Essential Reads … or Maybe Not

By | October 7, 2020

[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.

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

23 thoughts on “Essential Reads … or Maybe Not

  1. Valkerie

    General Satterfield, thank you for another blog post that actually makes sense.

  2. Wendy Holmes

    Back on topic, I see that many here approve of reading and “thinking” as a solution to many of today’s problems. Instead of adopting some ideology, I recommend thinking as the first step toward a better world. Too many would rather take the easy way out and adopt something that LOOKS RIGHT rather than what IS RIGHT. Big difference and explains why socialism is spreading. Why? Because it relieves the believer of responsibility and elevates them to a higher moral plain. But in reality that is not what happens.

    1. Orange Man

      Thanks for getting back on topic here. In school today, kids are trained just to regurgitate info rather than giving a thoughtful answer. This has gone on so long that even the teachers do the same thing; as they have been trained in our terrible school systems as well. It’s infectious because it is easy and they are rewarded for their ways.

      1. Tony B. Custer

        Excellent comments. You guys are the reason I keep coming back to Gen. Satterfield’s leadership blog. You have added much to my thinking as well.

  3. Janna Faulkner

    Hey folks, the American Vice President debates are tonight. I plan on watching because I want to see Kamala Harris wiggle her way out of the radical leftist policies she has been advocating and why she and her staff have given money to let rioters get bailed out of jail.

    1. lydia truman

      She’s relying on the stupidity of the American voter to get elected. She’ll pander and dance around any real answer. That’s because no one in their right mind would want what she is “selling.”

      1. Xerxes I

        Regardless of the chatter and ongoing analysis from political pundits, commentators, and officials, Harris has a well-documented record of embracing radical progressive ideas, touting them herself on numerous occasions.

  4. José Luis Rodriguez

    I read the article and thought roughly the same thing, Gen. Satterfield. I like it when you put things in perspective. And, I also agree that most of what you and I read on the internet is just junk. Imagine that … JUNK. What a bunch of worthless drivel. I’m glad I didn’t waste any more of my time. Reading you leadership blog, however, is very much worth the time and effort. I also read the forums which give me clarity and allows me to ask questions and get quality answers.

    1. The Kid 1945

      Jose, you are right about that and I think the reason we are all here. 👍

  5. Wilson Cox

    I too read Journey to Leading Yourself, Leading Others, and Leading an Organization (2019) by Ron Williams with Karl Weber. It was okay. But the first thing you should notice is that the author Ron Williams is helped by “Karl Weber.” Now if that doesn’t make you pause, I don’t know what does. Weber actually wrote the book, most likely, after a interview or two with Ron Williams. Williams is the famous one.

      1. Scotty Bush

        Mr. Williams is a graduate of Roosevelt University and holds an M.S. in Management from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Smart guy!

  6. Tracey Brockman

    Leadership is “fiendishly difficult” to achieve. Yep. That sums it up pretty much.

  7. JT Patterson

    Good blog article, Gen. Sattefield so thanks at that level. You have hit on something important and those below in earlier comments have also. Most of what we read, should be read with suspicion in mind. Sometimes the stuff is just junk, pure and simple. Watch out for what you read.

    1. Delaware Don

      I too found this site worthy of just a few minutes each day. I’m a new reader.

  8. Eric Coda

    He He He …. LOL, yes, I agree AND I will add that most of the articles in Forbes and other like-minded “news” entities are simply clickbait and not really concerned about a message of leadership or anything else.

    1. Max Foster

      Eric, you are more right than you might know. I’ve worked with FORBES and other similar outlets. Their desire is money and influence and respect. Nothing else matters. They avoid controversy and other acts that might put them in the cross hairs of nutjobs like we see today on the political left. They especially avoid criticizing Communism or Socialism because they are all in on them.

      1. Otto Z. Zuckermann

        You beat me to it Greg. These outlets that call themselves information sources, etc. are part of the problem today. They are just looking for the good old dollar in the short term. This is why we need real education in America.


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