[January 01, 2014] Reading is a habit that all the best leaders have developed over their lifetimes and like any habit, it can be changed for better or worse. What I wanted to do here is add a few thoughts on my year of reading in 2013.
Many of my favorite books on history, were not include in this blog’s “Reading List” because of my bias on the 19th century and I didn’t want to bore you. The foundations of the United States, as a great economic and intellectual power, developed during this century – at least in my opinion. That is why books that I read are prone to be from that time or about it.
A few recent and really good books dealing with U.S. Presidents are Theodore Roosevelt and the American Political Tradition by Jean M. Yarbrough and All the Great Prizes: The Life of John Hay from Lincoln to Roosevelt by John Taliaferro. If interested in the development of U.S. Presidents and senior executive leadership, then read these for the intellectual foundations of great leadership.
A great choice about what kicked off the 20th century was of the works by Nikola Tesla on the development of alternating current (yes, I am an engineer but what the heck). The book Nikola Tesla: Imagination and the Man That Invented the 20th Century by Sean Patrick is a book on history but also on leadership; both helps us frame our minds in the thoughts of people at the turn of the century.
My favorite book of 2013, one that made me think the most on senior executive leadership issues more than most, was Rumsfeld’s Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War, and Life by Donald Rumsfeld. Many will not read the book because of their disagreement with him on politics – caution about self-restrictions on your intellectual development.
What motivates the most successful leaders of our times? What were their thoughts on being a leader? How did they overcome tremendous obstacles? These questions can only be answered by reading.
Best of luck in the New Year of Reading.