One of the things that I’ve learned throughout my professional career is that being a good leader is a must for success at any level. Because of that, I’m always looking for new ways to evolve my leadership skills. Running my own company at a young age, and being an officer in the Marine Corps have helped with that evolution. However, reading books from great leaders has been the biggest help. With that said, I want to provide you with 4 must-read books on leadership that has helped me along the way.
The four books you will see below are very grounded and realistic. They provide you with a realness of the failures and trials that these leaders had to go through and how they overcame them. This in fact was what made it helpful for me to relate to. The four books, Good To Great, Unlocking Potential, Call Sign Chaos, and the Ride of a lifetime are excellent books written by excellent people. Hopefully, these books offer you the same value they provided me.
Good To Great by Jim Collins
Good To Great by Jim Collins is an all time classic leadership book. Jim Collins gets a lot right in this book. His trope that it’s not about getting the right people on the bus but also getting the wrong people off is absolutely correct. At least that has been my experience both in the Marine Corps and my professional career. Why certain teams achieve success and why others don’t will make a lot of sense after reading this book. Because of that, that’s why I feel like this is one of most important books any leader has to read.
Unlocking Potential by Ben Bergeron
Unlocking Potential by Ben Bergeron is another really good grounded leadership book. Ben comes from a really good place of failure and success. He provides a very grounded approach to developing your leadership style. Ben does this by pointing out the flaws that he had when running CrossFit New England and where he failed to develop his trainers.
One of the things that he mentioned that stood out to me is when he said he didn’t have high turnover rate. Ben points out that because everyone was sticking around it was good in some ways but bad in others. Some of the bad that he discusses is his trainers weren’t developing themselves to be better and seek out better positions elsewhere. Which he states is the mark of a great leader. When your subordinates outgrow there current position and seek to spread their wings. I fell in love with this book because I’m a lover of CrossFit and I loved how I was able to connect with what Ben was talking about. It all felt familiar with my own issues as a leader.
Call Sign Chaos by General James Mattis
Ret. General Mattis is just one of those individuals that you always aspire to be. As a leader in the civilian world and then joining the Marine Corps I always looked up to the Gen Mattis carried himself. Which is why I was glad he finally wrote a book. Call Sign Chaos was an absolutely incredible book. The book makes you love Gen Mattis even more! Understanding that even gods can be human sometimes allows you to really understand the greatness of individuals like Gen Mattis. It’s pretty cool that throughout Gen Mattis’s career he has had the same issues that I now face as a junior officer in the Marine Corps. It makes it feel like “okay if this is what he did to overcome that situation maybe I can do the same as well.” Which is why I was so memsermized by this book. Definitely one of the best leadership books out there.
The Ride of a Lifetime by Bob Iger
Finally to one of my favorite CEOs, Bob Iger. He is the consummate professional. The Ride of a Lifetime depicts a full scope of Bob’s journey makes you realized that getting to the top is a little bit of luck, skill and determination. There were many paths that Bob could’ve gone. But because he was determined to be himself and stay true to his beliefs he made it all the way to the top of Disney. This book shows you that the blue collar American dream still exist you just have to follow through and be patient.
The books that I tabbed as the 4 Must Read Books on Leadership are just the start. There are plenty of other leadership books out there. I encourage you to continue to read and learn from the greats before us. But, make some improvements along the way. That’s how we as a society can produce better leaders. As I have mentioned in all my previous articles, keep learning and keep having fun.