In my previous post I shared with you my favorite five reads on leadership written by Christian leaders, many of which are pastors by trade. Now I’m going to share with you my five favorite books on leadership by authors for a secular audience. These would be books you’d easily be able to find in any Barnes & Noble or Borders. 

Here are my top five favorite books on leadership created for a secular audience:

Good to Great by Jim Collins. This is a no brainer choice. No real description needed since this books in about every persons office. Maybe the binding hasn’t been cracked but its there. Collins has great stories, using a bit too many charts and graphs for my liking but the book is a very good read.

Lincoln on Leadership by Donald T. Philips. No I’m not jumping on the Lincoln leadership bandwagon popularized by president Obama. I actually read this book before I entered college and it did me a world of good in challenging me to lead tactfully and to know when to table my emotions, opinions, and thoughts. Lincoln used to write letters to people he was in tension with but never mail them. It was his way to vent but also to act maturely in the moment. Great read, you won’t be disappointed.

The Starbucks Experience by Joseph Michelli. Ok I have a confession to make about this choice – its totally bias 🙂 . I read it as a Barista in a Starbucks in Chestnut Hill in Philadelphia. The place was magical, the job was hard but relationally rewarding, and the book was stimulating. Its a “five principals” setup book so you know that there’s a lot of clear flow from cover to cover. I read it in a few settings. Its great to hear the story behind Starbucks, the values they hold and how they lead through them. Pick it up, grab a cup of joe and enjoy. Another good book based on a popular company for a follow up read is The Cult of Mac by Leander Kahney. Its dated, but good, and its a coffee table book which means its a lot more fun to read than any of these in this leadership list.

The Starfish and the Spider by Ori Brafman & Rod A. Beckstrom. Organization or decentralization; is this a real choice or something we merely raise as we try and lead large teams of people? For Brafman and Beckstrom this is a real choice and they are decidedly for decentralization or at the very least a good combination. A friend of mine who has lead as a CEO in different arenas raves over this book. One things for sure in this list of leadership books this will no doubt be the most stirring and challenging one to engage.

Made to Stick by Chip Heath & Dan Heath. This is a great collection of stories and advice on why some things stick, why others don’t, and why sometimes we simply can’t predict what will. If you are more of an entrepreneur as a leader and you’ve experienced those moments where after laboring perhaps weeks on an idea or concept you see it totally flop, and then something you spent hardly any time on takes off this is the book for you. It will help you jump into the sticky mess of making lasting changes.

(Photographic art by lumaxart, piece entitled “Free 3D Business Men Marching“)