[October 7, 2020] Occasionally, I scour the Internet for writers who give suggestions about essential reads on leadership. I’ve found them to be helpful most of the time, a few not so much. Generally, however, their recommendations are worthwhile for junior leaders or those looking for a particular perspective. I’m not yet convinced we always get the best advice.
One recent article in Forbes (see link here) is an example and a decent one. Those who write for Forbes have established a reputation for quality writing and analysis. This article is noteworthy because it adheres closely to that quality, and, if not for the advice of a reader of my blog, I would not have seen this article.
In the article, we see advocacy for eight essential reads under the heading of Best Leadership Books. Written in a cooperative style (unusual), points are well made and shows the writers are educated on leadership. For example, in the first sentence, we find a common theme from my leadership blog.
“Leadership is the most evergreen of business topics, yet it remains fiendishly difficult to master.” – “Best Leadership Books: 8 Essential Reads You Need In Your Library
Eight selections are made; some of the latest leadership bestsellers are here, as well as those that have stood the test of time. Good point, thank you. But we see where the article begins to diverge from the typical quality of intellectual leadership study. The first book is Journey to Leading Yourself, Leading Others, and Leading an Organization (2019) by Ron Williams with Karl Weber.
I read the book shortly after it was published last year. There was nothing spectacular, unique, or motivating. We would say you could get the same from a couple of hours talking to a genuine senior leader in my world. This quote from the book illustrates my point, “Don’t let other people define who you are, what you can become, or what you can accomplish.” Yes, there is some truth embedded in this idea. We also must adopt the main direction of our culture, its laws and history, its insights into humankind, and how it encourages us to do better. Go your own way? I think not.
The second book selected (er, I mean recommended) is Leader Shift: 11 Essential Changes Every Leader Must Embrace (2019) by John C. Maxwell. We all know that Maxwell is famous for his earlier insights into what makes a leader, how to follow successful leaders’ paths, and how to think correctly about leading. While taking many of the same ideas from Maxwell’s earlier works, this book does a meaningful job adding to his own body of leadership literature. Full of astute advice and written in a simple style, most anyone can read it in a few evenings without a lot of hard thinking.
There are six other books. Perhaps I will take it upon myself to continue this article soon.