Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Rich Soup of Reading

For years, I've recommended books on management and leadership to my classes and clients. While doing so, I tried to avoid glib, "turn everything around in one week", volumes that consume time and provide little insight. Some books have given just one good idea, but that can be enough to warrant a recommendation. Others are rich soups. Not all are strictly management books. Some histories and novels contain important lessons for the workplace.

These are some of the ones that I recommend most highly:

The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker. The common characteristics of effective executives are analyzed amid examples from business and government.

Leaders by Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus. A lively examination of just what makes leadership responsibilities different from managerial ones.

The Best and the Brightest by David Halberstam. How some extremely sharp people made terrible decisions regarding Vietnam.

Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. A psychiatrist's memoirs of his experiences in the Nazi death camps has much wisdom about life.

Master and Commander by Patrick O'Brian. O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin novels are a course in leadership.

How Successful People Succeed by Ben Stein. This self-help book should be mandatory reading in high schools.

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