Leadership Books
Leadership Books Discussion

1.  What is your favorite leadership book and why?
I love how comprehensive the book is.  For someone like me who struggles with self-advocacy in the workplace in terms of gathering a close to total "buy-in" for my ideas. I can always pick this book up and learn something from it that I had forgotten or didn't place enough importance on at the time. It's also something I have on audio which is helpful! 

2.  What is your LEAST favorite leadership book and why?

Who Moved My Cheese is my least favorite - purely out of circumstance.  One of my organizations was being bought out by a group of investors and this book was bought in bulk and set on our desks with a note attached that employees "aren't required to read this".  The tone around our office was a bit different - it was certainly an expectation for us in Human Resources and Safety (my department(s)) to read.  I just felt it was a gesture misguided attempt to manage disruption.  Otherwise, it's cute, artful and and sends the message: "change is good!" in 32 pages or less. 

3.  Do you have a favorite book that isn't specific to the "leadership genre" that you think has a great message about leadership and can you share the name of the book and what lessons are at stake? Any memorable quotes to share?

Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival (1988) and the fascinating (must-see) documentary Touching the Void (2003).

"Joe Simpson and his climbing partner, Simon Yates, had just reached the top of a 21,000-foot peak in the Andes when disaster struck. Simpson plunged off the vertical face of an ice ledge, breaking his leg. In the hours that followed, darkness fell and a blizzard raged as Yates tried to lower his friend to safety. Finally, Yates was forced to cut the rope, moments before he would have been pulled to his own death. The next three days were an impossibly grueling ordeal for both men. Yates, certain that Simpson was dead, returned to base camp consumed with grief and guilt over abandoning him. Miraculously, Simpson had survived the fall, but crippled, starving, and severely frostbitten was trapped in a deep crevasse. Summoning vast reserves of physical and spiritual strength, Simpson crawled over the cliffs and canyons of the Andes, reaching base camp hours before Yates had planned to leave. How both men overcame the torments of those harrowing days is an epic tale of fear, suffering, and survival, and a poignant testament to unshakable courage..." -Amazon.com Synopsis



5 Replies
I just started reading The Ideal Team Player: How to Recognize and Cultivate The Three Essential Virtues by Patrick Lencioni. It is written in true story-format, just like his book Five Dysfunctions of a Team. So far it its a good read, quick enough, and keeps my attention with the characters. 

The other book that I'm hoping to read over the holidays is Team of Teams by General Stanley McChrystal. I saw him speak at the IHI Healthcare Conference and was very impressed. 
This is a topic that needs a lot of thought. There is a lot of quackery around leadership.I would suggest two books, neither of which is ostensibly a book about leadership. the first is The Prodigal Soldiers by James Kitfield. It is a book about the Reformation of the Army after Vietnam. it is a book about great leaders. The second is Mindset by Carol Dweck. It describes how a shift of mind can make you a good leader or a bad one. I just wrote a review of that which should be published in the next issue of the Journal for Quality and Participation.

Brooks Carder
Chair, HD&L
Well, it is a classic, but I keep going back to "Out of the Crisis" by W.E. Deming! And more recently, I really like the Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Every leader should understand the psychological underpinnings of how we think and the difference between System 1 and System 2 styles of thinking!  
If Daniel Kahneman is in scope, then I read The Undoing Project by Michael Lewis, which profiled Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, and recommend it.

I am reading the latest book by Bob Woodward, which certainly profiles some prominent political leaders.  I'm sure there are lessons to be learned, good and bad, about leadership from this particular publication.

Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival sounds amazing!  Had to download right away (good deal, on Amazon, too!).