Here’s my list of the top  leadership books I read in 2013. These three are each very different, but that’s part of the point. We can learn about leadership from a huge variety of different sources around us. My list includes a biography, a stocking-filler, and a business book.

  • William Pitt by William Hague: A biography of one of the most remarkable Prime Ministers Great Britain ever had. William Pitt the Younger was 24 when he first took on the job of leading the country, and before then he’d already refused three times when the King had asked for him! The lesson I took from this was the importance of a leaders’ attention to detail. Pitt mastered the detail on every subject he took on, and because of that was able to consistently defend all of his legislation in parliament. He knew the details, and so was prepared when others tried to pick holes in his plans.
  • The Elements of Eloquence by Mark Forsyth: This was a stocking-filler I got on Christmas Day (thanks Dad!) but was so entertaining I finished it within a week. For writers and preachers, this is a brilliant summary of the Greek rules of rhetoric, and how mastering them can improve your communication. Alliteration, assonance, tricolon, and lots of other techniques with ridiculous sounding names, but that when used correctly have the power to seriously improve your mastery of the use of language.
  • Great By Choice by Jim Collins: For me this was a re-read; I first read the book when it came out in 2011. But it’s one of those business planning books you’ll want to continually return to. There are great lessons here for any organisation on how to grow your work through making decisions on what to focus on, and how to create an enduring recipe for success. In essence this is strategic planning, but made simple and explained brilliantly.

Those are the top leadership books I’ve learned leadership from most in 2013. Which books taught you the most last year, that you recommend I read in 2014?

Mark Williamson works as a director of One Rock. He’s a lay preacher and leader within the Methodist Church, author of a biography on John Wesley, and has a biography on William Wilberforce coming out in summer 2014. He enjoys good films, good food, praying for London, and going for long walks with his wife Joanna. You can follow him on Twitter @markraynespark.