One of my favourite cliches, often heard at leadership conferences, is “leaders are readers.” This one I actually agree with. If you love learning you’ll love reading. I read for work and I read for pleasure. I read in the bathroom, on the bus, in bed, on the train, in airports and on planes. What am I reading now? Here’s the pile next to my bed:
Leading with a Limp by Dan Allender is definitely one of my books of the year. I read it a few years ago and I’m re-reading it now. I have never read a book on leadership like this one. If you’re in a leadership position and find yourself pretending to be something you’re not, this book will set you free. The premise? Weakness is strength. Brokenness is a gift. Like Jacob after his encounter with God, the leadership limp becomes a sign of God-dependence. According to the author, the best leaders are not necessarily those who seek leadership. Rather, the best leaders are plagued with doubts or flee leadership. Reluctant leaders give power away and delight in helping others to achieve their goals and dreams.
The Swordless Samurai is a classic on leadership. This book contains the insights of the peasant boy Hideyoshi who rose to become ruler of all Japan. If you think Sun-Tzu is too much yakkety-yak-yak, and you want a little more action, Hideyoshi’s story should satisfy. He conquered enemies with his brains, often by turning them into friends. In an age of swinging swords, Hideyoshi’s penchant for showing trust and mercy was astounding.
The Story of the Old Testament by Alex Motyer was given to me a couple of years ago. It’s a treasure trove that makes the stories of the Old Testament come alive.
The Long Tail by Chris Anderson (editor of Wired) has nothing to do with leadership, but it lives up to all the hype. What’s it about? You’ve heard of short tails – this book’s about long ones.