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What Great Leaders Do Differently - Some Helpful Reading

Read to lead. There are thousands of books on leadership. Here's a few that I think are among the best and most helpful for a working leader.

Let me start with one of the most popular books, Leaders by Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus. It was written in 1985 and there's a bit too much of the "new leader" and "leaders versus managers" material for my personal taste. I recommend the book, though, for the descriptions of effective leaders are work, especially the material on a symphony conductor.

I think the best and most accessible study out there is The Leadership Challenge by Kouzes and Posner. It's got lots of good practical advice and many nuts-and-bolts how-tos.

Howard Gardner is most famous for his theory of multiple intelligences. He applies that theory in a study of leadership called Leading Minds: An Anatomy of Leadership. This will give you a very different take on leadership because it looks at leaders from a psychological, descriptive perspective.

There are some writers who have produced many good works. Just about anything by Peter Drucker or John Kotter will help you, but you may not want to read it all. So here are my favorites.

My Drucker recommendation is The Effective Executive. It's short and filled with wisdom.

My Kotter recommendation is The Leadership Factor because I think he does an excellent job of pulling all of his work together here.

Finally, leadership is really an apprentice trade. We learn to lead by being led and by watching other leaders at work. That means that biographies of leaders can be a great learning tool. There's also one recent book that I think you should buy and dip into.

The book is Lessons from the Top. It's a series of interviews with fifty top business leaders. More than anything else this book will give you a way to examine and compare the thinking of many different and successful leaders.

Have a great read!


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