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What business management and leadership books are on your bookshelf?


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.

Author: Devona E. G. Williams, Ph.D.

Dr. Devona Williams, consultant, entrepreneur, author and speaker, and through her firm, Goeins-Williams Associates, Inc.,, has helped over 40000 individuals increase their performance and effectiveness.

2 thoughts on “What business management and leadership books are on your bookshelf?

  1. There seem to a few things to cover here Firstly, there is a whole coetarsnvion to be had about who is a leader and the fact that everyone needs to be a leader from time to time but unless this is a group with which I have worked on a number of sessions in the past, this is probably not the time to to deal with this. Instead, I would be more pragmatic and try to give short quick reasons why it is still important to talk about the leadership competencies.The most straightforward one for me is to explain that focusing on leadership competencies during the action learning session helps us to be be more effective as a group. By choosing to work on specific aspects of our behaviour during the discussion, we will improve our own individual performance which will have the net effect of helping us to work more effectively as a group. I would also stress that because we will all be listening for examples of how other group members are performing against their leadership competencies, it will improve our listening skills and help us to be more constructive and supportive of one another.If it feels like the term leadership competency’ is too loaded then I think you could re-position the term as being an interpersonal work competency’. Later on at the end of the session (or when the group next meets and after having had a chat with the sponsor) you could highlight the competencies and use the opportunity to ask questions that help the group understand how those competencies link to leadership and how leadership links to their role.

  2. I agree with Matt and Carole the best language fit is imptnoart for the participants to take something from the session. If the title of leadership competencies is off putting to the participants (I have found this in some sessions I have taken) I would ask the group what would best describe these types of behaviours in your organisation . They may decide to call these attributes problem solving skills . It is down to the common language of the organisaiton and it is best prior to the session to talk to the sponsor about this to gain an understanding. If people feel uncomfortable or intimidated they are less likely to participate. I like to give participants a list of the competencies/skills to select from if they would like to do so at the beginning of the session. Making sure that the list also reflects their language is helpful. It’s all about getting them to take part so the can experience the benefits.At the beginning of the session it is imptnoart to explain to the participants that focusing on one of these skills during the session will help solidify the learning and that they will get a lot more out of the session. Most people will find themselves in leadership type situations everyday without even knowing this so it might be helpful to put the quesiton out to the group can any of you describe a time where you were in a leadership type of situation . This may help them to look beyond their current role at work.

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