7 of the best leadership books for entrepreneurs ceos cmos leadership books 

Entrepreneurs and marketing directors need to take advantage of all the help they can get to craft new ideas and help them navigate the changing landscape of business. Whether you are a founder of a new startup and you are looking for ways to improve your market share, or you are part of a larger organization, you can find the inspiration you need with some of the best business leadership books on the market.

Our team has read hundreds of marketing books, sales training material, and leadership guides. Instead of wasting your time trying to find the right books for you and your team, you can use our carefully curated list below. Many of the leadership books listed below are written by people who have done the work. This means you won’t waste your time listening to theories about business leadership.

With all of the clutter of online blogs and “gurus,” it’s nice to have a set of leadership books that you can fall back to if you are struggling to reach your goals. Take a look at our list of the best leadership books for CEOs, CMOs, and entrepreneurs to jumpstart your motivation and get your business moving in the right direction today!

The Pumpkin Plan: A Simple Strategy to Grow a Remarkable Business in Any Field

Quick Review:

This is a great business book for entrepreneurs because the author offers actionable advice that you can use right now. Reading the book is pretty easy, and what makes this a must-read book is how the author provides humor and insightful concepts for all business owners. The ideas aren’t new, but it gives habits that readers can use to build their business, including:

  • Focus on doing something faster, better, or cheaper than your competition.
  • You need to identify and promote your competitive advantage if you want to grow your business.
  • You need to focus on your best clients if you want to grow your business. Stop wasting time on clients who do not provide the lift you need to build your business.
  • Focus on a few clients, and multiply those clients as you grow your business. Focus your time and resources away from the small pumpkins and only use your resources on big clients (pumpkins).
  • Create an angle with your business that builds the “est.” The cheapest, fastest, most reliable, etc. will help your company establish itself in the market.

My Takeaways:

I enjoyed the in-depth read and walked away with several earmarked pages to review later. One of the thought-provoking ideas I learned was to focus on your best clients and nurture that relationship. You should use your current clients to help expand your network and interview your clients to understand what they want, need, and appreciate most with your working relationship so you can amplify those aspects that set you apart.

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Relentless: From Good to Great to Unstoppable

Quick Review:

If you run an online business, then you know how difficult it is to stand out from your competition. Successful companies are run by people who know who they are and are focused on extreme performance. The author uses his experience training professional athletes to show entrepreneurs real-world tips to grow a small business.

  • A great leader knows the best way to get people to raise their performance is to put them where they can truly excel.
  • You have to be willing to fail to take risks.
  • Stress keeps you sharp. It challenges you in ways you never imagined and forces you to solve issues and manage situations that send weaker people running for cover.
  • If you do what you always do, over and over, you’ll get the same results.
  • Everyday challenge yourself to do something you don’t want to do. Otherwise the next day you’ll end up with two or three things you don’t want to do. Pretty soon you won’t even get back to the first thing. Then you’ll beat yourself over the mess you’ve created and not you’ve built a mental barrier.

My Takeaways:

After reading these time-tested tips for self-help, I was able to identify areas of my life that I needed to improve to boost performance for my personal life and focus on different aspects of my business that I needed to improve. While this is not a traditional top business book, it does offer great step-by-step tips for growing my own business.

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Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business

Quick Review:

This is one of the best business books of all time that I have read because the author uses interesting antidotes that show specific ways to achieve continuous innovation in my business and personal life. You will enjoy real-life examples and case studies to understand common trends in smart, productive, and successful people.

Throughout the book, you will find that motivation is triggered by making choices that make us realize that we are in control. In the end, individual decisions we make matter less than our assertion of power. This means that we have the ability and need to make choices that show ideas in creativity and other areas of our lives for success.

This is a good business book to read because it is engaging and easy to understand. For me, this book is like a breath of fresh air because it contains advice from big data to what makes productive teams and even how to use metrics to take ownership over my life and business and stay motivated along the way.

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Ask: The Counterintuitive Online Formula to Discover Exactly What Your Customers Want to Buy…

Quick Review:

I love reading books that combines all aspects of running a business like marketing and sales into an easy to read the story. The author does a great job laying out how to ask and understand what your audience wants and then how to sell your products/services in a way that is easy to understand and useful for your business.

This book is one of the few business books that are not just really practical and packed with high quality, actionable information, but that is well written too. You will love this business book for specific marketing tasks other than general awareness and outreach efforts. Its a short and fast read, but has a lot of gems that you can use immediately in your business. It could have gone a little bit more into depth in a few places, but it’s still highly recommended.

My Takeaways:

This is one of the best business books on the market because it offers step by step instructions to generate sales and revenue for online businesses and e-commerce stores. I am glad that I read this book because it changed the way I think about doing business online. The book does a great way of setting up a strategic framework and then the process to fill your pipeline with prospects and how to nurture relationships through the sales funnels.

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People over Profit: Break the System, Live with Purpose, Be More Successful

Quick Review:

While this business book is naturally geared towards business leaders, the principles discussed in its pages can be applied to all areas of your life. Many businesses are run like factories and treat employees (and even customers) as a means to an end. This book takes a bold stand against that mentality and offers actionable insight to any business owner who is trying to grow its business sustainably.

  • The world of business is changing – don’t get left behind.
  • Realize everyone must stay true to who they are.
  • Be generous without the intention of getting something in return.
  • Make “good” in every aspect of your life.
  • Learn how to be vulnerable and accessible.

The author really drives home the simple idea that business owners can run successful business operations with noble goals. In fact, the author recommends using a double bottom line system. This means an entrepreneur should build companies with minimum social impact and that socially justifies their existence.

The Takeaways:

I really liked this business book because the author has skin in the game and has built a successful business using the concepts he talks about. This top business book had a surprise ending, not something you would expect out of a non-fiction book, and this ending made me respect the author that much more!

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What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures

Quick Review:

I am a big fan of Malcolm Gladwell’s writing and love how he outlines different complex topics with clear writing and excellent story structure. Whether you are a business owner or just an avid reader, you will enjoy how the author delivers a treasure trove of ambiguous situations and in-depth information with an approachable narrative and enjoyable storyline.

Gladwell is the type of author who brings out the extremes in readers- either you love his work, or you hate it. I love how the author surveys the cultural landscape and brings together lots of details from various media sources to help review human actions and healthy thought patterns. If you are looking for a thoughtful philosophy book to get your creativity and mind going, then this is a great book to dive into.

My Takeaways:

When I first started reading this fantastic business book, I thought it was only going to point out patterns in chaotic situations, but Gladwell uses examples throughout his book that shows inaccurate models throughout lots of areas of life that I thought was based in science.

By reading how the military, stock market, and even criminal profiling fail to deliver expected results, you will see that there is a specific framework to follow if you want to build a business through metrics and how to approach problems.

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The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

Quick Review:

This is one of the most popular business books on the market because it shows entrepreneurs how to get your business to run even when you are not physically there. Too many business owners start a business because they are expert doers in their field, but fail to develop into managers of their craft. There are three types of people, and Gerber explains them as:

  • The Entrepreneur: a future-focused visionary who pursues opportunities
  • The Manager: a past-focused worrier who plans and organizes
  • The Technician: a present-focused worker who concentrates on the task at hand

Unlike traditional thinking, companies don’t sell products they fulfill the emotional needs of their customers. Southwest doesn’t sell tickets, they sell a fun way to travel. Disney doesn’t sell you Mickey Mouse, because they sell that feeling of childhood and remind adults about the hope of tomorrow. Harley-Davidson doesn’t sell motorcycles, but they sell rebellious and unbridled culture.

Instead of focusing on the products that are sold, companies should look at how to connect with their customers on an emotional level and invest in ways to systematize their business to grow beyond the owner’s limitations. This is one of the best business books for any business owner because it will help jump-start the mentality so you can build your business the right way!

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