Top 30 Books Every Young Influencer Must Read

It’s almost a platitude that reading is used as a tool to inspire influencers to grow. If you want to know which top books every young influencer/ leader should read, please read below. You can download here the survey results in the PDF format. Below is a culmination of of what Jason Young and Daniel Decker embarked on – the definitive list of recommended books every young influencer must read.

  • Over 200 people completed the survey, each sharing their top 5 recommended books.
  • That’s nearly 1000 books we combed through and put into a simple, easy to read, downloadable PDF. We listed the books by “Vote” which is basically how many times the book appeared or was recommended overall throughout the survey.
  • While the survey respondents varied by all types of backgrounds, the results slanted more from the perspective of those involved with some aspect of ministry. This is primarily due to the number of people in the ministry space who retweeted the survey link.
  • While we were looking for traditional books for the results of this survey, it’s also worthwhile to note that the Bible was the #1 suggested resource overall.

Here’s the Top 30 that made the list:


1. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t

Next Generation Leader_ 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future

2. Next Generation Leader: 5 Essentials for Those Who Will Shape the Future


3. How To Win Friends and Influence People


4. The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership: Follow Them and People Will Follow You


5. Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us


6. Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?


7. Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time



8. Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God


9. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable



10. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People


11. Spiritual Leadership: Principles of Excellence for Every Believer


12. Axiom: Powerful Leadership Proverbs


13. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity


14. The Magic of Thinking Big


15. The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When to Quit (and When to Stick)


16. Visioneering: God’s Blueprint for Developing and Maintaining Vision


17. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die


18. Rework


19. The Energy Bus: 10 Rules to Fuel Your Life, Work, and Team with Positive Energy


20. Outliers: The Story of Success


21. The Principle of the Path: How to Get from Where You Are to Where You Want to Be


22. Courageous Leadership


23. Mere Christianity (C.S. Lewis Signature Classics)

Radical_cvr:Mechanical File

24. Radical: Taking Back Your Faith from the American Dream


25. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years: How I Learned to Live a Better Story


26. The Future of Management


27. Developing the Leader Within You


28. The Leadership Challenge: How to Make Extraordinary Things Happen in Organizations


29. Now, Discover Your Strengths


30. E-Myth Mastery: The Seven Essential Disciplines for Building a World Class Company

Questions: What are some books you would recommend to young influencers that are not on the list?

  • tim chan

    this is a great book list! i've read 10 so far, looking forward to reading more.

  • Paul J. Sohn

    Yes, thought it may galvanize you to rush into or Chapters to having a shopping spree of books! I also read about 10 of those in the top 30. Good list, indeed.

  • Thanks for sharing the list. I’m going to go through it one by one.

    • Murali

      Great collection.

      My favorite leadership books are

      1. “The 360 degree Leader – Develop your influence from anywhere in the

      organization” by John C. Maxwell

      2. “No excuses – The power of self discipline” by Brian Tracy

      • “The 360 degree Leader” is a great book. A must-read for all leaders, especially the next generation of leaders. I haven’t heard of Brian Tracy’s book on “No Excuses” I’ll definitely check it out. Thanks for the suggestions Murali!

  • I think it says something that 3 leadership experts of the last generation (Maxwell, Hybels, and yes, even Stanley) appear twice, while Godin whose creative whit in writing tends to relate well with Millennials, appears 3 times! Carnegie and Covey are classics, but it’s cool to see them balanced out with next generation writers like the Heath bros and Gladwell.

    • Absolutely brother. Agree that it’s a well-balanced list. I was wondering when you read, do you have any strategy behind it? (such as taking notes, speed reading etc)? This is something I’m trying to improve in 2013 as I attempt to increase my reading ability.

  • Don Swanger

    Good List. I continue to recommend Dust of Death by Os Guiness as an example of how to meet the challenge of thinking Christianly about and within a post-Christian culture. Tipping Point is at the top of my recommendations list, as are Blue Ocean Strategy and Dee Hock’s Birth of the Chaordic Age. Finally, I’d suggest Making Money is Killing Your Business, by Chuck Blakeman.

    • I’ll definitely check out Os Guinness’ Dust of Death. Os is such a brilliant writer who understands the challenge of today and weaves Truth into it. Thanks for your great suggestions Don.

  • Great list, Paul! One not on the list that has been huge for me is Start with Why by Simon Sinek.

    • I loved Simon Sinek’s book on “Start with Why” Really speaks to the heart of authentic communication.

  • Only 10 left to read! That is a great list… Since we are throwing in spiritual based books I would add Radical Discipleship. (its like Bonhoeffer simplified)…. It will challenge one to what and how they live out their faith!

    • Wow, you’re a voracious reader. I’ll definitely check out Radical Discipleship! Thanks for the great suggestion.

  • Pingback: Which side are you in? Entrepreneur/ Investors or Employee/Specialist | Welcome to The Blog of Warut Boonya()

  • Pingback: Must Reads for Next Generation Philanthropists | GVNGTogether()

  • bookmarked with thoughts to go back and keep marking some off the list thanks man!

  • Matt

    I saw “The Art of War” in the photo but not on the list. It’s definitely a book that is geared towards a military leader but it is definitely a good read for any leader. In my opinion it’s a book filled with leadership proverbs, I would recommend it to people who are not into reading longer books.

  • Lynn Hare

    Paul, thanks for the compilation. Which is your fave for Christian leadership? And why? What did you like best about Kouze’s “The Leadership Challenge”?

    • Hey Lynn – my fav for Christian Leadership is Spiritual Leadership. It’s rock solid. The Leadership Challenge is perhaps the most well known and respected leadership book all leaders should read. It’s a great introductory course and reading of leadership.

      • Lynn Hare

        Great! Thanks,Paul!

  • Seana Turner

    I’m loving the authors on your list!

  • I have a recommendation for young influencers that doesn’t fit into the leadership genre, but should be on a must-read list for Christian leaders: Foolishness to the Greeks, by Lesslie Newbigin.

    I’ve read about half the books on your list, and found them truly helpful; but I haven’t re-read any of them. I’ve read Foolishness at least 6 times, and keep going back to it for his insight into the nature of our time and our culture.

  • Steve Lanning

    Paul, your terrific work has made this old pew-packer Boomer swell with pride at the spit and vim we have coming up in following generations. I did see titles I’ve not yet read, but this is a wonderful list. When I saw the “Magic of Thinking Big” (an early 1970s read for our sales team), I thought I’d also see Peter Drucker’s ‘The Effective Executive’ mentioned somewhere! Reader’s additions to your foundation is also a bonus!

  • Hunter Johnson

    Paul, great list for influencers of any age! One I would recommend is “Touching the Holy” by Robert Wicks—it is a different perspective on relationship building and how our perceptions of our own worth affect those relationships.

  • erik

    Interesting list. I might add “The Power of Habit” by Duhigg

  • George J Garrett

    I would like to suggest “Drive” by Dan Pink. Really makes one think about what motivates us. It’s not what we think. My business partner and I had our own book “Evolved…Engaging People, Enhancing Success” released this past month.

  • christoph

    my favorite book, written by a medical doctor, is ACTS. Only know his first name, Luke

  • Janet

    I Dare You by John Danforth is an old but excellent book, and a quick read, too.

  • Paul,

    Bertrand Russell’s “History of Western Philosophy” is a book I greatly enjoyed when I was a teenager, and I give away copies of it to promising young people I meet now, many years later.

    Apart from a zillion interesting historical facts and a few dozen interesting personalities, the book teaches us that there are always a bunch of different ways of looking at and thinking about anything serious.


  • Pingback: Books to Read - Sculpt your Mind()

  • Amber

    The Travelers Gift – Andy Andrews.

  • Tracey S Hooks

    Thank you for the list… always enjoy reading your articles! Downloaded your Ebook tonight…looking forward to reading it!

  • Good list! I have two more to add to your list. “Take the Risk” by Ben Carson and “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg

  • Brad Lomenick’s H3 Leadership; John Miller’s QBQ: The Question Behind the Question; Ed Catmull’s Creativity, Inc; Pat Lencioni’s The Advantage (I’d recommend this over 5 Dysfunctions, since it include the concepts in his Discipline 1; Carey Nieuwhof’s Leading Change Without Losing It; Charles Duhigg The Power of Habit; Liz Wiseman’s Multipliers; Henry Cloud’s Boundaries for Leaders

  • Burt Lohoff-Gaida

    Paul, You left the most important one off of your list: The Bible.

  • Thank you for this informative list. The book “Blue Ocean Strategy” seems to epitomize the thinking of the millennium generation as well as the younger group of GenX’s.

    CB Bowman, CEO
    Association of Corporate Executive Coaches

  • srlucado

    I’d replace a lot of those with literature. A few literary classics will teach you more about people than all these books put together.