Essential Leadership Reading


With so many options in the area of leadership books, it can be hard to sort through what is good and what is, well, not as good. So if you’re looking for a few really great books on leadership – then here are three solid, can’t-go-wrong suggestions.

  1. Canoeing the Mountains: Leadership in Uncharted Territory by Tod Bolsinger

This is a book written for churches and church leadership, especially churches in some sort of transition. It uses the story of Lewis and Clark as a template for leading in a church into new places. My church staff just went through this book and it was insightful, challenging, and eye-opening. I highly recommend it to church leaders of all kinds.

2. Fierce Conversations: Achieving Success at Work and at Life One Conversation at a TimeĀ by Susan Scott


This is a great book in giving insight into intentional, clear, and direct communication in your life and work. This is particularly important for church leaders and pastors. It gives tools in how cut through the superficial nature of much of our communication and get to the heart of matters, which in turn deepens and enriches relationships.

3. A Failure of Nerve: Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix by Edwin Friedman


This is an incredible book which gives great insight into true, lasting, effective leadership. The main thesis is that leaders aren’t effective because they lack skill or information, but because they lack the nerve to stand firm in the midst of other peoples emotional anxiety and reactions. This is essential reading for church leaders.


So here are three recommendations. What are some of your most impactful books on leadership? Comment below!


Gabe Lawson serves as the Pastor of Discipleship and Care at First Alliance Church in Lexington, KY. He also serves as a chaplain in the US Air Force Reserves, an ordained minister in the Christian & Missionary Alliance, and a wedding photographer with his wife, Mary. You can follow him on Twitter @gabriellawson and Instagram @gabelawson