Frustrated at work?

Want to advance faster?

Want others to follow you?

The answer comes through practicing the fundamentals,
not reading and watching others.

Leadership Step by Step is the first book with the fundamentals–exercises you practice from where you are to advanced and beyond–tested over hundreds of developing leaders like you.

A once-in-a-lifetime game-changing advance in our field everyone else will follow. It's better than business school courses.” — #1 leadership thinker, Marshall Goldsmith

You will learn to become the person others follow.

Try one of the book's most popular exercises, How to Make a Meaningful Connection.

Click below for an excerpt from the book and exclusive annotated videos. 

Joshua Spodek has been quoted and profiled by ABC, CBS, NBC, NPR, Fox, CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USAToday, The Washington Post, Newsweek, Forbes, Worth, Esquire, The Guardian, Salon, Gothamist, Slashdot and many more.

He has spoken at NYU, Harvard, Princeton, Columbia, MIT, INSEAD, The New York Academy of Science, The U.S. Army, The Children’s Aid Society, IBM, Deloitte, and others.

Featured In:

“In Leadership Step by Step, Joshua Spodek fills the gap between education and experience for potential leaders. By treating leadership like the art it is, he imbues it with empathy and understanding. This is a book that will improve your business savvy and possibly, your life.”

Daniel H. Pink

Author of Drive and A Whole New Mind

“Leadership Step by Step offers that rare breed of learning—genuine, authentic, effective, engaging, and, most of all, fun. It is based on the best leadership philosophy and practice. The results of doing its exercises insure that you will become an authentic, great leader, able to serve and to live to the best of your ability. Anyone who aspires to lead, to lead more effectively, or to live life to its fullest would benefit from Joshua’s exercises. This is true for business, public service, the social sector, the arts, education, and any sphere where leaders serve.”

Frances Hesselbein

Presidential Medal of Freedom Honoree, CEO of Girl Scouts, named “Best leader in America” by Peter Drucker

“Joshua is changing the game for leadership development and creating positive change. His insight to give a progression of exercises to practice is a once-in-a-lifetime game-changing advance in our field everyone else will follow. It's better than business school courses because he has you create real positive change that lasts. Leadership is about doing, not just understanding, and Joshua's exercises give you both. Leadership Step by Step gets it. Do its exercises and you will too. If you like my style, get coaching from me or buy Joshua's book.”

Marshall Goldsmith,

2015 #1 Leadership Thinker and #1 Executive Coach in the World. NY Times #1 bestselling author of Triggers.

“This book doesn't matter so much, but what you choose to do with it means everything. A hands on, useful, urgent book about leveling up as a leader.”

Seth Godin

Bestselling author and founder of altMBA

What will you learn?

Unlike books that give you principles and theory, Leadership Step by Step has you practice the fundamentals with people you care about on projects you care about.

The book has four units:

Understanding Yourself
Leading Yourself
Understanding Others
Leading Others

You will lead with experience—not try to remember facts from a book or lecture.

Whom is this book for?

Professionals in leadership positions, on track to them, or who want to be.

People who want ownership of their work, as entrepreneurs or project leads.

Recent or soon-to-be graduates concerned about how to start their careers.

People who want to improve their relationships.

Also available online or in person at Barnes and Noble bookstores.

What are verified reviewers saying?

Practical leadership – through emotional intelligence!

I've read many leadership books in the past, but I've never seen one before that is so eminently practical and still founded on deep, abstract concepts such of emotional intelligence. The exercises presented (which are easy to do and, I would even say, fun!) can truly help all of us grow as a leader in whichever field we work in or in our personal lives.”

Jose Gaztelu

Amazon Verified Purchaser

A truly one-of-a-kind roadmap to cultivating and learning–yes LEARNING–how to be your own best advocate.

“A truly one-of-a-kind roadmap to cultivating and learning–yes LEARNING–how to be your own best advocate. This book is intrepid and empowering. The real-life exercises contained in it are enjoyable and, more importantly, teach you to hone your authenticity, self-awareness, and empathy to make meaningful connections as a leader.”

Anita R.

Amazon Verified Purchaser

This book has changed my life!

Josh Spodek has a unique vision. Using tools in this book are an empowering process. Through work, friends and family my direct interactions “meaningful connections” with people have been enriched. This book teaches and guides how communication is an effective tool and can be productive when used correctly.

Words that I take for granted in daily conversations are changed and the outcomes were remarkable. I LOVE this book b/c it is an ongoing process in establishing REAL relationships. Highly recommend, Leadership Step by Step to anyone who wishes for a purposeful life and nurtured personal growth. Josh Spodek is an amazing speaker as well as professor. Best Leadership book out there.”

Madeleine W.

Amazon Verified Purchaser

Buy this book to learn how to lead through action and with empathy

Josh's passion for learning leadership through experience rather than through knowledge sets him apart from the mainstream self-help voices. His dedication to not just talking about the idea of leadership or the successes of known leaders, but to how one can learn to lead is the key. Amazing book for anyone who really wants to learn to lead with empathy and better understanding of others. Plus tons of amazing exercises that anyone can do.”

L. Coe

Amazon Verified Purchaser

Brilliant, insightful, inspiring but that's not the best part – best part is, it works!

This is more than a leadership book, it's more than a book, it's a guide to creating a meaningful life, it's about achieving your values and leading others to achieve theirs.

The book's tone is calm, non-imposing and has a fluency that is uncommon, a fluency that comes not just from mastering writing and thinking skills, but having actually gone through the process of figuring out what is important, what works, how and why. Instead of only presenting arguments and proofs about what makes a great life, the author shows you how to do so yourself.

It's so well written that it's hard to keep it down and move on to practicing the exercises but the exercises are the way to make it work. If you were to skip the theory and move on to doing the exercises I bet you'd still tremendous results from it. The exercises are fun and rewarding; not tedious at all. At times they challenge you to get out of your comfort zone but never do they kill the joy of pursuing something important.

Ameeta Saxena

Amazon Verified Purchaser

Leadership can be taught

“Joshua's book is a game changer for anyone courageous enough to put into practice the leadership skills he teaches. Yes, leadership can be taught and Joshua is your mentor.”

Daniel E. Bauer

Amazon Verified Purchaser

The essential guide to leading others, and yourself

“As a former non-commissioned officer with the US Marines in Iraq, I have read a lot of books on leadership to enhance my own abilities. This is by far the best book I have read on the topic. It is invaluable how Dr. Spodek turns leadership theories into practical and actionable practices. Since leaving the Marines, I have come to learn that leadership skills are essential no matter what I do in life. Learning how to be a better leader not only improves my ability to make a greater impact in the world, it also helps me in my constant journey to achieve mastery over the self. This is one of the best books I have come across to guide me on both these endeavors.”

Akshay Nanavati

Amazon Verified Purchaser

Leadership is often one of those words thrown around without any meaning

Leadership is often one of those words thrown around without any meaning — this book does a masterful job of breaking down what it takes to lead others, in the moments that make a difference between a conversation that goes somewhere or nowhere. A worthy read for anyone who wants to improve their abilities to connect, engage and move the conversation forward.

Jonathan Raymond

Amazon Verified Purchaser

Better than other leadership books!

This book has been incredibly insightful and inspiring. The tools given within were very helpful and applicable, while explaining the usefulness of each technique and exercise. All of which, by the way, were important and useful.

While being full of applicable information, the book also reads well and is simultaneously quite entertaining. Unlike many other books that can seem quite dry. I know my leadership abilities have improved from reading this book and doing the exercises (it is important that you do them, and not just read about them).

As a long time self-improvement enthusiast and somebody who has held several leadership positions, I highly recommend this book to anybody. Get this book, you will be glad you did.

Danny C.

Amazon Verified Purchaser

I WAS WRONG: You can learn leadership from a book

I always thought learning leadership by reading a book was like learning to play piano by reading a book. There is a huge difference between theory and performance. That is why I wasn't a big fan of leadership books. LEADERSHIP STEP BY STEP is different. If you do the exercises (instead of just reading the book) you can learn the fundamentals and more importantly learn about yourself. I highly recommend this book for any new leader or even a seasoned leader who realizes there is always something more to learn and improve.

Tom Schwab

Amazon Verified Purchaser


This is one of those rare business books that will actually improve your bottom line (and your life). What's great about it it cuts through all the theory on leadership and focuses on practical drills to take one's leadership skills to the next level. I found many of the exercises to be a lot of fun and almost all of them tangibly improved my leadership skills in one way or another. Most importantly, this book taught me how to connect with others to understand their motivation and then to connect that motivation to the task I want them to perform. A word to the wise though, you'll get out of this what you put into it. You need to actually do the exercises to improve. Fortunately, they dont take a lot of time and many of them are a lot of fun.


Amazon Verified Purchaser

Best Leadership Book So Far!

I'm half-way reading this book and it's amazing. Full of practical steps which I'm excited to be implementing myself. I love the section on developing self-awareness and the exercises are so useful. This is a book I will be reading and re-reading over and over again until I internalize the concepts and principles taught as I want to be a great leader to other. Highly recommended!

Marie G Velayo

Amazon Verified Purchaser

Step By Step is an early frontrunner for the best business book of 2017

Leadership Step By Step is an early frontrunner for the best business book of 2017. Don't let the title fool you: what Spodek offers isn't merely a checklist of actions to take and discard, but rather a playbook of practices to develop and evolve. It's clear, actionable, readable, and informative, with directive takeaways that can be implemented immediately as well as nuanced habits to cultivate over the course of a lifetime.

Most saliently: it works! Spodek didn't just sit down at a desk one day and decide to put these ideas down on paper. Rather, he's curated an effective series of guided activities developed over a long career of coaching, teaching, instructing, and (most importantly) actually leading. As a manager and executive, I can personally testify to the powerful impact Leadership Step By Step has on my ability to deepen relationships and deliver results. I wholeheartedly recommend this book.”

Zac Hill

Amazon Verified Purchaser

A clear and practical guide to elevating ones impact and leadership

“A clear and practical guide to elevating ones impact and leadership in all areas of life and especially through human connection. This book directly lays out the logical path one can and must take to be the motivating, inspiring, and compelling vision of themselves to effectively relate and connect to those around them. A must read for ANY leader.”

Jason Bomberger

Amazon Verified Purchaser

Joshua Spodek makes a good point in his preface

Joshua Spodek makes a good point in his preface, schools often challenge you intellectually but not socially and emotionally. Research shows the biggest differentiator between average and star performers is their EQ not their IQ. So leaders must often learn on their own. This book can be a great tool in that learning. His analogy to learning to play an instrument is apt: you just have to practice. Spodek provides a series of exercises that lay out what to practice to be an effective leader.”

Michael Lederman

Amazon Verified Purchaser

I've read many leadership books that cover lots of theory…

“I've read many leadership books that cover lots of theory and principles of leadership, but no book actually taught me the practical skills that I could apply in real life [naturally]. As a result of Josh's book, I've written my own book and started a very successful career as a corporate public speaker. If you're looking for practical leadership, I've never seen anyone teach it as diligently as Joshua Spodek's Leadership Step By Step.”

Chris Bolger

Amazon Verified Purchaser

All-killer no-filler book on improving your life

This is an amazingly practical book on improving yourself, your life, and your leadership skills. The author's scientific background shows in the crisply logical and directly applicable concepts and techniques that make up the book. Each chapter ends with a mental or social exercise that ingrains the concept introduced, and prepares you for the next. The book is a great read either way, but its truly transformational value is in doing the exercises. If you just read through and skip over the exercises, you will be missing out.


Amazon Verified Purchaser


This is a very practical book with lots of exercises. It will help you become a better leader. I highly recommend it.”


Amazon Verified Purchaser

Joshua Spodek

Joshua Spodek

The Author

Joshua Spodek is an Adjunct Professor of leadership at NYU, leadership coach and workshop leader for Columbia Business School, columnist for Inc., and founder of

He has led seminars in leadership, entrepreneurship, creativity, and sales at Harvard, Princeton, MIT, the New York Academy of Science, and in private corporations. He holds five Ivy League degrees, including a PhD in Astrophysics and an MBA, and studied under a Nobel Prize winner. He helped build an X-ray observational satellite for NASA, co-founded and led as CEO or COO several ventures, and holds six patents.

He earned praise as “Best and Brightest” (Esquire’s Genius Issue), “Astrophysicist turned new media whiz” (NBC), and “Rocket Scientist” (ABC News and Forbes) and has been quoted and profiled by ABC, CBS, NBC, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. He has visited North Korea twice, swam across the Hudson River, and has done burpees every day for six years, 90,000+ and counting. He blogs daily at

Leadership Step by Step is more than a book, it's an online course.

The online course adds a supportive, interactive community to the exercises. You still work at your pace on your schedule. As one graduate wrote:

An incredibly rewarding course that allowed me to challenge myself to strive for a better version of myself… It required discovering what I wanted to learn through real-life encounters, as opposed to lecture-based classes in which many students only memorize concepts for the exam only to completely forget it in a couple months.

The online course covers the same exercises in the same order using the same software as Joshua Spodek's highly-rated courses at NYU without costing thousands of dollars.

Register for the free, no-obligation webinar to learn more.