Recommended Reading

Wooden on Leadership
by John Wooden

John Wooden, the Hall of Fame coach from UCLA, presents a values driven approach to leadership. He offered a pyramid of values that form the basis of strong leaders and strong teams. He approach to leadership is that winning will come if you are willing to play by these values. This approach makes everyone accountable for their own actions within a shared vision of what you are trying to achieve. This type of leadership is a strong formula for success.

The Fifth Discipline
by Peter Senge

Although this book was written about large organization, it basic tenets help reinforce what I believed about organizations many years ago. The Command and Control structure was being replaced a Shared Vision and Systems Thinking strategy. Where Command and Control dictated the Vision, the future is driven by leaders who develop a shared vision within their leadership team and ultimately with the workforce itself. This also requires a change from linear thinking to systems thinking. This is movement away from reacting to change but generating change. In today’s environment it is the way we do business that needs to change and future leaders will need to encourage this type of thinking from their team.

The Path of Least Resistance
by Robert Fritz

Fritz looks at life from a perspective of structure. He contends that we go through life following the path of least resistance. This path is determined by the underlying structure in our life, our beliefs, values, desires, assumptions, aspirations, etc. Fritz believes that you can change your path by learning the underlying structure and change behavior so you can create what you want for your life.

Fritz talks about this in terms of Current Realities. It is this tension between our current realities and our vision, or what we are trying to achieve, that promotes the creative process or not. This true in organizational change as the current structure limits the ability of the organization (people) to achieve their shared vision when the current realities remain unaddressed. Addressing the old structure and transitioning to a shared vision creates the opportunity to create a new path of least resistance.

Immunity To Change
by Robert Kegan and Lisa Laskow Lahey

Immunity to Change is an important read for anyone looking to bring about change with individuals or teams. It answers that hidden dimension of people unconscious background that keeps them doing the same behavior over and over. This is a very readable book written by researcher at Harvard based upon real life experience. It can help a leaders put into practice and unlock what is required to bring about meaningful change.

Man’s Search for Meaning
by Viktor E. Frankl

When I was a young college student I was blessed with the opportunity to hear Dr. Frankl speak. At the time I was unaware how profound an opportunity this was, as Man’s Search for Meaning is among the most influential works of psychiatric literature since Freud. Where Freud believed that sexual instincts where the driving forces of humanity; Frankl believes that man’s deepest desire is to search for meaning and purpose. The book begins with Frankl’s imprisonment in Auschwitz and his struggle during this time to find reasons to live. This personal experience shaped is view of humanity and his psychotherapeutic approach called Logotherapy which much more compatible with Western religions. Regardless of you view of psychology, Man’s Search for Meaning is one of those books that everyone needs to read, as it is help put into perspective what life is all about.

Undaunted Courage
by Stephen Ambrose

This is a book about leadership, bravery and survival. In 1803, President Thomas Jefferson selected his personal secretary, Captain Meriwether Lewis, to lead a voyage up the Missouri River, across the forbidding Rockies, and – by way of the Snake and Columbia rivers – down to the Pacific Ocean. His dealing with various Indian tribes along the way was made successful by Sacajawea, a Shoshone woman who becomes translator, peacemaker, caretaker, and guide. Lewis and his partner, Captain William Clark, endured incredible hardships making their way to what is known as the Northwest Passage.

The Economist

The Economist is a week newspaper/magazine that provides valuable insights into the global world in which we live. It provides an analysis of world business and current affairs, insight and opinion on international news, world politics, business, finance, science and technology, as well as overviews of cultural trends and regular Special reports on industries and countries. It is broken into different geographical regions and offers foreign perspective on the United States as well as the rest of the world. If you are interests in what is going on in the world this is a “real time” publication that can help you learn and understand how complex the world really is.

Lexus and the Olive Tree
by Thomas Friedman 2000

This was the first book that opened my eyes to globalization. Written in 2000, Friedman draws on his years of experience as a journalist in the Middle East to produce an excellent work on globalization and the dynamics it presents. He argued then and it is a realization today that this was not a passing trend but an interconnected system that changes the political and relational landscape between countries.

Globalization is the integration of capital, technology, and information across national borders, in a way that is creating a single global market and, to some degree, a global village. Today the Arab Spring being experienced is as much a result of this process as the global economic crisis. All of these areas are being driven by the Internet and easy access to information. This book is essential reading for all those who care about how the world really works.

Confidence Men
by Ron Suskind 2011

This is a contemporary look at leadership and delegation at the highest level. Suskind tells a story of what happened as the economy crumbled in the middle of the presidential election. He tells a story of how opportunity and commanding rhetoric can carry the day, but result in a reality that is based upon trusting those who you think know more then you. It is an inside look at management in both business and government and present a well written narrative on how the economic crisis unfolded and the steps taken to deal with the issue.

The story follow the journey of Barack Obama who rose to power as the country fell. The President surrounded himself with a team of seasoned players —like Rahm Emanuel, Larry Summers, and Tim Geithner—who had served a different president in a different time. The result was an administration that found itself overtaken by events as, year to year, Obama struggled to grow into the world’s toughest job and, in desperation, take control of his own administration. It also compares the struggle between Washington and Wall Street for control.

This is an important read for anyone trying to understand the complexity of current economic struggles and the people and organizations that contribute to our current reality.