Leaders are readers! 

Great leaders are constantly learning, improving their skills, and taking the time to develop self-awareness to manage themselves as well as others. We have curated a recommended reading list for leaders. Share your favorite titles. Help us grow this important resource.

Must Reads for Every Leader

  • Dare to Lead, Brené Brown
  • “HBR’s 10 Must Reads on Leadership,” Harvard Business Review
  • Built to Last, James C. Collins, Jerry I. Porras
  • Going Pro, Tony Kern
  • The Advantage, Patrick Lencioni
  • The Road to Character, David Brooks

Reads for New Leaders 

  • Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and It’s All Small Stuff, Richard Carlson
  • Extreme Ownership, Jocko Willink, Leif Babin
  • Leadershift, John C. Maxwell
  • Radical Candor, Kim Scott
  • The 8th Habit, Steven Covey
  • The Coaching Habit, Michael Bungay Stanier
  • The Dichotomy of Leadership, Willink and Babin

Reads for Nonprofit Leaders

  • 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni
  • Give and Take, Adam Grant
  • Good Strategy, Bad Strategy, Richard P. Rumelt
  • Managing the Nonprofit Organization, Peter Drucker
  • The Infinite Game, Simon Sinek
  • We Don’t Make Widgets, Ken Miller

Reads for Government Leaders 

  • 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni
  • Give and Take, Adam Grant
  • Ruthless Consistency, Michael Canic
  • The Infinite Game, Simon Sinek
  • Turn This Ship Around, David Marquet
  • We Don’t Make Widgets, Ken Miller
  • Hearts Touched by Fire: How Great Leaders are Made, David Gergen

Reads for Startup Leaders

  • Good to Great, Jim Collins
  • Hit Makers: The Science of Popularity in an Age of Distraction, Derek Thompson
  • The Motive, Patrick Lencioni

Reads for Business Leaders 

  • Death by Meeting, Patrick Lencioni
  • Moments of Truth, Jan Carlzon
  • Radical Candor, Kim Scott

Reads for Culture Builders

  • Belonging, Kathryn Jacob, Sue Unerman and Mark Edwards
  • Humanocracy, Gary Hamel and Michele Zanini
  • Inclusify, Stefanie K. Johnson
  • Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard, Chip Heath, Dan Heath
  • The Culture Code, Daniel Coyle
  • The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, Melinda Gates
  • Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging, Sebastian Junger

Reads for Ensuring Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Work and Beyond

  • How to Be an Antiracist, Ibram X. Kendji
  • So You Want to Talk About Race, Ijeoma Oluo

Reads for Leaders Who Think They’ve Read Everything

  • “HBR Guide to Coaching Employees,” Harvard Business Review
  • The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor
  • The Road to Character, David Brooks
  • Who Says Elephants Can’t Dance, Louis V. Gerstner Jr.

Reads about Great Leaders

  • Leadership in Turbulent Times, Doris Kearns Goodwin
  • Shackleton’s Way, Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell

Recommended Podcasts

Recommended TED Talks

Recommended YouTube Videos

Change & Conflict: Greg Abell’s Suggested Reading List

Changing Conversations

  • Getting Together: Building Relationships as We Negotiate, Roger Fisher & Scott Brown
  • Getting to Yes, Roger Fisher & William Ury
  • Crucial Confrontations: Tools for Resolving Broken Promises, Violated Expectations, and Bad Behavior, Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzer
  • Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most, Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, and Sheila Heen


  • Managing Transition: Making the Most of Change, William Bridges
  • Leading in a Culture of Change, Michael Fullan
  • Immunity to Change: How to Overcome It and Unlock the Potential in Yourself and Your Organization, Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey
  • Leading Change, John Kotter


  • Barriers to Conflict Resolution, Kenneth Arrow
  • The Crossroads of Conflict: A Journey Into the Heart of Dispute Resolution, Kenneth Cloke
  • The Dynamics of Conflict Resolution: A Practitioners Guide, Bernard Mayer
  • Staying with Conflict: A Strategic Approach to Ongoing Disputes, Bernard Mayer
  • Resolving Identity-Based Conflict in Nations, Organizations and Communities, Jay Rothman


    • On Dialogue, David Bohm
    • Dialogue: Rediscovering the Transforming Power of Conversation, Linda Elinor and Glenna Gerard
    • Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together, William Isaacs
    • The Argument Culture: Moving from Debate to Dialogue, Deborah Tannen
    • The Magic of Dialogue: Transforming Conflict into Cooperation, Daniel Yankelovich


    • Leading Through Conflict: How Successful Leaders Transform Differences Into Opportunities, Mark Gerzon
    • Leadership Without Easy Answers, Ronald Heifetz
    • A Leaders Legacy, James Kouzes and Barry Postner
    • The Leadership Challenge, James Kouzes and Barry Postner


    • Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate, Robert Fisher and Daniel Shapiro
    • Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, Roger Fisher and William Ury
    • Getting Past No, William Ury
    • The Power of a Positive No: How to Say No and Still Get to Yes, William Ury

    Thank you to everyone that helped curate this list – especially our alumni librarians Pam Crowe (LK15), Kitsap Regional Library, Melody Sky-Weaver (LK13), Port Townsend Public Library, Ashley Oaksmith (LK18), Kitsap Regional Library. If you have an addition to our list, please email exdir@leadershipkitsap.org.