11 Leadership Books to Help You Rise Above Middle Management

Yeko Photo Studio / AdobeStock

Woman Reading

Yeko Photo Studio / AdobeStock

Toni Hammer
Toni Hammer10
June 15, 2024 at 9:5PM UTC
You’re a hard worker. You know you were made for leadership. You know that you absolutely can do more. But how do you get there? What are the tips and tricks and success stories for climbing the corporate ladder, punching through the glass ceiling, and rising above your cubicle to business greatness?
We believe in you, and that's why we recommend these 11 leadership books on everything from mindset and confidence to habits and procrastination to help you get where you deserve to be at work. Get to reading.

1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

This classic book has been helping laymen and leaders alike for almost thirty years and there’s a reason for it. The book is so much more than “do these three things tomorrow to be successful.” It gets to the heart of the matter — how you think — and helps reframe how you see the world. Once you make the switch, then you can start creating these seven habits. It’s a weighty book, one you’ll want to fully digest instead of skim, but it’ll change your life if you put in the work.

2. You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero

While not a typical business book, Sincero’s insight and assignments will help you find your inner confidence and become who you were meant to be both at work and at home. Drawing from her own life and those of her past coaching clients, Sincero helps you discover the ways your mind is holding you back and what you need to do to change. With wit, sass, and a lot of heart, You are a Badass will make you, well, a badass.

3. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

Sinek takes his TED talk — the third most popular TED video of all time — and expands on it in this business bestseller. He explains that the notable thought leaders of our time from the Wright Brothers to Steve Jobs all started with the question “why” and how that shaped their future successes. Using an idea dubbed The Golden Circle, he shows you how you can become the person you desire to be and create the path you want.  

4. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg

The COO of Facebook and co-author of Option B uses stories, data, research, and some self-deprecating humor to show women how to get what they want from their careers. The book shows you how to basically create a road map or blueprint for growth that will inspire you to look for challenges and take risks and really go after your goals in life in order to find fulfillment at both work and home.

5. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't by Jim Collins

While not necessarily a “how to get ahead” guide, Jim Collins took a simple question and shattered the idea of what we thought made a business outperform all others. Dubbing his findings the Hedgehog Concept, Collins describes what type of environments, management strategies, and goals take a business from good to great. If you’re looking for a new position, this can show you things to look for in a new employer. If you’re looking to advance, this book can give you insights into how to be the best candidate for a company moving forward.

6. The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman

Despite being more educated and better qualified, women are still not achieving as much as they should n the corporate world and according to Kay and Shipman, it’s because of a lack of confidence. Using their own stories and those of powerful women as well as genetics and gender research, this book will give you the practical advice you need to confidently make all your career aspirations a reality.

7. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy

Have you read a million business books and are overwhelmed with all the steps you “need” to take to become the leader in business you want to be? Then this book is for you. Hardy shows readers that it’s not making big leaps that lead to greatness, but rather consistent small steps that build on one another and, well, compound, that lead to incredible changes. He gives you a roadmap to chart where you’re going, how to get there, and how to track your progress so that you always know if you’re headed towards your goal. Simple yet profound and sure to help you climb the corporate ladder.

8. The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage by Mel Robbins

Got five seconds? Then you can change your life. At least that’s what Mel Robbins tells us. Drawing from famous moments in history, surprising facts, and real stories, Robbins explains the concept of a “push moment” and then teaches you how one little trick can help you be more confident, stop procrastinating, feel happier, and so much more. If you’re ready to be your best self — both in and out of the office — then this book is for you.

9. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie

The book was published over 80 years ago, but it’s a classic for a reason. If you want people to like you, if you want to win people over to your way of thinking, if you want to get your dream job or improve the job you already have, Carnegie’s simple to follow methods will help you do it all. The latest edition includes some updates so as to help you use these principles in the digital age.

10. Own It: The Power of Women at Work by Sallie Krawcheck

Wage gaps and gender discriminations are sadly still real problems for women in the workplace, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get ahead. Krawcheck says that with the look of business changing, women no longer need to feel like they have to adapt to a man’s world and encourages us to instead draw power from our unique strengths as females. Drawing from her life on Wall Street and as an entrepreneur, Krawcheck will show you how to be unapologetically you while taking your career to the next level.

11. Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers by Lois P. Frankel

Frankel boldly reveals over 130 behaviors that women learn as young girls that end up sabotaging them in their adult life. They’re unconscious pitfalls, but they’re there, wreaking havoc on your success story. Fret not, though, because she also teaches you how to undo the damage and start receiving those career opportunities you always wanted. She encourages readers to stop making “nice girl” mistakes and start being the powerful woman you are inside.

Why women love us:

  • Daily articles on career topics
  • Jobs at companies dedicated to hiring more women
  • Advice and support from an authentic community
  • Events that help you level up in your career
  • Free membership, always