Great Reads in Leadership for Fall 2016

Abraham Lincoln once said that if he had six hours to chop down a tree, he would spend the first four sharpening his ax.  More recently, personal development expert Stephen Covey has said that “sharpening your saw” is a critical part of becoming better at your craft.

One of the best ways you can continue to sharpen your tools is to read.  By absorbing the experiences and lessons of others, you can become a better leader in your own right.

Here is a list of ten of my personal favorites that I think you will find enjoyable, helpful, and even inspirational for you on your own leadership journey.  Enjoy what I believe are some great reads in leadership!

Great Reads in Leadership

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Personal Development/Leading Yourself

The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People – A foundational, common-sense book for anyone, and especially for leaders.  Learn about the seven habits, and more importantly, how you can put them to work for you.

The One Thing – Helps you cut through the noise and clutter to make sure you get the important things done first; loaded with tips; the author has even highlighted the book for you.

Better than Before – Sometimes we can get ensnared in the traps of bad habits; lots of great tips and techniques to cast off the old, bad ones, and build newer, better ones that take us where we want to go.

Leading Others/ Teamwork

The New One Minute Manager – Short, sweet, practical.  Gives you solid tools to use when working with others to set goals, praise, or prod.

Start With Why – Some companies are able to inspire and motivate a loyal following, while others are not.  Learn their secrets of success and how you can use them to lead your own teams.  Clearly written, pragmatic, revealing.

Turn the Ship Around – Follow a submarine Captain as he turns convention on its head and shows how to tap into the strengths of everyone on your team.  The larger your team, the more you need to read this.

Stories of Amazing Leadership and Teamwork in Action

SOUTH: The Endurance Expedition – Amazing leadership under incredible pressures; Earnest Shackleton and his 28 men are stranded in the Antarctic ice, their ship destroyed and no hope of rescue.  Follow as his team overcomes incredible odds to get back home again.

The Boys in the Boat  – Discover insights into teamwork and leadership as you follow the unlikely members of the 1936 U.S. Men’s Olympic rowing team in its bid to defeat the best in the world in Hitler’s Germany.

The Right Kind of Crazy  – The team leader tells how he struggled to balance brilliant minds, shrinking budgets, and the immutable laws of physics in the effort to land a rover the size of a small car on the surface of Mars.

The Killer Angels –As armies converge on Gettysburg during the American Civil War, be inspired by demonstrations of leadership large and small; reads like a novel but packed with great examples of leadership in action in trying times.

Great Reads – The Takeaway

Leadership is as much art as it is science, and the more you work at it, the better you get.  Learn through the experiences of others, discover the possible, and immerse yourself in these great reads of leadership in action.

Question:  What’s missing? What favorite would you recommend, and what makes it great?

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3 thoughts on “Great Reads in Leadership for Fall 2016”

  1. Deric M. Crosby

    Ken, I have read most of the books on your list and there are one or two I haven’t that I’ll put on my reading list; thank you for sharing.

    A book I’ve found very insightful and made my required reading list of the leadership staffs I’ve been a part of or supported as their executive coach and mentor was Liz Wiseman’s “Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter.

    I had Simon Sinek’s Start with Why on my recommended list for a long while, however I found most on my leadership staffs or staffs I coached and mentored didn’t completely read it; citing it was too researched based and analytical. I believe Simon has stated as much in the past as well. So I choose to use Simon’s “Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t” on my list.

    A book by Stephen M.R. Covey that’s been around for 3 / 4 years that I recently completed and still digesting is “Smart Trust: The Defining Skill that Transforms Managers into Leaders.” I like this one more than his better known work, “Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything.” Since I believe leadership is a personal relationship between two or more people it relies on a foundation of trust this will most likely land on my list.

    1. Deric – thank you for your thoughts and your suggestions – I’ll definitely check out the ones you mention. Part of what’s been fun about this is getting recommendations of great reads from other readers.

      Start with Why appealed to me in part for the analytical approach, but you can’t go wrong with Leaders Eat Last. As a veteran, the approach resonated with me, as you might imagine.

      Just finished Never Eat Alone, and am working through What They Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School and Seneca – Letters from a Stoic – all candidates for the next list…

      Thanks again for your comment!
      Ken

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