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This is the 3×5 Leadership reading list – a compilation of the books that have impacted my development the most across my favorite subjects to read about. The list serves an option of recommendations others can consider. We are all shaped by the books we read and I don’t believe one list is right, the best, or better than any other list. My hope is that these books can impact you the way they have me.

This is a “living” list; it will continue to evolve and grow as I keep reading. So, come back and routinely check out the list for updates.

Within each category, books are listed in order of recommended preference, with the top book in the category being my top recommendation. If there is a book not on here that you believe should be, be patient; I likely have not gotten to reading it yet!

The 3×5 Leadership Reading List

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Leader Development

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, by Stephen R. Covey

The Culture Code: The Secrets of Highly Successful Groups, by Daniel Coyle

The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You, by John Maxwell

How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable, by Patrick Lencioni

It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership, by Colin Powell

Herding Tigers: Be the Leader Creative People Need, by Todd Henry

The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever, by Michael Bungay Stanier

The 360 Degree Leader: Developing Your Influence from Anywhere in the Organization, by John Maxwell

Leadership: Theory and Practice (7th ed.), by Peter Northouse

Strengths Finder 2.0, by Tom Rath

Military Leadership

Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders, by L. David Marquet

Leaders: Myth and Reality, by GEN (Ret.) Stanley McChrystal

Taking the Guidon: Exceptional Leadership at the Company Level, by Nate Allen & Tony Burgess

Small Unit Leadership: A Commonsense Approach, by COL (Ret.) Dandridge M. Malone

Common Sense Training: A Working Philosophy For Leaders, by LTC (Ret.) Arthur S. Collins, Jr.

A Passion for Leadership: Lessons on Change and Reform from Fifty Years of Public Service, by Robert M. Gates

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALS Lead and Win, by Jocko Willink and Leif Babin

Team of Teams: New Rules of Engagement for a Complex World, by Stanley McChrystal

The Challenge of Command, by Roger H. Nye

The Patton Mind, by Roger H. Nye

Military History

This Kind of War: A Study in Unpreparedness, by T. R. Fehrenbach

Red Platoon: A True Story of American Valor, by Clinton Romesha

Black Hearts: One Platoon’s Descent into Madness in Iraq’s Triangle of Death, by Jim Frederick

An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, by Rick Atkinson

East of Chosin: Entrapment and Breakout in Korea, 1950, by Roy Appleman

Cobra II: The Inside Story of the Invasion and Occupation of Iraq, by Michael Gordon & GEN Bernard Trainor

Carved From Granite: West Point Since 1902, by Lance Betros [for USMA graduates]


Once an Eagle, by Anton Myrer

Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae, by Steven Pressfield

Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card

The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien

Catch-22, by Joseph Heller

Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War, by P. W. Singer & August Cole

One Second After, by William R. Forstchen

Understanding the Human Condition & Human Growth

Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead, by Brene Brown

Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, by Malcolm Gladwell

The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, by Charles Duhigg

Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World, by Bob Goff

Other Nonfiction

LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media, by P. W. Singer & Emerson T. Brooking

Building a StoryBrand: Clarify Your Message So Customers Will Listen, by Donald Miller

Connectography: Mapping the Future of Global Civilization, by Parag Khanna

Superpower: Three Choices for America’s Role in the World, by Ian Bremmer

The Accidental Superpower: The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disorder, by Peter Zeihan

Wired for War: The Robotics Revolution and Conflict in the 21st Century, by P. W. Singer

Army of None: Autonomous Weapons and the Future of War, by Paul Scharre