Please recommend a book about leadership

I am looking to find a book about leadership to read - does anyone have any recommendations? I wasn’t sure if I should post this in Cafe Society or IMHO, and flipped a coin.

Note: this is for a school (university) assignment, but I’m not asking anyone to do my homework or anything - just point me in a good direction.

I am a fourth year university student in Nursing, and for a course on leadership one of our major assignments is to do a “scholarly book review” on a book of our choice in the “popular literature about leadership”. The instructor said we have pretty free rein to pick any book we want related to leadership.

I went to a bookstore today and I’ve been searching online, and I really don’t have any idea about what book to pick. Sure, I could just choose one at random, but that I don’t want to do that. Also, from flipping through a bunch of books at the store, it seems like a lot of books related to leadership are looking through a Fortune 500/typical company lens. Since this is a nursing course (through the Nursing faculty, not Business), I am hoping to find a book that can be useful to leaders in a large variety of contexts, other than just typical businesses.

So what interesting books should I check out? It doesn’t have to be a the best/most widely acclaimed/most read book, as I think a book review would be a little boring if you’re just saying how great the whole thing is. And if it’s pretty readable/accessible then that would help, as I don’t have a business background. I also don’t want to randomly pick a book and end up with a really bad one with nothing good/interesting to say.


Edited to add: I was just going to pick a book off the “best sellers” table or from a list of “best leadership books ever”, but now I’m thinking I need a wider variety of choices. I wouldn’t want to choose an extremely popular book and then find out 20 other students in my class picked the same book. I wouldn’t want to be the 20th paper my poor instructor has to read on the same book.

you could go with one of the first books on leadership

The Prince, by Niccolò Machiavelli

even written allmost 500 years ago, it reads as a modern management book.
and is alot more honest on the how and why of using power

Hey guys, I can’t but notice that I was the only one responding to this question

Was my sugestion so awesome that no more titles are needed?
Or did I miss the doper memo on not giving recommendations for leadership books?
Is this why I was banned two days ago?

It’s the Dope. It’s not the board where leaders congregate, it’s the other one.

It’s been years since I read it, but The Mask of Command by John Keegan compared the leadership styles of Alexander, Wellington, Grant, & Hitler.

I was going to suggest the Art of War, by Sun Tzu, but that’s not a modern book by any means, it’s a couple of thousand years old. You could try telling your instructor that you like to rely on the classics. :wink:

And kitten, look in ATMB. EVERYONE got banned for a couple of hours, not just you. Even the staff.

The question was posted after midnight, US time. Since most SDMB posters are from the US, they were/are asleep.

I can’t argue with the classics, but for something more recent, I found Into the Crucible: Making of a 21st Century Marine to be pretty interesting. It particularly focuses on “The Crucible” a 54 hour endurance, teamwork, and leadership test.

I don’t know if its “about” leadership though.

Two recent examples:

  • Only the Paranoid Survive, by Andrew Grove, former Chairman of Intel and Professor at Stanford’s GSB: A practical, plainspoken, visionary look at how to lead your company though “points of strategic inflection” where the landscape of your market fundamentally changes. Coupled with a point of view about how Technology will evolve from a book written in the late 90’s that still makes sense today. He wasn’t just a teacher; he’d lived it.

  • The Soul of a New Machine, by Tracy Kidder: standard reading in top business schools, it is an indepth look at leadership under pressure as teams race to develop new computers - way back in the mini-computer PDP-1170/Unix type of environment. Kidder is a reporter who brings you inside the events but also steps back and looks at the team dynamics…

Trust me on this one:

Primal Leadership: Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman. Goleman is a pioneer in the field of emotional intelligence (EQ). It applies to all fields, not just money-making.

I have this exact same assignment right now for my MBA Leadership class. I’m doing that book, but it is a good one.

It’s Your Ship, by Michael Abrashoff is a good one.

Even though the title is about management techniques, it’s really about leadership, because the entire book is about motivating, rewarding and empowering your workers (or sailors).

The U.S. Army Field Leadership Manual?

Along those same lines…parts of Sun Tzu’s The Art of War?

I was going to mention Sun Tsu’s Art of War, but it looks like it has been mentioned a few times already.

Are you allowed to use a novel that has leadership as a theme? I’d like to recommend Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein. Don’t be put off by cartooney covers or that 1990’s movie - it goes in-depth into command hierarchy dynamics. I remember hearing once that this book is, or was, used by the US Military for officer training. It has starships, power armor, and space aliens, but so much more. …shines the name!

How about The Dilbert Principle by Scott Adams? It has cartoons in it, but it is a real textual book and not a comic book or mere collection of comic strips.

Perhaps being a bit of an oddball, what about The Acts of the Apostles by Dr. Luke? Yes, that’s in the Bible, and was written by a physician as well, so you can find a way to tie in an ancient viewpoint from the healthcare field of old. Or, I would think that several other books of the bible might do, quite possibly any of them as you could make an argument that the Bible, in many parts, is written by a leader in pursuit of leadership duties, by a writer describing what a leader did and why, or written TO a leader giving advice on how to lead (e.g. Paul’s Letters to Timothy)

How about a slide show?

Colin Powell on Leadership.

Thanks for that. I liked it.

If poetry is ok, what about The Idylls of the King by Tennyson, about Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Duty. Honor. Love.

There is a sex scandal and the kingdom goes into the toilet.

Also, there is a flashback about “two brothers, one a King” who fought over a Crown (each wanted to be King) and killed each other. Arthur comes upon their dessicated remains and takes the crown himself. “…thou likewise shall be King…”

Today, Leadership by Rudolph Giuliani comes to mind

I can’t recommend a book on leadership but I can recommend a sentence:

Do what the fuck you want to do. Others will follow.

Just when I thought I could actually contribute something useful (instead of my usual blathering), **Annie-Xmas ** beat me to it.

I really enjoyed Giuliani’s book. I rarely read these types of books, but that one impressed me.