3 Best Books On Leadership Every Startup Founder Needs to Read


by Valerie J. Wilson


“A great person attracts great people and knows how to hold them together.”
—Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe


Strong leadership is extraordinary, isn’t it? Though everyone seems to define excellence in leadership a bit differently from the rest, there is one thing that all excellent leaders seem to agree upon: Leadership requires patience, passion, persistence, and a clear vision of The Big Picture. There are thousands of books on leadership out there that “say it all,” but which ones say it best?


1. “Wooden on Leadership” – John Wooden

“Team spirit, loyalty, enthusiasm, determination…  Acquire and keep these traits and success should follow.” – Coach John Wooden


What are the 25 behaviors that help people to reach their ultimate potential? John Wooden figured this out during his 41 years of coaching at UCLA, and he presents the list in this absolutely fantastic, inspiring, and superb read. If the goal is to create a team of any kind – on the field or court, in your home and family, throughout your small or large business – this is the read that should be on your desk, and the pages should be well worn.


Packed with applicable and meaningful insight, this is the book that will bring your team to the top. Learn about his 12 Lessons of Leadership, his acclaimed Pyramid of Success, and 25 Behaviors that will inspire those whom you wish to bring to the top.


2. “Quiet Leadership: Help People Think Better – Don’t Tell Them What to Do!” – David Rock

“A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.” —Lao Tzu


This quote is sage because it first describes a person, not a leader. To be a respected leader, many would argue, one must first be a respectable and good person. This, too, is the premise of David Rock’s book. He writes of a six-step program that truly helps the leader to understand how the brain works, how to motivate and increase morale, and ultimately to assist each and every leader – in the form of parents, coaches, teachers, managers, CEOs, and every other person whose goal it is to inspire others to reach their truest potential.


His approach centers more on how to motivate than anything else, and it is both effective and straightforward. As Lao Tzu implies, the main focus here is to inspire first, to remove yourself, to let the good people do their thing, and then … to watch them shine. A worthy, excellent read.


3. “Women and Leadership: The State of Play and Strategies for Change” – Barbara Kellerman and Deborah L. Rhode

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt


Despite the off-putting pink cover, this book is packed with wit, intellect, and spot-on observations of the barriers that women must break through in order to achieve success as a leader. Like it or not, gender differences do matter and are noted, at least when a woman is getting started in a new organization. Once a reputation and respect are established, the gender differences do dissipate.


These two women do an excellent job of discussing the way to bust through stereotypes and to establish one of the presented leadership styles. Both have resumes and prose that are impressive, and this is an inspiring read for any woman who seeks to lead the way – or for any man who seeks to better understand the roadblocks that potentially stand in the way of women finally earning equal pay and respect.




Valerie J. Wilson is a freelance writer for





Photo Credits

Courtesy of Author | Amazon | David Castillo Dominici |

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