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Short Books On Leadership

Updated on April 11, 2014

Short Books, Big Impact

Big books scare me, especially big books about leadership. I interpret big books about leadership as telling me leadership is complicated. This is probably not the authors intent, but a good book on leadership does not have to be over 200 pages.

This is why I have chosen to focus on small books ( 200 pages or less) that could be read in less than an hour. Now, just because you read it in an hour does not mean you will comprehend it. It may take you days, months, or years to do that. Big books do not equal good books, neither do short books, but at least I did not waste a week or month to find that out. These books are both short, good, and will not be a waste of your time.

My Latest Recommendation: Think On These Things - By John Maxwell

Think on These Things: Meditations for Leaders
Think on These Things: Meditations for Leaders

You may think, by my recommendations, that I am just a John Maxwell fan boy, but not like you think. Like you I am a busy guy. Short books on leadership speaks to the the authors ability to instruct, inspire, and impact in as few a pages as possible. Maxwell does this very well and thus I am a fan of his shorter books and not every book.

If you are a Christian leader, or not, you may enjoy a bit of inspiration every day. Each chapter is about 3 pages and is broken down into just a few points. This format makes the book great for sharing at meetings and as shot in the heart for getting things down. if we can change the way we think , we can change the way we live.


In Defense of Short Books

For People Like Me

I like short books because the author is hitting the high points. There is no shame for liking books with bulleted points and phrases in bold. Isn't that what most of your teachers told you to study in high school? Maybe this is why college is so hard for me. College teachers want me to know the whole textbook. Can't they be a little more specific?

I tune out on long books. How long is too long? For me, anything on leadership over 300 pages is long for me. I struggle though it and I tend to leave it on the table waiting for a rainy day. I devour short books. If they are really good, I can finish in an hour. Not only is there pride in finishing another book but I tend to feel smarter after reading it.

In the end, I like short books because they get to the point. It's not 300 pages of theory and case study and 100 pages of practicality. If there are any authors reading, do me a favor, write the last 100 pages first and put them in the front of the book. Thanks.

Do The Work - Steven Pressfield - Read This Before Your "Enemies" Know What You're Up To

Do the Work
Do the Work

Do The Work really challenged me to get out of my own way. Do the work treat things like average, mediocrity, laziness like real, visceral, enemies to our productivity. In doing so, Pressfield makes us caution, even paranoid, that such enemies are creeping into our lives to intentionally destroy the best of us and ultimately keep us from succeeding.

At a little over 100 pages, this comes in as my number one leadership books because it challenges long held ideas of how to get work done and offers practical strategies for defeating this deadly productivity and idea killers. Read it, but read with with the lights on. you never know when will try to sneak up on you.


The Long and Short of It All - What Kind of Book Do You Prefer?

Have You Learned More From Short Books Or Long Books?

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Team Work Makes The Dream Work - It's Cliché But True

The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player: Becoming the Kind of Person Every Team Wants
The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player: Becoming the Kind of Person Every Team Wants

What kind of team do you have? What kind of team do you want to have? There may be no greater distance in a leader's life than the team a leader has and the team they want. This book share 17 qualities you want in those who follow you. There are many ways to use the book. You could take a chapter a week and go through it with your team. Make a Quality Of The Month Chart and reward employees accordingly. Any way you choose to use this book, you and your team will benefit.


Poking is Leading

Poke the Box
Poke the Box

Leaders who do not poke buttons to see what they are do are not leaders, they are on the safety patrol. Poking involves trying new things and there is always an element of danger or failure but here is always the chance of success and winning. Seth Godin writes a book that gets us thinking thing like "I wonder what that button does?" That is exactly what a leader does, he or she wonder, pokes, and then proceeds. Poke the buy this link from Amazon and pick up your copy today. You're not afraid are you?


Taking Care Of Business - Leadership From The Trenches

Leadership Is an Art
Leadership Is an Art

Max De Pree is businessman and American writer. A son of D.J. De Pree, founder of Herman Miller office furniture company. Depree nimbly navigates us through the leadership nuances that lead to success. His chapter on Tribal Story-Telling, before the words tribes and art were catch- phrases, is worth the whole book. As I read the book, I felt I was challenged to take paths I had never travelled in my leadership journey and if you buy this book, you will too.


Take It From A Coach - Building Blocks of Success

Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success
Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success

Wooden shares 25 building blocks of success. Each building block is two short pages filled with inspiration. Wooden is on one of the winningest coaches in NCAA history. He won 10 NCAA National Titles with the UCLA Bruins. He coached such NBA greats as Kareen Abdul Jabbar and Bill Walton. This short book of wisdom and advice will help you on and off the court.


Add Your Favorite Short Book on Leadership - Those With ADD Will Thank You

Do the Work
Do the Work

Product Description: Could you be getting in your way of producing great work? Have you started a project but never finished? Would you like to do work that matters, but don't know where to start?The answer is Do the Work, a manifesto by bestselling author Steven Pressfield, that will show you that it’s not about better ideas, it’s about actually doing the work. Do the Work is a weapon against Resistance – a tool that will help you take action and successfully ship projects out the door. “There is an enemy. There is an intelligent, active, malign force working against us. Step one is to recognize this. This recognition alone is enormously powerful. It saved my life, and it will save yours.” Available in both a 5-pack and 48-pack for you to share, as well as a special collectible edition, Do the Work may be just what you need to get out of your own way. For other titles like Do the Work, visit for more information. Robert T. Kiyosaki Reviews Do the Work Robert T. Kiyosaki is an investor, entrepreneur, and educator whose perspectives on money and investing fly in the face of conventional wisdom. His book, Rich Dad Poor Dad, ranks as the longest-running bestseller on all four of the lists that report to Publisher's Weekly--the New York Times, Business Week, the Wall Street Journal and USA Today--and was named "USA Today's #1 Money Book" two years in a row. Read his review of Steven Pressfield's Do the Work: Once again another brilliant book from Steven. Do the Work gives you step-by-step instructions on how to overcome and conquer Resistance--the biggest enemy of them all. The gloves come off! Do the Work explains who and what your allies are and how to embrace and utilize them in your creative life or in your day-to-day situations. The points and steps in this book makes it possible for anyone to go and achieve what they truly are striving for--may it be writing a book, a play, or starting a new business. A must read for anyone who wants to get ahead and out of their own way. Steven has done it again. --Robert T. Kiyosaki A Q&A with Steven Pressfield Question: What is the distinction between Do the Work and War of Art, the book where you first introduced Resistance? Does Do the Work take it a step further? Steven Pressfield: Do the Work is structured to take the reader from A to Z. If the reader has a project they want to start or complete, such as a new business they want to open or a book they want to write, Do the Work is designed to take them from starting to shipping to hitting all the predictable resistance points along the way. I know you’re familiar with these moments; The beginning, the middle, and all the moments in between just before you ship and then just after you ship. Do the Work guides you from the start of the project and takes you all the way through. It’s about getting off your behind and starting something. And Seth Godin writes about this, that once you start, you have to finish; you don’t get off the hook half way through. I recently got an email from a guy who said, "Help. I’m stuck." He was in a class and he had to write a screenplay and he was a quarter of the way through. Normally I would cheer him on, but just for fun, I gave him a little program to do; I put on my instructor voice and said, “Do this, do that, do this, do that.” It worked because right away he got over a couple speed bumps and took it all the way to the finish line. He loved it! I’d always been too shy to do that before, but I tried the assertive tone of voice and it really worked--he responded really well to it. So I thought, let me try that tone of voice in Do the Work. Question: What did you tell him to do? Steven Pressfield: One of the first things I told him to do was to banish the self-censor. I could tell he was frozen, worrying, "Is this going to be good? Is this going to be perfect? So I told him, "Take the next five days and write for two hours everyday. I don’t care what else is in your life--banish it. When you write for those two hours, start on minute one and don’t think for one second all the way through until minute 120. Just write, don’t self censor. Don’t do anything." That really seemed to get him moving and gave him permission to not be paralyzed with seeking perfection. Continue reading our interview with Steven Pressfield


They're Short, You Can Choose More Than One... - But Not In This Poll

Which Of These Books Do You Want To Read First?

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Tribes - By Seth Godin

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us
Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us

After reading Purple Cow, I dove into Tribes. Tribes had what I need to here. I wasn't looking for customers or cohorts, but a tribe. Seth's book set me up to seek out those who are like in passion, vision, and attitude. I spend too much time trying to lead people who were not like me. I am all for diversity, but in the end, a united, passionate tribe, beats a loosely functioning group any day.

Seth offers ideas on how to build your tribe and what to do with them once they have gathered around your idea, projects, or vision. It's an invaluable small group that could change the way you lead.


Thanks For Stopping By - Please Leave A "Short" Comment

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    • youthministry profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Turner 

      5 years ago from Birmingham, Al.

      @shashikantdabral: Thanks.

    • youthministry profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Turner 

      5 years ago from Birmingham, Al.

      @Webinaut: You're welcome.

    • youthministry profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Turner 

      5 years ago from Birmingham, Al.

      @alexbricker: I occasionally read a bigger book but it is a slog for me, but that often makes finding the nuggets I do find more enjoyable.

    • youthministry profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Turner 

      5 years ago from Birmingham, Al.

      @DeborahDian: God bless you for your time of leading students.

    • youthministry profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Turner 

      5 years ago from Birmingham, Al.

      @SavioC: You are welcome. Glad I could inspire you.

    • SavioC profile image


      5 years ago

      I have always liked John Maxwell books. He's a great motivator. Liked your lens as it gave me so many things I could use to be a better leader at home, work & society. Thank you for sharing.

    • DeborahDian profile image

      Deborah Carr 

      5 years ago from Orange County, California

      My husband and I used to sponsor our church youth group when we were younger. These books would have been a blessing! I'm sure they will help many others.

    • alexbricker profile image


      6 years ago

      Good information. I have read both short and long books. I tend to read the long books for reference and select certain chapters. The short books I enjoy reading through and picking out the golden nuggets of information. I like the practical books best and books on leadership.

    • Webinaut profile image


      6 years ago

      Thanks - I enjoyed this lens.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      valuable information

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      You have a lot of gravitas in the squidoo community. The fact that you squidliked one of my lenses, earned me 50 points from squidoo. Awesome!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Follow me if you want to finish second! :))

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm sympathetic to your call for short leadership books. But just as important to me is a book that's clear and written in simple plain English. I don't like reading books that are so heavy it's like walking across a muddy field. Many academic leadership books can be like that.

      Being an author of a leadership book, I faced the challenge of making my book no longer than it needed to be while keeping it clear and succinct. And I can tell you, it's not easy. It ran to 245 pages + notes / bibliography / index which took it to 317 pages in all. I found it tough to write a book on leadership that was shorter than that.

      In my view, it isn't that leadership is complicated; in fact the essence of it is simple. But although it's simple, it's not easy... there are psychological complications... which is why I found it necessary to write over 200 pages.

    • imlifestyle profile image


      6 years ago

      Really like the short book on leadership lens, thanks

    • TheLastResort LM profile image

      TheLastResort LM 

      7 years ago

      I think I will give 'The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader' a shot, it looks interesting. Thanks for sharing!


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