Searching for a quote on business management and leadership last week I looked through my bookshelf and rediscovered that I had a great selection of management, leadership and business books. Some of these books you may consider classics. But what I realized was that I had many gurus right in the comfort of my own office just a shelf away. With the Internet and the easy access to information when we have a question about a particular topic, many of us in business, challenged with our own schedules have fallen into the habit of scanning through headlines and reading snippets of books and articles. When’s the last time you’ve read a good book that you used to help your business?
So here’s what I rediscovered on my shelf.
- From Good to Great, by Jim Collins
This number one best seller has helped to transform many businesses from good to great by looking at the factors that make for great companies. For example leaders of great companies display a unique blend of leadership qualities described by the author as a “paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will….more like a blend of Lincoln and Socrates than Patton or Caesar.”
- Live Your Dreams, by Les Brown
I read this book from cover to cover several years ago and it was one of several that I read to provide me with the impetus (I already had the motivation) to leave corporate life and go for my dreamt to start my own business (the same one that I have now). A great inspirational message, I highlighted the text, When you decide to pursue greatness, you are taking responsibility for your life…You may not always be able to control what life puts in your path, but I believe you can always control who you are.”
- Master Planning, by Bobb Biehlin
I bought this book because of my desire to continue to increase my knowledge in strategic planning and to add to my “tool kit”. I was struck by the phrase in the introduction of the book, “If you are an entrepreneurial-style leader who doesn’t have an MBA and doesn’t want to get bogged down in cumbersome bureaucratic planning process – this simple planning book for you.” This is a handy resource equipped with samples.
- Creating a Better World: Interpreting Global Society, Edited by Rupert Taylor
I found this book and made it a part of a curriculum for a University high level undergraduate course I taught called Leadership for the Common Good. The editor has assembled a collection of scholarly essays that provide a great insight into the quest for democracy and global considerations that inspire collective action to create a more just world. Not an easy read but excellent for increasing your global perspective and drivers of leadership.
- The Truth About Leadership, by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner
Best-selling authors of the Leadership Challenge, Kouzes and Posner have done it again! Another great book on understanding the “facts you need to know” about leadership, the authors reveal the enduring elements of leadership that they have gleaned based on their thirty years of research. I had the pleasure of hearing Jim Kouzes speak at a conference in April. Drawing from his book he stated the leadership is personal. The first thing people want to know about a new leader is who he or she is. Values drive commitment. This book reminds us of what is most important about leadership.
There’s nothing like reading a book from cover to cover including the foreword to gain insight into an author’s intent and proposed journey. Reading helps to solidify concepts and themes of the book in your mind. Most business books ask probing questions and offer principles or strategies that require some thought and examination. Take the time to go back to your bookshelf and capture new ideas worth recording and use them to try something new and innovative in your business. I hope you will include by new book, The Intentional Consultant: how to grow a sustainable consulting business, on your bookshelf. Take the time to read a book from cover to cover. The next time someone asks if you’ve read any good books lately, you will be able to suggest a few.