after its first publication, productivity guru Allen released the second edition of “Getting Things Done.”
The book teaches readers the basics of time management at work and at home. The idea is to come up with an organising system for daily to-dos so you free up mental space for focusing on big-picture goals.
Case in point: the “two-minute rule” to keep an overflowing inbox under control.
‘Getting More’ by Stuart Diamond
In this best-seller, Diamond turns traditional negotiation strategies on their head, instead suggesting that it’s important to value your partner’s emotions and perceptions.
As Diamond wrote on Business Insider:
The more important the negotiation is, the more emotional people tend to be – whether diplomacy, a billion-dollar deal or my kid wants an ice cream cone. Pay attention to this! The world is not rational.
The book is based on Diamond’s course at Wharton Business School, and Google has even used it in its employee training.
‘Freakonomics’ by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner
Levitt, an economist, and Dubner, a New York Times journalist, make economics accessible by showing how it applies to pretty much every issue, from cheating to parenting.
Soon after publishing the book, the authors started a blog and then a podcast by the same name, both now popular.
‘Flying Without a Net’ by Thomas J. DeLong
DeLong, a Harvard Business School professor and a former Morgan Stanley executive, wrote this book to help other high-need-for-achievement professionals like him overcome their anxieties and live life to the fullest.
The book helps readers confront their deepest fears and gives them a series of practical tools for dealing with them.
‘Flow’ by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
“Flow,” according to positive psychologist Csikszentmihalyi, is the state of getting so absorbed in your work that it flows effortlessly and you don’t pay attention to things like time passing or hunger. You might call it being “in the zone.”
Your success depends largely on your ability to achieve this state, the author argues.
“It is the full involvement of flow, rather than happiness, that makes for excellence in life,” he wrote on Psychology Today.
‘First, Break all the Rules’ by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman
Facebook’s HR chief, Lori Goler, told Business Insider that this book heavily influenced her management philosophy. After reading it, she worked to turn Facebook into a “strengths-based” organisation.
According to the authors, two Gallup analysts, the keys to great management include focusing on strengths and finding the right fit for each employee. That way, people get to develop what they’re already skilled at.
‘Find a Way’ by Diana Nyad
In 2013, Nyad became the first person to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage, at 64.
In “Find a Way,” she describes the experiences leading up to this achievement – including failing the Cuba Swim 30 years earlier – and explains how she developed the perseverance necessary to become an American hero.
‘Execution’ by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan
In 1998, Bossidy was named CEO of the year by Chief Executive magazine for his leadership of AlliedSignal.
In 2002, he partnered with business consultant Ram Charan to write a book about his own experience leading a company to greatness, mainly by hiring the right people.
“If you want to be a CEO – or if you are a CEO and want to keep your job – read ‘Execution’ and put its principles to work,” said Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Computer Corp.
‘Essentialism’ by Greg McKeown
“Essentialism,” according to McKeown, is about doing fewer things better. The book helps readers figure out which personal and professional pursuits are worth their time and eliminate the rest.
The book isn’t just geared toward business leaders, either. As McKeown told NPR, it’s “for people who feel that they don’t have the power to push back and so they have given up the right to negotiate non-essentials. And as soon as you give up that right then you lose a lot of power.”
‘Emotional Intelligence’ by Daniel Goleman
In this now classic book, Goleman, a psychologist, suggests that IQ isn’t all that matters for success. In fact, it might not matter nearly as much as your ability to manage your own and other people’s emotions.
Fortunately, this trait can be learned, and Goleman outlines the five core components of emotional intelligence so that readers can start developing it.
‘Elon Musk’ by Ashlee Vance
This biography of one of the greatest tech entrepreneurs of our time outlines Musk’s rise to success.
Readers gain insight into Musk’s personality, his leadership style, and the big ideas that have always inspired him.
‘Eat That Frog!’ by Brian Tracy
The title of this book comes from Mark Twain’s classic quotation: “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” In other words, do your hardest task first, when you have sufficient energy and attention, instead of wasting time on easier stuff.
That’s just one of 21 practical strategies for overcoming procrastination that Tracy offers, from writing everything down on paper to obeying the law of “forced efficiency.”
‘Drive’ by Daniel H. Pink
Pink is the author of a number of popular business books, and in this 2009 best-seller, he takes issue with the idea that you can motivate people with incentives alone.
Instead, Pink proposes that everyone needs to achieve a sense of autonomy, mastery, and purpose before they can do great work.
‘Do Over’ by Jon Acuff
Acuff wants to help prepare readers for an unexpected turn in their careers – whether that means losing a job or being presented with a great new opportunity.
Drawing on his own 16 years of experience in corporate America, he advocates for creating what he calls a “career savings account.” That’s where you stash all the skills and experiences you’ve accumulated in the categories of relationships, skills, character, and “hustle.”
‘Crush It!’ by Gary Vaynerchuk
Vaynerchuk, an entrepreneur and a tech investor, writes that there’s no better time to pursue your passion and start your business than right now.
By working hard and learning all you can, you can use the digital tools available to you to build a hugely successful brand.
‘Choose Yourself’ by James Altucher
It’s a new world, Altucher says, and traditional routes to success won’t work.
“The only way we can thrive as entrepreneurs, artists, innovators, or whatever we want to do to live successful lives is to choose ourselves for that success,” Altucher told Business Insider in 2013. “No longer can we rely on the old paradigms (‘school’, ‘corporations’, ‘government,’ etc.) to provide the safety and success we deserve.”
Altucher shares his own entrepreneurial journey and those of others as inspiration to forge your personal path to success.
‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Amy Newmark
In 2013, “Chicken Soup for the Soul” celebrated its 20th anniversary of warming people’s hearts with 20 additional inspirational stories.
Readers learn about love, parenting, and pursuing their dreams from real people who have lived through the same struggles they have.
‘Change Your Brain, Change Your Life’ by Daniel G. Amen
Neuropsychiatrist Daniel Amen offers simple “brain prescriptions” for overcoming a number of psychological and emotional hurdles, including anxiety and anger. There are writing exercises, breathing exercises, and even brain-friendly dietary guidelines.
These solutions are juxtaposed with Ames’ discussion of fascinating research findings on the connection between your brain, feelings, and behaviour.
‘Business Adventures’ by John Brooks
This 1969 collection of articles by New Yorker writer John Brooks is one of Bill Gates’ favourite books, originally recommended by Warren Buffett.
Brooks’s work is a great reminder that the rules for running a strong business and creating value haven’t changed. For one thing, there’s an essential human factor in every business endeavour. It doesn’t matter if you have a perfect product, production plan and marketing pitch; you’ll still need the right people to lead and implement those plans.
Business Insider rounded up seven lessons from the book, including the importance of corporate culture and learning from failure.
‘Big Magic’ by Elizabeth Gilbert
Gilbert, author of the best-selling book “Eat, Pray, Love,” wants to help readers overcome their fears and channel their creative potential, just like she did.
Each of the book’s six sections – on courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust, and divinity – includes tips and strategies for finding inspiration and cultivating curiosity in your daily life.
‘Awaken the Giant Within’ by Tony Robbins
This 1992 best-seller by one of the world’s most well-known motivational speakers offers practical strategies for finding and pursuing your passions.
As one reader on Goodreads put it: “This book will make you rich, but rich in mind, body, [and] spirit, and material wealth will follow if that is your desire.”
‘Andrew Carnegie’ by David Nasaw
Nasaw’s rags-to-riches tale outlines how a poor Scottish immigrant became the wealthiest man in the US after helping to build the steel industry. What’s more, readers will learn why Carnegie ultimately decided to give away his entire fortune.
We also think it’s one of the best biographies to read if you want to get rich.
‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle
Like “The Power of Now,” also by Tolle, “A New Earth” encourages readers to live in the present if they want to find true happiness. He outlines steps to transcending our ego-based state of consciousness and reaching a more enlightened state.
The book was selected as Oprah’s Book Club pick in 2009.
‘#Girlboss’ by Sophia Amoruso
In “#Girlboss,” the founder of retailer Nasty Gal, shares stories from her wayward youth, including stealing and dumpster-diving, and how it paved the way for her tremendous success.
The book is full of practical life and career advice that will inspire you to follow your passion and forge your own path. The bottom line? It won’t be easy, but it will definitely be worth it.
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story suggested that these books were ranked. The story has been updated to reflect that they are not.
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