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This is the official 3×5 Leadership recommended reading list – a compilation of my favorite books across my favorite subjects to read about. 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 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You, by John Maxwell

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

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

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

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

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

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

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand

Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, by Marcus Luttrell


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

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

Stop Talking, Start Communicating: Counterintuitive Secrets to Success in Business and in Life, by Geoffrey Tumlin

The Chaos Imperative: How Change and Disruption Increase Innovation, Effectiveness, and Success, by Ori Brafman

Other Nonfiction

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

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

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

Spiritual & Family Growth

Sacred Marriage: What If God Designed Marriage to Make Us Holy More Than to Make Us Happy?, by Gary Thomas

“Be” Series commentary books by Warren Wiersbe, such as Be Mature: James or Be Determined: Nehemiah

Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine, by Wayne Grudem

The Shack, by William Young


Ultramarathon Man: Confessions of an All-Night Runner, by Dean Karnazes

My Life on the Run: The Wit, Wisdom, and Insights of a Road Racing Icon, by Bart Yasso