As many of you know, I am an avid reader and leadership books have had a huge impact on my life. It was tough to narrow it down but here are 5 of my favourite books; they all left an impression on me and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!
Think and Grow Rich, Napolean Hill (1937)
This book, originally published during the Great Depression, has sold more than 20 million copies and was promoted as a personal development and self-improvement tex with a focus on increasing income. This was the very first self-help book I ever read and it absolutely changed the direction and course of my life. I first read this book when I was around 19 years old and let’s say at that time my life was out of control. It taught me that I could do anything in life, but first I had to get control of my life and get some discipline in it.
Developing the Leader Within You, John Maxwell (1993)
This was John Maxwell’s first book and it is often viewed as his most enduring. It has sold more than one million copies. This book is applicable to anyone in any kind of leadership position, from business executive to church leader to parent to teacher. John Maxwell shows the importance of vision, value, influence, and motivation in becoming a good leader. This was the first John Maxwell book I ever read and it taught me that leadership skills are something that anyone can learn, if they want to. Reading this book was the starting point for eventually becoming a John Maxwell trainer.
The Leadership Challenge, James Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner (1987)
Using case studies, this book examines “The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership” based on the research of Kouzes and Posner. A key focus is that leadership is a learned trait and not something that we are born with. This book has sold 2 million copies and is used as a core teaching tool at post-secondary institutions. I was given this book by a really great Mentor in my life, and it is by far one of the best books ever written on the subject of leadership. It is very practical and features hundreds of real life examples.
It’s Your Ship, Captain D. Michael Abrashoff (2002)
Written by a former Navy commander, this book uses the principles the author used to command one of the U.S. Navy’s most modern warships and explains how these principles can be used in business. His top down approach to leadership is explained through personal experiences and stories. I was given this book by a client that I was doing some training for and he suggested that I read it. I absolutely love the book simple because of the similarities between the sailors on the ship and the Blue Collar groups I get to work with. This books provides so many practical yet simple solutions to leadership and training.
Good to Great, Jim Collins (2001)
This book describes how companies transition from good companies to great companies, and studies why many companies fail to make that transition. Described as a management guide, this book was a bestseller and has sold more than 4 million copies. I believe that this book is a must read for anyone who wants to succeed in life. I use one of the expressions from the book almost daily – “Crawl – Walk – Run”; too often I catch myself wanting to jump into things full speed and this one saying has saved me from embarrassing myself many times. Another great analogy from this book is that you not only need the right people on the bus, but they have to be sitting in the right seats.
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