In 2020 I have read quite a few books. I’ve read both fiction and non fiction and while I’ll share some of my other favorites this year in upcoming blog posts, I want to share my the top 3 leadership books I’ve read or reread in 2020 with you.
BOOK 1 – Make Your Bed – This book is an easy read at around 125 pages. It’s simple but Admiral William Mcraven makes the most of each word. He gave a speech to the graduating class at University of Texas that launched this book. It’s the 10 things that you can do that may seem simple, but will help you change the world. The first is to make your bed each morning. He says,
“If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day,” he said. “It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed. Making your bed will also reinforce the fact that the little things in life matter. If you can’t do the little things right, you’ll never be able to do the big things right. And if by chance you have a miserable day, you will come home to a bed that is made — that you made. And a made bed gives you encouragement that tomorrow will be better.” -Admiral William McRaven
BOOK 2 – Leadership Strategy and Tactics – You all know I love Jocko. So no surprise I recommend his new book on leadership. In the book, he breaks down the strategies in one section and tactics in another. He dives into very specific examples you may come across and the principles to keep in mind in those areas. It’s different from his other two books, Extreme Ownership and the Dichotomy of Leadership in that those tend to be bigger picture concepts, this is very much “in the weeds” as each situation is described.
“Leaders are never good enough. A leader must be constantly improving and learning since, in any leadership job, new and unexpected challenges arise all the time… Being a leader is your life. Do everything humanly possible to know and understand everything there is to know about your profession and being a leader in that profession. Strive every day to learn and become a better leader.” – Jocko Willink
BOOK 3 – The Leader’s Greatest Return – If I I had to pick only one of these to recommend to you, it would be this one. John Maxwell reminds me in this book that the best thing a leader can do is not create more followers, but instead help develop more leaders. This book goes into the process to take your leadership to the highest levels in developing other leaders.
“The only thing limiting the future of any organization is the number of good leaders it develops.” – John Maxwell