100 books like Servant Leadership

By Robert K. Greenleaf,

Here are 100 books that Servant Leadership fans have personally recommended if you like Servant Leadership. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace

Isaac Getz Author Of Freedom Inc.: How Corporate Liberation Unleashes Employee Potential and Business Performance

From my list on transformational leadership books that will help you to practice it.

Why am I passionate about this?

One remarkable leader I've studied, Bob Davids, said that the greatest scarcity in the world is not oil or food but leadership. For two decades, I've been on a quest to uncover the essence of a transformational leader, someone who cultivates an environment where employees' needs are so well-addressed that they are eager to show up and give their best every day. This journey led me to study hundreds of leaders and books, all serving as the foundation for my thoughts and writings. I trust that these books will kickstart your own journey. Mine has guided me to play a pivotal role in the corporate liberation movement, involving hundreds of leaders who have transformed their organizations.

Isaac's book list on transformational leadership books that will help you to practice it

Isaac Getz Why did Isaac love this book?

This is the freshest account I’ve read by a leader of his company’s transformational journey: Ricardo Semler became CEO of his father’s company, SEMCO, at the age of 21, and wrote the book in his early thirties, not to forget the transformative journey he just led.

But even more than the narrative itself, I loved Semler’s philosophical reflections, densely packed throughout the book. Example: “We simply don’t believe our employees have an interest in coming in late and doing as little as possible. After all, the same people raise children and elect mayors and presidents. They are adults. In SEMCO, we treat them as adults.”

Semler, twice chosen as Brazil’s businessperson of the year, proves how a leader, driven by authentic beliefs, can lead a transformation that makes people and—consequently—the company thrive.

By Ricardo Semler,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Maverick as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.


Book cover of Tao Te Ching

Isaac Getz Author Of Freedom Inc.: How Corporate Liberation Unleashes Employee Potential and Business Performance

From my list on transformational leadership books that will help you to practice it.

Why am I passionate about this?

One remarkable leader I've studied, Bob Davids, said that the greatest scarcity in the world is not oil or food but leadership. For two decades, I've been on a quest to uncover the essence of a transformational leader, someone who cultivates an environment where employees' needs are so well-addressed that they are eager to show up and give their best every day. This journey led me to study hundreds of leaders and books, all serving as the foundation for my thoughts and writings. I trust that these books will kickstart your own journey. Mine has guided me to play a pivotal role in the corporate liberation movement, involving hundreds of leaders who have transformed their organizations.

Isaac's book list on transformational leadership books that will help you to practice it

Isaac Getz Why did Isaac love this book?

I admire this first-ever book stating the principles of authentic leadership. Written by the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu in the 6th century BCE, it comprises a collection of paradoxical, enigmatic, and profound teachings that laid the foundation of Taoism.

I love all of them, but here is one regarding leadership: “Why do the hundred rivers turn and rush toward the sea? / Because it naturally stays below them / He who wishes to rule over the people must speak as if below them.”

While delving into this book, I find myself astounded by the universality and timelessness of the truths it unveils about authentic servant leadership. This modest volume—which adorns my bedroom as a wooden scroll—has proven to be a revelation, offering continuous inspiration to me.

By Lao Tzu, Sam Torode (translator), Dwight Goddard (translator)

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Tao Te Ching as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Path to Peace

The Tao Te Ching is a series of meditations on the mysterious nature of the Tao—the Way, the Light, the very Source of all existence. According to Lao Tzu (a name meaning "the old master"), the Tao is found where we would least expect it—not in the strong but in the weak; not in speech but in silence; not in doing but in "not-doing."

Compiled in China around 2,500 years ago, the Tao Te Ching is beloved by seekers all the world over. This edition is rendered in poetic language by Sam Torode, based on the…


Book cover of Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits

Isaac Getz Author Of Freedom Inc.: How Corporate Liberation Unleashes Employee Potential and Business Performance

From my list on transformational leadership books that will help you to practice it.

Why am I passionate about this?

One remarkable leader I've studied, Bob Davids, said that the greatest scarcity in the world is not oil or food but leadership. For two decades, I've been on a quest to uncover the essence of a transformational leader, someone who cultivates an environment where employees' needs are so well-addressed that they are eager to show up and give their best every day. This journey led me to study hundreds of leaders and books, all serving as the foundation for my thoughts and writings. I trust that these books will kickstart your own journey. Mine has guided me to play a pivotal role in the corporate liberation movement, involving hundreds of leaders who have transformed their organizations.

Isaac's book list on transformational leadership books that will help you to practice it

Isaac Getz Why did Isaac love this book?

This is the most impertinent yet constructive book on leadership I’ve ever read (and I've read many with one of these qualities, but none with both).

It’s written by the former CEO of AVIS, who led a radical transformation of its organizational culture, resulting in unmatched performance. First published in 1970, it quickly became the NY Times N°1 bestseller. Its commemorative 2007 edition is adorned with even more gems, including a nine-page segment that earns you a PhD in Leadership.

It starts with, “To hell with centralized strategic planning. If you don’t have a good leader, it’s all nothing; just a bunch of papers flying around.” Enjoy!

By Robert C. Townsend, Warren Bennis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Up the Organization as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Although it was first published more than thirty-five years ago, Up the Organization continues to top the lists of best business books by groups as diverse as the American Management Association, Strategy + Business (Booz Allen Hamilton), and The Wharton Center for Leadership and Change Management. 1-800-CEO-READ ranks Townsend's bestseller first among eighty books that "every manager must read."

This commemorative edition offers a new generation the benefit of Robert Townsend's timeless wisdom as well as reflections on his work and life by those who knew and worked with him. This groundbreaking book continues to remind us not to get…


Book cover of The Essential Wooden: A Lifetime of Lessons on Leaders and Leadership

Isaac Getz Author Of Freedom Inc.: How Corporate Liberation Unleashes Employee Potential and Business Performance

From my list on transformational leadership books that will help you to practice it.

Why am I passionate about this?

One remarkable leader I've studied, Bob Davids, said that the greatest scarcity in the world is not oil or food but leadership. For two decades, I've been on a quest to uncover the essence of a transformational leader, someone who cultivates an environment where employees' needs are so well-addressed that they are eager to show up and give their best every day. This journey led me to study hundreds of leaders and books, all serving as the foundation for my thoughts and writings. I trust that these books will kickstart your own journey. Mine has guided me to play a pivotal role in the corporate liberation movement, involving hundreds of leaders who have transformed their organizations.

Isaac's book list on transformational leadership books that will help you to practice it

Isaac Getz Why did Isaac love this book?

I love basketball and was thrilled that John Wooden, ESPN's best 20th-century coach, wrote on leadership. What intrigued me even more is that the book contains few basketball stories. Its theme is universal: How a leader builds a value-and vision-based organizational culture, resulting in perennial success.

Everyone knows that Wooden’s UCLA team won 10 NCAA championships in a span of 12 years, but I was surprised to learn that it took Wooden 15 years to transform UCLA and win the first title.

I admire Wooden’s key to leadership: “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best you are capable of becoming.” As a byproduct of this success, UCLA won 10 titles. Now, I understand why my team—the Knicks—is not getting there.

By John Wooden, Steve Jamison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Essential Wooden as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The acclaimed guide to leadership excellence and competitive success from one of America's greatest coaches: John Wooden
"Talent to spare, or spare on talent," Wooden writes, "a leader's goal remains the same, namely, getting the very best out of the people in your organization." In The Essential Wooden he tells readers how to do this and achieve championship results, whether you lead a small team or run a corporation.
When it came to managing a group of individuals and achieving world-class results, no one did it better than Coach John Wooden. This landmark leadership manual presents Wooden's own hand-picked directives…


Book cover of Everybody Matters: The Extraordinary Power of Caring for Your People Like Family

Sean Lemson Author Of One Drop of Poison: How One Bad Leader Can Slowly Kill Your Company

From my list on avoid being the leader everyone wants to leave.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have worked for some really toxic leaders in my lifetime. Over the decades, I’ve figured out that even well-intentioned people can be toxic leaders without knowing it. As a team and leadership performance coach for the past 15 years, my job has been to help leaders show up as people others want to follow; to help employees feel cared for, and as a result, be intrinsically motivated to care about their company’s mission. These books represent the figurative fuel in my tank for this work, and I hope you find them useful.

Sean's book list on avoid being the leader everyone wants to leave

Sean Lemson Why did Sean love this book?

I love this book because it soundly silences leaders who act as if caring about the people who work for them isn’t compatible with profits. Bob Chapman, the CEO of Barry-Wehmiller, proves that you can care about employees and also be a successful $1.7 billion company.

This is an important part of my belief structure as a leadership and team performance coach. This book also introduced me to the connection between the health of our work cultures and the health of society in general. We make our marks as leaders when we leave the world a better place, not just when we increase our company’s share price. Chapman shows us how it’s done.

By Bob Chapman, Raj Sisodia,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everybody Matters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'If you're ready for a new way of doing business, this is the book for you' Daniel H. Pink, author of To Sell Is Human and Drive

'Bob Chapman is on a mission to change the way businesses treat their employees' Inc.magazine

Do you want to boost the morale, loyalty, creativity and performance of your employees?

In Everybody Matters, CEO Bob Chapman and bestselling author Raj Sisodia challenge traditional thinking about how to run a business and show you how to lead your company so that everyone feels valued.

As CEO of Barry-Wehmiller, Bob Chapman has pioneered a dramatically different…


Book cover of The New One Minute Manager

Patrick Forsyth Author Of Successful Time Management: How to be Organized, Productive and Get Things Done

From my list on common sense to help you succeed in business.

Why am I passionate about this?

Having begun my career in publishing, I worked for many years as a management consultant and trainer; alongside that, I have written and published many books offering advice on management, marketing, and job skills, like the time management book shown above, a bestseller now in its sixth edition. I have always thought management often fails by overlooking the importance of issues rather than finding things difficult; I hope my business writing helps identify priorities and shows that the deployment of various techniques and skills can be manageable–and useful.

Patrick's book list on common sense to help you succeed in business

Patrick Forsyth Why did Patrick love this book?

This is a short book, a revised version of another classic, and I like its focus on the fact that the only sensible definition of management is achieving results through other people.

This demands a constructive approach, constructive criticism, and development, helping people achieve excellent performance. It is sound common sense in an area so often overpowered and neglected in today’s hectic, time-poor world.

By Ken Blanchard, Spencer Johnson,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The New One Minute Manager as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A revised edition of the timeless business classic—updated to help today’s readers succeed more quickly in a rapidly changing world.

For decades, The One Minute Manager® has helped millions achieve more successful professional and personal lives. While the principles it lays out are timeless, our world has changed drastically since the book’s publication. The exponential rise of technology, global flattening of markets, instant communication, and pressures on corporate workforces to do more with less—including resources, funding, and staff—have all revolutionized the world in which we live and work.

Now, Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson have updated The One Minute Manger…


Book cover of Positively Energizing Leadership: Virtuous Actions and Relationships That Create High Performance

Ed Evarts Author Of The Bravery Trick: Four Easy Ways to Say Hard Things

From my list on building your unique leadership style.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been interested in leadership style since my teenage years. My father was a leader in a retailing organization, and I was entranced by behaviors that seemed to connect with others and those that did not. As I grew older, I started to think about leadership style behaviors and models that might capture the most effective ones. While I recognize that leadership needs vary based on industry, scope, and tenure, I do believe that we all should know the leadership styles that are important to us to the extent that we can describe them if we are asked to do so.

Ed's book list on building your unique leadership style

Ed Evarts Why did Ed love this book?

I met Kim Cameron as a guest on my podcast, Be Brave at Work, and he enlightened and incited within me a flame that I always knew was there yet did not know how to ignite. I have always believed that great leaders are energizers–they help people move from where they are today to a new place, positively and rewardingly.

This book focuses on identifying virtuous actions and relationships that create high performance. While we have never been told this, organizations must be led by people who value relationships and are focused on action. They help others, smile, and are trustworthy. I could not define what my leadership style was until I read this book.

By Kim Cameron,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Positively Energizing Leadership as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This practical guide, the first to show how leaders can achieve extraordinary results through the positive energy generated by virtuous interactions with employees, is written by one of the giants in the study of positive leadership.

This book reveals one of the most important but frequently ignored factors that lead to spectacular performance in organizations. Kim Cameron, a true pioneer in the study of positive leadership, offers validated scientific evidence that all individuals are inherently attracted to and flourish in the presence of positive energy, a principle known in biology as heliotropism. Further, he shows that the positive relational energy…


Book cover of The Game-Changer: How You Can Drive Revenue and Profit Growth with Innovation

Kate Vitasek Author Of Vested: How P&G, McDonald's, and Microsoft are Redefining Winning in Business Relationships

From my list on creating successful business deals.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an international authority for my award-winning research on the Vested® business model for highly collaborative relationships. I began my research in 2003 researching what makes a difference in successful strategic business deals. My day job is being the lead faculty and researcher for the University of Tennessee’s Certified Deal Architect program; my passion is helping organizations and individuals learn the art, science, and practice of crafting highly collaborative win-win strategic business relationships. My work has led to seven books and three Harvard Business Review articles. I’ve also shared my advice on CNN International, Bloomberg, NPR, and on Fox Business News.

Kate's book list on creating successful business deals

Kate Vitasek Why did Kate love this book?

When AG Lafley became the CEO of P&G he had an idea that the best way to drive innovation was through collaboration. His book goes behind the scenes on how he encouraged P&Gers to look to suppliers and even competitors' help P&G take innovation to a new level. In fact—Lafley set the lofty goal that 50% of all innovations would not come from P&G—but through P&G by working with strategic partnerships. The book has several examples of how the CPG giant is using collaboration to drive innovation.

By A.G. Lafley, Ram Charan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Game-Changer as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It is by making innovation an intimate, intentional part of the business that A. G. Lafley - the Jack Welch of the 21st century - has recently transformed Procter & Gamble from a $39 into a $76 billion dollar company that touches more than 3 billion people around the world. On the brink of collapse when he joined in 2000, it became a model for growth and innovation. In this inspiring and practical book Lafley explains how making innovation more than just a stand-alone activity enabled him to turn around growth, productivity and the bottom line.

As this book shows,…


Book cover of The Power of Servant Leadership

Lorraine Flower Author Of Heartful Business: Leading with the World in Mind

From my list on leading business consciously to create a better world for all.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love businesses and have been lucky enough to work for and with some great ones in my career in senior leadership positions. For me, leadership is an extraordinary privilege, so we have a responsibility to do it well and keep learning and improving ourselves and the organisations we lead. My journey into more conscious leadership began over 30 years ago, well ahead of the current movement, and it has progressively become the passion driving my work to help leaders and organisations contribute to building a better world. This passion also drives my service with a number of spiritual communities, including Sundial House and the Community of Living Ethics.

Lorraine's book list on leading business consciously to create a better world for all

Lorraine Flower Why did Lorraine love this book?

For me, the idea of leading by serving others, of helping them grow to be their best, expresses one of the core principles of leadership–releasing the potential in others. Service was the background track of my early corporate career in an organisation striving to do this globally.

The principles of servant leadership–empowering others and ethical and sustainable leadershipsit well with my spiritual values. This book has played a significant part in my journey to leading and living more consciously. 

What also stood out for me was Greenleaf’s introduction of the concept of stewardship–we are, after all, just stewards of our organisation, and our world, tending and nurturing them for the next generation. This stewardship mentality is increasingly important given the climate and other crises of today.

By Robert K. Greenleaf, Larry C. Spears (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Power of Servant Leadership as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Based on the seminal work of Robert K. Greenleaf, a former AT&T executive who coined the term almost thirty years ago, servant-leadership emphasizes an emerging approach to leadership—one which puts serving others, including employees, customers, and community, first.

The Power of Servant Leadership is a collection of eight of Greenleaf's most compelling essays on servant-leadership. These essays, published together in one volume for the first time, contain many of Greenleaf's best insights into the nature and practice of servant-leadership and show his continual refinement of the servant-as-leader concept. In addition, several of the essays focus on the related issues of…


Book cover of Unleash Your Complexity Genius: Growing Your Inner Capacity to Lead

João Rosa Author Of Software Architecture Metrics: Case Studies to Improve the Quality of Your Architecture

From my list on a people first approach to technology.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m puzzled by how people and technology evolve—as humankind we created all of these wonders to make our life easier. At the same time, I feel that we are more focus on the technology and processes, rather than people. It drew me to the topic of sociotechnical systems, which fascinates me. I’ve formal education in IT, and everything is binary; however, during my career I was drawn to the intersection of technology and people. My mission in life is to support a new generation of leaders that want to create an organisational environment that puts people in the center! 

João's book list on a people first approach to technology

João Rosa Why did João love this book?

In my quest (you can also call it a professional career), I’m drawn to complexity since we create software for complex problems. There are books on Complexity Science; however, they are very academic. This particular book gives practical advice to cope with complexity. It acknowledges the balance between the emotional and rational sides and why we must bring our full-self to any aspect of our life. The “don’t be emotional, this is work” proves to be a threat to our mental well-being and kills innovation in a company. In the book, the authors explore how to listen to our bodies in the face of complexity in an accessible way.

By Jennifer Garvey Berger, Carolyn Coughlin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Unleash Your Complexity Genius as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

There is a complexity paradox that we all need to understand. We humans have a natural inclination towards connection, engagement, and creativity - all necessary skills to thrive in complexity. The problem is that the stress caused by uncertainty and ambiguity makes it difficult to tap into this inclination when we need it the most. This book offers a set of practices that help you not only understand complexity but actually hack into your own nervous system to bring your natural capacities back online. By paying close attention to your body, redefining your emotional experiences, and connecting more deeply to…


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