These are the best leadership books that I have read throughout 2015. Not that they were necessarily published in 2015 – some came out much earlier. But these are the three that impacted me most from my reading last year. So, in no particular order:
The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferris: This is an incredible book by Tim Ferris. It’s been around for a few years, but I only came across it last year. The premise is that we should all revolutionise our lives by setting up an internet business, have it make so much profit we only need to work four hours each week, and then spend the rest of our time constantly travelling around the world. That may be appealing to many, though not so much to me, since I love my work and feel a great sense of purpose and vocation in what I do. But the methods that Ferris talks through on how to work smarter (time management and task management techniques in effect), how to set up and trial an online business that provides a steady income stream, and how to plan to make your long term goals become reality, are all well worth the price of the book. Supremely practical and very inspiring, making you believe there’s a path towards the work and the life that you want, whatever that may be.
The Seven Dysfunctions Of A Team by Patrick Lencioni: Again, this is not a new book. It’s one that I had previously skimmed at bookshops, and thought I could absorb the ideas simply through reading the chapter titles. There’s way more to it than that. It’s actually a great team model for how to make your teams more effective by building on a foundation of trust. Having read through it, I can now see why so many previous teams I’ve been part of were dysfunctional, and I can also see a path forward to a better way. It’s a short read, and it’s told as a leadership fable book. If that’s not your preferred style of learning, you can watch this excellent video of Lencioni teaching, and get the essential content in 35 minutes. Well worth watching/ reading.
CEO series by David Axlerod: This isn’t one book, but rather a series. Axlerod has taken a number of famous leaders from history, and distilled leadership lessons to be learned from them. So far I’ve read his books on Elizabeth I, Napoleon Bonaparte and Winston Churchill, with two more on Mahatma Ghandi and Julius Caesar to follow. Those on Elizabeth I and Churchill were most enjoyable and beneficial, since they contained fewer leadership lessons, but more depth of detail on each one. Great for learning history and leadership at the same time.
So those are the three reads that taught me most about leadership in 2015. What were yours?
Mark Williamson works as a director of One Rock. He’s an experienced leadership trainer, author of biographies on John Wesley and William Wilberforce, and is also passionate about praying for London. He enjoys good films, good food, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markonerock.